March 2006

The fourth annual
Global Divas Concert
| An international celebration of women and song
benefiting St. Stephen's Community House
March 30, 2006Kool HausToronto
The Barefoot Divas
by Sue Bullas with photos by Roger Humbert
Six women with the help of the Spirits of Havana (all men) introduced us to an incredible musical collaboration of spirits, cultural heritage and joy. From brash confidence to subtle nuance and womanly wiles, these women reflect qualities all women possess to one degree or another. Their bare feet dancing and connecting with the stage, most of them are tall, all are pillars of strength, talented, and filled with the essence of the female spirit.

The evening began with Kellylee Evans’ brash confidence. A rousing start. This vibrant young woman loves the attention the stage provides. She warms us with her gorgeous voice which rises over us all and infects us with her joy. She moves with the music like a river flowing and it is as much fun watching her as it is listening to her.

Tanya Tagaq Gillis, the maternal spirit, introduced us to the age old art of throat singing. Tanya shares her peals of laughter, her love of her culture and her joy with the other performers. Throat singing is a primal sound you would expect to hear coming from an animal, like a cat purring, but the beauty of the sounds thrill and sometimes confuse (at least the table nearest me). She makes such beautiful sounds on her own the instrumental music is almost overkill. Her cousin, Celina Kalluk, must be noted for helping Tanya demonstrate traditional throat singing in which two singers embrace and reflect each other's sounds.

Zaki Ibrahim, the natural, is a little more nervous, testing her wings with subtle nuance at first but finding full flight in her second song. She has an incredible voice and the vulnerability she shows gives her depth. Her beauty and style are natural and real. Earthy, she moves like she’s on the prowl. Her music incorporates a range of styles including ska and hip-hop. Her voice reminds me of Ella Fitzgerald.

Then there is Amanda Martinez, the seductress, whose gorgeous dress, alluring smile and Latin lyrics enthrall us all. Accompanied by Kevin Laliberté on Flamenco-style guitar her own songs are soulful and capture a sense of joy at the same time. "Dragon" stood out for me and will be on her upcoming album release. While her style is soft and lush, she also possesses power and strength.

Finally there is Muna Mingole, the dancing queen. Her powerful personality leaps off the stage and urges us to get on our feet and move. Her colourful headscarf and incredible matching one-sleeved blouse, her powerful moves and heady encouragement had even the most reserved patrons on their feet looking for the beat.

Jane Bunnett, the worldly sister, brings everyone together and melds their music with her own. The collaborator, she excels at both the flute and sax, her music and the arrangements with the Spirits compliment and support the specific talents of each performer. She has a quiet strength bridging the gap for so many music listeners on so many levels and this evening was another example of her adeptness. Thank you Jane!

Tanya Tagaq Gillis

Amanda Martinez

Muna Mingole

Zaki Ibrahim

Kellylee Evans
Jane Bunnet and The Spirits of Havana
Jane Bunnet – soprano sax & flute
Larry Cramer – trumpet & flugelhorn
David Virelles – piano
Kieran Overs – accoustic bass
Jalidan Castro – percussions
Frank Duran – drums

Guest Musicians
Celina Kalluk – vocals
Kevin Laliberté – guitar

We welcome your comments and feedback
Sue Bullas
• • • • • •
Roger Humbert
• •
The Live Music Report

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