Tag Archives: Live Music

Tiva Quinn Reviews FADO The Saddest Music In The World On At The Firehall Arts Centre Until February 5th

20 Jan

It’s very easy to see why Fado was such a big hit at the Firehall in 2019 and why they decided to bring it back as part of getting into the swing of things with live theatre again.

This play attempts to blend an ambitious number of themes into a typical runtime of 90 minutes or so and not only succeeds but makes it look easy.

I went in not knowing much about it besides that I like Fado music even if I don’t listen to it very often. I expected to be impressed with Fado as a musical and a story of artistic ambition and development, and that’s 100% true. We get not just one but 3 incredibly talented singers showing us how an entire country could be in love with “the saddest music in the world” and the way it turns pain into beauty.

We get an appealing and sympathetic main character who wants to learn to sing Fado with true Portuguese passion even if she was born in Canada and some people think that makes her too happy and too lucky to pull it off. We get a cantankerous yet charming mentor figure. We get singing that shows strong yet unrealized potential – which is quite something to pull off when a lot of the audience isn’t very familiar with what the fullest expression of the form would sound like.

At the same time, we also get an interesting examination of Portugal’s 20th Century history and politics as seen from contrasting points of view – with a couple of questions that you may have never considered before such as, “can a song be fascist?” We get a conversation about whether emigrants can ever really leave the home country behind and whether they can ever really return to it, as well as what the imagined homeland means to the second generation. We get two love stories with some surprising twists and turns. And Fado fits all of this in with a script that feels like natural conversation, never forcing large chunks of backstory or introspection into anyone’s lines.

Performances are very strong across the board but for me the standout is Natércia Napoleao’s Luisa, the main character’s mother. She seems at first meeting like she’s going to be an Old-World Mum cliché, a bit of comic relief that we return to occasionally, wielding her precious iron to make everything fancy. However, she quickly blossoms into a complex character, although not always a likable one. She’s a woman who actively resists being stereotyped and complicates the narrative or speaks volumes by simply walking away when others try to dismiss her too easily. 

If I have any quibbles it would be that the play introduces a gay character whose story feels like it doesn’t quite have time enough to breathe or resolve properly. That said the character and his storyline are every bit as strong as the rest of this tale in the moments he does get – and it’s possible that too neat a resolution would be a dishonest way of presenting what it’s like to be gay in a very Catholic country. 

For tickets, visit the Firehall Arts Centre.

By Tiva Quinn

Fado –The Saddest Music In The World Returns to The Firehall Arts Centre January 14 – February 5, 2023

16 Dec

The Firehall Arts Centre and Victoria’s Puente Theatre bring FADO – The Saddest Music in the World back to The Firehall Arts Centre from Saturday, January 14 to Sunday, February 5, 2023.

Acclaimed Portuguese-Canadian playwright Elaine Ávila’s play, FADO, is a tale of love and ghosts set in the back alleys and brothels of old Lisbon. This musical, which premiered at The Firehall in 2019 and enjoyed a wildly successful run, tells the story of a young woman confronting her country’s Fascist past and her own identity is interwoven with the heartbreaking national music of Portugal known as Fado, which means “fate.”

If you have not experienced Fado music, you are missing out. What is Fado?  Wikipedia describes it as “a form of music characterized by mournful tunes and lyrics, often about the sea or the life of the poor, and infused with a sentiment of resignation, fatefulness and melancholia.”  We can tell you it is passionate, emotional and relatable. For a taste of Fado music, listen to Amália Rodrigues singing “Abandono” here. To see it live and person, visit the Firehall Arts Centre for tickets which start from $25.

PNE Winter Fair And Holiday Concerts December 14 to December 23, 2022

27 Nov

The PNE will be hosting a PNE Winter Fair between December 14 and December 23, 2022.   The PNE will be turned into a magical holiday experience complete with walk thru WinterLights display, skating on the Tim Horton’s Indoor Ice Rink, nightly ticketed Christmas themed concert, a winter market with an array of vendors as well as a holiday theatre for the wee ones. The PNE Winter Fair happens from 4:30 to 10:30 pm.  Ticket prices range from $12 to $15 per person and are available online.

A ticketed holiday concert happens each evening of the PNE Winter Fair. Prices are between $39 – 69 per person and available online. We’ve set out the nightly concert series below:

December 14               David Foster & Kat McPhee

December 15               The Tenors: A Season of Miracles

December 16               Tom Cochrane With Band

December 17               Dallas Smith

December 18               Jann Arden

December 19               Holly Cole

December 20               Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox

December 21               Dionne Warwick

December 22               Johnny Reid

December 23               A Boy Band Christmas

To purchase tickets or get more information, visit PNE Winter Fair, or check out the You Tube video:

Coastal Jazz & Blues Society Features Ken Vandermark and Not for Proper November 25, 2022 at Ironworks

8 Nov

The Coastal Jazz and Blues Society have announced that sax/clarinet player Ken Vandermark and Not for Proper along with Alvaro Rojas’ Music for 22, will be performing at Ironworks, 235 Alexander Street, on November 25, 2022 at 8:30 pm. Renowned American composer, improviser, and MacArthur Fellowship recipient Ken Vandermark has a “room-filling, spectrum-cramming, mountain-moving tonal presence” (NOW Magazine) on sax and clarinets. For this concert, the prolific Chicagoan joins local duo Not for Proper in artful, adventurous collaboration.  Tickets are $25 and now available online at www.coastaljazz.ca/events.

7th Annual McSpadden County Fair September 11

1 Sep

Although summer is winding down, there are still lots of great events to take in around East Van. The McSpadden Country Fair being one of them.  This community event now in its 7th year features fun activities for the whole family including live music, games, local vendors, food trucks and the ever popular East Van zucchini races. Last year they had 150 entries, so if you have an idea on how to make a fast zucchini, now’s your chance! If you cycle, Kickstand will be on hand doing bike tunes up by donation. As with any country fair, there will be raffles, contests and prizes.  The 7th Annual McSpadden County Fair takes place, as you might guess, in McSpadden Park which is located at 2125 Victoria Drive between 11:00 and 5:00 pm. To learn more about the event, you can visit them on online at www.mcspaddenfair.ca or on Facebook.

1st Annual Riverside Street Vibe Festival August 27

22 Aug

Wesgroup Properties presents the 1st Annual Riverside Street Vibe Festival happening Saturday August 27th in River District.  The event will feature live music, food trucks, local artisans and a beer garden. This inaugural event takes place between Boundary Road and Rivergrass Drive on East Kent Avenue North. For those driving, there is ample free shaded parking in the industrial area on Boundary Road a short walk away. To learn more about what vendors and food trucks will be on hand, visit Riverside Street Vibe.

Firehall Arts Centre Presents Music In The Courtyard

19 Jul

The Firehall Arts Centre and the Vancouver Independent Music Centre present the third season of Music in the Courtyard series from Saturday, July 30th to Sunday, September 4th. The performances will take place outdoors in the courtyard at The Firehall Arts Centre at 280 East Cordova Street. Performances will be held in the afternoons and evenings with ticket prices ranging from $15 to $25 per show.  The event features a wide variety of music styles including Latin, blues, guitar, experimental electronic and much more. We’ve set out a list of the upcoming performances below. For more information and to grab your tickets, visit Firehall Arts Centre.

Saturday, July 30th – 8:00 pm
The Noodle Connection

Sunday, July 31st – 7:30 pm
Niho, Fito, y Marlin

Friday, August 5th – 7:30 pm
Don McGlashan

Saturday August 6th – 7:30 pm
Murray Porter Band

Sunday, August 7th – 3:00 pm
x/o

Friday, August 12th – 7:30 pm
Michael Red + Tsimka

Saturday, August 13th – 7:30 pm
Curtis Clear Sky & Constellationz

Sunday, August 14th – 3:00 pm
Serenata Mexican

Friday, August 19th – 7:30 pm
Kutapira

Saturday, August 20th – 7:30 pm
The Fugitives

Sunday, August 21st – 3:00 pm
Public Dreams

Sunday, August 28th – 3:00 pm
Omianan featuring Thad Bailey-Mai

Friday, September 2nd – 7:30 pm
Saxophilia

Saturday, September 3rd
7:30 pm
Matt Cook-Contis & Eagle Ex Machina

Sunday, September 4th – 3:00 pm
Whelming

Trout Lake Outdoor Summer Evening Concert Series

8 Jul

The Trout Lake Outdoor Summer Concert Series is back for another year starting Wednesday, July 13th and happens weekly until August 24th. The concerts are free and are held on the East side of the Trout Lake Community Centre, 3360 Victoria Drive. In the event of rain, concerts are moved indoors.

We’ve had the opportunity to take in some of the concerts and have to say it’s a perfect way to spend a summer evening. Bring a blanket, your friends, family, kids or the dog or all of the above and a picnic and you are set.  If you aren’t able to organize a picnic, some food trucks will be on hand. Concerts begin at 6:30 pm and continue till 8:30 pm.

For those that love the lantern processions around Trout Lake, take note. On the very last concert of the summer, August 24th, there will be a lantern procession along with performers and musicians around Trout Lake between 8:00 and 9:00 pm.

 July 13
JESSE WALDMAN

July 20
THE SWINGIN’ DOORS

July 27
KAYA KURZ

August 3
VOSTOK

August 10
SOUTH VAN BIG BAND

AUGUST 17
MARIACHI TABASKO


AUGUST 24

VOC SWEET SOUL GOSPEL CHOIR

6-8 pm

AUGUST 24
Lantern Procession
THE CARNIVAL BAND
8-9 pm

Note: Performances are subject to last minute changes.

Italian Day In Grandview Park Sunday, August 28

6 Jul

The Italian Day Festival Society is set to host a village style Italian Day festival celebrating Italian culture and heritage on Sunday, August 28th. This year the event will take place in Grandview Park meaning Commercial Drive will not be closed down to traffic as it has in past years.  Some side streets will have traffic closures around the area of Grandview Park in order to facilitate vendors and those attending the celebrations.   All the fun favourites will be back including live music, fashion show, wine and beer court, contests, activities areas for children and, of course, delicious Italian food and many food trucks.  The festivities kick off at Noon and continue until 9:00 pm.  For more information, visit www.italianday.ca.

Greek Summerfest on Boundary July 7-10 and July 14-17, 2022

7 Jun

Greek Summerfest on Boundary is back for its 36th year.   If you haven’t checked this event out, it is a true culinary experience you don’t want to miss.   Along with great food, there is lots of great entertainment by local performers.  Food includes souvlaki, BBQ lamb, spanakopita the ever delicious Greek donuts (loukoumades) one must try.   Greek Summerfest on Boundary takes place at 4541 Boundary Road at 29th Avenue, close to Moscrop Avenue on the Burnaby side.   This year we hear there is also a To Go option for food. To learn more, visit them online at Vancouver Greek Summerfest.

Photo Credit: Greek Summerfest on Boundary

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