Toronto-based jazz singer Sienna Dahlen is wrapping up her current Western Canadian tour in the very city where she began her post-secondary jazz training.
Dahlen, who was born in Nelson, B.C. and grew up in Dawson Creek, moved to Nanaimo in the early ’90s to attend the jazz studies program at Vancouver Island University – then called Malaspina College – before continuing her education in Quebec.
“I loved my two years in Nanaimo and I met a lot of wonderful people and it was kind of the stepping stone that I needed before heading east to Montreal and going to McGill,” she said.
“I’ve been back a bunch of times since then but not so often to play. I’m not sure that I’ve played a gig in Nanaimo since then. I don’t think I have.”
Dahlen will perform at the Lighthouse Bistro on Sunday, Feb. 4. She said it’s a venue she used to frequent when she was a student.
“That’ll be [a] nice, full-circle kind of feeling for me, I guess, to be playing a show there so many years later,” she said.
Dahlen will be singing standards and originals with accompaniment courtesy Vancouver guitarist Bill Coon. The two never performed together before Jan. 28, when they took to the stage for a show at Frankie’s Jazz Club in Vancouver.
“We’ve crossed paths at different times over the years, not through gigs that we’re doing together but other people’s gigs, and we’ve always said, ‘We should probably try to play together some time,’ and so I took this opportunity to hire him for this,” Dahlen said.
“We won’t have any rehearsal, probably we’ll just go in and do it off the cuff.”
Throughout her Western Canada tour, which started in Winnipeg on Jan. 23 and stopped in Edmonton on the way to the West Coast, Dahlen has been performing with local musicians as opposed to bringing a band.
She said it helps her see her music from a different perspective.
“I know a lot of people across the country and so it’s a nice change for me to be able to bring the music and play it with different people along the way and just reconnect with old friends and make some new friends and just explore the music in ways that I might not have explored it if I had been playing with the same group every time,” she said.
WHAT’S ON … Sienna Dahlen performs with accompanist Bill Coon at the Lighthouse Bistro on Sunday, Feb. 4 at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $25 for adults, $15 for students. Tickets available at the Lighthouse Bistro by calling 250-754-3212 or at Fascinating Rhythm or online at www.quadwranglemusic.com.