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TBS at Folk Alliance International

Toronto Blues Society goes to Montreal for a private showcase at the Folk Alliance International!

The showcase will take place on Thursday, February 14th between 10:30pm-2:20am and be open to all registered conference delegates. Jenie Thai, Suzie Vinnick, Digging Roots, Dione Taylor, Shakura S’Aida, Chloe Watkinson will be performing on our stage at the Toronto Blues Society Room (Room Anne Murray: #202).

Make sure to stop by if you are attending the conference!



10:30pm | Jenie Thai
11:10pm | Suzie Vinnick
11:50pm | Digging Roots
12:30am | Dione Taylor
01:10am | Shakura S’Aida
01:50am | Chloe Watkinson



*Jenie Thai (Solo)*

Born in Chiang Mai, Thailand and raised outside of Edmonton, Canada, Jenie Thai is building a musical presence throughout the country through the electric energy she displays on stage and the old soul that’s conveyed through her songwriting. Her studying of music began at age five; she took private piano lessons for fifteen years. Through her classical training she spent her early school years performing difficult repertoire at various workshops, camps, and yearly round festivals receiving national accolade.

Vocally, she has been compared to Eva Cassidy, but soaks in the musical influences of Tom Waits, Bonnie Raitt, Memphis Slim, and Nina Simone. A performer, song-writer, singer, and instrumentalist: Jenie Thai combines her love of the traditional piano blues, sixties R+B, and great American songwriters to produce a unique charm as a roots and blues musician on the national and international scene.

Jenie was a guest musician at the 31st edition of Toronto Blues Society’s annual Women’s Blues Revue at Massey Hall in 2017 and recently nominated for the Piano/KeyBoard category at the 22nd Maple Blues Awards.

*Suzie Vinnick*

A Saskatoon native transplanted to the Niagara Region of Ontario, Roots and Blues singer Suzie Vinnick is a 3X Juno Nominee, CFMA Award winner, and a 10-time winner of the Maple Blues Award for songwriting, female vocalist, acoustic act and more. Suzie has a voice you’ve heard a thousand times and one you’ll never forget. It soars, it growls, it whispers and it shouts from a deep, deep well of emotion. The pure joy she exudes when she picks up that guitar is so worth the show.

Suzie has toured nationally with Stuart McLean’s The Vinyl Café, the John McDermott Band, and she has performed for Canadian Peacekeepers in Bosnia and the Persian Gulf. She was also the voice of Tim Horton’s for 5 years.

Suzie just released her latest album, a full band roots and blues extravaganza entitled Shake The Love Around.

*Digging Roots*

Fronted by husband and wife duo Raven Kanatakta and ShoShona Kish, the JUNO Award-winning power couple have built their sound on a unique musical marriage of unvarnished truth and unconditional love. Traversing folk, rock, blues, and pop, Digging Roots brings its nomadic wanderlust to the sonic terrain of main stages across North America.

*Dione Taylor (Duo)*

Music has always been an integral part of Dione Taylor’s life. A pastor’s daughter from Saskatchewan, she was born and raised in a family she describes as “really connected to the gift of song.” She began playing the organ at age four and by age ten, she was the music director and organist at The Shiloh Assembly Apostolic Church in Regina.

Having first burst onto the music scene with her Juno nominated debut album “Open Your Eyes”, Taylor’s career trajectory has been truly remarkable. Dione has had the distinct honour of performing at the White House for the President of the United States and the First Lady for Black Music Month and the Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinbugh for Canada Day in Ottawa and Saskatchewan’s Centennial. With performances at festivals and concert theatres across the United States, Canada and Asia, Taylor has made a worthy name for herself as one of this country’s most talented musicians and songstresses. Taylor was nominated for a Gemini Award for her rendition of Oscar Peterson’s “Hymn to Freedom,” which she performed alongside Oliver Jones at the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame Gala. Miss Taylor is also the recipient of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award Mentorship Program. Most recently she performed Oscar Peterson’s powerful anthem, “Hymn to Freedom” at the 2017 Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards 25th Anniversary Show in Ottawa.

Dione Taylor is a lyrical singer/songwriter who released Born Free in late 2015. This recording has been described as “a narrative of trial and faith told through a passionate blend of fiery gospel vocals, sounds from the delta blues and with an extra helping of soul.” Dione calls it “The Prairie Blues.” She is currently working on “SPIRIT”, a follow-up to Born Free to be released in early 2019.

*Shakura S’Aida*

Shakura’s long-simmering career first moved into high gear in 2008, after a triumphant trip to the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. Competing against more than 100 other artists from around the world, she earned the runner-up title and put the world on notice, that there was a new voice in town. Ever since, she has been moving from strength to strength, releasing three critically acclaimed albums, and racking up a wide array of awards and accolades.

Wherever she performs, Shakura truly owns the stage. Her warm and welcoming personality, dazzling visual style, and truly remarkable voice, take audiences on a sublime and soulful journey that lingers on, long after the lights have dimmed. Having toured extensively throughout North America and across Europe, she’s an artist who never stops exploring her muse. Ever searching for the next great song, and the next audience to sing it to.

Shakura S’Aida has been consistently thrilling audiences with her powerful pipes for years, most recently as a guest host on CBC Radio 2’s Weekend Morning. As a veteran of the international music scene, she’s performed both as a featured artist with musicians like Jimmy Smith, Lee Oskar (WAR), Bettye LaVette and Keb Mo’, as well as an award winning solo artist.

After a 6 year hiatus, Shakura is back in the studio; this time with co-producers Donna Grantis (Prince/3rd Eye Girl), Keb’ Mo’ and Roger Costa (Jeff Healey). The new album is scheduled for release Spring 2018.

*Chloe Watkinson*

Music has always been as much a part of Chloe as her red hair. Blessed with a voice that can be soft and sweet, or full of power and rasp, she transcends genres with ease.

With a solid music education and a rich performance history (including at Preservation Hall and leading a brass band in New Orleans, and playing regional clubs and festivals in Canada and the US) Chloe launched her solo career in 2018, performing at Toronto venues such as Roy Thomson Hall for the Women’s Blues Revue, Yonge-Dundas Square, and two US/Canadian tours featuring shows at Toronto’s Opera House, Thorold’s Canal Bank Shuffle Festival, and dates in New York, Vermont and Quebec. Her current single “Stonewalling” (Aporia Records) is spinning on 200+ radio stations worldwide.

Her singles are easily listenable, but she alludes to something deeper. Cosmology, astronomy, biology, and cultural diversity find their way into her lyrics. “Crystal Pistol” (Aporia Records) suggests that she has an inner activist; while “A Universe” (produced by Grammy-winning legend George Massenburg) shows a glimpse of a vulnerable lover.

Informed by her experience, including singing alongside notable artists such as jazz icon Jill Barber, Canadian rock legend Max Webster’s Terry Watkinson (her dad), and songwriter extraordinaire Lily Frost, Chloe brings her music to life on stage through bold and unapologetic performances, a true extension of her heart, soul, and spirit.

Songwriting Workshop
Top Blues - February 2019
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The Toronto Blues Society acknowledges the annual support of the Ontario Arts Council, the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council and the Department of Canadian Heritage, and project support from FACTOR< and the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage (Canada Music Fund) and of Canada’s Private Broadcasters, The Canada Council for the Arts, the SOCAN Foundation, SOCAN, the Ontario Media Development Corporation, and the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

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