International musical duo coming to Sudbury

The Motley Kitchen will feature James Keelahan and Jez Lowe on March 19

The Motley Kitchen will feature a powerful international collaboration with James Keelahan and Jez Lowe on March 19. Supplied photo

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The Motley Kitchen will feature a powerful international collaboration with James Keelahan and Jez Lowe on March 19.

Born in Calgary, Keelaghan is now based in Perth, Ont. In 1994, he won the Juno for roots and traditional album of the year. Two subsequent albums in 1997 and 2007 were also nominated for the same award.

Keelaghan studied history at the University of Calgary and many of his songs concern historical events, such as the internment of Japanese Canadians; the 1970 FLQ October Crisis; and the 1940 Dunkirk evacuation of Allied troops during the Second World War.

“Keelaghan forges his pieces with brilliantly defined craftsmanship and artistic vision, making him one of the most distinctive voices of not only the Canadian scene, but also the international singer-songwriter community, with an international following from Australia to England and Scandinavia,” concert organizers said in a release. “His masterful storytelling, over the course of nine recordings, has been part of the bedrock of his success.”

He frequently works with other artists in his creative process. At the 1990 Northern Lights Festival Boréal, Keelaghan and guitarist Oscar Lopez first worked together in a workshop in Sudbury exploring the fusion of Celtic and Latin music. That relationship flourished and was followed by collaborations with Canadians Dave Gunning, David Francey, Oliver Schroer, Rose Cousins and the UK’s Jez Lowe, who is joining him for this tour.

Lowe’s standing in the UK folk and acoustic music scene was illustrated by his two nominations at the 2015 BBC Folk Awards – for best singer and best new song. Not only is he one of the busiest live performers in the country, but his songs are among the most widely sung by other performers, including Fairport Convention, The Dubliners, Bob Fox, The Unthanks and The Duhks.

Richard Thompson (named by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of the Top 20 Guitarists of All Time) has called him “the best singer-songwriter to come out of the UK for a long time”, and personally invited him to play at Thompson’s Meltdown Festival at London’s South Bank Centre in 2010.

Lowe has an ongoing involvement in the award-winning BBC series The Radio Ballads, with his song The Wrong Bus singled out for inclusion on Radio 4’s Pick of the Year last year, and five more of his contributions included in the BBC Radio broadcast featuring the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra in November 2019.

Keelaghan and Lowe began their partnership when they found themselves on the same touring circuit of Australian folk festivals in 1997. Their first formal tour together took place in 2001, a month-long haul across the United States and Canada. It is a partnership that has continued sporadically ever since.

Dinner and entertainment is $60, including HST. Show-only seats are $25 each. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30 p.m. Reservations can be made by calling The Motley Kitchen at 705-222-6685 and leaving a message.

Twitter: @SudburyStar