“The Blues”, born out of out of the misery and repression experienced by African slaves in the Mississippi delta region of the U.S.A., is a uniquely American music style. By the early part of the last century, it had become the regular entertainment in southern juke joints, bars and dance halls, eventually making its way to the nightclubs, recording studios and radio stations of Chicago and other urban centres. Late at night those radio stations could be heard in Canada. Toronto’s Danny Balaka, aka “Danny B”, loved what he heard and soon learned to sing the most popular blues songs himself.
Danny began performing when he was three. As a youth, he played drums and was soon leading his own band. Over the years he has become an accomplished singer, songwriter, harmonica player, voice-over artist and actor, on radio and TV and in movies and live theatre. But what he still likes best is playing and singing the blues.
During his lengthy career, Danny has worked with The Black Light Theatre, Famous People Players, Nathan Lane, Martin Short, Andrea Martin, Catherine O’Hara and many other well known actors and actresses. And he has shared the concert stage with popular recording artists as diverse as David Clayton Thomas and Big Mama Thornton. He has performed across Canada, the U.S., Europe and Australia. In addition to performing at numerous international blues festivals, he and his band; guitarist Bernie LaBarge, bassist Phil Woodward, drummer Whitey Glan and the late Doug Riley on keyboards, were a popular attraction for over a decade at the legendary Muddy York Tavern, in Toronto. He currently performs at west Toronto’s Blue Goose Tavern.
In 2014, Danny was awarded the title “Master Blues Artist” by The Blues Hall of Fame, an American Heritage International organization, joining such luminaries as Robert Johnson, Willie Dixon and Muddy Waters. This award gives much credence to his title “Canada’s Master Of The Blues”. Accompanied by the outstanding Roberto Falcon Band, Danny will appear for the first time in the Banderas Bay area on Friday, February 24th, at The Jazz Foundation in Puerto Vallarta and on Saturday, February 25th, at The Luna lounge in Bucerias. More information is available in this newspaper and on both venue web sites.
Merv Buchanan, email@example.com
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