By Sue Morhun
Special to the Chronicle
From the moment she stepped onto the stage, chanteuse and luscious storyteller Cari Burdett easily swept her audience into the international cabaret scene in the third offering of South Okanagan Concert Society’s season.
“Sweet Love” was the theme of the tour we embarked on and there was no doubt “amour” is truly Cari’s genre – passionate love for a person, for family, for nature, for place. Her sensuous and intense deliver, her sultry mezzo voice and her graceful gestures transported us into the world inhabited by the troubadours and gypsies of old. This is a genuine and inspired performer.
Cari’s natural gifts led us through the nightclubs of Rome, Paris, Berlin, Stockhom, New York and Santiago, Chile with timeless and theatrical flair. Cari sang seamlessly in the language of each country.
Accompanying her on our delicious musical journey were four equally talented musicians. Music arranger Adrian Dolan on piano and accordion kept the vibrant fusion of jazz, folk and world music moving easily throughout the entire performance. Gypsy jazz guitarist Mark Atkinson and jazz bass player John Lee rounded out the pulsing, rich rhythms with great depth while the soaring, sweet notes from Juno award winning violinist Meredith Bates offered a complex counterpoint to the sorrowful tales of lost or passionate love.
While we were treated to love songs written by Canada’s Joni Mitchell, American Carole King and even Bizet’s “Carmen,” my favourite of the evening was an original composition by Cari titled “Let Me Go.” It suited her style and singing intensity admirably.
The highlight for many in the audience was an Edith Piaf medley delivered with the same throaty fervor aficionados associate with the legendary French chanteuse. It was a great way to end the ensemble’s first set. If there was any regret that evening, it was the limited opportunity to hear the quartet play individually. When they did just that, it was easy to appreciate what a wonderful ensemble they truly are. Together, they and Cari offered a unique and special package, a lovely present for Valentine’s Day.
The last offering of the Concert Society season comes on Friday March 9th. President Janet Marcotte reminded the audience how well received B.C.’s self styled “Court Jesters of the Classical” were the last time they played on the Frank Venables stage. Joe Trio bring musical fun to their “Tour de Farce” performance on the violin, cello and piano, a performance described as witty, charming and tremendously musical.
Thanks to the Society’s generous sponsors, tickets are highly affordable. Buy yours on line at www.venablestheatre.ca or through the box office Tuesdays through Thursdays between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. or call 250-498-1626.