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Canada’s Queen of Soul Coming To Meaford Hall

By Bill Monahan

Jully Black, named by CBC as one of ‘The 25 Greatest Canadian Singers Ever’, will be gracing the stage at Meaford Hall on Thursday February 22, 2018.  This platinum selling artist, affectionately dubbed ‘Canada’s Queen of R&B Soul’ has a multi-faceted career that includes Juno awards, writing songs for major artists, and a variety of television appearances that highlight her ebullient personality.

Born to Jamaican immigrants and raised in the Jane/Finch area, Jully Black discovered her talent at an early age and was particularly inspired by Whitney Houston. After winning a local talent show and singing at numerous events, she began travelling to New York on weekends to sing and record when she was just fourteen.   The music industry was also quick to recognize her talent.  She was signed to Warner/Chappell Publishing and wrote for or collaborated with other well-known artists such as Nas, Destiny’s Child, Sean Paul, Kardinal Official and many others.  Her debut album was originally scheduled for release on MCA records in 2003 but the company folded before that could happen.  Signed to Universal, she released an album called “This Is Me” in 2005, which spawned the hit singles “Sweat of Your Brow” and “5x Love”.

The success of the album led to a cross-Canada tour opening for the Black Eyed Peas, which in turn led to that band’s drummer, Keith Harris, producing her sophomore album.  That album, “Revival”, won a Juno for R&B/Soul Recording of the Year and scored a Top Ten hit with a cover of Etta James’ “Seven Day Fool”.

That same year she starred in the theatre production of “Da Kink in My Hair” at the Princess of Wales in Toronto. The show was a great success and led to a TV series for which she wrote the opening theme and appeared in a few episodes.

Sharlene Wallace Brings The Harp to Harp and Holly Christmas Concerts

Sharlene Wallace, one of Canada’s most prolific and influential harpists, winner of several international awards, is making room in her busy schedule this Christmas season to play a number of “Harp and Holly” concerts in our area.

 

“I love the Harp and Holly show,” she says, “I have been sincerely looking forward to this all year.”

Harp and Holly is a special musical journey created by Terry Young and Sandra Swannell several years ago.  In what has become a Christmas tradition, it will include a number of concerts starting this Sunday in Sauble Beach and including stops in Guelph, Colpoy’s Bay, Wasaga Beach and finally Owen Sound just a few days before Christmas.    With Harp & Holly this world-class trio blends Celtic, New Age and Baroque sounds to immerse audiences in the magic of the Christmas season.

 “It’s all beautiful music, a really beautiful uplifting show,” says Sharlene, “The arrangements are very interesting and a nice combination of tunes.  I absolutely love this show a lot.”

Second Great Show at Desboro Hall This Weekend

The Desboro Music Hall is proving this season to be a great value, presenting high quality performers in the ideal setting of an old church for just $20 a ticket ($25 at the door).  Their first show a month ago featured the virtuoso duo, My Sweet Patootie, who combined great musicianship with a highly energetic and engaging stage show.  They are continuing in that vein this month with James Hill and Anne Janelle, a husband and wife team that combines the unlikely pairing of ukulele and cello to create a unique musical offering.  Their first duo recording in 2009, True Love Don’t Weep,  won them critical praise and a Canadian Folk Music Award for Best Traditional Album of the Year.  It included traditional folk tunes and original songwriting.  They subsequently recorded and toured separately but now they have returned to the duo format, appreciating its unique value.  As Anne is quoted on their website, “I think we both came to realize, each in our own way, that the duo is our strongest musical offering.”

Both have won accolades for their songwriting, with R2 magazine calling Anne’s songs “inventive, entertaining, beautifully written and brilliantly performed” and Trad Magazine describing James’ songs as encapsulating “joie de vivre, tenderness and musical perfection.”

Both enjoy stretching the boundaries of their instruments, and passing along their insights through teaching.  Anne has performed with such varied artists as Kanye West, Bruce Cockburn, and Holly Cole while experimenting deeply with free improvisation in both music and dance while James co-authored the Ukulele in the Classroom method book series with J. Chalmers Doane, the trail-blazing teacher who pioneered the use of ukuleles in Canadian schools and  has taught throughout Canada and the United States, as well as in Europe, Japan, Singapore and New Zealand.

As if bringing world class musicians to Desboro is not enough, each of the summer series of concerts also features an engaging opening act.

In concert they have been universally praised for an engaging show, with critics citing “a crystal clear sound filled with warmth” and Anne’s “gorgeous syrupy voice”.  The duo has toured Europe and Asia and now are finding themselves in the little hamlet of Desboro where they are sure to be met with an audience that fully appreciates their singular offerings.