Thursday, October 27, 2011

a week of large casts

Monday night was the tribute/celebration for Daisy DeBolt and she wouyld have approved of the "cast of thousands" that gathered on the stage at Hugh's Room to sing some of her tunes. When we were planning, there wasn't really anybody that was going to try to cover Daisy's vocals on anything so we were focusing on instrumental medleys and I was going to do a song I wrote about Lenny Breau, her mentor. But then I guess it was her old friend Naomi who was the one to say "We've got to do some of those songs" ...Up on Eagle Hill..."seeing all that love in your eyes" Then the genie was out of the bottle and then we went all the way and parachuted in a powerhouse focalist in the person of Heather Katz. Heather had never sung a Daisy DeBolt song but here she nailed it, and the whole gang was up on stage. I don't think we broke Daisy's record for large ensembles (24) but there were a lot of people on stage and the whole crowd was joining in on "All This Paradise".  This was happening at midnight, an hour beyond when most shows end at Hugh's Room.  The management there were great.  Sound was first class (thank you Anne and Dave). It was most moving to see Allan Fraser, Daisy's partner from Fraser & DeBolt doing a tune with Daisy's son, Jake.  There's a facebook page with comments at <>There's also a lovely tribute video by world-renown videographer Tim Wilson at

Last night it was the new musical "Fela" with a huge cast of singer-dancers. all black, and a killer afrobeat band that was nearly all-white. Whatsmore, the rhythm guitarist who drove that afro-groove was not only white, but left-handed. He and the other guitarist had distilled that Nigerian sound down to the two essential guitar parts and then a bass that played over top of it. Lots of percussion and a fabulous horn-section which sometimes included some great tenor sax from Sahr Ngaujah who plays a very credible Fela Kuti. Amazing state-of-the-art sound and visuals occasionally interrupted by some less elegant theatrical devices and even a Big Bird lookalike that I thought was a little high-school but which my companion found to be her part the show. If you love African Music, you will be captivated by this band. Who are these guys? They may not be African but they are official!.  The run ends Nov 6