On an unusually chilly, end of October evening last month and in only her second public concert this year, Alannah Myles and her hand-picked band turned the temperature way up and rocked the Glenn Gould Studio at the CBC Broadcast Center inTO for A Black Velvet Benefit for Fife House. Guests were treated to all her memorable hits, closing her standing ovation performance with a bluesy, rockabilly version of her international Grammy and Juno award winning Black Velvet.
Hosted by CBC personality Suhana Meharchand, Alannah took to the stage to once again provide proof that she still has the voice and vocal skills that made her a Grammy and Juno award winning Canadian recording artist.
The evening was powerful and moving, not only for her amazing voice, but also by demonstrating her resilience in overcoming physical and professional obstacles to retain her place in the tough as nails, music world. During the course of the evening, Alannah regaled the Fife House guests with personal and sometimes tragic stories of her professional and personal past, demonstrating the courage and strength it takes to live with whatever life presents.
While many who attended the benefit concert for Fife House may have followed Alannah over the past year, many were surprised by her physical limitations. But of course, she proved that she still has that stunning Alannah voice. Sometimes tinged with an emotional tear or a pointed comment directed to the music industry, Alannah overlaid a powerful and emotional note to her hits including Lover of Mind, a quiet, acoustic version of Sonny, and a beautifully dramatic ‘veiled’ version of Song Instead of a Kiss.
I spoke with Keith Hambly, the Executive Director of Fife House shortly after the concert, “Fife House is grateful for Alannah’s willingness to show her vulnerability. The similarities with our residents and clients, who struggle to surmount the challenges of living with HIV/AIDS, were a reminder of why Fife House exists. Having an international star and Canadian icon bring this to life was a gift beyond compare.” An ever-gracious Alannah spent time after the concert signing autographs, taking pictures and enjoying the applause from many new found fans. I especially appreciated her honesty and call-it-like-it-is sense of humour. Man she still has the chops!
This annual fundraising event, usually focused on Canadian and local talent, raised over $80,000 to help Fife House continue to maintain and expand the programs and services for the increasing numbers of people who need their help.
Learn more at www.fifehouse.org