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L.A. Beat

The L.A. Woman

Marie Josee Houle brings Sultry French Café to the Slice

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The past few months have seen me on a creative sabbatical. Although many amazing bands have come through Lethbridge, the words were exiled in the abyss of my mildly functioning brain. altHowever, attempts to stimulate the void have failed to lift the verbal funk that threatened to castrate my creativity. Weird analogy, but it works somehow!

I found my muse in the form of an accordion playing diva, Dec. 9. Marie Josee Houle once again played the Slice for an intimate but enthusiastic crowd. The music swirled and embraced the cluster of people trying to find refuge from the cold holding Lethbians captive.

Cicala opened the night with their three piece band including Dino Scavo, Scott Neale and Megan Brown, playing the guitar, double bass and violin respectively. An Italian influence was prominent through the music which is written by Scavo, a University of Lethbridge alumni with a concentration in muMegan Brown, Dino Scavo, Marie Josée Houle. Photo By Richard Amerysic. The music drew the audience into the dark tales told by the trio.  However, the music is hopeful and romantic at the same time.

Marie Josee Houle, the much sought after accordionista joined the talented Cicala.


Jhosse Lora brings the sounds of El Salvador to Henotic

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Jhosse Lora, photo by Lance Thomson Photographic

The air was electric at Henotic, July 30. Jhosse Lora, a band from El Salvador, brought their Latin rhythm to the downtown Lethbridge club. The nine member band danced and sang for a very enthusiastic crowd. 

The lead singer, the only woman in the band, shone in a short gold dress. Her voice was as sultry as the music she sang. The men in the band delivered equally amazing performances, displaying their dancing and musical ability.

Jhosse Lora played traditional sounding Latin music, which included humour and sensuality.

They utilized a vast array of instruments,including what looked like a metal pitcher, possibly my new favourite instrument! The result was much dancing and merriment.


Bon Odori brings cultural wonders to Galt Gardens

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On July 18, the Buddhist Temple of Southern Alberta hosted the annual Bon Odori festival at Galt Gardens. The parkJAPANESE LANTERNS FLOAT ON THE POND IN NIKKA YUKO TO CELEBRATE TORO NAGASHI. PHOTO BY LORI ALEXANDERwas rife with cultural wonders, which approximately 200 people partook in. There were games, sushi and booths selling t-shirts, Japanese dolls, lanterns, fans and other Japanese merchandise. Bon Odori, or the Feast of Lanterns, is a time to celebrate ancestors, life, freedom and joy. The participants are encouraged to dance freely, without restraint. The Bon Odori festival stems from the story of Mokuren, a disciple of Shakyamuni Buddha, who lived over 2,500 years ago.  Mokuren discovered his deceased mother had fallen into the realm of Hungry Ghosts and was suffering. The Buddha advised Mokuren to make offerings, which freed his mother from her anguish. The monk was so happy his mother was safe he celebrated by dancing for joy.


Kick yourself for missing Pow Navarro and Brasstronaut

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July 25 turned out to be an amazing night at the Slice. The attendance was meagre however those who were there were amazed at the palpable talent of the artists. Pow Navarro, a fantastic acoustic artist, opened up for the astonishing Brasstronaut.
Pow Navarro is a Filipino native who recently moved to Lethbridge, which definitely benefits the Lethbridge music scene. His folky sound showcases his aptitude for writing gentle, witty lyrics. In fact, Pow Navarro won runner up in the South Country Fair songwriting competition earlier this year. His aptitude for expressing ideas in interesting ways is showcased in the smooth songs.
The singer uses many techniques to enhance his music.  His voice is soft and gentle, a perfect accompaniment to the acoustic guitar. When Pow Navarro needs drums or a trumpet, he taps on his guitar, strings or makes trumpet noises with his mouth. He is creative and resourceful.
Pow Navarro is currently working on an album and will be seen again at the Slice, July 29. He is also playing at the Duke of Wellington, July 8, with the Record Holder.

Pride celebrated in Galt Gardens

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Under the shadows of discriminatory legislation, homophobia and threats of violence the LGBTQ  (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Queer) community shook off a long history of oppression and empowered themselves through a weekend of Pride events in Lethbridge.
The pride fest began June 12 with a flag raising ceremony at City Hall. The city went over and above expectations, keeping the rainbow flag flying high for the entire weekend. Although this event was the least attended, it had the most significance for the LGBTQ community. The flag raising signified the presence of the often ostracized community. It was a proud moment for the gay community as they announced their presence in a small city notorious for using religious dogma to oppress them. 
Raising the flag signified the diversity of Lethbridge and encouraged tolerance within Lethbridge. According to Mickey Wilson, president of Gay and Lesbian Alliance (GALA),  by being an open and public presence in Lethbridge, the Lethbridge community could see members of the LGBTQ community are not scary or pedophiles but ordinary people. They are co-workers, neighbours, parents, children, hairdressers… They are just like those within in the straight community.  
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