A while back, while on one of Jaymz Bee's JazzFM jazz safaris, Handsome Man and I 'discovered' Barbra Lica. We had heard her music many times on Jazz FM but had never caught her live. We were quite impressed. So this past week, on December 19th 2013, when we were given the opportunity to attend a Live To Air broadcast featuring Barbra, we jumped at the chance.
Live To Air's (LTA) are just that, a live broadcast of a performance. Jazz FM hosts LTA shows in the Long and McQuade music hall within the JazzFM studios in the uber-trendy Liberty Village. On this particular day, the hall was decorated for the season. A large tree was topped with a bulb horn, surrounded by instruments as JazzFM was in the midst of The Holiday Heroes Instrument Drive (people drop off unwanted instruments and JazzFM donates them to a school in need for their music program).
The result was a fun, festive atmosphere.
Perfect for Barbra!
Barbra Lica is a vivacious, raucous, witty young woman, wrapped up in a tiny package. But don't let her size fool you, a very powerful voice is housed in that tiny frame! In fact, just last month, Barbra was named first runner up in the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition. Her first solo CD solidly under her belt, she has been named one of Canada's top 5 women vocalists. With a 'backing band' of such greats as Reg Schwager on guitar, Marc Rogers on bass, Larnell Lewis on drums and (wonderful surprise) Lou Pomanti on keys, the LTA was sure to be a fabulous hour of music.
And it was!
|Jaymz Bee chatting with Lou Pomanti|
Starting off with a fave I hear played often on the radio, "I Say So", Barbra shone. Immediately I knew I would have to write about the evening for The Jazz Brat! Barbra's pixie-ish beauty and down to earth personality were infectious. Her repartee with our LTA host that night, Jaymz Bee, was familiar, fun and easy, but you never once felt excluded. Barbra is adept at keeping her audience involved and enthralled. She told us tales of her musical up-bringing, lots of fun asides ("I'm not pitch perfect, I'm pitch relative") of singing "Volare" around the house as a child, and her forays as an adult in the music business. A consummate entertainer and gifted singer, Barbra is the real deal, the whole package.
At one point, Jaymz asked Canadian music industry great Lou Pomanti what it was like working with Barbra. Lou replied that Barbra is such an incredible singer, and so professional, that you don't have to babysit her, you just "wrap the music around her".
Lou and the rest of the band did just that!
With the holidays so near, Barbra sang a new holiday fave, "Marshmellow World", moved on to "Honeysuckle Rose" (I'm a huge Anita O'Day fan, but I was thoroughly impressed with Barbra's rendition), "That's What I Hate" (lyrics written by Barbra herself) and then on into a fun tune titled "Food". As Jaymz said, somebody is sure to snap it up for a marketing campaign . Barbra continued with the poetically beautiful "I wish you love", a very funky, bongo-esque version of "Winter Wonderland", ending the evening on a fun note with "I'm Hip". The hour went by much too quickly!
In just her mid twenties Barbra already has star appeal, and she will only get better over the years.
|All photos courtesy of Janet Jardine|
On our way out, Handsome Man and I grabbed Barbra's CD, "That's What I Do" and listened to it that evening when we got home. One hour was not enough for a Barbra Lica fix, we needed more. And so will you.
I'm sure JazzFM will make the show available as a podcast on their page, so take a listen, check out Barbra Lica, but be prepared to become a fan.
And to want MORE Barbra!
Are you a Barbra Lica fan? Comment below!