Canadian Chanteuse Encores Piaf Show
Published Dec 12, 2012, 4:20pm -
For close to three decades, acclaimed Canadian singer Joëlle Rabu has wowed audiences throughout 5 continents with her portrayal of the legendary French chanteuse Edith Piaf. Rabu returns to The Palm Cabaret on Dec. 19 at 8pm with “Encore Piaf…and more,” her European cabaret style show performing songs from the torch-music era with a stage presence that has been described as passionate, electric and engaging. Accompanied by award-winning pianist Nico Rhodes, these two musical forces combine theatricality and musicality into an evening of pure entertainment.
Joëlle Rabu made her debut at City Stage in April, 1983. She found herself caught up in a whirlwind of publicity and praise. A casual remark by her brother was the first link in the chain of events that was to propel her from waitress to the stage. The late Ray Michal, director of Vancouver's City Stage, had expressed his desire to remount his original play, 'Piaf, Her Songs, Her Loves', but was frustrated in his search for a bilingual singer/actress dynamic enough to play this special role. An audition was arranged and Joëlle sang a few Piaf songs, tunes she knew well from her French upbringing.
Within a month, an incredulous Joëlle began rehearsals. Her transformation from unknown waitress to singing star caught the attention of the media and her thrilling voice and presence won the hearts of all that heard her sing. Audience demand extended 'Piaf' past its initial six week run for month after month. "A star is born" was the unanimous consensus of the media and public. The show finally closed on its first anniversary after more than 500 performances, which won her two Jessie Awards and established her reputation as a chanteuse extraordinaire.
Joëlle Rabu's success in 'PIAF' gave her recognition throughout the Canada and after that initial year at Vancouver's City Stage, portraying this French songstress, Joëlle pursued her acting career. She adds to her theatre credits, roles in CABARET; GOODNIGHT DISGRACE; IRMA LA DOUCE; DON MESSER'S JUBILEE; LIES AND LEGENDS, THE MUSICAL STORIES OF HARRY CHAPIN; RATS THE MUSICAL; MARION BRIDGE; ANYTHING GOES; MURDER ON THE NILE and A COUNTRYSIDE CHRISTMAS. She wrote and toured her new TONIGHT…PIAF show and her concert of original songs across 5 continents; recorded 5 albums (one of which was nominated for a JUNO); performed with the Peking Pops Orchestra, Russian Children’s Choir and the late Danny Kaye at EXPO; did a command performance for the Duke and Duchess of York; played with Symphony Orchestras across Canada and in the States; was awarded Nanaimo’s Excellence in the Arts Cultural Award and won a BC Touring Artist of the Year award.
After decades of touring and recording, Joëlle decided to take a step away from the hectic performance demands. She launched into different projects that included writing, directing and producing shows, which also enabled her to be closer to home to look after her parents during their final years. Not wanting to be solely defined as a performer, she also ventured back to her roots of the hospitality industry during the summers, managing a friend’s floating lodge in BC’s rugged Nootka Sound. She now spends her time between her Island home in Nanaimo performing from time to time at various events and theatre shows that intrigue her, and the other half of the time she spends at her other passion and on her second Island home of Haida Gwaii, where she’s embarked on a Cultural Tourism project for the Haida Nation.
This step away from constant performing has also enabled Joëlle to witness her 22-year old son, Nico Rhodes, forge his own career path in the music industry. An accomplished pianist and saxophonist; arranger, composer and award-winning jazz musician, Nico is rapidly becoming one of Vancouver’s most desired music directors for live theatre productions. Nico has been fortunate to find himself in myriad musical settings from teaching music in Kenya to performing with various R&B bands, singer songwriters and his own jazz-fusion trio “Project Walrus”. Recently Nico music-directed Canadian productions of: A CLOSER WALK WITH PATSY CLINE; OH WHAT A LOVELY WAR; A COUNTRYSIDE CHRISTMAS; and ALL SHOOK UP, and his next musical theatre project is SOME ENCHANTED EVENING in West Vancouver.
Invited for a return engagement to Mexico, Joëlle and Nico have teamed up ‘encore’ for an intimate evening of song at Vallarta’s Palm Cabaret and Bar on Dec 19-22, 2012 at 8pm. Whether performing their own renditions of timeless classics, French cabaret torch songs or playing off each other in a fun mother-son improvised mêlée of melodies; Joëlle and Nico bring a fresh sound to some old tunes and some old soul to some new ones.
Source: Tracy Parks