Mandolins and Traditions – Jam Report #7

Another great night at the Jam!

I would like to mention the importance of community, that feeling of belonging to some kind of evolving open cohabitation in the ‘hood, up the street, around the corner or in the lanes. People come to the Jam from all over town, that’s Verdun these days – a community rediscovering itself through change while reviving its traditions in new forms, new faces, new friends, and art.

And the music is really good.

The Girardin Family are excellent musicians and entertainers. They know how to get the crowd alive, mix up their repertoire very well, and get people participating. The energy is perfect!


I love these people who bring so much to the Jam.

I would like you to meet Stephen Luker. This is him playing bass.


Keeping the family thing going!

Stephen is a third generation Verdun musician. His grandparents used to give impromptu country and western concerts on their balcony in the summertime back in the day when the “Avenues” were the most happening place in our universe. I also remember how weird and wonderful that was to us 10 year old newly ordained Beatles fans.
Stephen’s uncle George Luker and his wife, Roseanne, lived besides my parents on Gordon for a long time. And there was many backyard BBQ concerts over the years.

So I was really knocked out to meet this guy which rekindled a lot of old timey Verdun feelings. And I got the thought that it’s not just music and fun here at the Jam but also our cultural heritage that is being reborn in an ongoing celebration of who we are, where we’ve been, and what we can do together in the future. Verdun on the rise. The music pulls it together.


It was great to meet you, Stephen, you’re making people proud!



Stephen Luker, Jerome LeBlanc, Craig Girardin, Marie-Andree Girardin, Robbie Daug.

And then this guy with a mandolin shows up.  Bob Cussen is a virtuoso mandolin player and he totally knocked out the crowd with his playing Friday night.


Suzanne Ungar and Bob Cussen.

Wally Dae joins in for a traditional ballad.


It seems every week there is something new and different going down, often surprising, never disappointing.

Suzanne Ungar and Bob Cussen play in a band called Swift Years. You can contact them about bookings, etc, on their website, Swift Years.

It’s a booze free environment so it’s pretty cool to bring the kids along because we have plenty of stuff to keep them busy.


And there is lots more stuff for children to do downstairs.

Some came by bike which added some nice ambiance to the street outside the Cafe Kali.


This mild December weather has been great!

Rocky Mt Lo demonstrating Ribbon Weave Art downstairs. You can check out Rocky’s website at Ribbon Weave Art.


Rocky is completely dedicated to his craft and is an outstanding fundraiser for good causes, always giving and sending a pure message of hope, love and peace.

It was getting crowded upstairs so some started another Jam!!


Daniel Ranger, some kids, Marie-Andree Girardin, Francois Beaumont.

Taking it to the street!


Marie-Andree Girardin on the accordion. Her roots are in rural Quebecois music and she brings a great vibe to the scene here.

More music inside.


Craig Girardin, Helene Pitre, Marie-Andree Girardin.

Local fire dancing artist, Nadia Gagnon, getting in the groove. Nadia, with her partner, Patrick Mireault, also runs Maltehops, the alternative beer store on Wellington. Check them out!


Even Santa appreciates a night off with some good music.

And closing it out with Wally Dae.


Projet Montreal Borough Councillor, Luc Gagnon, who did a lot of drumming, Marie-Andree Girardin, Wally Dae, Barry MacPherson, who has yet to miss a Jam, and Robbie Daug.

And to end the evening some very kind words from Mary Ann Davis, commissioner of the Lester B. Pearson School Board, which includes three anglophone schools in Verdun. Mary Ann was announcing that some members of Empreintes d’artistes, Valerie Lamirande, Rocky Mt Lo, and Monelle Blouin had donated some of their art in order to help feed some needy Verdun families during Christmas. And there will be some fundraising projects in the new year with those Verdun schools. Val and Rocky also gave $150.00 for this very worthy cause so it truly was a great night all around.


Valerie Lamirande, President of Empreints d’artistes, Monelle Blouin, Administrative Councillor, Mary Ann Davis, Commissioner at Lester B. Pearson School Board, Rocky Mt Lo, Ribbon Weave Artist and Fundraiser, and Luz Garcia de Zielinski, Vice President of Emprients d’artistes.

The Jam.

Every Friday from 6-9 at Cafe Kali, 5200 Verdun avenue.

All are welcome.

Produced by Empreintes d’artistes.

And I am going to leave you with this montage of the night to the sound of Bob Cussen’s mandolin.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s