Pat Blythe – The Mariposa Experience….Part Three…..Eddie Bullen….a Hootenanny and More…..

It’s been a busy Tuesday. It’s the last day with my daughter Colleen. A cappuccino and croissant at Zane’s, the local bakery, and then she’s off to catch her 1:30pm train back to Ottawa after a five-day stay here. At the end of the month it’s back to Thailand for her until summer next year. Later, at precisely 4pm it was tea time.  I enjoyed the company of a friend over for a “British” tea of Welsh cakes, crumpets and Yorkshire Red. What is it about sharing a cuppa….the comfortable, companionable feeling you get whilst draining your second or third cup (or pot) and having a lovely chat. It’s oh so……..British…….and oh so relaxing. It’s the best way to catch up or get to know someone. Will that be one lump or two…….?

Our host with the most…Eddie Bullen

This is supposed to be the third in the Mariposa series, however, there are a couple of other shows I’d like to mention. First is the Smooth Jazz Cruise on August 10 hosted by Eddie Bullen. Bullen has been arranging these Toronto harbour cruises for about 15 years now and this year’s, like last year’s, was sold out. Four hundred people on board eating, dancing and singing. What a blast. Joining Bullen’s band (Andrew Stewart on bass and Otis Williams on drums) were powerhouse singers Liberty Silver and Michael Dunstan along with Snarky Puppy drummer Larnell Lewis providing a few beats, guitarist Jeremy Hector and surprise guest singer Kolette Easy while Quincy Bullen stepped in to offer a few guitar licks of his own. The weather was perfect, sunset gorgeous, food delicious….it was a fantastic evening with a boatload of very happy people.

Toronto….alive with colour

l-r – Eddie Bullen, Jeremy Hector, Larnell Lewis, Andrew Stewart

I also attended the Hootenany on Hunter in Peterborough the following day on August 11. A bit of a late start getting out the door but managed to meet up with long time friends Grant and Patti in time to see my friend Gene Hardy and his band Sparkjiver with Adam Warner on drums, Donavon LaNabat on keys, Fraser Melvin on guitar and Mark McIntyre on bass. I was in store for a couple of surprises….Hardy sings (great voice) and plays the “saw” (I kid you not) with a bow….Somewhere Over The Rainbow….. and it sounded incredible. It produces such a lovely, plaintive sound. What a fantastic show! Hardy is a much in demand sax player and he keeps popping up in the most unexpected places. I watched him perform with Matchedash Parish at Mariposa, with Robby Lane & The Disciples at various locations around the GTA and beyond and, surprise, surprise, with a favourite rock band of mine, Secret Broadcast, who just happened to be performing at the Hootenany later than evening (with Hardy on sax of course).

Gene Hardy & Sparkjiver

Gene on saw

…..and he SINGS!!!!

Smiling faces….Donavon LaNabat on keys, Fraser Melvin

Today (Wednesday) we bid a fond farewell to Claude Jones, father of my very good friend Jeff Jones (bassist in Red Rider/Carpet Frogs). I saw some people I haven’t seen in a long time and it always seems to beg the question…..why do we wait until there’s a death before see each other. Life is way too short and way too precious to be meeting up at just weddings and funerals (more the latter than the former). We need to stop, slow down and take some time out of our ridiculously busy lives to reach out and yes……touch someone.  “Treasure now those you hold dear. They soon become the past”.The Wish

Mariposa…July 7…..


A hugely full day of music and mayhem. When my feet hit the floor that morning (Sandy was already up) we were off and running. Breakfast at a local eatery and two coffees later the vehicle is parked and we’re searching out our first musical event of the day. Over at the Estelle Klein Stage is Iskwé and Swedish folk quartet Fränder. The theme is Love is the Answer. The name Fränder is an ancient Swedish word meaning kinsmen, family, kindred spirit, peer or loosely, all humans.  Sibblings Natasja (vocals/fiddle), Gabbi  (string instruments/vocals) and Daniel (bass/vocals) Dluzewski formed the band with Säde Tatar (flute/vocals) in 2015. Tatar adds a taste of Estonia to the traditional Swedish folks songs the band perform. There is a definite Celtic influence in the sound of the instruments as the music dances around your ears. The harmonies and the purity of their voices just floated. There is an obvious passion and joy they take in the music and their performances.  There’s always a toe-tapping, swirl the skirts, spirited feel to traditional folk music but also a sweetness in the storytelling that can lull and comfort you with a smile.

En Sjömansbrud (a sailors bride) – Fränder

Then it was on to Birds of Bellwoods and Cécile Doo-Kingué at the Barnfield Stage. I’ve managed to miss a number of performances of the “Birds” in and around Toronto. It’s all in the timing….mine, not theirs. I was really pleased to catch them twice at Mariposa…one with Doo-Kingue and the second with Richard Flohil the following day. Wonderful  harmonies and musicianship, I could have listened to these Toronto boys all afternoon. They performed one of their songs acoustically (Ruth Stage Sunday morning) and I’m very sorry I am unable to remember the name of it. I fell in love with the song. It was so beautifully done that it almost made me weep. I’ve listened to a number of their recorded pieces and I don’t recognize it but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s Let You Go. If it is they need to get their asses back in the studio to record what they performed at Mariposa. Talented, confident, exuding oodles of energy, described as alt-rock (I would say more pop/folk/rock if there is such a genre), the band is comprised of Stephen Joffe (lead vocals, mandolin), Adrian Morningstar (guitar, vocals), Chris Blades (banjo, guitar, vocals), and Kintaro Akiyama (upright bass, vocals).

Let You Go – Birds of Bellwoods.

The rest of the day I watched as A.J. Croce with Valdy, Leif Vollebekk (he was hilarious and had me snorting a number of times) and Alan Doyle (Great Big Sea) collaborated for Songwriters in The Round; Bonnie Dobson (whose song Morning Dew was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame); Gordon Lightfoot (who both performed and presented Dobson with her award); Danny Michel with Juno-award winning drummer Davide DiRenzo; singer Sky Wallace, Nick Lowe & Los Straitjackets; Étage Diouf; Mark Reeves and Dave Penny. I lost count of the number of stages I was bouncing between but I did find time to get a purple and turquoise hair weave with a little silver Celtic symbol to finish it off. I was told it would last a number of months and it shows no signs of unravelling yet. Yep, there’s a little hippie in all of us.

For Songs of Inclusion and Power I (again) listened to Iskwé’s powerful voice, Anh Phung perform Jethro Tull’s Locomotive Breath on her flute (expertly done….Ian Anderson would be proud) and the Heavyweights Brass Band…..the all brass, New Orlean’s style jazz band. These guys love to mix and match genres…toss a little R&B or funk in with a little salsa Latin flavour ad stir with some jazz. Surprise!  It all blends marvellously (kinda like my G&T with lemon and fresh mint….but I digress).  That’s the beauty of music, step outside the box.

So, without further ado, a pictorial review…………

l-r – Alan Doyle, Valdy, A.J. Croce, Lief Vollebekk

Gordon Lightfoot & Bonnie Dobson

Danny Michele (far right)

Although I’m usually photographing musicians “in action”, with so many artists involved in this performance we rounded everyone up for this group shot. Yep…..gathering musicians together really is like herding cats…….

In front are the ladies (l-r) Anh Phung, Iskwe (squatting), Iskwé’s keyboardist; pulling up in the rear are the boys from Heavyweights Brass Band (except second from right is Iskwé’s guitarist)

Nick Lowe

Nick Lowe and Los Straightjackets

Los Straightjackets

One of the best things about Mariposa is the diversity of music and performers. They come from all over the world and each one adds their own flavour to the mix…..whether it’s folk, pop, rock, jazz or blues…..creating what I would call the “Mariposa Sound”. Eclectic, distinct,

Morning Dew – Bonnie Dobson

Pussy Willows, Cattails – Gordon Lightfoot

Purgatory Cove – Danny Michele

Swing Batter – Skye Wallace

Into The Ether – Lief Vollebekk

…..and for shits and giggles ’cause I just came across it…..


Gypsy – Abraham’s Children

One final note, could everyone PLEASE PLEASE make note of the names of ALL the parties involved in a performance. I spend more time trying to track down names for these articles, many of which I am unable to find…..anywhere. It also indicates respect for all the musicians who make those “out front” look so good. ….and not just first names, but last AND the instrument they play. I get tired of playing guessing games. Thanks a bundle.

Okay, I’m done here….


The Wish lyrics by Pat Blythe ©2017, SOCAN

All photographs ©2018 Pat Blythe, A Girl With A Camera “The Picture Taker”


Pat’s column appears every Wednesday.

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dbawis-button7“Music and photography….my heart, my passions.” After an extended absence —  33 years as a consultant and design specialist in the telecommunications industry — Pat has turned her focus back to the music scene. Immersing herself in the local club circuit, attending the many diverse music festivals, listening to some great music, photographing and writing once again, she is eager to spread the word about this great Music City of ours…..Toronto. Together for 34 years, Pat little-red-headed-dancing-girlalso worked alongside her late husband Christopher Blythe, The PictureTaker©, who, beginning in the early 70s, photographed much of the local talent (think Goddo, Frank Soda and the Imps, BB Gabor, the first Police Picnic, Buzzsaw, Hellfield, Shooter, The Segarini Band….) as well as national and international acts. Pat is currently making her way through 40 years of Chris’s archives, 20 of which are a photographic history of the local GTA music scene beginning in 1974. It continues to be a work in progress. Oh…..and she LOVES to dance! 

One Response to “Pat Blythe – The Mariposa Experience….Part Three…..Eddie Bullen….a Hootenanny and More…..”

  1. Peter Montreuil Says:

    Another great one!

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