Canada // Music  

Joni: A Portrait in Song

A Birthday Happening Live at Massey Hall

June 18 – 19, 2013


Joni Mitchell is a restlessly innovative artist in every sense. She has confounded expectations as a songwriter and musician. Her music has evolved from folk into pop, jazz, avant-garde, and even world music. Her lyrics are like a great poet painting with words, and her visual artwork offers the excitement of new ways of seeing.

Joni Mitchell is like no other.

To celebrate both her 70th birthday and the brilliance of her artistry, the Luminato Festival, working directly with Joni Mitchell, brings together an all-star lineup of musicians and vocalists, interpreting the songs of one of the most important and influential popular artists of the last 50 years. 


“The best that can generally be said about tribute concerts is that by recasting the music in an exciting light, they encourage you to revisit the artist’s back catalogue with new ears; Luminato’s celebration may have gone even further by inspiring its dedicatee.”
– National Post
“Three words for Joni: astonishment, celebration and discovery”
– Toronto Star

Participating Artists

Artist - Joni Mitchell
Artist Joni Mitchell
Joni Mitchell

Roberta Joan "Joni" Mitchell, CC (née Anderson; born November 7, 1943) is a Canadian singer-songwriter and painter. Mitchell's work is highly respected by critics, and she has deeply influenced fellow musicians in a diverse range of genres. Rolling Stone has called her "one of the greatest songwriters ever", and AllMusic has stated, "When the dust settles, Joni Mitchell may stand as the most important and influential female recording artist of the late 20th century". Her lyrics are noted for their developed poetics, addressing social and environmental ideals alongside personal feelings of romantic longing, confusion, disillusion, and joy.

Artist - Joni Mitchell
Artist - Cold Specks
Artist Cold Specks
Cold Specks

Cold Specks is a band led by Al Spx, the Canadian singersongwriter now based in London, England. Describing her sound as ‘Doom Soul’, Cold Specks’ music is steeped in the musical traditions of the Deep South. It’s no wonder then that Al cites the Lomax field recordings and James Carr as influences along with Bill Callahan and Tom Waits. With a voice that evokes the ‘spirit feel’ of Mahalia Jackson and the visceral tones of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Cold Specks’ sparse arrangements and chain gang rhythms stop you dead in your tracks.

Artist - Cold Specks
Artist - Kathleen Edwards
Artist Kathleen Edwards
Kathleen Edwards

A musical raconteur, lyrical poet, angelic voice and gifted performer, the music of Kathleen Edwards is beautifully honed artistry. Her most recent release, Voyageur (2012), has received high critical acclaim on both sides of the border and abroad. It reached the #39 position on the U.S. Billboard 200 and the #2 position in Canada. In addition to putting out great music and playing memorable shows, Kathleen has many other musical credentials. To name a few, she has played The Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno; opened for Melissa Etheridge, Bryan Adams, The Rolling Stones, The Tragically Hip, John Mayer, Willie Nelson and John Prine; and played with Neil Young and Emmylou Harris.

Artist - Kathleen Edwards
Artist - Herbie Hancock
Artist Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock

In addition to being recognized as a legendary pianist and composer, Herbie Hancock has been an integral part of every jazz movement since the 1960s. As a member of the Miles Davis Quintet, he became one of the pioneers of the avant-garde sound. His recordings during the ‘70s combined electric jazz with funk and rock sounds in an innovative style that continues to influence contemporary music. Rockit and Future Shock marked Hancock’s foray into electronic dance music and included several chart-topping hits. During the same period, he continued to work in an acoustic setting with V.S.OP., which included ex-Miles Davis bandmates Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter and Tony Williams. Hancock has received an Academy Award for his Round Midnight film score and 14 Grammy Awards, including Album Of The Year for River: The Joni Letters and two 2011 Grammy Awards for his recently released CD, The Imagine Project.

Artist - Herbie Hancock
Artist - Glen Hansard
Artist Glen Hansard
Glen Hansard

Rhythm and Repose is Glen Hansard’s debut solo album, 20 years in the making. Hansard is celebrated as the principal songwriter and vocalist/guitarist for the Irish group The Frames, and has garnered a reputation as not only an unparalleled front man, but also for his dedicated following and his grounded, real-life songs. Hansard is also one half of the acclaimed duo The Swell Season. In 2007, he and Markéta Irglová took home the Academy Award for Best Original Song for “Falling Slowly” from the Once soundtrack. The Broadway adaptation of the film, Once the Musical, won eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

Artist - Glen Hansard
Artist - Esperanza Spalding
Artist Esperanza Spalding
Esperanza Spalding

Esperanza Spalding was born and raised in a multi-lingual household and neighborhood in Portland, Oregon. Her journey as a solo artist began in 2008 with the release of Esperanza, which went on to become the bestselling album by a new jazz artist internationally. Esperanza currently tours extensively in the U.S., Canada, South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. In 2009, President Obama invited her to perform at both the Nobel Prize Ceremony in Oslo, Norway, and at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert. In February 2011, Esperanza was awarded the Grammy for Best New Artist. In 2013, she also picked up two Grammy’s for Best Jazz Vocal Album and Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s), honoring her mentor, trumpeter Thara Memory.

Artist - Esperanza Spalding
Artist - Liam Titcomb
Artist Liam Titcomb
Liam Titcomb

Liam Titcomb is a name you may have heard before. What you may not know about him is his intense desire to hone his craft, and that is exactly what he has been up to for the last few years living in Nashville and the U.K. Liam is an exceptional songwriter. Drawing on his own life experience as well as those close to him, Liam’s songs are heartfelt, personal and hypnotic. His new album Cicada (released in the summer of 2012) is a testament to Liam’s incredible growth as a songwriter. Creating music that resonates with the listener on a broader yet deeper level, he leaves you humming his infectious songs day after day.

Artist - Liam Titcomb
Artist - Rufus Wainwright
Artist Rufus Wainwright
Rufus Wainwright

Rufus Wainwright has established himself as one of the great male vocalists and songwriters of his generation. He has achieved his success by carving out his own singular sound in the worlds of rock, opera, theatre, dance and film. Rufus has released seven studio records, two live records and two DVDs to date, has appeared on numerous soundtracks and compilations, and has collaborated with artists like Elton John, David Byrne, Rosanne Cash and Keane. His latest album Out of the Game, released in May 2012, was a collaboration with producer Mark Ronson and marked the release of some of his most commercial work to date. Rufus received Juno Awards for Best Alternative Album in 1999 and 2002 for Rufus Wainwright and Poses respectively, and Juno nominations for his albums Want Two (2005) and Release the Stars (2008), the latter of which was for Songwriter of the Year.

Artist - Rufus Wainwright
Artist - Lizz Wright
Artist Lizz Wright
Lizz Wright

Lizz Wright was born in Georgia and as a child, began playing piano and singing in church with her two siblings. Wright subsequently studied voice at Georgia State University in Atlanta while simultaneously working with small jazz combos. In 1999, while sitting in at jam sessions in Atlanta, she was “discovered” and invited to join the Atlanta band In the Spirit. Her debut album, Salt (2003), was praised by The New York Times, which wrote that Wright’s “astonishing maturity and poise stirs jazz, gospel and rhythm and blues into a reflective, flowing style…” Dreaming Wide Awake (2005) expanded Wright’s interpretive range on an array of material ranging from Fats Waller to Neil Young. Her third release, The Orchard (2008), was largely self-penned as she mined her own experiences to create a personal statement. Fellowship (2010), her latest CD, continues her genre-defying journey, a nod to her roots in gospel on the one hand and her gospel of eclecticism on the other.

Artist - Lizz Wright

Creative Team

Brian Blade tours and records with The Fellowship Band, Mama Rosa, Brady L. Blade, Sr. and The Hallelujah Train, The Wayne Shorter Quartet and Daniel Lanois. He has recorded three albums with Joni Mitchell: Taming The Tiger (1998), Travelogue (2002) and Shine (2007).

The Kentucky-born, New Orleans-schooled, New Yorkbased Jon Cowherd is best known for his long-running partnership with drummer/bandleader Brian Blade. Cowherd works extensively with a broad array of players and singers from the jazz, pop and rock worlds including Rosanne Cash, Iggy Pop, Cassandra Wilson and Lizz Wright.

Danny Kapilian is a New York-based live music, concert tour and cultural event producer who has worked with great performing artists in every musical genre. Danny has produced and presented many original live music events for Carnegie Hall in New York, the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, the Barbican Centre in London, the Sydney Opera House and other renowned presenters.
Brian Blade & Jon Cowherd
Danny Kapilian