New roster of Arden Theatre talent has a roots bent
By: Anna Borowiecki
| Posted: Wednesday, Aug 08, 2012 06:00 am
Anyone who’s not part of the Arden Theatre’s subscription series, which gives theatre goers an early option to buy tickets, will be delighted to know that programming presenter Caitlin North is releasing all remaining seats on Monday, Aug. 13.
The 2012-2013 professional series season is heavily biased toward roots music from many corners of the world. But that doesn’t exclude a few rock shows, comedy shows and breakdancing. Former programming presenter Casey Prescott also booked a return of the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival’s Radical Reels, a peak into the world of crazy-ass sports stunting.
“We’ve pegged it as a season of soaring to new heights. We’re taking our patrons on a bit of trip around the world, a musical journey so to speak,” said North.
“It’s really great casting of Canadian artists, some new, some familiar. It proves the amount of talent coming from this country is phenomenal. The thing I’m excited about is the number of young artists. They are the future.”
Immediately she cites Juno Award-winning Joel Plaskett, a prolific singer/songwriter making his debut at the Arden with a stripped down acoustic performance on Sept. 22.
“He’s one of my favourite Canadian artists. He’s a fantastic songwriter. He can be tongue-in-cheek but really playful. He’s very smart and has a great sense of melody,” she said.
Next in the season is the cool, stunning athleticism of BBoyizm co-presenting with Brian Webb Dance Co., an impassioned choreographed street dance on Sept. 28 and 29.
“They were here for the 2011 children’s festival and from what I heard they were a big hit. They take the audience through the history of hip-hop and breakdance. They are also going to be part of StArts Fest and we’ll be offering a free workshop that the public can sign up with,” North said.
The husband-wife team of Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland, also known as Whitehorse, blend their velvety fusion of folk, rock and country on Oct. 4.
“They have very strong and celebrated careers on their own. Last year they officially paired up as the performing group Whitehorse.”
One of the Arden’s most celebrated singer/songwriters, Matt Andersen returns with his unique brand of East Coast blues on Oct. 6. Once you’ve seen him, you never forget him.
“We’ve been getting a lot of calls and selling out quickly. He’s a force to be reckoned with,” North said. “He is so powerful. I don’t know how to describe him. It’s blues but it’s more than that.”
De Temps Antan (Oct. 19), a French Canadian Celtic group similar to Genticorum, and Joe Matheson’s masterful tribute to Hank Williams Live 1952 (Oct. 26), both explore the traditional roots music of North America.
On Oct. 31 Bluebird North presents the eclectic blues voices of John Rutherford, Graham Guest, Colin Linden, Little Miss Higgins and Grant Stovel.
Danny Michel, (Nov. 9), a returning rock favourite has a signature pop-rock sound and infectious charisma.
“He’s living in Belize now. The rhythms of traditional South America have seeped their way into his new records and he’s releasing a new record on Sept. 18,” North said.
The Christmas show on Dec. 13 and 14 brings back the pop junkies Lunch at Allen’s whereas the new year kicks off with a never before seen act Socalled (Jan. 19, 2013).
“It’s hip hop, but not in the traditional sense. It draws from his Jewish background using klezmer. It’s klezmer, funk, hip-hop. Try wrapping your brain around that one.”
The Hot 8 Brass Band (Jan. 26) stops by to deliver their swampy New Orleans brass band sound while Corner Gas creator Brent Butt (Feb. 9) delivers a night of small town humour.
Local crowds are highly anticipating the return of Eric Bibb merging his sound with Habib Koité of Mali (Feb. 22).
“I’ve seen both separately, never together. It will be interesting to see how they fuse the Delta blues traditions with African rhythms.”
Two other acts that wowed crowds in previous years are the spirited Hot Club of San Francisco (Mar. 8) and Harry Manx’s (Mar. 15) blend of Indian folk melodies and blues guitar.
The more intimate On Stage series introduces Honen pianist Minsoo Sohn, a one-woman comedy show with Miss Caledonia and a double header with singer/songwriters Del Barber and Ben Sures.
“The season is like a story that allows the audience to be armchair travellers,” North said. “They can travel across Canada, Louisiana, San Francisco. It also blends the rhythms of Asia and Africa. It’s a real trip around the world and an opportunity to discover young talent.”
A complete schedule of shows is available at www.ardentheatre.com. Brochures are also available at the theatre. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m.