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Lillian
Lillian Simmons
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Award winning musician first in Carbonear showcase series

Over the next few months, the Princess Sheila NaGeira theatre in Carbonear plans to celebrate some of the town's homegrown musical talent in a series of showcases.

The theatre board's chairman Ches Ash says, "there are a number of musicians, like Duane Andrews and Jenny Gear, who we hope to feature. But the others haven't been contacted yet," he adds.

Carbonear - Over the next few months, the Princess Sheila NaGeira theatre in Carbonear plans to celebrate some of the town's homegrown musical talent in a series of showcases.

The theatre board's chairman Ches Ash says, "there are a number of musicians, like Duane Andrews and Jenny Gear, who we hope to feature. But the others haven't been contacted yet," he adds.

The series will continue until late spring and ticket prices will remain the same for each show.

Ash says the theatre hopes to feature all professional musicians who've been "very successful on the provincial as well as national scene."

Duane Andrews got the showcase series rolling Saturday. An award-winning, internationally recognized guitarist, Andrews picked up four more awards at the MusicNL Conference in Gander hosted by the Music Industry Association of Newfoundland and Labrador earlier this month.

He just released his third album "Raindrops" and secured Album of the Year, Male Artist of the Year, Jazz/Blues Artist of the Year and the SOCAN Songwriter of the Year award for the song "DD's Blues."

"Raindrops" was released Nov. 7 at Hugh's Room in Toronto.

Andrews says the release celebrated a national distribution deal with Outside Music and the availability of the album in stores across the country.

His style has been described as a blend of Gypsy jazz (of legendary guitarist Django Reinhardt) and traditional Newfoundland music.

On "Raindrops" he adds another element - chamber music. The Atlantic String Quartet - Theo Weber, cello; Scott Chancey, viola; Nancy Cast-Oates, violin and Alison Black, violin - appear on five of the tracks.

Patrick Boyle, trumpet; Steve Hussey, rhythm guitar; Dave Row, bass; and Bill Brennan, vibraphone join Andrews on the album.

"It's all instrumental with a mix of those instruments on different tracks," Andrews says. "The music is a mix of some traditional Newfoundland tunes, some music from Django's repertoires and some of my own compositions, similar in material to the previous two albums ('Duane Andrews' and 'Crocus')."

He says "Raindrops" is actually the name of one of the tunes on the latest album.

"I learned it from Art Stoyles, the St. John's accordion player who has an incredible repertoire of accordion music he learned from the Portuguese. 'Raindrops' is one of the waltzes that Art plays."

Even though the piece is based on a traditional waltz, Andrews wrote the prelude working strings into the arrangement, featuring the Atlantic String Quartet.

"I'm really pleased, especially with the way that track came together. I think it really represents the concept of the album as it has some of the traditional Newfoundland music coming from the Portuguese influence," he explains. "That Portuguese accordion style is actually related to the French 'musette' style of music that Django used to play in the early 1900s.

"So that track kind of brings together all the main elements."

Organizations: Princess Sheila NaGeira theatre, Music Industry Association of Newfoundland and Labrador

Geographic location: Carbonear, Newfoundland, Gander Toronto St. John's

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