Hot jazz heats up fire hall for concert fundraiser

Whitehorse fans of French jazz won't have far to go next week to enjoy some toe-tapping tunes. The Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition is putting on a fundraising concert at the Old Fire Hall.

Whitehorse fans of French jazz won’t have far to go next week to enjoy some toe-tapping tunes.

The Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition is putting on a fundraising concert at the Old Fire Hall on Dec. 3, featuring Anacrouse and The Bennett Sun.

Danielle Bonneau and Renald Jauvin created Anacrouse last year over a glass of wine and a common interest in jazz.

The pair, who performed together at Baked Cafe in October, will play alongside Gord Miller and Michel Valliere in their first big gig.

Both Bonneau and Jauvin have been involved in the local music scene for years.

Bonneau sang with a choir for a dozen years before it disbanded last year, while Jauvin has played with a gypsy jazz band called Trio Manouche for almost eight years.

Also known as hot club jazz, gypsy jazz was popularized in the 1930s by Django Reinhardt, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest guitarists of all-time.

The style is characterized by its distinct percussive technique, where the rhythm guitar replaces the drums.

Jauvin, who also plays the ukulele and the accordion, said it’s a style of music he grew up listening to in Quebec, where he was raised.

“I listened to a lot of Joni Mitchell, Jaco Pastorius and Weather Report,” he said.

“Our band doesn’t exactly play gypsy jazz but that doesn’t mean certain songs won’t be played in that style.”

Anacrouse, or anacrusis in English, is a musical term meaning a note or series of notes that precedes the first downbeat in a song.

Bonneau was searching the Internet last year with Jauvin’s wife when they discovered the term and felt it sounded nice.

Inspired by French artists such as Charles Aznavour and Edith Piaf, Bonneau said she’s excited to interpret their songs for a wider audience.

Growing up in a small village near Quebec City, she moved to Whitehorse about 13 years ago with her husband and two kids in an attempt to learn English.

“We sat down, closed our eyes, pointed to the map and wound up in Whitehorse,” she said.

“Nine months later we packed the kids up, sold the house and drove across the country. We’ve been happy ever since.”

Bonneau’s son Jerome, who is away on a holiday, had been the band’s bass player.

She said she’s been learning a lot about jazz from Jauvin, whom she’s known for over a decade.

“We’re the same age so we like a lot of the same music,” she said.

“It’ll be nice for the audience to get to listen to two completely different bands.”

Many of Charles Aznavour’s songs have been translated to English, making them more accessible.

Jauvin became a musician in his teens, teaching himself how to play the guitar and playing in local bands for fun.

But when he got married and had kids the hobby was pushed aside, he said.

After turning 30 he picked it up again and started taking jazz more seriously.

“Music is universal,” Jauvin said.

“Even when it’s sung in other languages – it touches everybody.”

Kristina Craig, coordinator of the Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition, said the funds will go towards running Whitehorse Connects.

The program, which normally runs three times a year at the Old Fire Hall, offers free food, clothing and services to people with lower incomes.

Some of the services include haircuts, portraits and immunizations, she added.

“We’re always hopeful we can do more than three a year,” she said.

“The last one was held in October and over 250 people attended. It’s a very welcoming and warm place for people to come and feel a little bit more human for a while.”

Tickets for the show are available at Dean’s Strings. Doors will open on Dec. 3 at 6:30 p.m. with the show beginning at 7 p.m.

Contact Myles Dolphin at