Strong Women concert success!

by Deanna Knight on March 10, 2015

Gosh – time is just trucking along with so many wonderful events in support of organizations doing such good work in the world. I feel so blessed to play a role and to give back. Not only with my voice but also with my heart…and my fans. Thank you for coming out !

Here are a few pics from the International Women’s Day 9th annual Strong Women Strong Music Concert! It was a sold out success and we all had a blast! ***I’ll let you in on a little secret – this was my scat singing debut ….and I sure was in good company. Wow! Talk about feeling a bit out of my element with a line-up of vocal talent that blew my socks off. I pushed on through and it seemed to go over well. I had the pleasure of singing two original songs and sharing in two group songs. We were all backed up by a stellar all female band. What a night indeed!

This years event featured – Karin Plato, Laura Crema, Jennifer Scott, Lorraine Foster and myself. Backed by Karen Graves, Brenda Baird and Jen Hodge.  All proceeds from the event went directly to Atira Women’s Resource Society – to help end violence against women and children.

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passing on the goodness

by Deanna Knight on March 10, 2015

After years of being asked to teach singing – I finally took the plunge this week. It’s a supporting role, as vocal coach for the Monarch Movement Art Explosion Spring Camp.  My friend Kristen Dennis (National Ballet Alumnus and highly creative / joyous being) has been running these children’s art camps for years and invited me to join her.

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What a thrill to jump into this venture and expand on my musical journey with the wide-eyed enthusiasm of these darling children.  Oh lucky me!

2015_monarchcampThis Spring Camp is up and running thought if you are interested in staying connected with Monarch Movement in Vancouver, Guelph and Toronto…check out their FaceBook page HERE

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Last minute opener for Craig Cardiff

by Deanna Knight on March 6, 2015

Hey folks – TONIGHT!!! I will share an EARLY accapella set at the Railway Club. 6pm start to warm up the audience for Craig Cardiff. Craig sold out his CBC show later tonight, so he is sharing his fine music @ 7pm at the Railway then off to the CBC for him! Hope to see you there.

FYI – Craig invited me into the studio back in the early 90′s to sing on his first of many MANY recordings. This was my first harmony vocal recording gig and I’m so proud to see how far he has come. How far we have both come in this nutty music business. He is prolific, honest and heartfelt…! I hope you can come on out and enjoy the show.

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Friday, March 6th/2015

Doors @ 5:30pm
Show @ 6:00pm

Tickets $20 advance, $25 door
Available HERE

VENUE:
The Railway Club
579 Dunsmuir St
Vancouver, BC

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Last Minute show change …then changed again

by Deanna Knight on February 27, 2015

Sorry folks – The Libra Room is doing renovations! The good news…is there are rumours of better sound…bad news is our regular  Swingin’ Last Thursday’s was pushed and then pushed again.

We will return to our regular Last Thursday slot on March 26th but for a slightly EARLIER time slot. 6-8::30 pm Come on out and enjoy myself and The Hot Club of Mars at one of the cities most dedicated music venues…..on Vancouver’s Commercial Drive.

Our apologies to anyone who may have gone down to see us and found the venue closed. This was out of our hands.

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Gypsy jazzers draw all types of fans

by Deanna Knight on February 11, 2015


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Deanna Knight and the Hot Club of Mars
perform at the Brackendale Art Gallery on Saturday, Jan. 17

A&E ~ MUSIC January 15, 2015 / By Cathryn Atkinson

The word “jazz” is scary to some.

Deanna Knight, the chanteuse from Vancouver gypsy jazz ensemble Deanna Knight and the Hot Club of Mars, tries to anticipate this. It still baffles her, though. Gypsy jazz, in particular, gets right to the heart of dancing and good times, Knight says.

“The word ‘jazz’ can just turn some people off. It’s crazy but it’s true,” Knight says. “I’ve been trying to market us more as a world rhythm gypsy swing band, because the word ‘swing’ is fun.” She adds: “It’s a really happy style of music, it’s really upbeat.” Gypsy jazz is the epitome of “a great evening out.”

The band performs at the Brackendale Art Gallery in Squamish on Saturday, Jan. 17 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. “It’s our annual appearance and there is a little bit of room to dance there,” Knight says. The Hot Club of Mars are return visitors to the Brackendale Art Gallery. They usually play there the same time of year, during the annual eagle count.

The optimism of the music means it is accessible, both for younger people who might not know the repertoire and seniors, who do. Knight says this keeps them busy with gigs. “It runs a very wide demographic, which gives it that great appeal,” she says. “We can cross over from jazz festivals to folk festivals.

“The one thing I love about The Hot Club is that we can play so many diverse events. We play swing dances for the young swing clubs, swing dances for the seniors. We play lots of gardens and summer concert series, which I love because we perform for all ages. I love seeing children running around and dancing.”

She has been with the band for 13 years “I’ve been their longest running chanteuse. There were many before me.” Knight had just moved from southern Ontario, where she had been performing with a 17-piece big band and arrived in B.C. knowing no one in the music industry. “I packed up and ended up here on a wing and a prayer. I was pretty nervous to meet the whole musical community and network and put the band together. That’s a daunting task because you have to make sure everyone gets along and they’re professional and everyone is on the same page with their repertoire,” says Knight.

But they did, they flourished. The rest of the Hot Club of Mars includes lead and slide guitarists Michael Dunn and Don Kellett, flute and saxophone player Mark Dowding, rhythm guitarist Steve Szabo and violinist Tom Neville. The band has been around for decades, since the late 1970s, Dunn, now 72, is credited with bringing gypsy jazz to the region.

“I’ve been lately referring to him as the granddaddy of gypsy jazz — and it’s not his favourite term — but it suits him very well,” Knight says. “He has mentored everyone in the region because he is also a world-renowned luthier (maker of stringed instruments) for that particular style of guitar. Everybody knows him because of that as well.”

This meant that Knight slipped into an already-established band with a fan base and a professional team of players who get along. “And their wives all like me!” Knight laughs.

The Hot Club of Mars has two CDs and along with the traditional sounds coming from gypsy jazz talents of the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s such as Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. But they have their own compositions and also draw on a wide range of musical styles that are adapted to their jangly sound.

“The band does play a few of my compositions as well, though I don’t write particularly in that style, I have a few songs that have worked nicely with the band. That has been a bonus for me, to have my writing showcased with the band,” says Knight. They also have adapted Hawaiian music, tangos and bossa novas.

“I’m trying to bring in a lot more contemporary pieces as well, including Canadian singer-songwriters, and trying to showcase their music in a gypsy jazz style. We do a Roy Forbes tune, and another by Danny Michel,” says Knight.

She adds that while they play the major jazz festivals, as might be expected, they want to branch out more into folk festivals and similar events.

“We are busy and play a fair bit and I’m really happy with the amount of performance we play and the stages we land on. I think folk can be more of our community, to tell you the truth. Michael is an amazing workshop facilitator. He’s full of knowledge and stories,” she says. “That’s folk festivals for you; you’re on stage with other players trying to play Bob Seger tunes. My guys can do anything and they’re fearless. Their improvisational skills are high, plus they love to workshop and teach as well.”

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Get your Swing on in New Westminster!

by Deanna Knight on January 21, 2015

And NOW for a Real Dance!!!

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Royal City Swing – 4th Anniversary Valentine’s Dance on Friday, Feb 13th

7:30PM – Midnight @ Sapperton Pensioners Hall (318 Keary Street, New Westminster BC)
Drop-in lesson @ 7:45 – 8:30PM / $15 ($12 for students & seniors with valid ID)

Call (604) 773-3637 for info.
Facebook Event listing HERE

Enjoy a large, hard-wood dance floor. Come one come all.
FYI – vintage theme, dress to impress!

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Honoured and excited to support my roots!

by Deanna Knight on January 21, 2015

Riverton in Print – Photo Exposition
Benefit for Fundamentals for Change

Thursday, February 19th at 434 Columbia Street in Chinatown. TICKETS HERE

RIVERTON IN PRINT POSTER D4I’m so please to announce my support of this wonderful organization, helping a small community just outside Kingston Jamaica. My mother was born in Jamaica and her roots go back 3 generations. I have been looking for a way to give back and keep a connection with my heritage and I have found it!! Fundamentals for Change (FFC) is doing great work for the children and community of Riverton and myself & the Hot Club of Mars will share our music at their next event. Please come out in support!

Fundamentals for Change (FFC) is hosting a photo exhibition to raise funds for a school in Riverton Meadows, Kingston, Jamaica. Inspired by Vancouver’s Pivot Society, FFC handed out 15 disposable cameras to youth in Riverton last November. We wanted them to feel empowered to artistically showcase their community to the world in print. The best photographs will be sold at a exhibition event.

Tickets are $20, which include canapés, live music, door prizes and drinks for sale. ALSO - with your ticket you receive $10 off art sales!

100% of proceeds go towards FFC projects in the Riverton community.


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Strong Women ~ Strong Music

by Deanna Knight on January 12, 2015

I am so thrilled to be invited to this Annual  International Women’s Day Concert with some of Vancouver’s finest female vocalist and musicians. What a treat this will be to share a few of my own songs and be backed by such stellar talent. This is all in benefit for ATIRA to help support their work in ending violence again women and children. This is a very popular event so get your tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.

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Brackendale Eagle Festival

by Deanna Knight on January 12, 2015

We really enjoy our annual show at the Brackendale Art Gallery as part of their Winter Eagle Festival and Count. It is such a unique venue and sweet spot to enjoy a concert. Come on up for a hike around during the day and stay for a light dinner and our concert. There is even a little room for dancing at the back of the hall. It is not a huge hall so get your tickets in advance if you can.
Call 604 898 3333 for tickets

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Farewell 2014 – Welcome 2015 !!

by Deanna Knight on January 12, 2015

I can hardly believe another year is wrapped up and here we are at 2015!
Here is a little look back:


The Hot Club of Mars continued to build momentum in 2014
with wonderful new stages including the Terri Fox Theatre, The Pheonix Theatre and Hycroft Manor as well as return appearances at Vancouver AND Pender Harbour Jazz Festivals, Harmony Arts Festival and the gorgeous Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Gardens. We are always so happy to inspire dancing, both with the younger swing and electro-swing clubs …as well as the seniors. We’ve added some super fun new songs with this in mind. Our repetoire is diverse, up-beat and such a pleasure to share with you all. Thanx for coming out!

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2014 saw changes in 2 live music venues that affect us directly. The Kino Cafe has hosted the cities Flamenco community for eons as well as The Hot Club of Mars (on the 3rd Monday) for over a decade. I left this monthly show in June as the working conditions for our band were degraded so low…I just couldn’t stick around. I returned in November after meeting Steve Allen….the passionate new owner who has a wonderful vision to improve this space and keep this once successful live music venue ALIVE!!! Gosh does our city need more of this.  I see good things coming come down the pike for The Kino Cafe with fresh energy and an owner who cares about the music and the musicians. Steve is a comedian, so expect plenty of comedy, more live music and the much loved Flamenco!

Jazz hot spot on The Drive – The Libra Room - also found “much needed” new owners, moved the stage out of the cramped window and held on to 7 days a week live music. Not only one show… but two! The Hot Club of Mars is really enjoying the last Thursday of each month.  We hit the early time slot (7-9pm) which means we can stick around for more great music….usually the wonderful Tim Sars Trio. The food is good and you can count on seeing some great talent.

I had a few personal highlights as well in 2014. A couple new songs co-written with Vancouver composer and musical director Bill Sample and several new songs demoed in prep for something…not sure what yet…but happy to feel some creative-writing juices bubbling up. Thrilled to be asked to sit in with a Jerry Garcia band (JG/BC) this Fall. It looks like it will happen again, so if that is your thang….keep an eye out and come boogie. By far Easter Sunday was my biggest day, with 3 concerts. It was such an honour to perform at St. Andrews-Welsey for both the Easter morning service (complete with gospel choir) and Vespers with a debut quartet. This was all followed by an evening guest appearance with Swing Aggregation….big band style. It has been confirmed that I will return as a solo artists to St. Andrews for Easter 2015!!

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