December 2nd, Strathcona Church, in the heart of “Black Strathcona”, will be filled with the sounds of British Columbia’s best Black/African Descent musicians and performing artists as Sound the Alarm (STA) hosts Ebony Roots: Concert, Part 1. The first of a two-part concert project presenting an authentic celebration of Black music and culture in the historic venue close to Hogan’s Alley and known for its rich community history.
Ebony Roots Concert, Part 1 helps reclaim the once thriving ‘Black Strathcona’, which was unnecessarily displaced with the construction of the Georgia Viaduct in the 1960’s. With the city’s recent plan to remove the viaduct and to regenerate the neighbourhood back to its former glory, this concert on December 2nd is meant to be a celebration of Vancouver’s Black musical past, present, and future.
The first half of the concert will be a 50-minute preview of Part 2, which premieres at Yaletown Roundhouse on February 9th, and will feature a powerful and intimate music experience that journeys through enslaved work-songs, passionate spirituals, iconic songs from the stages of Musical Theatre and Opera to the emergence of Black Soul, R&B, Blues and Motown. This preview first half/Act1, showcases the Ebony Roots core artistic team including Brandon Thornhill (Vocalist), Carlos Joe Costa (Percussion/Flute), Leo DE Johnson (Vocalist/Guitar), Olaf de Shield (Guitars/Vocalist), Russell Jackson (Bass/Vocalist), Wayne Stewart (Keyboard/Vocalist).
The second half of December 2nd Part 1 concert celebrates some of BC’s best African Descent Performing Artists and will feature Henri Brown (Bass/Vocalist), Jillian Christmas (Poet), Krystle Dos Santos (Vocalist), Langston Raymond (Trumpet), Leral (Pop/Soul Vocalist), Marian Landers (Dancer), Missy Dee (Vocalist/Hip Hop Artist), Sam Chimes (Hip Hop Artist).
“Sound the Alarm was first approached by co-producer Brandon Thornhill with a vision to create and produce a concert celebrating Black culture,” said Alan Corbishley, Sound the Alarm: Music/Theatre’s Artistic Director. “A year later we have assembled an incredible roster of performers ready to take the audience on an incredible journey through the roots, foundations, and legacies of Black music/culture.”
Adds Corbishley, “to help celebrate the past, we are honoured to have Henri Brown with us whose familial roots to Hogan’s Alley is legendary. Henri Brown is the cousin of iconic rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix, who lived and studied in Vancouver’s Black Strathcona starting in 1949. Not only that, but Henri’s aunt is also the formidable Eleanor Collins who was titled Canada’s First Lady of Jazz and was honoured with a stamp in recent years. This historic connection to both Hogan’s Alley and ‘Black Strathcona’ highlights the deep historical presence of black culture in Vancouver.”
“In addition to this, Russell Jackson, our core Bassist now living in Vernon, BC, has an incredible and vast career as one of North America’s best Blues and Funk players – having toured the world with BB King, not to mention his long discography of recordings. We are thrilled to have Russell with us.”
The second half of the December 2nd concert continues the musical lineage of the first half into more urban vibes, and features Vancouver greats like soul singer Krystle dos Santos, Hip-Hop/R&B/Rapper Missy D, dancer/choreographer Marion Landers, poet extraordinaire Jillian Christmas, rock master Henri Brown, and up and coming talents Hip Hop looper Sam Chimes, and Pop/Soul singer, Leral.
Following the December 2nd concert, STA’s two-part project celebrates Black History Month on February 9th when Sound the Alarm: Music/Theatre presents Part 2 of Ebony Roots at the Yaletown Roundhouse Performance Centre at 8pm. This concert will premiere the fully designed concert project, with a powerful music narrative on the evolving emancipation of the Black community through enslaved work-songs, passionate spirituals, iconic songs from the stages of musical Theatre and opera to the emergence of Black Soul, R&B, Blues and Motown.