Sunday, July 8, 2007

Janiva Magness at Bluesfest

While I was walking through the main festival grounds, looking for shots of volunteers hard at work, I heard the powerful, smoky voice of Los-Angeles based Janiva Magness, and couldn't resist strolling over to the Rogers Stage to not only hear her, I could do that just fine from anywhere on the grounds, but to see her. Magness is that kind of performer, someone you have to hear and see to get the whole experience.

She put on a great performance on this mid-afternoon day, singing some Blues classics, along with many tracks from her latest album, Do I Move You, released on Canadian label NorthernBlues Music.

Two moments stand as being memorable. First, there was the song in which Magness wore some faux armour, and played the front of her body armour with what looked to be a spoon. It was great to watch her move to the music as she literally played her body. Next was her long interlude to one of her new song's, where she talked up the necessity for older women to hook up with younger men. The cougar's in the crowd cheered enthusiastically throughout, I couldn't help but be reminded of Etta James' performance at last year's festival. Without a doubt, James is one of Magness' biggest influences, and her sauciness, along with her sultry voice, points to this.

I was glad to wander over to the stage when I did, as were the 4-500 people enjoying her performance. Magness is definitely a blues star worth seeing again, perhaps in a smaller, more intimate venue.