Jesse Cook adds Okanagan to worldly jams

Jesse Cook will take the …

“I want to take people to places they haven’t been.”

Jesse Cook, Juno winning master guitarist, known for his intoxicating fusion of world music, has travelled the globe looking for sounds that resonate with him. And it’s a worldly sound Cook will bring to the Okanagan, with a Vernon stop Oct. 5 and Kelowna Oct. 6.

“I like finding common ground for different music traditions, a space where music from around the world can come together,” Cook explains. “A place where modern sounds can mix with ancient timbres.

“There are many borders in our lives. Some others have built, some we create for ourselves. Whenever I ventured beyond the borders of my life, I have been the better for it. I grew up in the cold war, in a world of walls and borders. But then people began to change the way they thought. The walls came down. Europe united, and people began thinking of themselves as global citizens. The rising nationalism of today is exploiting our differences, not celebrating them. We are back to building walls, and I don’t want any part of it. Humanity, artistry, joy, and of course, love…these things don’t stop at some line on the map. If music is the universal language, maybe there is something it can teach us?”

Cook also helps foster this spirit of cultural exploration visually through his photography on Instagram as well his popular weekly video releases on his YouTube channel and through Facebook. He was born in Paris, to Canadian parents. The family moved to southern France, where they bought a small home built in the 16th Century, for 100 dollars.

“It was like stepping into the Middle Ages,” Cook recalls. “Manitas de Plata was popular then, and it was his albums got me interested in the sound of flamenco guitar.”

After moving back to Canada, Cook started guitar lessons.

“My teacher played flamenco. Then, when I’d visit my dad in France, he was living next door to Nicolas Reyes, the singer of the Gipsy Kings. I saw gipsy kids on the corner playing that way too. It was as if the world conspired to get me interested in this style and I was hooked.”

It was when he heard the Paco de Lucia, Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin album, Friday Night in San Francisco that the die was cast. “I was captivated by the sheer virtuosity and freedom, that people could play whatever they wanted, creating in that space between jazz and flamenco.”

Cook studied classical guitar at the Royal Conservatory of Music, moving on to York University, and jazz at Berklee College in Boston. On his albums, and in concert, Cook explores the roots of flamenco, and it’s many offshoots, from India to Spain, and on to Cuba and Latin America. Along the way, he developed his signature synthesis of world music.

He has released ten genre-defying albums, garnering 11 Juno nominations and one win, in 2001 for Free Fall in the World Music and Instrumental categories.

As Cook reflects back on his journey so far, “Music has a way of touching your soul, and every tradition on earth has its own way of doing that. When we venture beyond our cultural and geographic borders, we can gain the whole world.”

Cook will take the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre stage Oct. 5 before hitting Kelowna Oct. 6. Tickets go on sale April 20 at 10 a.m.


@VernonNews
newstips@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Two Okanagan cities listed in Top 20 “rattiest” list

Rats. The Okanagan has them and they’re really a problem in two cities, according to this list.

Spall hosts PV Road open house

Major road reconstruction project set to begin shortly

Okanagan College students show skill

Trio clean up at provincial Skills Canada competition

Toyota comes to aid of cycling society

Vernon car dealership donates upgrades and repairs to cycling group’s trail building equipment trailer

Armstrong incident shocks employee

Worker transported to hospital following possible electrical shock at store

VIDEO: B.C. man recognized for spinning basketball on toothbrush

Abbotsford man holds world record for longest duration of time of 60.5 seconds

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Political heavyweights hit Washington in hunt for NAFTA deal

Officials from Prime Minister’s office, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland part of talks

Greenbelt Microgreens recall in B.C., Alberta, due to Listeria concerns

Canadian Food Inspection Agency says there have been no illnesses linked to the microgreens

Vernon Miracle Bucket Society has hope in the bag

Seven years ago Lezley Wright found herself praying for a miracle. Now… Continue reading

Commit to harassment-free environment or forego federal arts funding: Joly

$552,000 coming from feds for training so arts organizations build, maintain respectful workplaces

Aquilini-linked ranch fined $70,000 for storing cranes on farmland

Pitt Meadows council supporting application to Agricultural Land Commission

Minister calls out misogyny, but PM says too soon to talk motive in van attack

Alek Minassian is charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder

Most Read