Ukrainian and Hillbilly tunes heat up Yukon night
my last column I lamented the public’s lack of interest
in getting up on the open stages of Whitehorse and performing.
This past week I attended a talent night hosted by the Association
Franco-Yukonnaise that proved this whining premature.
The event brought together the French community in Whitehorse
for an evening of family fun and a mixer that allowed the Moms
and Dads to mingle and let off steam. I came here to witness my
friend’s daughter perform a skit with friends.
This small stage, in the heart of the French community in Whitehorse,
was alive with talent … with children of all ages literally
falling about the stage.
The evening started with dinner and drinks, conversation and some
very yummy desserts.
Once the tables were cleared and packed away and the chairs turned
around, the MC started introducing the performers.
The evenings fare included toddler ballet, a guitarist, a minor
miner and his mandolin, several poets, plays, dancing, singing
and skits in all shapes and costumes.
Even though my understanding of the French language only allows
a pathetic shamble through a fog of disconnected words, I needed
no translation to understand the various performances.
The acts were judged, none to harshly, by audience reaction and
after an interval of deliberation, all participants were given
a prize. A splendid time was had by all.
When I see a poster that states “Ukie Girls Do It Best”
my interest is peaked.
Heading to the Backwater I found local performer Steve Slade warming
up the room with a set of folk music accompanied by fiddler Amelia
Rose. The room was filling up by time they finished, as is the
nature of the warm-up acts audience.
The main act was worthy of the advertised “blues meets bluegrass”
and “hot”. Both Rose on fiddle and Ana Bon-Bon on
accordion held down the stage with sexy, understated cool music.
Rose and Bon-Bon are both excellent musicians and interpreted
Lead Belly’s Bourgeois Blues and bluegrass classic Cluck
old’ Hen in a unique style. A rousing rendition of Joshua
Fought The Battle Of Jericho with an eastern European rhythm roused
memories of the motherland.
Plump women with accordions stir my inner Ukrainian. Enough said.
Back to the Discovery Blues Bar for an evening of country rockabilly
with Vancouver’s, Cousin Harley.
Even with an admitted cold, guitarist Paul Pegat was in fine form.
All in attendance seemed transfixed by the spectacle of this individual
running his hands up and down the fret board of his big ol’
Gibson hollow body electric, effortlessly pulling licks and chords
out of the air.
This is a tight combo with a big classic 50’s rockabilly
tone. A sound evocative of Chet Atkins country fused with Les
Paul jazz pulled the group through some very interesting musical
With Pete Turland on bass and Steve Taylor, in a fantastic polka
dot shirt on drums, this group had the joint jumping and cheering
all night long.
Not bad for some hillbilly blues in downtown Whitehorse on a Saturday