Singer Nicole Utulinde performs at Gabriola’s Surf Lodge on New Years Eve. (Photo courtesy Astrid Lyre)

Gabriola Island venue will host jazzy New Year’s celebration

Vocalists Roger Christie and Nicole Utulinde perform at the Surf Lodge

While most people will be celebrating the coming of a new year on Dec. 31, those at Gabriola Island’s Surf Lodge will be celebrating years gone by.

The music of the 1930s to the 1960s will be on offer as vocalist Roger Christie hosts A New Year’s Eve Nightlife at the Gabriola Island venue on the last evening of the year. He’ll be joined by guitarist Frank Sehr, bassist Scott Durant and drummer Andreas Kahre, as well as featured guest, singer Nicole Utulinde. The show ends at 10 p.m. so visitors from Nanaimo can catch the 10:35 p.m. ferry back.

Christie said he’ll be regaling audiences not only with music of the era, but stories as well. He said the New York City jazz clubs of that time period had shady connections and were crawling with fascinating characters.

“All the stars were born there. The legends were made there,” he said. “It was mostly for the rich and famous to see and be seen but they spoke of many unforgettable nights.”

This is Christie’s first time performing with Utulinde, a VIU jazz student. They met through mutual acquaintances and Christie said he’s excited to have her on the bill.

“She’s got a fresh take on her interpretations of jazz song…” he said “She takes you and you just want to stay a long while sipping your martini listening to her.”

Utulinde said mid-century jazz standards are her “bread and butter.” A fan of Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday, Utulinde said she started getting heavily into jazz over the last few years and hasn’t looked back. She said she has a personal connection to the music.

“Jazz has roots in Afro-American music and I am originally from Rwanda, so there’s something about it that makes me feel at home and makes me feel nostalgic in a way,” she said. “And it can be quite romantic and I’m a romantic at heart.”

This s Utulinde’s first time playing a New Year’s Eve show and she expects it to be a special night to cap off what has been a “fantastic year” for the singer. Utulinde has a demo tape coming out in January and is hoping for more opportunities to perform in the new year.

“I’ve been really fortunate to meet great musicians here in the community and do a lot of networking and I’ve had the opportunity to play with some really talented people who inspire me a lot,” she said. “So it’s been a great year.”

WHAT’S ON … A New Year’s Eve Nightlife at the Surf Lodge, 885 Berry Point Rd., on Tuesday, Dec. 31 from 7 to 10 p.m. Tickets $20, available from the venue and North Road Sports.



arts@nanaimobulletin.com

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