Upcoming Highlights on the Music Scene
I come to herald the women of music this London springtime. All hail the players and singers, wild and gentle, soulful and sublime, who promise to wake us from our winter doldrums. Are you ready?
If you’re reading this in early March, you can still catch Polaris Music Prize winner Lido Pimienta, one of the most intriguing young women in music today. The Colombian-Canadian singer-songwriter mixes Afro-Colombian and electronica with a bit of post-punk. Pimienta is one-of-a-kind: challenging, open-hearted, very talented. (Check her out on Soundcloud: goo.gl/gCMxL3.) March 7 at 7 p.m. (London Music Hall)
A little later in March, a very famous musical woman is here. Girl, really — name of Dorothy, hails from Kansas? Broadway in London is bringing a traveling production of The Wizard Of Oz to town. It follows the movie closely, we’re told. (No reviews at time of writing.) March 24 at 7 p.m. and March 25 at 1 p.m. (Budweiser Gardens)
Tessmann and Karyn Ellis are a pair of beguiling up-and-comers, both folkies. Tessmann, from BC, has a couple of singer-songwriter awards to her credit. (goo.gl/fLXzGX). Of Ellis, The Globe’s Brad Wheeler wrote, “This delicate, sweetly-melodic Toronto songstress needs to be heard.” Here’s the chance to do your part. (goo.gl/fLXzGX) April 5 at 8 p.m. (London Music Club)
A couple of days later London Music Hall offers a double bill with a bit more edge. Canadian singer/songwriter Lights (aka Valerie Anne Poxleitner), a girl-power popster who combines music and anime-style comic art, teams up with Vancouver-based Dear Rouge, husband-and-wife duo Drew and Danielle McTaggart. The McTaggarts play danceable synth-pop. Their big single, “I Heard I Had,” made it to number five on Canadian alternative and rock charts last year. (goo.gl/TGB92e) April 7 at 8 p.m. (London Music Hall)
Aeolian Hall takes over for a week or so, with a trio of concerts featuring great women of song. On April 11, jazzy Ellen Doty is in with her trio. Doty is launching her second album, Come Fall. Not straight-up jazz but an accessible mix of styles and influences. Two nights later, it’s Canadian-South African world music artist Lorraine Klaasen. A Tribute To Miriam Makeba, Klaasen’s most praised album, a Juno 2013 winner, was her homage to an African music icon. Her latest is also rooted in African traditions. Then it’s the Newfoundland-bred Ennis Sisters on April 19. The Ennises are promoting a new album, Stages, a return to their folk/Celtic roots after forays into pop and country. Ellen Doty, April 11 at 8 p.m. Lorraine Klaasen, April 13 at 8 p.m. Ennis Sisters, April 19 at 8 p.m. (Aeolian Hall)
Members of the storied Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center are making a once-in-blue-moon appearance. It’s another of the Jeffery Concerts, presented by the Gordon Jeffery Music Foundation. The program includes seminal works in the chamber repertoire from Mozart, Weber and Brahms — a trio and two quintets. April 20 at 8 p.m. (Wolf Hall)
The women of Scandinavian fiddle trio Fru Skagerrak are from Denmark, Norway and Sweden and play music from across the region. If you like Celtic and Quebecois fiddle music, you’ll like Fru Skagerrak. April 21 at 8 p.m. (Aeolian Hall)
Sunfest is bringing singer-songwriter Alejandra Ribera to the Jack Richardson Ballroom. Ribera, of mixed Argentine and Scottish ancestry, is a rising star in Canadian jazz/pop. She’s been compared to Piaf, Bjork, Tom Waits. Yes, she has many moods. (Check her out: goo.gl/oeE9Q9.) April 28 at 8 p.m. (London Music Hall)
Highway 7 should be clear by May 4. Why not drive to Stratford and take in a double bill? This one pairs Toronto-based folk-popster Oh Susanna (singer-songwriter Suzie Ungerleider) with Sunparlour Players, a folk duo from down Leamington way. You could even get the dinner-and-a-show package. A good end to the week. May 4 at 8 p.m. (Revival House)
But if you’re a Janis Joplin fan head to Aeolian Hall that night. Aeolian is presenting the first of a new “Lives Through” series of tribute concerts, this one featuring local blues singer Chuckee Zehr, of Chuckee and the Crawdaddies, in homage to Janis. (Note: if you’re a big Janis fan and a Netflix subscriber, check out the great doc Janis: Little Girl Blue.) May 4 at 8 p.m. (Aeolian Hall)
Aeolian follows with two more great women of song. Canadian country up-and-comer Lindi Ortega, now of Nashville, is promoting her new EP, Til The Goin’ Gets Gone. Then Juno-nominated jazz cross-over artist Kellylee Evans appears in a come-back concert — she was out of commission for a few years after a freak accident. Evans is also promoting a new disc, Come On. C’mon. Give the ladies a big round of applause. Lindi Ortega, May 10 at 8 p.m. Kellylee Evans May 12 at 8 p.m. (Aeolian Hall)
Gerry Blackwell is a London-based freelance writer.