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Strong Women Strong Music 2016: Daphne Roubini

In preparation for the Strong Women Strong Music 2016 Benefit for the Atira Women’s Centre (details below), Karin Plato has been posting profiles of the artists involved with her Platonic Questionnaire – these are too good to simply evaporate on Facebook. Vocalist (and 1st lady of the Ukulele) Daphne Roubini will be one of the featured artists on March 10th @ Frankie’s:


Do you remember a concert that you attended that impacted you in a profound way?
My mum used to take me to classical concerts on a Saturday morning when I was about 4 or 5 years old. But the first concert I ever attended, that I specifically chose to see, was ‘Earth Wind & Fire’, I was about 8 years old. I was amazed at dynamic atmosphere, the harmonies, the matching white suits and indoor fireworks! I always wanted to sing and perform ever since I can remember but I fell in love with music, deeply that night. As for jazz gigs I think I would have to say hearing McCoy Tyner play in Camden, London one night will never leave me, pure beauty, perfect timing, and hearing greatness like that is life changing.

Could you name a music teacher or mentor who has influenced and inspired you?
My vocal coach, British Jazz Singer Ian Shaw, was a great mentor and teacher. Even in my shyest times, before I was singing in public he encouraged me to be myself and express what was unique about me, without comparison. I would also say that the Ukulele has been a great mentor and teacher for me, helping me over my shyness by keeping me company when I am performing! Sounds silly, but its true. Reminding me of the Joy of music rather than accomplishment.

Could you name a few artists whose recordings you enjoy listening to?
There are so many. To start I would say all the great Jazz vocalists of times past, from 1935 – 1950 Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughn, Peggy Lee to name a few. Then for instrumentalist I love Ahmad Jamal from his earlier years and I love the big bands of Duke Ellington and Count Basie. I also love more contemporary artists like Frazy Ford, Cyrille Aimee and Folk Singer Marlon Williams who are all current favourites.

Do you come from a musical family?
I would say no, However my mum recently told me that her mum used to sing and play the Mandolin. But there was a great record player, and as a kid ‘Swan Lake’ and ‘Carmen Jones’ were my favourite records. My dad was a great dancer so maybe that’s where I get my sense of rhythm. My mum said I was always humming around the house since I a toddler. I remember my dad buying me a Hitachi transistor radio when I was about 7 years and lying on the grass listening to the radio thinking, I’ll never be alone again, I’ll always have music.
Different kind of musical family I suppose.

Is there a famous musician you admire and if so why?
There are so many, I admire Duke Ellington for his beautiful writing, complex, simple melodies that have stood the test of time, his elegance and arranging always amaze me again and again. For Singers, Miss Billie Holiday, her innate sense of swing, phrasing, and conversational style have been a great influence on me.

Do you play any other instruments other than your main instrument?
I play the piano, well enough to work on songs but not to perform. I learned to read music by playing the piano. It was a good grounding for me before I found the Ukulele, which I also still have so much to learn!

What it is about performing music that you particularly enjoy?
Great question, I feel I am my authentic self in that moment, connected to the song, the musicians, myself, the elements, the audience. I love that sense of connection and sharing. Being in my truest nature.

Could you name a famous song that you wish you were the composer of?
I love visually rich songs where you are transported to another world, so it would have to be ‘Midnight Sun’. The instrumental was composed by Lionel Hampton and Sonny Burke in 1947 and Johnny Mercer subsequently wrote the lyrics. The lyrics perfectly matching the magical chromatic falling of the melody line.

If you were able to share coffee, conversation and a duet with an influential female musician who would that person be?
Good question. I’ll have to think about that. Emily Remler, I love her playing, her sense of space and swing. She really knew when to play and when not to. I would love to have met her and played with her.

Advice to young aspiring musicians?
I would say remember your drive to play comes from a deep authenticity of who you are, keep dropping into that space and let the music come from there, you’ll enjoy the journey a whole lot more, and after all that’s what it’s all about. Be who you really are in the world regardless of how you are perceived by others. Keep dropping into yourself, and breathe, yes make sure you breathe. I often think that a bird doesn’t think about singing, it’s an instinct, that’s what I think being a singer/musician is, to be authentically yourself. Plus remember other people’s experiences aren’t yours so always hope, intend and visualize the best outcomes for anything you do!


Help us celebrate 10 years of Strong Women Strong Music!

In celebration of International Women’s Day join us on the 8th, 10th and 11th of March for the 10th annual Strong Women Strong Music concert series, featuring West Coast’s most prominent women jazz musicians singing up support for Enterprising Women Making Art (EWMA), a program of Atira Women’s Resource Society. Revel in the voices and music of these talented artists while investing in the soul and spirit of the Downtown Eastside, where EWMA helps art and empowerment bloom.

One hundred percent of all proceeds will go to EWMA. For more than thirteen years EWMA has provided safe, income-generating opportunities for women in the Downtown Eastside free from exploitation, abuse and other vulnerabilities.

This year we are delighted to be partnering with Vancouver Coastal Jazz. With their support we have been able to extend the concert to three nights and to use their fantastic location Frankie’s Jazz Club, where food will also be available. The Strong Women Strong Music Concerts are part of a month long celebration of women in jazz.

Mar 8 – Jennifer Scott, Laura Crema, Jaclyn Guillou, Jen Hodge, Sharon Minemoto, Karen Graves
Mar 10 – Karin Plato, Kate Hammett-Vaughan, Daphne Roubini, Jillian Lebeck, Geeta Das, Wendy Solloway
Mar 11 – Leora Cashe, Dawn Aitken, Andrea Superstein, Diane Lines, Wendy Solloway, Mili Hong

Location: Frankie’s Jazz Club, 765 Beatty St, Vancouver, BC
Time: 8pm-10pm – Performances start at 8pm.
Tickets: $20

Reservations for Frankie’s:
Admission at the door

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