Streaming Cafe

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Video Overview of August Shows

August brings us a packed line-up of performances from within our Canadian borders and beyond. We start the month off in a big way with a double bill show. From Germany, the amazing Sarah Brendel performs along with young indie folkster Daniel Moir from Vancouver. A staple of CBC radio, Montreal’s Charlotte Cornfield performs Aug 13th, and Aug 20th brings established Nashville singer/songwriter Matt Beckler with special guest Andrea Gauster from Kingston, ON. Wrappin’ up the summer month is electrifying Montreal guitarist Cécile Doo-Kingué.

We’ve put together a video overview so you can get to know this month's performers.

AUGUST 6th - Sarah Brendel and Daniel Moir
Sarah Brendel and Daniel Moir are each veterans of the Streaming Café stage (which consists, as you know, of blank floor space in front of the wood wall). Brendel is a petite young lady from Germany who seems, at first glance, like any other demure folk artist. About three seconds after she attacks her music with voracious and vibrant energy, however, that initial impression is quickly corrected: Brendel leaves nothing behind when she shares her music with the world.

Vancouver marks home base for Daniel Moir, a young Canadian who makes his third visit to Streaming Café on August 6th, this time with Sarah Brendel. Moir’s debut EP, the Country and the Sea, charted on college radio and launched a song onto the season finale of NBC’s medical drama, Mercy.

AUGUST 13th - Charlotte Cornfield
Joni Mitchell is an obvious influence on Charlotte Cornfield, at least according to some of the melodies she puts out. Be sure to catch “the next it-girl of folk rock“ and check out the blog we did on Charlotte Confield.

CHARLOTTE CORNFIELD - Harbord & Grace from Mitch Fillion (southernsouls.ca) on Vimeo.

AUGUST 20th - Matt Beckler with special quest Andrea Gauster
Matt Beckler hails from Nashville TN via Columbus OH, and hits Streaming Café on August 20. An indie folk-pop-acoustic blues singer/songwriter who deftly steps outside the lines of genre typecasting, Beckler’s music has fed the soundtracks of TV shows including Alias, One Tree Hill, Life As We Know It, Felicity, Smallville, and America’s Next Top Model. Beckler’s appearance at Streaming Café will be alongside Kingston-based Canadian new-folk singer/songwriter Andrea Gauster.

AUGUST 20th - Cécile Doo-Kingué
Considered one of Montreal’s most electrifying guitarists by local press and groove aficionados, Cécile Doo-Kingué blends blues, soul and afro-folk to create a unique sound. Check out the feature we wrote on Cécile.

As always if you can't make it out to the cafe in Kelowna to watch these shows in-person, watch them streamed live online at 7pm and send in your questions directly to the artists via our live chat.

Charlotte Cornfield "The next it-girl of folk rock"

by Malcolm Petch
Google “jazz drummer bandleader” and you’ll probably find the likes of Buddy Rich at the top of the list. (Actually, you’ll for sure find Buddy Rich at the top of the list; I just tried it).

But Montreal’s Charlotte Cornfield will no doubt soon take over that spot here in Canada, if her progress-to-date is any indication. Even while working on her jazz drumming degree (BFA in Jazz studies, Concordia, grad 2010) Charlotte found the time to write and record a couple of EPs: It’s Like That Here and Collage Light. And once she had her drumming degree under her belt, Cornfield hit the road locking down the beat for acts such as Bent By Elephants, Takk, Panoramic & True and others.

If you’ve spent any time listening to CBC Radio, or if you’ve heard much campus radio across the country, you’re probably familiar with Charlotte Cornfield’s name – and that familiarity probably doesn’t arise from Cornfield’s time in the jazz-drummer field. Those two EPs she recorded have received countless plays and have enjoyed continued popularity on Canadian and American airwaves. And in adding to that popularity, Cornfield did a 45-stop tour in 2009 in support of her two EPs. (Think about that: 45 stops! That’s a month-and-a-half’s worth of playing every single night! And with a travel day here and there plus breaks, that probably adds up to two solid months of being on the road. And she was 20 years old at the time).

That growing popularity was one of the reasons Cornfield stepped back from her percussion path in the autumn of 2010 to sequester herself in the studio for four months of tracking a full-length album. Two Horses is due out ‘sometime in 2011’, according to early press releases.

Growing popularity was not the only reason for Cornfield’s desire to complete this album, however. In an interview posted in Saskatoon’s Planet S magazine on July 28, Cornfield says that hard work is a built-in philosophy that drives her unceasingly forward.

“I’m always racing against time,” she says. “I think, ‘Oh man, I’m 22 and when Joni Mitchell was 22 she was doing so much more.’ My work ethic always leads me to believe that what I do is never enough, and I’m always looking for the next thing. I feel really good about where I am, but there’s always so much more to do and so many more songs to be written.”

Speaking of which, Joni Mitchell is an obvious influence on Cornfield, at least according to some of the melodies she puts out. There’s even a hint of young Joni in Cornfield’s lyrical voice.

But great songwriting and the ability to perform her music well is not the whole story for Charlotte Cornfield, either. She seems to be one of those people blessed with the uncanny ability to know what to do on the business side of things, too. Rather than scheduling a CD release party while she was still working on her newest album, as some indies are wont to do (leaving them scrambling to fulfill their own timeline, and all-too-often compromising on some aspect of the recording, design and/or manufacturing aspect of their project as a result), Cornfield has been sitting on her finished album for quite a while, waiting until the “time is right” for the full album to see the light of day.

She isn’t sitting on her hands in the meantime, though. Cornfield’s appearance at Streaming Café on August 13th is part of a Western Canada tour she’s been putting together for some time now. And in a savvy demonstration of her understanding of the business side of this, uh, business, Cornfield told us that she has just released two of the tracks from her new album on iTunes, and she’ll be doing a major push for them during this time. “We’ll be doing a ton of promo for the show,” she says.

Cornfield is clearly a good drummer: her degree and the list of bands she supports as a percussionist makes that evident. And her current tour shows that she is a worthy band leader as well, with a number of festival dates listed where she’ll be playing with a full band, on top of the acoustic solo or duo shows she’ll be doing like the one at Streaming Café. With a work ethic like she’s described, it isn’t likely Cornfield will be slowing down anytime soon, either, so watch out, Mr. Buddy Rich, wherever you are: your Google listing may have to take a back seat to Charlotte Cornfield sooner rather than later.

Do yourself a favour: check out Charlotte Cornfield’s MySpace page and listen to her music. Buy one of her new tracks or an EP on iTunes. And then mark August 13th in your calendar so you don’t miss her show here in Kelowna at Streaming Café. You’ll be glad you set the time aside. As always, you can connect with Charlotte online at streamingcafe.net, listening to her music and watching her perform live in real-time, and even asking her questions if you’re unable to be here in person.

CHARLOTTE CORNFIELD - Arc Blues from Mitch Fillion (southernsouls.ca) on Vimeo.

Electrifying guitarist, Cécile Doo-Kingué

by Malcolm Petch
Cécile Doo-Kingué blends blues, soul and afro-folk to create a unique sound,” says the bio on Doo-Kingué’s ReverbNation page. Truth was never more succinctly spoken. Crank up her music, and you’d think you were listening to Colin James – at least until the vocal comes in. A couple of tracks later you’ll find yourself doing a world beat groove on a tune with French lyrics. And with the continuity of Doo-Kingué’s rich voice and solid guitar playing running throughout each track, the multi-faceted music makes a single, cohesive package.

Doo-Kingué’s guitar work, whether on electric or acoustic, underpins a wide variety of styles, but it’s clear her musical heart is in the blues. Woman blues singers are much more common than women who play the blues, so to hear a lady play a smokin’ blues electric guitar is a refreshing change. Doo-Kingué says her brother had a lot to do with her picking up the guitar as a youngster and playing the way she does.

“You think blues guitar, how many people will mention Sister Loretta Tharpe before T-Bone Walker?” says Doo-Kingué. “When my brother realized I was getting good on guitar and saw that I wanted to play lead, he told me one of the most sexist things in the world: ‘Whatever you do, don't play like a girl!’ He then handed me a Freddie King tape and a T-Bone Walker tape. ‘Learn these two tapes and you'll be set for life…’ If that doesn't set off a blues fire in you, I don't know what will…”

Since she came to Montreal in 1995, the musical community around her has welcomed Doo-Kingué with open arms. After 17 years in New York, born there to parents who’d immigrated from Cameroon, Doo-Kingué also lived in France for a year-and-a-half prior to her move to Canada. Montreal has been her adopted home for more than 15 years now, after she decided to head there for some schooling.

“I first came up to Montreal for studies. I was working two jobs in Florida, not particularly enjoying life, and unable to afford a solid higher education in the States,” says Doo-Kingué. “I wasn't happy… Close friends suggested I apply to McGill. They thought Montreal would be the perfect city for me: artsy, bilingual, multi-culti, a touch of Europe in America, a laid back NYC, full of eye candy… They were right. Montreal has a beat of its own that I fell in love with, and in which I felt – and still feel – right at home. I've met such wonderful people, friends, a family that just keeps growing bigger and stronger.”

Montreal has long been known for its strong music scene (Montreal jazz festival, and so on), and Doo-Kingué has left a solid impression in several corners. She stands strong as both a musician and a technician, with her guitar-playing abilities allowing her the opportunity to perform with artists as diverse as the Aliens, Tricia Foster, Soul City, Ismael Isaac, and the Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir.

Doo-Kingué loves playing with MJGC: “It's one of my favourite acts to play with! There's nothing like accompanying a choir. There is something purely magical about hearing that many voices in harmony; it gives me goose bumps and makes me smile for the duration of the experience. It's a huge pleasure and honour working with Dr. Trevor Payne and so many talented singers and musicians.”

Her strengths as a technician mean Doo-Kingué has also spent time behind the desk mixing albums for United Steel Workers of Montreal, among others, and producing for Dibondoko and herself. Freedom Calling, Doo-Kingué’s self-produced debut album, was released in June 2010. Local critics loved it.

“She is, in my estimation, the best guitarist in the city – male or female,” says Gern F., of United Steel Workers of Montreal. And Bill Brownstein echoes that sentiment in his review in the Montreal Gazette: “She is not only one of the most electrifying guitarists around, but she is also one of the most versatile, covering everything from Afro-folk to funk, blues to bluegrass.”

But accolades can only do so much to give you the feel of a performer. Listening to Doo-Kingué sing, or watching videos of her performing, give the sense that this woman is an established artist, someone who’s comfortable in her own skin. And seeing what she likes to do when she’s not in the spotlight, like helping to start Chick Pickin’ Mondays at a local club (to give a much-needed boost to underappreciated women singers and musicians), solidifies further the understanding that Cecile sees beyond the edge of the stage.
And Doo-Kingué’s philosophy behind her current tour reflects that same “bigger-than-the-music” world-view.

“This western run is the first chapter of a cross-country tour I've baptized ‘Discovering Home’,” says Doo-Kingué. “I recently applied for my citizenship and am determined to visit every province and territory in the country while I wait to say 'I do'. I'm making a conscious decision to be Canadian and want to see and learn as much as I can about my new homeland through experience, not books.”

Cecile Doo-Kingué’s western tour brings her trio to the Streaming Café on August 27th at 7 p.m. Whether you’re already a fan of her music, or whether you’d be hearing it for the first time, the evening promises to be a night of engaging world, soul, and blues grooves. Come on out and meet Cecile Doo-Kingué, or connect with her online through our chat while she’s live at streamingcafe.net