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Occurs on Tuesday April 30 2024

Approximate running time: 2 hours


The Concert Hall At Victoria Hall
55 King St. W.
Cobourg Ontario K9A 2M2

Event Notes


Ken Prue/a Loft Production presents: Jane Bunnett and MAQUEQUE Live in Concert

Tuesday, April 30, 2024 at 7:00 pm

Concert Hall at Victoria Hall

Playing With Fire, is a musical landmark and a celebration of more than ten years of Jane Bunnett and Maqueque.

The idea for Maqueque (Mah-Kay-Kwey) came out of a jam session at the Cohiba Hotel in Havana. After meeting and hearing a couple of very young Cuban female musicians, the legendary Jane Bunnett was inspired to take a detour from her regular band (Spirits of Havana) and create a project with some of the finest women graduates from the Conservatory.

"There was boundless creative energy there...but not many places to play" said Jane. 'We also realized that many of the girls at the conservatories were not encouraged to "take the stage" in the male dominated scene. We witnessed this first hand while taking music technicians, Jazz materials and instruments to Cuba for the conservatories through our longtime musical incentive Spirit of Music (an organization that assists Cuba’s conservatories). To help solve this issue we created a performance opportunity, which became the all-female ensemble, Maqueque.

Maqueque is a co-operative featuring women players from Cuba, and now a brilliant vocalist Joanna Majoko (from Zimbabwe) The band has won a Juno Award, a Grammy nomination and has toured Europe, Latin America, and North America. They have played all the major clubs and festivals including Newport, Monterey, Saratoga, and have done a yearly week-long residency at the legendary Birdland in New York City.

Downbeat Magazine called Maqueque one of the Top Ten Touring Groups in the USA. NPR created a feature titled “The New Queens Of Afro Cuban Jazz" for their award-winning series Jazz Night In America with Christian Mcbride. The group appeared on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts.

Playing with Fire is a stunning example of the strength and beauty of the evolution of Jane Bunnett and Maqueque. The newest member is also the youngest - Daniela Olano,19 year old violinist and composer, is the little sister of pianist and founding member of Maqueque, Danae Olano. Her composition "Daniela’s Theme” is a highlight on Playing With Fire.

This album also features a very special guitarist, Donna Grantis. Donna is an extraordinary guitar talent Donna who has spent many years with the band 3RDEYEGIRL, the backing trio for Prince, who, unknown to many, had a home in Toronto. Donna was a member of Prince's band until his death and provided much of the unique sound for his legendary all female trio.

Donna contributed three powerful pieces to this album: “A God Unknown,” “A Human Race” and “Sierra.” In addition to “Daniela’s Theme” are two reworkings of Jazz classics: “Tempus Fugit” by pianist Bud Powell and “Jump Monk” by Charles Mingus. This is the first complete project by new vocalist, Joanna Majoko, and she took the music to new heights with her improvisation. The electrifying rhythm section including (the 2 founding members pianist Danae Olano and drummer Yissy Garcia) along with bassist Tailin Marrero (who wrote the beautiful track “Bolero A Un Sueno") and percussionist Mary Paz are responsible for infusing Maqueque with absolute joy!

Reviewers have said great things about the album: "Playing with Fire is a stunning example of the strength and beauty of the evolution of Jane Bunnett and Maqueque.” writes the Boston Globe’s Jon Garelick. “Jane Bunnett and Maqueque utterly shatter the glass ceiling of Afro Cuban Jazz… There is still a way to go for women, but Jane Bunnett and Maqueque were there and participated passionately during this sea change in Jazz history."

Jane Bunnett, Order of Canada, was an international music phenomen long before she created Maqueque in 2014. Jane initially trained as a classical pianist but tendonitis caused her to shift to flute and saxophone at age 20. As soprano saxophonist, flautist and bandleader she gained international acclaim, won Juno Awards (4), Grammy nominations, and was made an officer of the Order of Canada. She performed and toured with her husband, Larry Cramer (trumpet) and became especially known for performing Afro-Cuban jazz, traveling regularly to Cuba to perform with Cuban musicians.(she opened the world to so many of them). When Jane created Maqueque her Afro-Cuban project became supercharged. Only the pandemic has slowed her Canada-Cuba connection, but only just a little. I feel so fortunate to have Jane Bunnett bring her musical power to our 'Women in Jazz' series. - Ken Prue

Tickets are $39 plus hst and service fee and available at the Concert Hall Box Office: 855-372-2210

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