Gypsy Cabaret Review

by Sue Morhun

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, Stockholm, 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 fervour 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 or through the box office Tuesdays through Thursdays between 10 am and 3 pm or call 250 498 1626.

Call for Artists: Wine Capital Art Walk

The Oliver Community Arts Council along with Oliver Tourism and Downtown Businesses is proud to present the Wine Capital Art Walk as part of the Okanagan Spring Wine Festival! The main event occurs on the evening of Thursday May 10 from 6 – 8 p.m. Artists in a variety of media display and / or demonstrate their best work, sharing space with downtown businesses in the 6200 block of Main Street (north of the Fairview Road intersection). As was the case last year, the art walk will also include wine tastings, live music, draws, children’s art activities, food vendors, and live art demonstrations.

with credit to Lyonel Doherty, Oliver Chronicle

One of the main attractions at the Wine Capital Art Walk is the Wine Barrel Art demonstration and silent auction, running Monday May 7 – Thursday May 10. The live art event features up to 15 skilled artists who transform wine barrels into cherished works of art. They work daily from 10 – 4 p.m. on Main Street. Their activity is entertaining, educational and also promotes the art walk later in the week. Silent auction bids are accepted all week long and the finished barrels are sold to the highest bidders on the Thursday evening. These artists pay for their barrels but keep all proceeds made at the silent auction.

This Call for Artists is open to all visual media: photography, digital media,, three-dimensional art such as pottery, sculpture, mixed media installations, metalwork, woodwork, jewelry and other artisan crafts; fibre and fabric arts, such as quilting, weaving, spinning, clothing/fashion; painting including acrylics, oils, watercolours; and mixed / other two dimensional media, such as charcoal, ink, encaustic, and collage. Space may also be available for performing arts: street theatre and improv, dance, street musicians, and other performers. NOTE: This component will be limited by available space and noise level.

All artwork must be display ready. Sale pieces are welcome. Artists must be present during the event and take responsibility for their own sales.

Artists are invited to apply in one of two categories: as a Display / Demo Artist or as a Wine Barrel Artist. There are entry fees for artists; however, NO COMMISSION will be charged. All participating artists must be members of the Oliver Community Arts Council. Membership forms are available on the “Forms” page or by contacting at  olivercac @

NO FEES are required when applying. Space is limited, and the event is popular. Fees are only paid when successful applicants are confirmed by the committee.

WCAW Display Demo Artist Application

WCAW Barrel Artist Application

If you want more details they are available here:

WCAW Display Artist Terms and Guidelines

WCAW Barrel Artist – Terms and Guidelines

Lion Bear Fox at Medici’s

The lion, the bear, the fox took over thirty years to find each other, but only one month for Christopher Arruda (the lion), Cory Woodward (the bear) and Ryan McMahon (the fox) to realize they were meant to join their voices as one. They are a musical force of nature to be reckoned with.

By uniting three distinct, equally powerful voices and songwriting approaches, Arruda, Woodward & McMahon have stumbled onto a magic much greater than the sum of its parts.

“All three artists are known for the passion they bring to their performances and the honest songs they write” says the Ladysmith Chronicle, and they have succeeded in creating gripping, dynamic songs while capturing a sincerity rarely heard this side of the 2000’s. Bridging the gap between Vancouver, where the lion and the bear dwell and Ladysmith where the fox resides is only a testament to their collective commitment of creating their brand of passionately honest songs. 

With over three decades combined experience, the lion the bear the fox bring their heartfelt songs and larger than life sound to the rugged Canadian terrain that continues to inspire them.

Medici’s is bursting with anticipation. This incredible band and their huge musical talents are playing on Thursday, March 8th …doors open at 6:30PM and Lion Bear Fox take the stage at 7:30PM…Tickets are $30 each and seating is assigned… Medici’s s at 522 Fairview Road in Oliver…250-498-2228

Capture the Action of Ballet Kelowna

If you want to draw or photograph dancers in action, come to Kinetic Catching of Ballet Kelowna dancers on stage during company class Tuesday, February 6th at 12 noon – 1:15 pm.
Anyone who wishes to photograph (no flash), sketch or ‘doodle’ what they see, the anatomical and expressive gestures of the dancers, is invited to attend.

Kindly arrive by 11:45 for a brief overview of the use of space. No latecomers unless previously arranged.

No pastels or paints to be used please.

We request that anyone interested RSVP to

Photo by Simone Orlando


Medici’s Groundhog Day

Medici’s Friday Night Live-2018 Groundhog Day Edition…Again

Friday Night Live has become a MONSTER event…It’s Groundhog Day. Our season opener was packed and Groundhog Day FNL promises to bring all the greats out AGAIN…without a shadow of doubt. Bluesman Don Parmenter and The bettyBgidds hooked up for a stunning collaboration last time out and North of 60, Mad Maxine Houle, Marcel,The Great Greg and One Live Badger all had to be dragged off stage when the audience refused to let them go…sort of.

More amazing collaborations are cooked up and again more new folk a-comin. Get here early to get a spot on the ‘play list’. This valley is chock full of great musicians with incredible music……Get up, come down, get in and get it on!!!

Come kick the doors down with your own vibe. We are gonna be packed. The music is gonna blow the doors off. The beer is cold and the music IS of course always sooooo HOT! We crank it up shortly after 7:00….all we need is you! Bring your music!! Bring your fun!! Bring your mum. Get in here!!

We are licensed. We have beer, wine, coffees with a kick and our usual great gelato and snacks, sweet treats. Medici’s this Friday, February 2nd at 7:00 PM. 522 Fairview Road. 250-498-2222

Dramatic gypsy cabaret a sweet treat

On Friday February 9th, Cari Burdett and her ensemble will be on stage at the Frank Venables Theatre at 7:30 pm as part of the South Okanagan Concert Society’s winter season. The program entitled “Sweet Love” is the perfect Valentine treat!

Recently returned from studying on the big island of Hawaii with Rhiannon and Grammy Award winner, pianist and composer Lawrence Hobgood, Burdett’s rich mezzo voice stirs the heart and takes the audience around the world in song. She delivers a vibrant genre-defying, fusion of jazz, folk, opera and world music seamlessly blending multiple European languages with a timeless, theatrical air. Feel yourself transported into the night clubs of Paris, Rome, Berlin and New York. Enjoy the timeless enchanting romantic performance of 40’s French Swing, Spanish Gypsy Jazz and aching Italian love songs that sizzle with energy and passion.

Cari will be accompanied by some amazingly talented instrumentalists. Juno award winning violinist Meredith Bates will be there with gypsy jazz guitarist Marc Atkinson, John Lee on bass and Adrian Dolan on piano, accordion and mandola.

Get your tickets on line at or, for those who prefer to buy in person, at the theatre box office on Tuesdays – Thursdays,  10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Advance Tickets $23, tickets at the door $25. Purchase tickets for both Cari Burdett and the Joe Trio (March 9) for $21 apiece.  Children and youth are only $2.50.

Burdett’s style, ‘Dramatic Gypsy Cabaret’ is the culmination of years of study and performance. Like her gypsy ancestors, Cari is a troubadour, performing and teaching across Canada, Europe, USA and China. Her multifaceted education includes classical voice, new music, opera, vocal improvisations, art song, dance, acting and musical theatre.

Burdett holds a music degree from McGill University and a Master’s degree in Opera from the Royal Academy of Music, London. She presently resides in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island and joyously shares the fruits of her training through performances and teaching as Director of Lila Music Centre in Duncan, B.C.

On February 10th, the day after this concert, Cari will be hosting in Summerland a Vocal Training Workshop for adults and teens from 1 – 3 pm. The workshop is geared towards those who love to sing and harmonize but want to dive in and explore rhythm, musical structure, harmonies, resonance and blending.

Don’t miss Cari and her Ensemble on their Valentine themed tour, “Sweet Love”.

“Dancing” duo on piano and cello prove live music is magic
by Penelope Johnson

Passionate expressions, balletic graceful arms, muscular hands, caressing fingertips, joyful energy. Something utterly magical occurred onstage at the recent South Okanagan Concert Society presentation: dancers sat down and played the piano and cello. One might be forgiven for thinking the Cheng2Duo had Russian ballet in their blood.

Silvie Cheng, 26, on piano and her brother Bryan Cheng, 20, on cello held the audience spellbound through an evening of “Russian Soul”, celebrating the music of such Slavic giants, as Prokofiev and Rachmaninoff. As Bryan revealed in a charming anecdote, he has been trained and mentored by Russian teachers, and has developed a “Moscow sound”. The Chengs have been playing together as siblings for fourteen years and touring professionally as Cheng2Duo (pronounced Cheng Squared Duo) for the last six. Do the math on that one. Among their numerous individual awards and accolades, the duo has recently been named by CBC as one of Canada’s “30 Hot Classical Musicians Under 30”.

The Cheng Squared program alternated between dramatic sonatas and short romantic pieces. The duo opened with a piece perfectly suited to their sibling relationship: Prokofiev’s Sonata in C Major. As Sylvie described in their introduction, the music is a “witty and mischievous conversation” between the two instruments. Like a watchful older sister, the piano took the lead in tempo and musical theme. Then like an irrepressible younger brother, the impish cello broke in with virtuosic brilliance.

Those tempted to close their eyes to listen missed the reason why nothing matches a live concert. The concert was as much about the athletic as the aural. Commanding centre stage, Bryan Cheng gave a riveting performance, pouring his energy into the bow and strings. His long lithe bowing released deep tones like golden honey. Then, moods shifting like sun and cloud on his face, he would bend to passionately “pizz” (pluck) the strings, tossing his head rhythmically with every note. On lush pieces by Scriabin (Romance), Arensky (Petit Ballade), Glazunov (Chant Du Menestrel) and Faure (Apres un reve), he lovingly massaged every vibrato, with his audience scarcely daring to breathe until even the shadow of a final note had died away. His artistry was as much a pas de deux with his cello as it was a musical performance.

Like a ballerina en pointe, Sylvie Cheng was precise, agile, but never lightweight. Dancing over the keys, her playing appeared so like delicate raindrops of sound, it needed a close look to see her fingers were actually touching the keyboard. And yet in the final movement of Rachmaninoff’s Sonata in Gm, with its rippling virtuosic passages for piano, Sylvie’s athletic playing received enthusiastic applause that brought the audience to its feet, demanding an encore.

The magic of live music returns to the Frank Venables Theatre on Friday February 9 when Cari Burdett’s rich mezzo voice stirs the heart with an evening of dramatic cabaret-style song. Cari and her ensemble shift seamlessly between gypsy jazz, folk, musical theatre, light opera, and world music. This sensual performance, presented by the South Okanagan Concert Society, is perfect for a Valentine gift. Tickets available online at or Tuesdays to Thursdays from the Venables box office (250) 498-1626.