What happens when you blend traditional music from Newfoundland with the gypsy jazz stylings of Django Reinhardt and sprinkle it with classical music? Your ears are treated to a listening experience that is unique and familiar at the same time, and even Juno Award worthy. Find out for yourself in this installment of the Weekend Name Drop. Meet Duane Andrews.

Name: Duane Andrews

Creative field: Jazz/Swing Guitar, Film Scores

Location: St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

Best known for: Multiple ECMA award-winning artist from 2005-2014; with The Swinging Belles, winner of the 2015 Canadian Folk Music Award for Children’s Album of the Year and 2016 Juno nominee for Children’s Album of the Year.

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Duane Andrews with our mutual mate, Daryl Parsons, of Hu Noo fame

My connection: I met Duane at the beginning of my second year at St Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. He moved in across the corridor from me on the 3rd Floor of Burke House, joining a floor filled with wannabe guitarists and singer-songwriters like myself, Rob Currie and Hu Noo’s Daryl Parsons. Rob and Daryl, unlike myself, went on to impressive degrees of success, but none like Duane has achieved. He’s certainly come along since then when he was touted by some as “the next Slash” and when he espoused his fondness for Judas Priest. Regardless, he could play then and, man, can he play now. We really didn’t know what hit us as he quietly went about his business of earning his honours degree in Jazz studies and I doubt any of us would have predicted the direction he has taken.

Inspiration for this writer: After  our university days, I lost track of Duane until the advent of Facebook which happened to occur just around the time he was making waves with his first album, Duane Andrews. I quickly purchased one of his follow-ups, Raindrops. Raindrops  is still one of my favourite albums to play while planning and writing. Once again, Duane staggered me with his playing and I was fascinated by his blending of Reinhardt’s jazz and traditional folk music from Newfoundland, both legitimate influences from Duane’s early life and his time spent in France. A prolific and diverse musician, I’ve also admired Duane’s film-scoring, collaborations with fiddler Dwayne Coté and, more recently, his adaptive work in support of The Swinging Belles. Duane is not standing still.

222906_16478073999_5101_nWhy you should check him out and share with others: Duane’s growing resume should speak for itself, really, filling with awards and popular live shows around the world. In interviews, he articulates his vision and his profound endeavour to share his musical worlds with the world. Jazz fans will love him and want to learn about East Coast roots music, and fans of fiddling, jigs and reels will want more of Reinhardt. Quite frankly, you’ve never heard anything like him.

Sample of work:

Here’s Duane himself explaining the process of producing his most recent album, Conception Bay.

Find out more: duaneandrews.ca, WikipediaFacebook, Twitter, InstagramYouTube

Be sure to watch out for the Juno Awards on 3 April and wish Duane congratulations when he and The Swinging Belles win!

UPDATE (7 April 2016): He won!

The Weekend Name Drop is a weekly feature on this blog, promoting people I have encountered who are doing creative things.

Antony Millen is a Canadian living and writing in New Zealand. He is the author of three novels: Redeeming Brother Murrihy, Te Kauhanga and The Chain.

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