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February 13, 2006

Canadian Musicians Show Love For New Orleans

Written by
cindy mcleod

Maple Leaf Mojo Meets New Orleans Gumbo, a live radio broadcast last night on CBC and Sirius Satellite Radio, wowed audiences across North America. The concert was a fundraiser for two New Orleans musicians charity groups.

Featuring a blend of leading Canadian and New Orleans musicians, the concert was held at the House of Blues, and was hosted by CBC’s Jowi Tayor and Sook-Yin Lee.

Canadian saxophonist/pianist Phil Dwyer was the musical director for the four-hour show, and also performed with trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis. The show’s house band included guitarist Kevin Breit and local musicians Johnny Vidacovich (drums), Chris Severin (bass), Brian Coogan (keyboards), Jamil Sharif (trumpet) and Mark Mullins (trombone).

The lineup boasted an impressive list of talent, including guitarist/producer (U2) Daniel Lanois, who once owned a recording studio in New Orleans. Kicking off the show in traditional Louisiana style were the Soul Rebels, a local brass band that invited Canadians Paul Neufeld (sousaphone) and Richard Underhill (saxophone) to join them as they played a celebratory march through the audience.

Performances included Toronto saxophonist Jane Bunnett, who performed an energetic set along with guitarist Kevin Breit, vocalists Jully Black and Serena Ryder, each offered their unique and ever popular voices to the mix. Hip hop star Buck 65 played several short turntable sets, and in the more traditional vein, veteran New Orleans band leader and trumpeter Kermit Ruffins brought down the house with his renditions of familiar classics. New Orleans R& B artist Eddie Bo delivered a rousing piano performance, while Acadian guitarist/vocalist Lennie Gallantwas joined by local fiddler David Greely for a lively acoustic set. Ottawa’s The Mighty Popo, who recorded in New Orleans in the nineties, was warmly received by the boisterous audience, and guitarist David Gogo performed with young blues phenomenon Jimmy Bowskill, bringing down the house.

Proceeds from the concert are going to the New Orleans Musicians Clinic, which provides health care, housing and employment for local artists and community radio station WWOZ.

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