Local business supports local vocalists

Coffee Cats hosts
vocal jazz series

By Amanda Ducheminsky
 

 Mary Boyes performs on opening night of the six week Diva/Divo local jazz series.  

Mary Boyes performs on opening night of the six week Diva/Divo local jazz series.  

A sold out crowd sipped and snapped at one of Killarney’s oldest coffee shops on Friday night for an intimate local jazz vocalist performance. The evening was one the first of six live Diva/Divo shows to take place at Coffee Cats on the corner of 27th & 17th.

The collaborative community initiative traces back to when Coffee Cats owner, Lozena Dukic, first opened her doors to local performers.

“Lots of my customers are musicians. We started years ago, with other artists, playing all kinds of music. Then I started with Viviane Cardinal Martin. She used to live here. People just love her. We were doing that a couple of times a year, and she said, ‘There are more and more people asking for performances here. Should we do it?’ I said, ‘Yes! Yes, for sure. It’s good for them; it’s good for my business, to bring people in; and it’s good for the community.”

 Lozena Dukic (middle) with her staff on the night of the show. She has owned and operated the local community cafe, Coffee Cats, for 17 years. 

Lozena Dukic (middle) with her staff on the night of the show. She has owned and operated the local community cafe, Coffee Cats, for 17 years. 

Viviane is a nationally recognized Calgary performer and vocal coach, who has helped numerous musicians pursue their passion, including local jazz vocalist and Killarney resident, Mary Boyes.

Having performed on larger stages for festivals, Mary says that “it can be a special thing” singing in a smaller venue.

In a room of 40 people, Mary is able to better “connect with the audience,” while feeding of their appreciation and attentiveness. The closeness also allows her to “have a little more fun with the fans,” whether she changes up the timing or incorporates sing-alongs. “You can talk to people, and enjoy the setting.”

Mary and Vivian are a part of a group called the Calgary Women in Jazz Collective who focus on highlighting vocal jazz. Their annual shows, in support of International Women’s Day, often sell out, with fans following them from venue to venue.

“We have a rich jazz culture in Calgary, and I would say it’s growing all the time. It’s really come along way. Amongst all of the performances in the city, Jazz YYC also puts on unique Jazz Walks in Inglewood, which are lots of fun,” Mary says.

Known for its improvisation and swing/bluesy undertones, jazz really makes you feel like you’re flying through the clouds on a punchy breeze of whimsy, nostalgia, and emotion. Mary resonates with this feeling, admiring jazz’s “poignant lyrics” and the way artists can “take a song and make it their own.”

“I’ve always sung at school and stuff. When I was about 17, I saw a movie called Lady Sings the Blues. It was about Billy Holiday. I heard a lot of the jazz standard spin in that movie, and got really interested in it, because of that.”

If you would like to explore the sweet sounds of jazz, $15 tickets for the remaining Coffee Cats shows can be purchased in house or through 403-240-1842. While, the next Calgary Women of Jazz Collective performance is set for March 8, 2018 at Lolita’s Lounge. For a full list of jazz events happening around the city visit Jazz YYC’s website.

Viviane’s 2003 album is titled I Know a Thing, while Mary’s 2010 album The Water’s of March is available on iTunes. Mary also recommends the following collections for new jazz adopters to check out:

·         Chet Baker - Chet Baker Sings

·         Ella Fitzgerald - Ella in Rome, The Birthday Concert

·         Shirley Horn - But Beautiful

·         Jimmy Scott - Dream