Rasputin’s Folk Café has had a long, infamous and celebrated history in the Ottawa, and yes, Canadian folk music community. The Spirit of Rasputin’s is building on this tradition.
Here are some links to information about the original Rasputin’s Folk Café. These are some of Dean’s pages from the website before the fire.
Historical Notes Pertaining to Rasputin’s Folk Cafe:
(Or lots of readings with some truths, maybe)
Rasputin’s is a small family run ‘folk cafe’ that emphasizes the relaxed, the informal. These days we do a lot of cooking, present over 100 concerts a year, feature Open Stages, and host Jam Sessions. Not to mention a new art show hanging on our walls each month. All in a tiny 40 seat club that has become known as an intimate venue to hear and meet some of our countries finest singer/songwriters.
In August of ’81 a small restaurant called Rasputin’s opened its doors. With the help of the folk music community we began to feature singer/songwriters, and hold Open Stages (a term first coined here).
Since that time the little restaurant has become a nationally recognized folk club with airings on national radio, on TV, and lots of write-ups in the press. In its 21st year it is with some pride that we recognize Ottawa’s own Lynn Miles who played on our stage for many of those early years. Loreena McKennit was introduced to the Ottawa audience right here at our folk club. (A ticket for that show in ’88 was only $5!) Garnet Rogers and Roy Forbes both were on our stage. When Stephen Fearing exploded onto the Canadian music scene we were excited to be the first to feature him in Ottawa.
Past performers include: Ian Tamblyn, David Francey, Brent Titcomb, Bobby Watt, The Bird Sisters, Terry Tufts, Bob Snider, Tamarack, Malaika, Magoo, Finest Kind, Bill Garrett & Curly Boy Stubbs, Cheza, Colin Linden, Cathy Miller, Doug McArthur, Bob Bossin, Imaginary Heaven, Cate Friesen, Dario Domingues, Brenda Baker, Fred J. Eaglesmith, Anderson & Brown, Nathan Curry, Pierre Schryer, Two, Guy del Villano, Toasted Westerns, Sneezy Waters, Norm Hacking, Michael Smith, Crucial Moments and lots more. Over 1000 concerts.
While usually promoting the prodigious amount of Canadian talent we have on occasion featured performers from the USA, South America, England, Japan, Russia, and Georgia.
Besides music this folk cafe uses its wall space as Free Gallery space, not charging commissions or hanging fees. The art shows have included textiles, woodcarvings, oils, watercolours, and constructions.
As well our room is used for theatrical events and storytelling epics. If it is art in any of its many forms it is welcomed here.
Add to this a restaurant menu with both food and drink. Everything from cappuccino to wine to full course meals to chocolate cake. As Sandra Abma of CBC radio described us, ‘Rasputin’s is someone’s intimate living room’.
But why is it called Rasputin’s? Well the tales are many and the reasons are wild. As everyone knows Rasputin was a Russian staretz, a peasant holyman. Well I am none of those things, so that might be a good reason on its own. Rasputin’s loving cup overflowed, was a good dancer, boisterous conversationalist, and believed in the power of the hug to heal. He was very kind and gentle with children successfully healing the Tsar and Tsarina’s son when all others made his hemophilia worse. When others became jealous of his successes and tried to kill him he lived through poisoning, knifing, shooting, and according to some folk myths may have even lived on only to finally pass away because of pneumonia. With such a high survivability what a great name to use! Or it could be part of the physical descriptions of this man that relates to the owner of this folk club. Whatever, the reasons like myths continue to grow. And they are all true! (aren’t they?)