|Don Breithaupt and Shelly McPherson|
|Don Breithaupt and Wallis Giunta|
CANADA DAY AT JOE'S PUB
As a child we couldn't understand why Canada and the United States weren't the same country. Our South of the Border neighbor was perceived as exotic--different music, different language, different food. But Canadians spoke the same language, listened to similar music, and ate meat and potatoes (we had not yet heard of poutine).
In adulthood we traveled to Montreal, skied at Whistler-Blackcomb, and visited Toronto which seemed to be just like New York--only cleaner and nicer. They even had lots of immigrants just like us.
Well, we still have no definitive answer. Perhaps it's just politics that establishes boundaries but being in a crowd of Canadians celebrating Canada Day felt completely comfortable--only the flag is different and we were just as happy to wave the little red and white paper flag with the maple leaf.
Perhaps it's time for embarrassing confessions. At times when the United States was on the world's shit list, we sported a Canadian pin on our parka and pretended to be Canadian. In Paris, our French could not quite measure up but our accent was so much better than the typical American's that we copped to being Quebeçois.
The place to be last night to celebrate Canada Day was at Joe's Pub in the Public Theater where The Brothers Breithaupt presented a concert of music written by Canadians or performed by Canadians or even music performed by American bands led by a Canadian. Such is our international brotherhood that most people would not have observed the distinction.
The artist on the program best known to us is international opera superstar Wallis Giunta who sings at The Metropolitan Opera and all over Europe, as well as in Canada. What we did not know about Ms. Giunta is that she hails from Ottowa and had a career as a singer in a jazz band before she studied opera. Last night she astonished us with a performance of "Calling All Angels" ( a Train song) that was deeply felt and immensely listenable. That gal really knows her way around a microphone!
Shelley McPherson likewise knows how to put a song across and did a sensational job with "Heart Beat is a Love Beat". We have heard her do cabaret before and always enjoy her performances.
Jay Sun was also a welcome presence whom we enjoyed previously. Many of the performers were well known to those more familiar with popular music than we are. But we did recognize covers of songs by several of the bands from our youth--Blood Sweat and Tears, Earth Wind and Fire, The Band, and Guess Who. Also represented was Rufus Wainwright, composer of an opera Prima Donna which we enjoyed far more than other critics had.
Jeff Breithaupt served engagingly as Master of Ceremonies with brother Don as Music Director. His fine work at the keyboard was augmented by a very energetic band with lots of brass.
We would be remiss not to mention the very funny Ophira Eisenberg who warmed up the crowd before the music even began. It was a very lively and happy crowd packed into the room for two shows. We were happy to help celebrate. We feel like a "short stack" with some real Canadian maple syrup right this very minute. Maybe hold the poutine.
(c) meche kroop