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Showing posts with label Simi Cajun and Blues Festival. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Simi Cajun and Blues Festival. Show all posts

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Fest 2016 announces talent lineup

Los Angeles area’s largest Cajun, Zydeco, Blues and Roots music festival, held over Memorial Day weekend, features two stages, a Mardi Gras parade, crafts and dozens of food booths

Above: Blues stage headliners Leon Russell, Booker T., Eric Burdon
SIMI VALLEY, Calif. — The 27th annual Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival will rock once again at Memorial Day weekend, Saturday and Sunday, May 28 and 29, at Rancho Santa Susanna Community Park, 5005 Los Angeles Ave., in Simi Valley. The event features two full stages (and two dance floors) for each of its musical genres. Music will proceed non-stop each day from 12 noon until 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults (13 and over) and children 12 and younger are free. Discount single day tickets of $20 and two-day passes for $35, are available only online at <>. Parking is ample and free. Fast-moving California Hwy. 118 (Ronald Reagan Freeway) can be taken to the Stearns Street exit; the festival is four blocks south.
This year, the blues stage features headliners Booker T, legendary keyboardist for Stax hitmakers Booker T & the MGs; Eric Burdon & the Animals; Leon Russell; and the Rebirth Brass Band;as well as L.A. blueswoman Barbara Morrison; Alvon Johnson; Guy Martin; Kelly’s Lot and returning from last year by popular demand, Reverend Tall Tree. Once again Dwayne Dopsie performs at both the blues stage and the Cajun and Zydeco stage, “King of Cajun” Jo-El Sonnier brings his Acadian spirit to Simi. 
On the Cajun and Zydeco stage, Cajun hitmaker Doug Kershaw joins forces with Steve Riley, and Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers once again perform at both the Cajun/Zydeco and blues stages. Grammy Award winners Chubby Carrier & the Bayou Swamp Band bring genuine Louisiana-styled Zydeco.Also appearing are Mark St. Mary, Bonne Musique Zydeco and the Bayou Brothers.
The annual Mardi Gras Parade will take place both days at 4 p.m.
About the headliners:
Booker T.: Booker is a Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Musicians Hall of Fame inductee, Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient and arguably the most famous Hammond B3 player in history. As lead of the legendary Booker T and the MG’s, this pillar of soul music collaborated with Otis Redding, Albert King, Eddie Floyd and Sam and Dave during his tenure at the renowned Stax Records Label. His 2009 solo release on Anti Records, “Potato Hole” won a Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Album in 2010. Booker followed with “The Road From Memphis”, a soulful return to the classic Memphis sound recorded with The Roots and released in 2011 with Anti- Records.
Eric Burdon & the Animals: Eric Burdon has one of the most powerful and distinctive voices in rock and roll. Hailed by Rolling Stone as one of the 100 Greatest Voices of All Time, Burdon has released nearly 50 records in those 50 years, as front man of The Animals and WAR and simply as Eric Burdon. Through the changing sounds and genres, what remains constant is his courage as an artist to explore new sounds, diving into new territory with his unrivaled and unique voice. Eric Burdon has shared the stage with legends such as Chuck Berry, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Witherspoon, Otis Redding and Bruce Springsteen, and has recently been cited by cutting edge musicians like Patti Smith and Iggy Pop as one of their personal top ten musicians.
Leon Russell:  In his distinguished and unique 50-year career, Leon Russell has played on, arranged, written and/or produced some of the best records in popular music.  As a session musician, arranger, producer, singer, songwriter, pianist, guitarist, record company owner, bandleader, and touring musician, he has collaborated with hundreds of artists, but is best known for his own hits, including “Tight Rope,” “Song For You,” “Delta Lady,” “Lady Blue,” “Roller Derby” and his cover of Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall.”
Barbara Morrison: Over the years, Detroit-born L.A. blues legend Barbara Morrison has performed with a virtual who's who of the jazz and blues worlds: Gerald Wilson, Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Charles, James Moody, Ron Carter, Etta James, Esther Phillips, David T. Walker, Jimmy Smith, Johnny Otis, Dr. John, Kenny Burrell, Terence Blanchard, Joe Sample, Cedar Walton,Nancy Wilson, Joe Williams, Tony Bennett, and Keb' Mo. Morrison has also guest-starred with the Count Basie Orchestra, the Clayton-Hamilton Orchestra and Doc Severinsen's Big Band. "I Wanna Be Loved" written by Barbara Morrison and Michael Cormier is a musical theatre production about the life and times of Dinah Washington, Queen of the Blues.
Rebirth Brass Band: Whether seen on HBO’s Tremé or at their legendary Tuesday night gig at The Maple Leaf, Grammy-winning Rebirth Brass Band is a true New Orleans institution. Formed in 1983 by the Frazier brothers, the band has evolved from playing the streets of the French Quarter to playing festivals and stages all over the world.  
Doug Kershaw with Steve Riley: Take one monumental figure from the history of Cajun music. Combine in equal portions with the reigning master of contemporary Cajun music. Blend in a couple of 90-year-old accordions and a couple of 250-year-old fiddles. Let sit in an elaborate shack out on the Cajun prairie for five days. Flavor with four original tunes, eight traditional tunes, apportioning roughly an equal number of vocals for each musician. Title the collaboration album, simply, Doug Kershaw and Steve Riley Face to Face. Sit back and prepare to be transported.
Dwayne Dopsie: America’s Hottest Accordion winner Dwayne (Dopsie) Rubin, plays a unique, high energy style of zydeco. Dwayne hails from one of the most influential Zydeco families in the world. While inspired by tradition, he has developed his own high-energy style that defies existing stereotypes and blazes a refreshingly distinct path for 21st century Zydeco music. This singer/songwriter and accordionist has performed all over the world since debuting his band, Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers, at age 19.
Jo-El Sonnier: His music steeped in passion and relentless dedication, Sonnier has been the undisputed King of Cajun for the past 25 years and occupies a significant place in the rich artistic landscape of this country. Born in Louisiana to poor, French speaking sharecroppers. He began to play the accordion at three years of age. By the middle ‘80s, Jo-El had a Grammy nominated recording to his credit with Cajun Life.  In 2015 he was awarded the Grammy for The Healing Song which he wrote with his Nashville friends Billy Henderson and AJ Masters and recorded with a veritable who’s who of Cajun and Zydeco music.

Chubby Carrier & the Bayou Swamp Band
: often referred to as The World’s Premier Zydeco Showman, Chubby Carrier was born in Churchpoint, Louisiana and is the third generation of zydeco artists so it was only natural that he began his musical career at the age of 12 by playing drums with his father’s band. At 15 he took up the accordion and by age 17 he was playing with Terrance Siemien with whom he toured the world for 2 1/2 years. In 1989 he formed his own band. And in 2011 the band won the Grammy Award for the Best Zydeco or Cajun Album. Carrier and band have recorded ten CDs over the past 22 years while also touring the world.
Once again the blues stage is booked by Martin Fleischmann and his company, Rum & Humble. For more than 20 years Rum & Humble has played a key role in presenting some of the world’s most celebrated musical talent (Radiohead, Manu Chao, and the Rolling Stones, to name a few) to Los Angeles audiences, in venues ranging from the Echoplex to the Orpheum Theatre to the Hollywood Bowl. The company has co-produced the Santa Monica Pier’s Twilight Concert Series since 2011. In addition, Rum & Humble has collaborated closely and creatively with artists such as Jackson Browne and Paul Oakenfold as well as with a varied roster of corporate and non-profit clients ranging from KJAZZ Radio to the Conga Room nightclub to the National Geographic Society.
The festival has received national press accolades: “Everywhere you turned, there was something exciting happening. Put this on your 2013 festival calendar,” wrote Blue Revue editor Art Tipaldi, who made the trek from New England. The Blues Blast writer enthused, “I attend many venues and festivals throughout the year but the ones that seem to impress me the most are the ones that serve the community in some way. I highly recommend you put this on your calendar for next Memorial Day weekend.” And the music industry trade journal Hits added, “As the last strains of [Candye] Kane’s set rang in our ears, we left the grounds fully sated by music, food, drink and, as the saying goes, bon temps.”
The festival boasts dozens of food booths featuring a variety of fare: authentic Cajun creations and Southern BBQ as well as multi-cultural cuisine. More than 100 craft booths and retailers will be scattered throughout the festival grounds.
Tickets may be obtained online at
Support of the not-for-profit Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival has benefited dozens of local community, national and international organizations, a list of which may be found at <>.
The Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival is a presentation of the Rotary Club of Simi Sunrise.
Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Festival web site:  
(Schedule subject to change)
12:15 p.m. Guy Martin
1:35 p.m. Barbara Morrison
3:00 p.m. Rebirth Brass Band
4:45 pm. Eric Burdon & The Animals
6:20 p.m. Dwayne Dopsie  
12:25 p.m. Bayou Brothers
1:55 p.m. Dwayne Dopsie
3:25 p.m. Doug Kershaw with Steve Riley
4:35 p.m. Mardi Gras Parade
4:55 p.m. Chubby Carrier
6:25 p.m. Mark St. Mary
12:15 p.m. Kelly’s Lot
1:35 p.m. Alvon Johnson
3:00 p.m. Booker T
4:45 p.m. Leon Russell
6:20 p.m. Reverend Tall Tree  
12:25 p.m. Bonne Musique Zydeco
1:50 p.m. Jo-El Sonnier
3:15 p.m. Chubby Carrier
4:20 p.m. Mardi Gras Parade
4:40 p.m. Doug Kershaw with Steve Riley
6:05 p.m. Dwayne Dopsie

Below: Cajun/Zydeco headliners Jo-El Sonnier, Doug Kershaw & Steve Riley, Dwayne Dopsie

Monday, May 25, 2015

Simi Cajun and Blues Festival - Evelyn the bluezy redhead - Guest Writer

The site of the Simi Cajun and Blues Festival every Memorial Day weekend is a spacious park in the bedroom community of Simi Valley in Ventura County. This festival pays tribute to and honors the men and women who died during service in the armed forces and I applaud them for that! A lesser known fact is that they raise funds for a long list of local community, national and international organizations and activities, and should be commended for the enormous effort it takes to put on a festival of this magnitude!
There are two stages: Cajun and blues, as you might be able to surmise from the name of the festival! The only time I left the blues stage area or covered dance floor was to use one of the vast array of 'restrooms' lined up on the baseball diamond.
Speaking of thriving, the opening band was Reverend Tall Tree (not sure if he is an actual reverend, but he is tall, yet not as tall as a tree). Anyway, Mr. Tree has a voice and harp skills as solid as the trunk of even a short tree. Their set consisted of all originals, nicely arranged and delivered with diversity. The band set out to play a set of songs that the hundreds of festival goers would revel in, and revel they did. The band definitely did not bark up the wrong tree - they knew what they wanted to project and did what they came to do.
What can I say about the toughest girl alive? I could say that Candye Kane is inspirational, that she is a survivor, and that she is ecstatic to even be alive. She honored her commitment to be at this festival to deliver her message and her music, even though she was released from the hospital for cancer-related issues the day before. Goose bumps overcome me! I first saw her & band in Solana Beach when I lived in Rancho Santa Fe and I was blown away by her immense talent. She pens a lot of the band's songs including "I'm the Reason You Drink" and "Super Hero" and "The Toughest Girl Alive". They put on a set filled with mostly danceable upbeat songs with a couple of slow easy blues.
Guitar Shorty and his band "Triple Danger" were up next. I know Shorty, his bass player Crazy Tomes and his keyboard player Malcom Lukens. Unfortunately I do not know the names of the other two players in the band (guitar & drums). This band energized the crowd with their sensually searing sound. Shorty is truly a genius guitar player/singer and proves it every single time I see him. "The Thrill is Gone" was poignantly performed for his friend BB King; a heart-wrenching, bittersweet rendition of one the King's greatest hits. It rocked my soul to the core and touched me deeply.
Big brother was in attendance at the festival... in the shape of Big Brother and the Holding Company, a 1960s band led by Janis Joplin. The bandleader told us stories about his days with Janis and I think he is the only one of the founding members in the band today. On their first song, the female lead singer sounded EXACTLY like Janis! Throughout their set she showed us that she was not a Janis Joplin impersonator, but had her own unique voice to lend to the band. "Down on Me" and "Summertime" and "Take Another Little Piece of my Heart" were just some of the songs that rolled out of her lips and the musicians instruments, into the blue skies above us. Their last song was "Ball & Chain" written by Big Mama Thornton. The story was told that Janis heard it and really wanted to record it... and so goes history.
The Spencer Davis Group was another band in the 1960s, led by Spencer Davis, and that remains the same all these years later. Their newest CD is called "So Far" and they did a few songs from it. The musicians were all at the top of their game skill-wise and their harmonies were harmonious to this writer's ears. They did some of their early hits like "Gimme Some Lovin'" and "I'm a Man".
Now, normally I have heard of, and LOVE the headliner, and they are one of the big reasons why people go to music festivals. So, it was odd that I had never heard of the headliners before today. I had you-tubed them and was impressed, but not as impressed as I was when they were live in front of me!
The Record Company consists of old souls Chris, Alex and Marc - three 20 or 30-somethings who are 1) visually appealing; 2) audibly appealing; 3) just damn appealing!! I have never been impressed with a band at first sighting as I was/am impressed by these three men. An all original set of songs were energetically performed in a rapid formation one after the other, with the next one even more mind blowing than the last. Chris is the lead singer and also plays harp, lap steel, pedal steel and guitar. Alex is the bass player and also does vocals. Marc is the drummer and also does vocals.
How creative are they, you ask? I will tell you. One song was bass, harp and drums; no lead guitar... and it was brilliant! Oh, you want two more example of their creativeness? Okay, have you ever seen anyone play lap steel on an ACOUSTIC guitar or slide BASS? The crowd was in awe, as most had no idea what to expect from this unknown, yet highly successful band. You see, they have had their music in numerous commercials and tv shows. They have played with such phenoms as BB King, Buddy Guy and Robert Randolph & The Family Band. These guys get around, as word spreads like wildfire in the music industry, and rightfully so, as they deserve and have earned the respect of their peers and audiences world-wide.
Yes, we paid tribute this past Saturday and Sunday, and we did it with the universal language of music... on a perfect-weather day... in the bedroom community of Simi Valley.
If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”