'Tis the Season for Giving
Gifts certainly come in all shapes, sizes and forms at this time of year, but I can’t imagine anyone not agreeing that the gift of life is as big a gift one could possibly receive.
That has been the story for Jeremiah McDade
, the multi-instrumentalist, singer and composer and youngest member of the award-winning band The McDades
It was about eight months ago while sitting on the patio at the Upper Crust café in Garneau when Jeremiah’s father Terry relayed the news concerning Jeremiah’s need for a kidney transplant. The situation had become dire; the mission of the medical team monitoring Jeremiah, and his family, was to find a willing donor and match for the ridiculously talented musician.
It became increasingly apparent last summer that the situation was deteriorating as The McDades were forced to cancel all summer festival and concert appearances, including an appearance at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival. By that time Jeremiah’s routine revolved around two dialysis treatments a week and his energy was at an all-time low.
Well, with Christmas on the horizon, Jeremiah was given that new lease on life. One of his cousins, 24 year-old Katy Campbell of Winnipeg, was the donor of a kidney. The transplant took place in Montreal
where Jeremiah has been living for a number of years since enrolling in the Masters jazz program at McGill, with his bass playing brother Solon.
The news is that the 33 year-old Jeremiah is rebounding quickly, and he’s already enjoyed leaving his abode for a stroll or two to his favourite coffee hangout in Montreal.
Because of his lack of energy Jeremiah was not able to spend much time playing his reed and wind instruments, and instead chose to focus on guitar over the last few months. It will be interesting to see if he adds guitar to his already vast on-stage arsenal when the McDades get back at it.
Could the term, “the season for giving”, carry any more weight than it does with this story? I know that everyone here at CKUA couldn’t be more pleased with this news and that we all wish Jeremiah and the rest of the McDade clan a terrific 2011.
Kathleen Renne speak with Terry McDade on Arts Alive
about Jeremiah and the McDades' Candlelight Christmas)
Speaking of being on the receiving end of good news, although of a vastly different variety, Alex Cuba
has had much to smile about as of late.
This artist, whom CKUA has championed since he burst onto the scene a few years ago, is on a major roll and he has good reason to feel like he’s been shot out of a cannon.
On November 11 the singer and composer was named Best New Artist at the Latin Grammy Awards, which were held at the Mandalay Bay Events Centre in Las Vegas. Now he’s been nominated for a Grammy in the Latin Pop Album category for his self-titled release of 2010.
“It was an interesting moment at the Latin Grammy show,” said Cuba last week, during a rare moment of down-time.
“During the ceremony an usher came into the audience and was taking me backstage, so I could present an award. Suddenly he got word to rush me back to the audience, as the category I was nominated in was about to be announced. It was then I realized they wanted me in the audience for the announcement because I was the winner! I had to run back into the theatre and ended up in a seat that was further away from the stage than where I had been sitting. That ended up being a good thing, because when my name was announced I suddenly had a longer walk to the stage, and that allowed me to gather my thoughts,” recalled Cuba with a laugh.
Cuba was also part of the Latin Grammy show, performing with a group of nominees paying tribute to the music of the seventies, his tune being "Just The Two of Us".
The always accommodating and affable musician, who emigrated from Cuba to Canada just over a decade ago and moved to the beautiful mountain community of Smithers B.C., has also won two Juno Awards since 2006.
That he also received an incredible amount of attention and notice via his collaboration with Nelly Furtado and the song "Mi Plan" in 2009, contributes to a career that is on the kind of trajectory that most artists only dream about.
“We’re still building this, but we just came off a tour of 14 shows in the States and at some shows we had great audiences. What I loved was seeing people singing the songs. We have also licensed the new album to companies in Columbia and Mexico. Right now we’re getting set to record a new single that will be released in two languages, Spanish and English. It’s a fun and soulful tune called Everything I Am,” added Cuba.
Cross your fingers and let’s hope Alex picks up a Grammy on February 13 in Los Angeles for Best Latin Pop Album.
Congrats are also in order to Holger Petersen
, host of Natch’l Blues
, as Maria Muldaur
received a Grammy nomination for the Garden of Joy
recording, another fine project released by Holger’s Stony Plain Records
The Garden of Joy
nod comes in the Best Traditional Folk Album category, and the other nominees are The John Hartford String Band, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Ricky Skaggs, and Luther Dickinson.
Petersen, the executive producer of Garden of Joy
, a spirited disc that features appearances from Taj Mahal, John Sebastian and Dan Hicks, will be attending the Grammy awards come February. Here’s hoping he also has reason to leap out of his seat during the ceremonies.