Yanis Khamsi's blog

Robert Randolph & Kenny Wayne Shepherd

When Robert Randolph and the Family Band took the stage, I was wondering if had been some form of miscommunication. I thought to myself, "Where is everyone?"

I was expecting than the 200-some people who enthusiastically cheered as Randolph began his set with unaccompanied blues soloing. When he and I spoke on the phone, Randolph said the Toronto audience could expect "almost being at a Sly and the Family Stone show or a Jimi Hendrix show."

Deborah Cox & Melissa Etheridge

This was no ordinary jazz concert.

Thousands gathered in Nathan Phillips Square to kick off World Pride. Premier Kathleen Wynne made a surprise appearance to anoint the festival, promising to make Ontario the most accepting place on earth for the LGBTQ community.

The atmosphere was lively, though the crowd's enthusiasm made some of the guest speakers difficult to understand at times.

Chaka Khan & Shemekia Copeland

What a way to kick off the festival!

While the rest of Toronto indulged in the World Cup and NXNE, there was a small yet passionate crowd at Kool Haus to see Chaka Khan and opener Shemekia Copeland.

Copeland is a 35 year-old blues singer reminiscent of the soul powerhouses of Stax Records. Her band proved more than capable of delivering the blues, in particular guitarist Arthur Neilson, with whom Copeland has been touring with for 16 years.

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