NEWS & INTERVIEWS
Trumpeter Robbie Smith helps make dreams come true in Holland with Candye Kane and Friends during United by Music Tour. Read the full story by Pat Sherman.
- Teri Conrad.
United by a love of music
Blues singer Candye Kane's tour aims to blur the lines between people with disabilities and the general population
By Pat Sherman | firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Blues chanteuse Candye Kane has been paying her dues for 20 years, baring her soul in backwater beer joints and at the request of foreign dignitaries. Her trademark blend of candor, craft and showmanship has earned her seven San Diego Music Awards.
Any would-be blues diva wishing to upstage the Oceanside resident should be prepared for a fight.That is, unless your name happens to be "Lady Angel." The aspiring Dutch blues singer was one of three young adults with disabilities to join Kane and her band on a 12-city tour of the Netherlands from Oct. 26 to Nov. 12. Kane confesses she had met her match.
"(Lady Angel) was definitely a narcissist," Kane said with a laugh.
"During the program she would run up (on stage) and stand in front of everyone. When I would try to sing with her, she would stand right in front of me
- and she did not want to share her mike."
Titled United By Music, the tour included Kane's son, drummer Evan Caleb; bassist Bill Stuve; saxophonist Johnny Ferreira; harmonica player Billy Watson; pianist Sue Palmer; trumpeter Robbie Smith; and guitarist Heine Andersen.
In each city, the band performed at a facility for people with physical and mental challenges such as autism and Down syndrome. Before Kane's arrival, three young adults with disabilities auditioned for the chance to be part of her splashy blues show, each performing two songs per night. At the end of the show, audience members with disabilities, some of whom auditioned for the tour, were invited on stage to join the finale.
"That was kind of the funnest part
- to have all these people up there with big smiles on their faces dancing and feeling the groove," Kane said.
Kane's fledgling blues crew spoke and sang in English, which helped them take direction from the band.
"English is a language that crosses barriers," Kane said.
"MTV and the television shows that these kids are watching - many of them are in English."
Palmer said that working with the young adults was easier than she expected."Maybe it took a little bit longer and a little bit more prompting
... (but) they were so sweet and giving," Palmer said. "The only thing we wanted from them really and truly was to follow the arrangements."
Kane devised the tour with Dutch financial planner Joris van Wijngaarden, of Sliedrecht, the Netherlands. He had hired Kane to play a private party at a facility for the disabled in Sliedrecht last summer. Before her show, Kane noticed a group of residents performing in another room."I was surprised that some of the kids could actually sing and seemed very talented," she said.
"During my show, some of those kids were standing around watching, so I (pulled) them up onstage to sing."
Positive response in a local newspaper prompted Kane and van Wijngaarden to collaborate on the United By Music tour.
"My job was to assemble a group of musicians that I thought could handle it," Kane said.
"Joris assembled a group of people who volunteered to take care of the van, to cook the food and to provide transportation for the kids."
The winners, Arthur De Kort, Lady Angel and Miss Moon, each received 8-by-10 glossy photos.
"They got to go out into the crowd every night and sign autographs," Kane said.
"I bought them stage clothes to really dress them up like divas."Each of the three young adults on the tour was given a list of 20 songs they could chose from, including blues standards and Kane's originals.
"One girl chose two of my songs, and the other girl wrote two excellent blues songs of her own, which was exciting," Kane said.
"One boy, Arthur, did "Minnie the Moocher" and "Stormy Monday Blues" each night. He was fabulous."
Smith, a former Escondido resident, had a
special connection with Arthur. "I wrote the arrangements for his songs,"
Smith said. "It really meant a lot to me because it made his little dream
come true to sing those songs that he heard from the movies."
To keep the disabled singers focused, Kane would stand at the front of the stage and coach them.
"I gave them little cues," Kane said.
"If they had any trepidation or got nervous, they could look at me and I was mouthing the words."By the second week, Kane said, the singers needed almost no assistance. "From the first night they were really struggling and nervous, and by the end of it they were very polished," she said. The experience was an education for Kane and her band.
"One of the girls got very upset because her schedule was interrupted," Kane said.
"She was banging her head against the wall and biting herself. She was probably the most articulate one, but you'd be alone with her she'd suck her thumb and have her bag of crayons and her activity books. They look like they're regular adults, but they really are emotionally much, much younger."
The shows were open to the public and drew music fans from towns where they performed. The ultimate objective, Kane said, was to blur the lines between people with disabilities and the general population.
one point during a television interview that we did, (a reporter) walked up
to Arthur and said, "What's it like to work with special needs kids?" Kane said.
"The reporter didnt even realize that he was someone with a disability. That was a really incredible moment. Music is a great equalizer."
Kane said she hopes to start a similar tour in the U.S.
"We'd love to hear from people who work in the health care profession or with disabled kids who would be interested in helping us bring this kind of program to the U.S." she said.
Reach reporter Pat Sherman at (760) 752-6774.
# # #
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
"ROBBIE TRUMPET" SMITH RELEASES INSTRUMENTAL CD
LONG BEACH, Calif. - (July 13, 2006) - Robbie Smith today announced the official release of his new CD titled
"Spanish Mist." This latest CD includes instrumental Jazz spiced with modern Latin influences, and is written, arranged, and performed by Robbie Smith. From the heartfelt song
"Recuerdo A Mi Padre" to the fiery rhythms of "Bullfighter's Serenade," Robbie's trumpet playing has an exquisite quality and unique style, which will leave you wanting more!
A Southern California native, Robbie currently makes his home in Long Beach and gigs steadily in the San Diego area. You can find him playing with such bands as Blue Largo, The Players, Sue Palmer and Her Motel Swing Orchestra, Jonny Viau and The Blues Allstars, and The Modern Jazz Majestics, with occasional guest appearances with 2000 Lbs of Blues, and the Fabulous Ultratones. His sound is pure, simple, and perfectly executed!
Robbie Smith completed a world tour with Blues Diva Candye Kane from 1998
- 2008, and has appeared on The Penn and Teller Show, Donny and Marie, Roseanne, and various European television entertainment shows. He has played with Blues Bands, Swing Bands, Big Bands, Jazz Ensembles, and Top 40s Groups.
Robbie Smith's CDs are available through various online retailers such as CDBaby, Amazon, and Tower Records. For additional information, or to hear sample clips, please visit www.robbietrumpet.com.
For booking information contact:
# # #
Robbie Smith's "Robbie's Rhumba" included on Big City Blues Compilation CD!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ROBBIE "TRUMPET" SMITH RELEASES DEBUT CD
"WORKIN' LIKE A DOG"
"HORN PLAYER EXTRAORDINAIRE SHOWS OFF VOCAL TALENT"
"HORN PLAYER SIDEMAN EMERGES TO THE FRONT"
Calif. - (July 13, 2004) - Robbie Smith says, "He's been 'Workin' Like A Dog
'to release his debut CD.' This long awaited CD, features the sassy, smooth, toe-tapping, soulful swing, jumpin' blues and sexy latin music, written and performed by the
"horn player extraordinaire. The charismatic Smith produced and arranged the music, surrounding himself with an accomplished cast of musicians to help him realize his vision.
Robbie Smith is a true performer in every sense of the word, having toured all over the world with Candye Kane and the Swinging Armadillos, and making television appearances on The Penn and Teller Show, Donny and Marie, Roseanne, and various European entertainment shows. He has played with Blues Bands, Swing Bands, Big Bands, Jazz Ensembles, and Top 40s Groups. Obtaining inspiration from the most prominent of trumpet influences, such as Chet Baker, Clifford Brown, and Maynard Ferguson, blended with the stylistic influences of Louis Prima, Louis Jordan and Wynonie Harris. His trumpet playing has an exquisite quality and unique style, which will leave you wanting more!
A Southern California native, Robbie currently makes his home in Long Beach and gigs steadily in the San Diego area. You can find Robbie playing with such bands as Blue Largo, The Players, Sue Palmer and Her Motel Swing Orchestra, Jonny Viau and The Blues Allstars, The Modern Jazz Majestics, Big Band Express, and 2000 Lbs of Blues. When asked about his singing debut, Robbie says,
"It's something I've always wanted to try," although he considers himself
"a trumpet player who sings, not a singer who plays trumpet." His sound is pure, simple, and perfectly executed!
To hear clips from and/or buy his CD check out: www.cdbaby.com/robbiesmith or visit his website.
For additional information, please contact: