British Columbia

Mark the end of Black History Month with a Motown performance by this B.C. vocal powerhouse

Vancouver singer-songwriter Krystle Dos Santos will perform soul classics as well as original songs from her 2020 Western Canadian Music Award-winning album BLOOM BURN in a live show streaming Feb. 27.

Krystle Dos Santos celebrates iconic soul artists in live show streaming Feb. 27

Krystle Dos Santos and her three-piece band perform Motown tunes in Canadian classrooms while educating young audiences about the historical importance of the Motown era and its impact on music today. On Feb. 27, Dos Santos will perform for a wider audience online. (krystledossantos.com)

A virtual performance of Motown music performed by an award-winning British Columbian singer-songwriter could be the perfect event to cap off four weeks of celebrating Black excellence this Black History Month.

Known for her powerful voice, Krystle Dos Santos will be performing More Than Motown — a live show of soul classics that can be watched online, presented by the Tidemark Theatre in Campbell River, B.C., on Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m.

Dos Santos, named R&B Artist of the Year at the 2020 Western Canadian Music Awards (WCMA), is from Vancouver with Guyanese roots.

A first-generation Canadian, Dos Santos said when she first started singing soul songs, she felt a bit like an imposter because she felt it wasn't really a genre with roots in this country.

But now she wants young Canadians to think otherwise.

"Soul comes from within," said Dos Santos, speaking to CBC Hot Air host Margaret Gallagher. "I think we have so much more power and access to those things than we believe."

Dos Santos and her three-piece band are booking shows at Canadian schools to perform interactive songs from the Motown catalogue while educating students about the historical importance of the Motown era and its influence on pop music today.

WATCH | Krystle Dos Santos talks about performing Motown in schools:

 

On Saturday, Dos Santos will not only be performing songs by iconic artists like Etta James and Stevie Wonder, she will also share original music from her 2020 WCMA award-winning R&B album BLOOM | BURN.

While chatting with Gallagher before her concert, the two discussed the album, which explores topics of love, friendship, and in the case of the track Walk on Through, the feeling of empowerment.

"If something is not working for you, keep walking," said Dos Santos referring to the sentiment of that particular song.

Through the Emergence B.C. program, Dos Santos is also empowering marginalized artists to bring a wide-range of genres and musical styles to the stage or recording studio, by mentoring female-identifying musicians and singers.

As a young person, Dos Santos said she was deeply influenced by musical theatre and singers like Etta James, Nina Simone and Jully Black.

WATCH | Dos Santos performs Walk on Through in Vancouver in April 2020:


Her adoration of musical theatre led her to co-create Hey Viola!, a musical celebrating the life of Black Canadian civil rights activist and businesswoman Viola Desmond.

"She's basically the shoulders that I stand on to be able to create this kind of art myself," said Dos Santos, adding that learning about Desmond's life gave her "so much inspiration and backbone herself."

The show premiered in October 2020 in Metro Vancouver but Dos Santos said COVID-19 put a damper on that and she is hopeful it will get more traction post-pandemic.

She has also been awarded a grant to record the Hey Viola! soundtrack and said she is looking forward to starting on that in the spring.

But you don't have to wait for theatres to open or a new album to drop if you want to hear Dos Santos sooner rather than later.

Tickets to More Than Motown are available online through Tidal Theatre and cost $15 for theatre members and $20 for non-members. Ticket purchasers can view the event up to 24 hours after the performance if they miss the live show.

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

(CBC)

With files from Hot Air

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