The 40 Days of April…!

In this newsletter:

  1. A Cabaret Concert: John Bowman / Vince Halfhide with Chris White
  2. May Day celebration: Gil’s Hootenanny
  3. A Reeaally big showww! The Sultans of String

Ronnie Hawkins had a big hit with Chuck Berry’s song 30 days by changing it to 40 days. Sometimes you just have to try something new. So this “monthly missive” covers about 40 days of Spirit of Rasputin’s activities.

We all love the intimacy and acoustics of our concerts at the Westboro Masonic Hall, but this spring we will present two larger events at different venues so pay attention to the “where:” for Gil’s Hootenanny and The Sultans of String in the announcements below.

Who: John Bowman/ Vince Halfhide & Chris White
What: The first in the “Cabaret Concert Series”
When: 8pm Saturday April 21, 2012
Where: Westboro Masonic Hall, 430 Churchill at Byron
Tickets: $20 [ Click here to buy online now!! (https://www NULL.paypal ] or buy in person at the Ottawa Folklore Centre.

This is the first of a series we call “Cabaret Concerts” where the performers are members of Spirit of Rasputin’s. The series launch is at the Masonic Hall and then the series continues in June at Le Michel-Ange. More info on the “Series” will be in the next newsletter but here we present the inaugural event in this series.

Set 1: John Bowman and Friends
John divides his time betweeen Vancouver and Ottawa working in labour relations and performing in local clubs. He is a poetic composer with a thoughtful delivery and a beautiful finger-picking guitar style. Expect to hear quite a few songs from his CD “Beach on the Ocean” accompanied by the musicians from that project: Tobias Meis (bass), Mark St. Jean (harmonica), and Kristine St. Pierre (backup vocals). John donates the proceeds from sales of his CD to The Canadian Women’s Foundation – Shelter From the Storm. This is a man with a lot of class and a heart as big as Canada. (John’s website… (http://johnbowman

Set 2: Vince Halfhide with Chris White (and special guest Mary Gick)
Guitarist Vince Halfhide has performed and recorded with Sneezy Waters, Andrea and the Fun Guys, The Jivewires, Larry “the Bird” Mootham, Missy Burgess, The Mighty Popo, Chris White, The Toasted Westerns, Heaven’s Radio / Terry Gillespie and many others.  He is at ease with a wide range of musical styles, including folk, country, blues, R&B, reggae, jazz and African music. More recently, another Vince has emerged: a singer-songwriter whose original songs are as entertaining, evocative and far-ranging as his guitar work.

Chris grew up in a musical family and has been writing and performing songs all his life.  He plays guitar and ukulele, writes witty songs, teaches songwriting classes and directs Ottawa’s new Shout Brother choir.  As a community event organizer, Chris has played key roles with the Ottawa Folk Festival, Writer’s Bloc and CKCU FM.  His songs are at once humorous and touching, and provide lots of opportunities for audience involvement.  His two CDs of original songs have generated great enthusiasm.

In performance together, Chris and Vince blend voices and instruments to create a unique and memorable experience.

What: May Day: Gil’s Hootenanny
Who: TBA a wide variety of labour activists and performers
When: 7:30pm Tuesday May 1, 2012
Where: NAC Fourth Stage
Tickets: $15 [ Click here to buy online now!! (https://www NULL.paypal ] or buy in person at the NAC box office.

This event has simply outgrown the Masonic Hall! So join us for an evening celebrating working men and women in song and story. This good old fashioned hootenanny is always on May Day which is a Tuesday this year. Spirit of Rasputin’s thanks CUPE for their generous sponsorship of this event.

Watch the website for the official announcement of who is performing this year. Chris White is still busy lining everyone up as I write this.

Who: The Sultans of String
When: 8pm Saturday May 12
Where: First Unitarian Congregation, 30 Cleary Ave.
Tickets: $25 [ Click here to buy online now!! (https://www NULL.paypal ] or buy in person at the Ottawa Folklore Centre.

Each year we bring you a world class instrumental extravaganza. On Sat May 12, raucous world-roots string wizards, 2x CFMA winners & JUNO nominees, Sultans of String, serve up their spicy stew of Gypsy jazz, Spanish flamenco, Global roots, and Cuban rhythms at The Spirit of Rasputin’s!

“Canada’s ambassadors of musical diversity” include 6-string violinist Chris McKhool (Pavlo), guitar wizard Kevin Laliberté (Jesse Cook, guested on tour with The Chieftains), bass master Drew Birston (Chantal Kreviazuk, Amanda Martinez), and the jaw dropping talent of Cuban percussionist Chendy Leon (Alex Cuba, Parachute Club)!

Seamlessly traversing diverse themes of heart, place and tradition, fiery violin dances with kinetic guitar while a funk bass lays down unstoppable grooves. Throughout, acoustic strings meet electronic wizardry to create layers and depth of sound.

Since their formation only 5 years ago, Sultans of String have been riding a wave of success, from their debut CD, “Luna”, and 2nd offering, “Yalla Yalla”, both hitting # 1 on world/international music charts in Canada, to their triple Canadian Folk Music Award nomination, winning Instrumental Group of the Year.

In the 2 years alone, they’ve acquired a JUNO nomination, representation from acclaimed promoter David Wilkes (Emmylou Harris, Bela Fleck, Melanie), and booking representation in the US, UK and Australia. They also took home 1st place in the International Songwriting Competition (out of 15,000 entries), placed as finalists for two 2011 International Independent Music Awards, garnered 2 awards from Festival & Events Ontario, and Ontario Contact’s Artist of The Year.

The band just released their new and 3rd CD, MOVE, a perfect hat-trick presenting, once again, an exhilarating celebration of world music styles.

“Canada is a real meeting places of musical influences from around the world” says bandleader/violinst McKhool. “At the same time, as a band we try to tell uniquely Canadian stories, putting forth our vision of the world as one family.” Chris’ paternal Makhoul grandparents immigrated to Canada from Lebanon in the early 1900s, and his Egyptian-born mother, an accomplished pianist, also has paternal Lebanese ancestry. “Growing up, I was taught the values of tolerance, respect for all peoples and celebration of culture.” McKhool’s unbridled passion for exploring the rhythms and melodies has led him to the far corners of the world, incorporating instruments and styles everywhere he went. (Their website… (http://www NULL.sultansofstring ))

Hollis Morgan
President, Spirit of Rasputin’s Arts Society

p.s. Don’t forget about the Monday Open Stage upstairs at Whispers, and the Tuesday Folkalong Jam in the back room of The Georgetown.

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