GRAMMY nominees and JUNO award winners, seeing The Duhks live is nothing short of a spiritual experience. One of the most musically adventurous bands to come from the roots scene in the past decade, The Duhks return to the stage with their original, grammy nominated lineup, is definitely a cause for celebration.
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GRAMMY nominated and JUNO award winning roots fusion supergroup, The Duhks, are delighted to return to the stage with their original, award winning lineup. Seeing the Duhks live is nothing short of a spiritual experience — they are one of the most musically adventurous and theatrically energetic bands to emerge from the roots music scene in a decade. Their ability to synthesize Old time, French Canadian and Celtic music, and punch it up with shades of pop, blues, soul, and driving Afro Cuban rhythms creates an experience that leaves crowds in an uproar. The Duhks (pronounced Ducks) are hailed by critics from the New York Times, Boston Globe, Paste Magazine, NPR and more, and have won admirers in fellow musicians as diverse as David Crosby, Dolly Parton and Doc Watson. Since forming in Winnipeg in 2001 they have produced four critically-acclaimed albums, earned Juno and GRAMMY awards and nominations, and have played a significant role in the neo-folk revival.
The Duhks in 2020 will feature the original award winning lineup- Jessee Havey on vocals, Leonard Podolak on banjo, Tania Elizabeth on fiddle and harmony vocals, and Jordan McConnell on guitar with rotating percussionists. Scott Senior will also be available on percussion for select dates.
The Duhks show eclectic mix of musical influences
CEDAR RAPIDS — The Duhks returned to CSPS, 1103 Third St. SE, on Sunday with the Canadian band’s eclectic mix of musical influences on display. Despite a shuffled lineup — including a new fiddle player performing just her ninth show with the band — The Duhks were in fine form, delighting a near-capacity crowd.
Leonard Podolak, founding member and group leader, had five banjos on hand, explaining that he needs them because of the different tunings he employs during a concert. Podolak played with energy and skill. He beautifully blends his playing with that of his band mates — not always an easy trick with an instrument with such a distinct sound. Late in the show, he also gave a little hambone clinic, getting the audience up on its feet to participate.
Podolak handles some of the vocals, but lead singer Jessee Havey — an original member who returned to the band in recent years — is the primary vocalist. Her voice is warm and her phrasing is impeccable no matter the style of music. With style and grace, she delivered everything from the blues to spirituals to songs that could easily slip into country radio rotation.
Fiddler Anna Lindblad hails from Sweden and has been with the band a very short time, but you’d never know that if it hadn’t been mentioned from the stage. She matched her mates throughout the show, including nailing a tricky unison passage with Podolak on an early Duhks tune. The fact that Podolak had known the song for years and she’d known it for far less time didn’t faze her in the least.
Winnipeg folk favourites The Duhks still get nerves on hometown stage
Leonard Podolak has been making music for a long time, but it doesn’t stop the nerves from showing up when a Winnipeg stop rolls around.
The clawhammer banjo-strumming founder of Winnipeg folk favourites The Duhks said no matter how many cities the band ventures into, the Winnipeg shows still manage to generate some butterflies.
“The West End (Cultural Centre) is a special place for me,” Podolak said. “There’s a really great new crew in there that run the place and there’s a very good vibe around that venue. It’s always just great to come back. I used to vacuum the hall and change the set up when I was, like, 14 so it’s always an emotional return. Because we don’t play there so often, that enhances it.”
The Duhks bring their meandering North American tour to the WECC on Jan. 8 to promote their album “Beyond the Blue”, released in June. Vocalist Jessee Havey joins Podolak along with A279;bandmates Kevin Garcia, Colin Savoie-Levac and Anna Lindblad, a lineup that has shuffled many times over the years, most notably with the recent departure of Tania Elizabeth, who had an offer she couldn’t refuse to go play with folk sensations The Avett Brothers. Elizabeth appears on the album along with Rosie Newton, who had other projects she too went on to pursue. Lindblad, the Swedish fiddler, will make her debut at the Winnipeg show.
“She plays all the traditions The Duhks do,” Podolak said. “She’s totally another perfect fit. With Colin and Anna and Kevin, Jessee and I are extremely excited to be creative again and just build on this new release.”
Rebuilding a Duhks Dynasty
Jessee Havey remembers the day she took the Duhk call like it was … well … 2011.
Four years after leaving the Duhks, one of the Canadian neo-folk scene’s most influential roots acts, the stunning songbird was sitting in the backseat of a taxicab heading toward her day job as school administrator at the Manitoba Theatre for Young People in Winnipeg.
Leonard Podolak, who had known Havey since she was a baby, was phoning with a proposition. The founder, frontman and clawhammer banjo player of the Duhks (rhymes with shucks) had to know: Would she “be into” returning to the band she joined fresh out of high school?
“And I immediately, before I could even say anything, tears started streaming down my face and I was, ‘Yes, I want my band back! Yes!’ ” Havey enthusiastically recalled over the phone last month from her home in Winnipeg….
|Michael Bialas, The Huffington Post
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