Top Canadian songwriters come together with host Blair Packham to perform their music and tell us about the inspiration, the songwriting process, and the stories behind the songs. Each concert in this series, formerly known as Bluebird North, will feature a different lineup of distinguished musicians.
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“Africa’s premier diva.” (TIME) Grammy Award-winning singer, dancer, and songwriter Kidjo roves across boundaries, genres, and ethnicities. Her songs embrace rhythm & blues, soul music, jazz, and Beninese melodies, as well her own original works with “irresistible energy and joie de vivre.” (Los Angeles Times)
A combination of two brilliant soloists. “Nicolas Altstaedt is as an artist a category on its own.” (Hamburger Abendblatt) The German-French cellist is renowned worldwide for his creativity and versatility in captivating performances on both gut and modern strings. "Compelling.” (The New York Times) Born and raised in Turkey, Fazıl Say has been inspiring audiences and critics for more than 25 years with his extraordinary pianistic talents. His concerts are unique: they are direct, open, exciting; in short, they go straight to the heart.
Legendary pianist and conductor, Leon Fleisher, represents the highest standard of musicianship. He is the Ihnatowycz Chair in Piano at The Royal Conservatory and will be celebrating his 90th birthday in 2018.
“Voices just don’t get much more distinctive than that of Ian Bostridge.” (The Baltimore Sun) The acclaimed English tenor is well known for his performances as an opera singer and as a song recitalist. His international recital career has taken him to stages around the world, and his recordings have won all the major international record prizes and been nominated for 13 Grammy Awards. He is also an award-winning author, Guardian columnist, and humanitas professor of classical music and music education at the University of Oxford.
Gerald Clayton’s music is steeped in the blues. He searches for honest expression in every note he plays. With harmonic curiosity and critical awareness, he develops musical narratives that unfold as a result of both deliberate searching and chance uncovering. His music is a celebration of the inherent differences in musical perspectives that promote true artistic synergy. Inclusive sensibilities have allowed him to perform and record with such distinctive artists as Diana Krall, Roy Hargrove, Dianne Reeves, and Ambrose Akinmusire.
“Mr. Trifonov has scintillating technique and a virtuosic flair.” (The New York Times) A sensation before he was 20, Trifonov has proven that he is more than just a young phenomenon and has become one of the most sought-after pianists of his generation. Cultural commentator Norman Lebrecht described him as “a pianist for the rest of our lives.”
Over the past 15 years, Canada’s own turntable champion and crowd favourite, Skratch Bastid, has been steadily taking his craft to new heights and pushing the boundaries of live DJing. His phenomenally successful collaboration with the Afiara String Quartet, Spin Cycle, premiered at Koerner Hall. Skratch returns with a new stereotype-busting, genre-defying show that features west Philadelphia’s DMC Champion and multiple Grammy and American Music Award winner, DJ Jazzy Jeff, known for his wildly successful hip hop duo, DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, with Will Smith.
Together, calypso and soca living legend, Calypso Rose, and nu-calypso pioneers, Kobo Town, create a lively Caribbean party. Calypso Rose is a true people’s diva who has been giving rousing performances since the 1950s, while Toronto’s Kobo Town takes a fresh approach to the old school calypso of Trinidad and Tobago.
Join us for the annual all-star concert, awards event, and after party! This celebration of Canada’s blues music features the finest musicians from across Canada representing the most current blues music on the scene, all backed by the renowned Maple Blues Band.