Saturday, 20 September 2008

Flying Cloud's "Back to Bohemian Embassy" filmed for SUN-TV, Sep 21

This will be a very special night where we present "Back to the Bohemian Embassy" hosted by Don Cullen. Joanne Crabtree will perform with Jeff Morrison on guitar along with famous blues artist, Chick Roberts. On this night we will introduce newcomer, Amy Pitt. Guaranteed you are going to remember this very talented young lady! Get your best duds on boys & girls cuz this concert is being filmed for a documentary on Don Cullen and the Bohemian Embassy for SUN-TV.

Flying Cloud Folk Club
292 Brunswick Avenue
Toronto, ON
416.410.FOLK (3655)

door 7:00 pm, concert 7:30 - 10:30 pm
General admission $20, members, seniors & students $18

Don Cullen is well known in Toronto as a man dedicated to the arts. As the founder of one of the first coffee houses in Toronto, The Bohemian Embassy, which opened in 1960, he introduced the city to artists and authors from Ian Tyson to Margaret Atwood. Don possesses a wicked wit and has written for radio and television, including a long stint with Wayne and Schuster; he has performed in various theater revues, has been the artistic Co-Director of the Leacock Humour Festival and is currently a member of the Board of Advisors for the Mariposa Folk Festival.

Amy Pitt possesses the ability to blur the all borders separating the classic genres of music with a wide range of influences from soul, pop, rock, jazz and folk. Through her love for a diverse group of musical styles, she legitimately understands the artistry behind music and songwriting. There's no question her soulful voice commands attention, but she also has the ability to channel and express raw emotion while performing which is essentially what fans know and love her for. Born and raised in Sarnia, Ontario, a small city on the Canadian/U.S border, Amy got her first introduction to performance through local community theater groups and Royal Conservatory music lessons, which she started at eight years old. Pitt is schooled in jazz/contemporary music as last winter marked her last semester at Humber College where she has been studying with some of the world's best musicians. In her budding career she has already performed with great Canadian and International artists including Tanglefoot, Dave Broadfoot and Jacob Hoggart, and spent the summer in 2007 in St Jacobs and Grand Bend Ontario performing among a brilliant cast in the widely popular and sold out show LEGENDS with Drayton Entertainment. Over the years, Amy has been writing some beautiful music and as she is now busy recording her debut album. Recording started in January and is due for release when it's done! To stay updated with Amy's show schedule and for any other news, visit her at

Joanne Crabtree has this to say: Even though I was born on Ilkla Moor (without a hat, I'm told), and even though my father was a Yorkshireman who sang me Widdicombe Fair while I was still a babe in arms, my artistic roots took hold in the poetry-filled coffee houses, the after-hours jazz clubs, the earnest folk venues of Toronto in the late fifties and early sixties. I found my true creative home at The Bohemian Embassy. Don Cullen hired me to play the 9 to 12 spot every Tuesday night for quite awhile. My career as a solo folk singer began to take off in 1961 when the Embassy got me my first "outside" gig - a Grey Cup party at Toronto's Park Plaza Hotel. I got paid fifty smackers and I was on my way. So you see, Don Cullen was an important and beloved figure in my life, even if he doesn't always remember me all that well nowadays. Don was kind and so was his club. Don was really funny, and so was his Village Revue. Don is a firebrand these days, a social activist - and yet still really really funny. Please do a monologue tonight Don, please. - Joanne

Chick Roberts is a veteran of theatre, film and the Canadian music scene. Born Evan Hugh Roberts, and raised by Welsh parents in Toronto's Cabbagetown, Chick Roberts received his earliest musical training singing in choirs such as the Toronto Welsh Male Choir. He was first bitten by the blues as a teenager, when he proudly purchased his first '78, "How Long,How Long Blues." He then went on to sing with a show band performing imitations of Louis Armstrong, Jimmy Rushing, Billy Eckstine, Wynonie Harris and Frankie Laine, to name a few.
In 1956, Chick moved to England to build on the amateur drama and performance training he began in Toronto. However, he was soon sidetracked by movie and television acting jobs, among the first, a role in Charlie Chaplin's "A King in New York." He moved on to form one half of a comedy duo appearing on WelshTV and performed as an emcee and comedian before returning to North America to resume his musical career.

In the early 60s, with his newly minted stage name in hand, Chick Roberts performed around Canada & the USA as a solo folk artist, and with Amos Garrett, Jim McCarthy and Carol Robinson as The Dirty Shames. Primarily a Jug/String Band, they performed an eclectic variety of songs from the country, blues, jazz and pop repertoires.
In 1965 The Dirty Shames moved to New York to perform and they cut several records on the Phillips label (sadly, never released in Canada). Following Jim McCarthy's departure, the Shames enlarged the band by adding Bass, Piano and drums and became the regular house band at Andy Warhol's club "The Dom" and the opening act for The Velvet Underground at the "The Gymnasium."

In 1968, the Shames disbanded and Chick Roberts returned to Canada. A devoted member of the folk music community, he became one of the organizers of the Mariposa Folk Festival and helped start Mariposa In The Schools (MITS). For twenty five years, he used his talents as a raconteur, singer, guitarist, and all-around crowd pleaser to tour schools, libraries and festivals, and bring Jug Band and Blues workshops to children across Ontario. His performances can be heard on all three albums produced by MITS.

Ever adapting his musical style, Chick Roberts continued to perform blues, country and rock from 1970 onward with the Blues Collar Band. As venues and audiences for their music evolved so did they evolve their material, introducing swing and jazz to their blues sound and changing the band name to "The Lowdown Ways Band."

So it came to pass, that when the opportunity arose to record a CD with his long time musical cohort, Tony Quarrington, they decided to draw material from their blues and jazz repertoire. The resulting record, Blue Turning Gray, pays homage to Chick's vocal idols, and tips its hat to longtime musical accomplices and new friends.

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