With 4 Juno Awards and 10 Juno Award nominations between them, Bill Bourne, Lester Quitzau and Madagascar Slim are truly major players in the Canadian music scene. The artists are all close friends and the artistic respect for one another is evident when listening to the music which they have composed. Each musician has established himself as a respected artist in such musical genres as Folk, Celtic and World, but they all share an extreme passion for, and knowledge of, the blues. Sweet vocal harmonies and imaginative guitar playing are the hallmark of their music. With a mutual love of emotional collaboration and a great curiosity for where their music comes from, this trio of artists has created a body of work that is a product of faith, dreams, broken hearts, grit and most importantly, friendship.
A biography of Bill would have to start about four generations ago with his great grandfather and Iceland's Poet Laureate. Crafting words in his family helped to add the magic ingredient to the mix. In the eighties Bill did a three year stint with Scotland`s well known Tannahill Weavers. Out of that grew his relationship with Alan Macleod that lead to the release of the ground breaking album "Dance & Celebrate" followed by "Moonlight Dancers". Bill`s endless drive to write and perform soon saw his return to familiar, and for him, fertile ground of music autonomy. His next collaboration was with violinist/fiddler Shannon Johnson which produced two critically acclaimed albums,"Dear Madonna" and the 1997 Juno nominated album "Victory Train". The ground continued to be fertile and that year saw the release of the solo album "Farmer, Philanthropist & Musician" followed by a collaboration with guitarist Andreas Schuld and blues man Hans Stamer to release the country blues project "No Special Rider".
Canadian roots music artist Lester Quitzau, is a mellow guy who throws down a heavy groove. In a field where intangibles like feel and integrity count for so much, Quitzau has forged an exemplary career. What began with a solid blues apprenticeship in the funky working-class bars of Edmonton has grown into an eclectic and constantly evolving musical journey for the guitarist, singer, composer and producer. Whether he's coaxing languid, hypnotic sounds from his slide guitar in an intimate solo concert, or improvising freely with musical partners like Bill Bourne and Madagascar Slim, or his latest band, Lester Quitzau's Very Electric Trio, a hard-won honesty underscores every note.
Randriamananjara Radofa Besata Jean Longin was born in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar. At the age of nine, his brother got a guitar. By imitating his brother and playing his guitar when he was not home, Mr. Longin picked up the Madagascar dance style called salegy. An introduction to Jimi Hendrix on the radio changed his life and Madagascar Slim, as he prefers to be known professionally, was born. An immersion in blues as well as the popular music of his own country created a bicultural artist. When he arrived in Canada in 1979, Slim studied accounting, but he was more interested in music. In 1980, he was a founding member of the French-Canadian folk music ensemble La Ridaine - yet another cultural expression. For the most part, however, Slim plays blues and, increasingly, the music of Madagascar. A trip home through a study grant a few years ago allowed him to study the valiha, the bamboo zither of the Malgache. By combining his love of the blues and his roots in Madagascar, Slim has fashioned his very own approach to world music - infectious, passionate and full of complex rhythms that surprise and delight.
The Cowichan Valley Regional District is a broad geographic region stretching from the Malahat to North Oyster and from the Cowichan Lake to Thetis Island.
The region's artists are represented by 5 sub-regional arts councils with support from the CVRD Arts and Culture Division