Sharing my “soul song” @ The Rogue!

by Deanna Knight on May 6, 2015

2015_chrisanddeannaI’m so pleased to announce this wonderful evening with Chris Ronald @ Kitsilano’s St. James Hall on May 22ndPresented by Vancouver’s Rogue Folk Club, I will share my own compositions alongside the talented Brenda Baird (Mother of Pearl) on piano and Finn Manniche (Van Django) on cello and guitar. 

I had the pleasure of adding some harmony vocals to Chris’ new CD – Timeline. He is receiving lots of well deserved attention for his fine voice and well-crafted songs!! He will be joined by his producer and band-mate John Ellis as well as Rob Becker on bass.

This is a real treat for me. I continue to push myself to that vulnerable place of sharing my “soul song”  I currently spend the majority of my performance time on stage with gypsy swingers, The Hot Club of Mars. It’s been over 13 years with this fine group, where I often feel more like a character than myself. I love the era and  theatrics of it all and it is the perfect “safe place” for me. I almost feel like I have been hiding out in this band due to it’s comfort and ease but I miss the heart and soul of my writing, the old traditional folk songs that I love and the deeper meaning and purpose that a song can transform inside the listener. I also have a keen interest in environment activism and healing.   These are elements of my songwriting and I are rarely have the opportunity to share with my audience. So, I’ve been chipping away at this solo project. Without too much personal pressure, I have been letting it unfold and blossom in it’s own time. I hope you can come out to enjoy this night of song and melody!

TICKET INFO HERE

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Scarlet Queen of Mercy FUN!!!!

by Deanna Knight on May 6, 2015

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It has been almost 30 years since I have enjoyed the excitement of live theatre.
 My childhood musical theatre roots, are what inspired this life long journey within the arts. I was hooked on Barbra Streisand from an early age, collecting all her albums. Emulating her soaring voice and sometimes comical charm, opened my eyes to just how dynamic a singer can be.  I remember weeping after seeing Sound of Music the very first time. Not only because it was over, but devastated that I would have to wait an entire year before I could see it again on TV.

I’m so grateful to my kindergarten teacher Mrs. Robinson, who put me on stage as a soloist in our holiday concert. Soon after that, the school’s music teacher Mrs. Rose Merkly took me under her wing, teaching me auto-harp and entering me in many Kiwanis Festival competitions. From clicking my heels at the age of 8 as Dorothy, to singing in the hills of the Alps as Maria at the age of  18…I was engulfed in my love of musical theatre productions and awe-inspired by the team work that goes into making the magic.

I’ve witnessed The Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret Society for years here in Vancouver. I’ve enjoyed so many of their events and productions from the sidelines and just thrilled to play a small role in this NEW Musical Extravaganza! The Scarlet Queen of Mercy is “over the top” fun with fine local talent, kick-ass music and a dedicated crew. It’s a 2015 immersive production based in the 1950′s…filming a 1920′s musical. Sounds confusing?….it can be, but you get lost in the chaos and who knows….you may even get cast in a role yourself. I accepted the small but mighty part as Arlene Belafonte and even though I am not singing in this play…I do get to spread my wings a little and work with some of Vancouver’s most creative and well respected artists.

Here is the Trailer, some early Reviews, FaceBook, and Ticket info:

Film Trailer – HERE

Georgia Straight - Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret’s The Scarlet Queen of Mercy reigns over different eras / by Tony Montague 

Vancouver Courier - Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret time travels to 1950s Hollywood 

FaceBook page…please share HERE

Tickets $25 – $35 / HERE    Note: Everyone is encouraged to dress up in the era and may be moved to VIP seats!

 

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Here is my head shot for Arlene Belafonte.

Perhaps beckoning to my Jamaican roots….?

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9th Annual April in Paris / 24th – 26th

by Deanna Knight on April 17, 2015

I have had the pleasure of performing each year in this special 3 day festival hosted by Vancouver’s Rogue Folk Club. This will be my 3rd year celebrating the extra fun job, of produce opening night as a cabaret. Hope you can make it out to ANY or ALL of the nights. A journey into the inspired music of Django Reinhardt …with a packed bill of fine talent.

TICKETS ON SALE HERE

2015_AIP_jpegFYI - I moved to Vancouver in 2002 and almost instantly met this wonderful group of “gypsy swingers” called the Hot Club of Mars. Michael Dunn had been leading the upbeat, rhythm and swing band since the early 80′s. He had mentored, played and outfitted many a musician with his handcrafted acoustic gypsy-jazz guitars. I was relatively new to jazz and was a little intimidated to follow in a history of singer’s footsteps. I must say that the dancing and the toe tapping was intoxicating and the smiling audience told me…. I was in the right place. 13 years later we are still having fun and this April in Paris concert is always one of our highlights of the year.

 

 

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April in Paris – Hot Club Cabaret

by Deanna Knight on April 7, 2015

APRIL IN PARIS  - The 9th Annual Festival of Gypsy Jazz is always a highlight for myself and The Hotties. I take on an added production role and bring in some variety acts that keep us smiling all night long.

Friday April 24th
Doors @ 7pm
Swing dance lesson @ 7:30pm
Cabaret @ 8pm

Tickets on sale NOW

I’m pleased to announce the return of our adorable emcee, Dusty Flowerpot’s very own 70 yr old swing sensation – Gloria. Vancouver’s Ariel Helvetica is the classic burlesque darling of the night. She will delight us with her special performance created just for April in Paris 2015 and danced live to the music of The Hot Club of Mars. With all her finesse and flare, movement storyteller Dianna David will introduce us to Mime Magician Meena Myna and I’ve just added a little sprinkle of barbershop …to boot!!

Last but not least …..a special addition to this year’s cabaret is the Dusty Flowerpot Chorus Line.  A “sneak peek” into the upcoming musical extravaganza brought to you by the fabulously talented Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret Society. “The Scarlet Queen of Mercy” runs for the month of May at the Strathcona Russian Hall.

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NEWS FLASH - I accepted a small and vital role in the upcoming  “The Scarlet Queen of Mercy”  Been a long time since I was part of a theatre production and I’m very excited to work with a team of talented folks. Due to the time commitment…I will share the role. I’ll be sure to post my performance nights soon. You don’t wanna miss this one folks…so much fun!  More info HERE

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St. Andrews-Wesley ~ Easter Jazz Vespers

by Deanna Knight on April 5, 2015

SUNDAY April 5th / 4-5pm / Deanna Knight FOURtet
@ (Burrard and Nelson)

I always look forward to sharing my songs in sacred space and THIS SUNDAY is extra special. I get to stretch my wings a little with fine Vancouver talent beyond The Hotties. Please join me with Simon Kendall on piano, Finn Manniche on cello and guitar and Karen Graves on flute and sax. What a treat…..wow!

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st andrews

 Photos by Carol Carson

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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.

CraigCardiff

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.

libra

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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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