About a month ago I played a benefit concert in Cobourg, Ontario for a very dear friend of mine. She has a very rare and difficult auto immune disease and it is really making her life difficult. She is also a wonderful violinist that I love working with. At this concert I met Paul Beaubrun. He is an incredible Haitian musician who my son describes as a cross between Bob Marley and Jimi Hendrix. In fact his father was one of the founders of the famous Haitian band Boukman Eksperyans. The brother can really sing and play. This is so refreshing to me as I find that many singer-songwriters can’t really play their instruments and have little or no stage presence. Paul has all of that in spades. We agreed that night that we should work more together.
Two or three days later he called me from New York City where he now lives to play a gig for an event at Casa Loma. It was a fundraiser for Haiti attended by Sean Penn. I wasn’t terribly interested in what Sean had to say but I was amazed at what a great performer Paul was on that gig! I knew that something special was happening on the stage.
That night he told me about yet another gig he had opening up for Lauryn Hill at Massey Hall in Toronto. All I said was “sign me up!” I told him about Brad Cheeseman as he needed a bass player. The Massy Hall band consisted of Paul, Brad Cheeseman on bass, Tamsir Seck and Oisin Hannigan on percussion, and myself. It was really special to have Oisin on the gig as he is Saskia Hannigan’s, the friend I told you about earlier, son and my drum student. We played two nights at Massey Hall and he had the crowd on their feet in the middle of the first song! I have never been part of an opening act that had such a huge effect on an audience. I look forward to playing more music with this great musician!