Toronto Blues Society | » 36th Women’s Blues Revue

36th Women’s Blues Revue

The Women’s Blues Revue returns for its 36th year. Friday November 17, 2023 Live at Massey Hall. Bringing blues lovers together for an evening honouring the contributions to the genre with some of Canada’s finest musicians.


Featured Performers

Sandra Bouza

Most of the music we listen to never really gets under our skin.  As pleasant and catchy as it may be, it skims along the surface, like a stone skipping across water.  Every now and then, if we are really lucky, we encounter an artist like Sandra Bouza who gets right down into our blood and bones.  An artist whose voice stops us in our tracks. 

It’s not something that happens overnight.  Sandra, who was born in Toronto, and spent her childhood flitting back and forth between Canada and Spain, has been preparing for her whole life to arrive where she is right now.  Never at home in any one place, she’s always had an outsider’s sense of not quite fitting into her surroundings.  Sandra recalls, “When I was growing up, I was always on the fringes of wherever I was. When I was in Canada, I didn’t feel like I was Canadian.  When I was in Spain, I didn’t feel like I was Spanish.”

Always a keen observer, Sandra absorbed many of the sights and sounds of her father’s Galician homeland in Northern Spain where she spent nearly half of every other year.  Her mother homeschooled her in much more than the academic subjects she was missing while away from her Canadian home.  Encouraged to listen closely to songs on the radio as well as records from her mother’s large collection, she received a natural education in music, and has been singing and playing guitar from a very young age.

It was a natural step for Bouza to choose a life in music, and to begin performing professionally in Canada. Right from the start, she worked tirelessly on her craft and walked through every door that opened, but a new element was needed if she was going to take her music where it needed to go. So, after a decade of writing and singing her own songs at home, Sandra’s life took another turn when a planned six-week sojourn to Morocco turned into a three-year long odyssey.  Away from her familiar surroundings, Bouza continued to perform and develop her skills until she knew it was time to come home.

Sandra hit the ground running when she returned to Toronto.  Within her first year at home, she won the Toronto Blues Talent search and came second in the city’s prestigious Soul Slam.  The early promise of ‘Three Years,’ her 2018 Ep, and ‘Falling Away From Me,’ her first full length album that followed in 2020, put everyone on notice that Sandra Bouza was an artist to watch.

Everything came together for Sandra during an artist’s residence on Halls Island where she wrote most of the material for her upcoming album, ’A Sound in the Dark.’  Everyone who’s heard her sing knows that Sandra’s always been a powerful vocalist and a compelling songwriter, but with the new recording, she has truly found her own voice, and the promise of her earlier work has come to full fruition.

 “This record is truly me – more me than I have ever been able to give up to this point.  With the new songs, I share more of myself than I have ever been able to do before.”

Sandra has never shied away from the kind of tough subjects that you have to have lived through to sing convincingly about.  Sober for several years now, her music continues to touch on personal struggles, but as a person, she has moved onto higher ground.

“I won’t always sing about recovery and getting straight. I used to think that I couldn’t write or perform without a substance to help me get there.  But, I don’t think like that anymore.  This is me and these are songs of empowerment.  I don’t feel the temptation.  I know where I am headed.  I’m not looking back.”

Divine Brown

Bio: Divine Brown – Soul Singer Extraordinaire

Diving into the world of soulful melodies and vocal prowess, Divine Brown emerges as a truly exceptional artist, armed with a voice that traverses five octaves and a versatility that knows no bounds. With a career marked by resounding successes, Divine Brown has solidified her position as an iconic figure in the music industry.

🎶 Vocal Virtuosity

Divine Brown’s vocal range spans an astonishing five octaves, an extraordinary gift that allows her to effortlessly explore the depths of emotion through her music. Her ability to effortlessly glide through various genres and styles showcases a versatile vocal ability that captivates listeners worldwide.

🌟 Chart-Topping Achievements

With three top 10 singles dominating the Canadian radio waves across CHR, AC, and Hot AC stations, Divine Brown’s music has become a staple in the hearts of audiences. Her undeniable talent and captivating presence have garnered her widespread recognition, securing her a permanent spot in the Canadian music scene.

📀 Gold-Certified Debut

In 2005, Divine Brown’s eponymous debut album achieved the esteemed status of being certified gold. This accomplishment speaks volumes about her resonating connection with fans and her ability to create music that transcends time and trends.

🏆 Accolades of Excellence

Divine Brown’s journey to musical greatness continued with her sophomore release, “The Love Chronicles,” which earned her the distinguished title of Best R&B/Soul Album. This achievement not only underscores her exceptional talent but also solidifies her place as a trailblazer in the R&B and soul genres.

🎵 International Triumph

The melodic magic of Divine Brown’s hit single “Sunglasses,” remixed by the talented Cajjmere Wray, resonated far beyond Canadian borders. The song surged to the 14th spot on the U.S. Billboard chart, leaving an indelible mark on the international music scene.

🎭 Versatility Beyond Music

Divine Brown’s artistic journey extends beyond the realm of music, as she showcased her talents in theater productions. Her performances in “Father Comes Home From The Wars” (2016) and “Passing Strange” (2017) highlighted her multifaceted artistry, further cementing her status as a true performer.

🎩 Soulpepper Theatre Residency and Beyond

Having concluded a remarkable residency with Soulpepper Theatre, Divine Brown has blossomed into a Slaight Associate. Her visionary approach culminated in her groundbreaking docu-concert “Billie, Sarah and Ella: Revolutionary Women in Jazz,” captivating audiences from late February to early March of this year.

🌟 Unveiling the Future

As the anticipation grows, Divine Brown is set to grace the stage once again, this time in the upcoming theater production “Natasha Pierre and the Comet of 1812” at Crow’s Theatre this winter. Her dedication to the arts and her unwavering commitment to pushing boundaries continue to inspire and captivate audiences worldwide.

Divine Brown’s musical journey is a testament to her extraordinary talent, relentless dedication, and boundless creativity. Her resounding voice, chart-topping achievements, and versatile artistry have solidified her as a beloved soul singer whose impact is felt far beyond the confines of the stage and studio.


Dawn Tyler Watson

Multiple award-winning, Montreal-based Singer/Songwriter Dawn Tyler Watson has earned her place among the International Blues elite. Her fiery stage presence and soul-stirring performances have garnered her national and worldwide recognition. 

With two recent Maple Blues Awards; Songwriter of the Year, and Best Album/Producer, she was also nominated by the Blues Foundation in Memphis for a 2020 Blues Music Award for Vocalist of the Year alongside greats like Curtis Salgado & Mavis Staples. Her latest record “Mad Love,” was awarded the 2020 JUNO award for Blues Album of the Year!

Add this to the six MBA’s she already has, the nine Quebec Lys Blues Awards, a Screaming Jay Hawkins Award for Live Performance, a Blues Blast Music Award for Female Vocalist of the year, and you’ve got a decorated and consummate performer.

Since hooking up with a 7-piece killer band fronted by award-winning guitarist Ben Racine, Watson’s star has been on the rise. Taking home the coveted first-place prize at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in 2017, she’s been spinning magical moments on stage and sharing her expressive voice across four continents with shows that truly move the spirit. 

With a sound that’s infused with Jazz, Soul, Rock, and Gospel, Watson pushes the boundaries of traditional Blues into a whole new dimension.

Laura Hubert

Canadian vocal treasure, born and raised in Toronto, Laura Hubert has remained a steady force on the city’s music scene over the past 25 years. Although she retired from rock and roll back per se when JUNO-winning indie-rock group Leslie Spit Treeo split up late last millennium, for several decades now she has been singing her soulful interpretations of vintage blues, jazz and Western swing all over the Greater Toronto Area. “I want to participate in the joy of the world, try to keep it light,” says Hubert.  “Just trying to have some fun. Sing some songs. Make some music. Give some joy.”

Over the years she recorded 3 solo albums with her band, led by pianist Peter Hill and featuring some of Toronto’s finest including Chris Whiteley, Brandi Disterheft, Victor Bateman, William Sperandei: “Girlish Days” (2000), “Live at the Rex” (2001), “Half Bridled” (2004) and “One night in Kensington” (2019)

In the years since these recordings, Hubert and her fans enjoyed residencies at venerable venues such as Grossman’s Tavern, The Cameron House and The Rex Hotel. Singing many of the same old classic songs over the years, like the finest of wine Hubert’s art has aged in the best way, her bluesy growl deeper and more powerful than ever.

Charlotte McAfee-Brunner

Award-winning trombonist, bandleader and vocalist, Charlotte McAfee-Brunner – still in her early twenties – has quickly become one of the most respected musicians on the Toronto scene. A lover of many musical genres, she is equally happy to perform trad jazz, swing, blues, contemporary music, as well as being a promising singer-songwriter in the folk idiom. Inspired deeply by the legendary Wycliffe Gordon, she has studied with some of Toronto’s finest educators including Terry Promane, Tom Richards and Karl Silveira. She is a member of The Happy Pals, Combo Royale, Thomas Steele’s 10tet, Doghouse Orchestra, The Michael Louis Johnson Sextet, Dennis Kwok Jazz Orchestra, The Magnolia Brass Band and has been featured with many other groups such as Red Hot Ramble, The Orange Devils and Queen Pepper. As a bandleader, her projects include Charlotte McAfee-Brunner and Her Fireflies, Grapevine, Trombone Charlotte’s Tiger Band and the Charlotte Ann Band featuring all original material. You can find out where she is playing by following @trombonecharlotte on instagram.

Garnetta Cromwell

GARNETTA CROMWELL, the magnetic lead vocalist, embarked on her musical journey as a young girl in Montreal. Being the youngest of eight siblings, she was raised in an Afro-Metis household, where music became her solace. Despite facing a hearing impairment during her childhood that required surgical treatment, Garnetta’s passion for music remained unwavering. She found inspiration in gospel, blues, country, and soul music, and started performing at talent contests. Her music also served as a tribute to her mother, Marva Ann Fairfax, who used music to survive and thrive.

Garnetta later became the lead vocalist and drummer for Torornto’s first all female reggae band, Sweet Sensation. Garnetta has performed on the same stage with Platinum/Grammy Award artists Maxi Priest, Shabba Ranks, Shaggy, Gregory Issac, Sean Kingston and Platinum/Grammy soul legends Percy Sledge, Dorothy Moore ,The Manhattans and have recently performed on stage with the King of Boogie Woogie, Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne.

She performed at the 35th Annual Women Blues Revue held at Massey Hall, in Toronto , Ontario, with some of Canada’s top female blues singers. November/22

In 2021, after facing numerous personal challenges, she decided to take full-time control of her band, GARNETTA CROMWELL & DaGROOVMASTERS, determined to create music that reflected her life’s journey.


Elena Kapeleris, Carrie Chesnutt, Marie Goudy,

Alison Young, Emily Burgess, Stacie McGregor,

Morgan Doctor and Angelique Francis

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This Years Host

Quisha Wint

Women’s Blues Revue will feature some of Canada’s finest vocalists backed by the all-star Women’s Blues Revue Band. Toronto Blues Society, in partnership with Massey Hall, will celebrate this annual show with a return to a newly revitalized Massey Hall.


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TBS logo and WBR artwork by Barbara Klunder

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.