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Diana Krall with special guest Denzal Sinclaire
Monday, August 6, 7 p.m.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo and The Johnny Clegg Band
Thursday, August 9, 7 p.m.
Some music is intended to paint a romantic scene: a candlelit dinner, a walk along a moonlit beach. Quiet Nights, Diana Krall’s twelfth album, isn't about that. Using Brazil as a musical point of reference, the award-winning pianist and singer is not suggesting a night out; she means to stay in.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo celebrates over forty years of joyous and uplifting music that marries the intricate rhythms and harmonies of their native South African musical traditions to the sounds and sentiments of Christian gospel music.
Enjoy these concerts, and find out more about these artists in this pre-concert review by Gardens' member Rick Hum.
We will be treated to two well-respected, great Canadian jazz vocalists on the evening of August 6.
Diana Jean Krall was born November 16, 1964 in Nanaimo, British Columbia. Music was always playing in the Krall family household. She learned how to play the classical piano at the age of four playing along with her grandmother. She started to take the jazz route, playing piano in a high school band. By the time she was 15, Diana was playing piano professionally, as a regular act in a hockey bar – she is Canadian, hey.
In 1981, Diana attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, thanks to having won a Vancouver Jazz Fest scholarship. After a year and a half she returned to her native British Columbia. Diana's career as a jazz musician would become a reality after famous American musicians Ray Brown and Jeff Hamilton witnessed one of Diana's performances in Nanaimo.
Krall and British musician Elvis Costello were married on December 6, 2003 at Elton John's estate outside London. Their twin sons, Dexter Henry Lorcan and Frank Harlan James, were born December 6, 2006 in New York City.
Krall, known for her contralto vocals, was named the number two Jazz artist of the 2000-2009 decade by Billboard magazine. She is the winner of 5 Grammy awards with 12 nominations. Her album, When I Look Into Your Eyes, was nominated for Best Album of the Year in 1999. It was the first jazz album to get that nomination in more than 20 years.
Her twelfth album, Quiet Nights, was inspired by her trip to Brazil. The music, in the form of the bossa nova wave (literally "new bump" or "new way" in Portuguese) was arranged by the legendary Claus Ogerman. Each song was built from the band up – meaning that each tune began as a quartet performance, featuring longtime sidemen guitarist Anthony Wilson, bassist John Clayton, and drummer Jeff Hamilton.
Krall performed at Red Rocks with Chris Botti on August 27, 2007 and at the Wells Fargo Center on August 1, 2009.
Denzal Sinclaire (born Densil Pinnock in 1969) was raised in Toronto, Ontario. While he studied piano at McGill University in Montreal he first encountered guitarist Bill Coon, with whom he formed a long-lasting musical relationship. A 1995 appearance at the Du Maurier Jazz Festival in Vancouver led to Pinnock to become a resident of the city. The following year, he changed his name to Denzal Sinclaire and had soon established a very strong local reputation. Among Denzal's admirers is Diana Krall, who was introduced to him at the 1995 Jazz Winnipeg Festival.
Sinclaire is known for his sensitive phrasing and smooth timbre and has been compared to Nat King Cole, who he portrayed in his early career in the stage musical "Unforgettable." He was selected the Best Male Jazz Vocalist by Jazz Report for four consecutive years; a multiple Juno nominee (Canadian Grammy); and was National Jazz Award winner in 2004 for Best Album.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo - Joseph Shabalala formed Ladysmith Black Mambazo after a series of dreams he had in 1964, in which he heard certain isicathamiya harmonies (isicathamiya being the traditional music of the Zulu people). He reformed a group he had started with family members bringing forward new, younger relatives. He strived to teach them the harmonies of his dreams. Shabalala entered the group into isicathamiya competitions, held on Saturday nights in the halls of hostels in Durban and Johannesburg. The group managed to win nearly every competition that was held. As a result, Shabalala decided to change the name of the group to be more descriptive of its talent. The name "Ezimnyama" was replaced by "Ladysmith Black Mambazo."
The three elements of the new name were: the hometown of Shabalala's family, Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal; the black ox, considered to be the strongest farm animal; and mambazo, which means axe in the Zulu language, and is symbolic of the choir's ability to "chop down" the competition.
In 1985 Paul Simon traveled to South Africa in hope of collaborating with African musicians for his Graceland album. After much discussion between Simon and Shabalala, the group traveled with Simon to London to start recording. Graceland was released in 1986 breaking a cultural boycott of South Africa. Simon produced Lady Smith Black Mambazo’s first album, Shaka Zulu, for US release in 1987.
The group has recorded over 50 albums. They have received three Grammy awards with 15 nominations. They have appeared and/or recorded sound tracks for many movies. They received both an Academy Award and Emmy Award nominations for their documentary, On Tiptoe: Gentle Steps to Freedom.
They have been invited to perform at many special occasions including a special performance for Nelson Mandela, two Nobel Peace Prize ceremonies, for Pope John Paul II and the 1996 Summer Olympics.
Jonathan “Johnny” Clegg was born on June 7, 1953 in Bacup, Lancashire to an English father and a Rhodesian mother. Clegg’s mother’s family were Jewish immigrants from Lithuania and Poland. He was raised in the U.K., Israel, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Zambia and South Africa. He took an early interest in Zulu street dancing and took part in traditional Zulu dance competitions.
In 1969, Clegg formed the first prominent racially mixed South African band, Juluka. It was illegal for racially mixed bands to perform in South Africa during apartheid. During this time, the band produced some explicitly political music such as Work for All. The band members were arrested several times and many concerts in South Africa were broken up.
More recently Clegg has received many international awards including the South African Presidential Ikhomanga Award and honorary degrees including one from Dartmouth College in June 2012.