Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Music of Alejandra Ribera - a long overdue blog topic!

I can't believe that I have not blogged about Alejandra Ribera in all of my blogs this year!  I was sure that I had mentioned in the fall that I was trying to get out to the Cameron House on Tuesday nights because that was her regular gig.  She finished her year of manning (or should I say womaning) the front room at the Cameron House at the end of December and has now set her sights on venues which provide the more appreciative audience that she so deserves.

I was surprised not to find a mention of her (at least tagged) in my fall blogs!  I was equally sure that I had published a blog to tell you all about her spectacular concert at Hugh's Room.  But no,  I had drafted the blog but somehow it got buried in my growing list of blogs in the making and never got back to it.   So, I updated it with some new material and am covering it all in one go.

An Interview with Alejandra at the Reservoir Lounge
As I was updating my blog material, I noticed that there are now 5 You Tube Videos posted - an interview which was done Dec 19th 2009 and 4 songs which were recorded at her Hugh's Room debut concert on Jan 17th and 18th.  If you have not heard Alejandra Ribera in person - you absolutely must.  If you are not able to (and until you are able to manage it)  - do check out each of the 5 You Tube Videos.   I set up a Playlist  and I am listening to them whilst I write this blog - go here to watch them all - you will want to watch, at least the first time, because her stage presence adds so much to her performances.

The first video, included below, is an interview with Andy Frank at Toronto's Reservoir Lounge on Dec 15, 2009.  Surprise, surprise - I didn't know she was at the Reservoir in December, - I would have gone!  This interview will give you a sense of the warm and funny person that Alejandra is.  

Alejandra's Hugh's Room Debut Concert

I lucked out and was able to order tickets to the 2nd night (added after the first one sold out) the morning they became available so managed to snag a table right by the stage as you can see from the photo. My son Eric went to see Alejandra with me at the Cameron when he was here over Christmas and was so enthused about my having tickets to Hugh's Room I was really happy to take him rather than figure out who I should ask along.  The 2nd show was also sold out! We got there early and had a scrumptious dinner.

Her performance was superb, made better in part because Hugh's Room is a concert (i.e. listening) venue foremost and an up scale dining establishment second.  The audience is cautioned about this when the performer is introduced and they are also told to turn off their cell phones.  The acoustics in the room are fabulous - CBC regularly records performances  at this venue.    Aside from those two characteristics - the quiet attention of the audience and the great acoustics, the room itself is much larger and of course much posher than the front room at the Cameron House - if the Cameron were a 10 Hugh's Room would be 100 - or maybe 500.  

From the Hugh's Room website :
Hugh's Room is a warm, spacious and inviting 200 seat music venue located in Roncesvalles Village in Toronto, and host to the finest in Canadian and International folk/roots artists, since opening in April, 2001. The fully licensed dining room offers a full menu with tantalizing salads, appetizers and lovely main dishes. Hugh’s Room offers an air conditioned dining room, free parking and we are a 5 minute walk from the subway.

As both Alejandra and Andy Frank mention on the interview  video above, CBC Radio is a big Alejandra supporter and Andy Barrie has had her on the Toronto week day morning show several times this fall.  She is also getting regular radio play on their stations.

While she is certainly deserving of her fan's high regard for her music, she is under appreciated and it has helped that she is being promoted. You will really have to listen to the Canada Live concert when it airs on March 19th (or later via CBC's Concerts on Demand via internet).

For those who have Alejandra's CD, Navigator/NavigateHer - there were some dramatically different arrangements in her Hugh's Room concert which added so much to her already wonderful renditions of the old favourites and as mentioned a few new songs as well.  She is still backed up with the same band she had at the Cameron, playing upright bass, piano, horns and drums (sorry, can't find their names in print anywhere)  - spiffed up in their black dress trousers and black shirts - and Alejandra looked resplendent in wonderful red. Her band does real justice to her repertoire, no doubt helped by their training at Humber College's Jazz program.

I am sure that there will be many more at even larger venues for her in the near future. She is just so damn good!  So you really should go to her web site where you can listen to all the songs on her CD.

This song is a signature song of hers - titled Own Map. Her material is extremely varied, (she does a unique rendition of Cielito Lindo) so again... check out her web site and take a long listen!

When I checked her web site today I saw that Alejandra has lined up a bunch of February shows in Quebec, opening for Caracol!   She also has a date in March at the Rivoli - a benefit for Arraymusic.  I am sure there are lots of new dates being lined up as a consquence of her Hugh's Room debut. 

To see upcoming concert dates and listen to more of her music go to Alejandra's web site.

About Alejandra Ribera

1 comment:

  1. thanks for this lovely review and all your kind words. thought i would let you know i'm back at hugh's room this saturday march 13th @8:30pm. keep it up!



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