Rita Chiarelli (D. Brian Campbell photo)

Juno award winning ‘goddess of the blues’ opens BV Concert Association’s 57th season

Rita Chiarelli and her three-octave voice is in Smithers Oct. 4.

The Bulkley Valley Concert Association (BVCA) opens their 57th season at the Della Herman Theatre on Thursday, Oct. 4 with the return of Rita Chiarelli. Her “leave-it-all-on-the-floor” Sunday afternoon performance at Midsummer Festival some years back is legendary.

Rita Chiarelli is Canada’s most highly acclaimed female roots and blues artist. With a Juno award and four subsequent Juno nominations, she is known across Canada as the “Goddess of the Blues.” Chiarelli is a gifted songwriter and an entertaining performer, but it is her soaring three-octave voice that sets her apart from her peers, inspires awe and often tears in her audiences, and causes critics to gush.

Chiarelli is anything but predictable. Over the past five years she has released Cuore, a recording of traditional Italian folk songs, which won the World Music category at the prestigious Canadian Folk Music Awards; Uptown Goes Downtown Tonight, a highly acclaimed collaboration with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra; and Music From the Big House, an award winning documentary movie filmed in Louisiana at Angola prison, which premiered in New York and L.A.

As if creating beautiful music wasn’t enough, Rita has entered the film world by starring in the critically acclaimed Music From The Big House. She also developed the original concept for the film, one that takes Rita on a pilgrimage to the birthplace of the blues, Louisiana State Maximum Security Penitentiary a.k.a Angola Prison. She never imagined that her love of the blues would lead her to a historic jailhouse performance with inmates serving life sentences.

Her most recent release is the critically praised Music From The Big House Soundtrack, recorded Live with the musical inmates of Angola Prison as seen in the film and featuring Ritas gut-wrenching performance of These Four Walls.

Over the past decade Rita Chiarelli has won every major Canadian blues award, including multiple Maple Blues awards, CBCs Great Canadian Blues Award, Toronto Independent Music Awards, Hamilton Music Awards, Manitoba Blues Society and the Hamilton Blues Societys Lifetime Achievement Awards. Most recently Rita was awarded the prestigious Maple Blues With A Feeling Award for Lifetime Achievement. In 2017, Rita was honoured to be selected as the Artist In Residence at the Folk Alliance International Conference in Kansas City.

Showing no signs of slowing down, Chiarelli continues to tour incessantly in North America and Europe. She comes to the Bulkley Valley on the heels of her performances at the Baden Blues Festival in Switzerland and the Brasov Jazz & Blues Festival in Transylvania with her all female R&B band, Sweet Loretta. For her Smithers appearance, Rita is joined by three Sweet Loretta members, (“awesome musicians who are also women”) : Emily Burgess on guitar; Lauren Falls on double bass; and Elena Kapelaris blowing her tenor sax.

Individual tickets for Rita Chiarelli (ritachiarelli.com) are on sale now at Mountain Eagle Books: Adults $25, seniors (60-plus) $20, youth (under 18) $16. If not sold out, tickets will also be available at the door.

A limited (125) number of season tickets are on sale until Oct. 4: $90 for all five fabulous shows in the 2018/19 series. Individual ticket sales for performances after Oct. 4 will commence on Oct. 5. Season brochures are available at Mountain Eagle Books, the Smithers Public Library, the Tyhee Market in Telkwa and other outlets around the valley. Contact the BVCA at bvca.me, facebook.com/BVConcertAssociation; bvconcertassociation@gmail.com.

BVCA wishes to acknowledge the assistance provided by our funders, partners and sponsors: The Province of BC, BC Arts Council, BC Touring Council; Government of Canada, Canadian Heritage; H&R Block & The Interior News.

–Submitted article

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