House of Jazz goes Celtic

Karoleena Belfo launches her new album with House of Jazz performance

by Brian Lapuz

During happy hour on Feb 9, songwriter, vocalist and Dawson Alumni, Karoleena Belfo performed a short set of her Celtic Jazz act during the launch party of her new CD, Menu From Dublin.
Customers and guests, surrounded by mirrors, antique lamps, pictures and paintings of jazz artists, dined and drank at the House of Jazz. There on the small stage, Belfo excitedly introduced herself to the crowd and presented Daniel Eastcott, on the piano; Tom Eliosoff, on the guitar; and Anit Gnosh, on violin. She also took the time to thank her invited guests and family for coming to the show.
Belfo played the piano and sang alone for her first song “Man Take My Hand,” an uplifting love song, with the chorus sung in french. It was probably the song that best fit the relaxed mood of the restaurant; the combination could soothe the most angered person.
She was joined by Gnosh for the second song. “Sisters of Mine,” as the title suggests, is dedicated to Belfo’s younger sisters. This song was slowly progressive, which led to a playful and upbeat sound towards the end. However, the song was paused shortly as Belfo’s microphone had fallen from its stand. All the same, she remained calm and made a joke out of the situation.
Eastcott and Eliosoff then joined Belfo and Gnosh on stage. Belfo moved away from the piano and took center stage under the massive chandelier and the four performed the festive song “The Man With Emerald Eyes.” This song definitely had elements of rock since, oddly enough, the piano and guitar chords during the bridge were the same as the guitar chords in the outro of the song “Warped” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Then they performed “Menu From Dublin,” which didn’t include the guitar. This was the longest song and gave off a broadway vibe. The song began with spoken lyrics describing Dublin and was accompanied with a looping violin tune. The song then changed pace as the piano was now accompanying the vocals. In the middle of the song, the tempo picked up and included what appeared, at first, to be a blunder. The piano had stopped, Belfo said “Oops, sorry,” and Eastcott replied, “It’s okay.” Soon after, Belfo sang “I bumped into a piano man, as I walked into a restaurant,” which  reassured anyone confused in the crowd. Towards the end, Menu From Dublin had a Celtic pass, where Belfo briefly played the bodhrán, an Irish frame drum.
The final song of the night was “City D’Amour,” a song about Montreal and its cultural diversity. “City D’Amour” certainly had a deeper and more dramatic tone than the other songs played that night. The song featured ­­guitar arpeggios in the introduction. Towards the end, the guitar sound was not as clean and smooth. As the cadence of the song built up in anticipation of the climax, Eliosoff might have played some dead chords that did not belong. However, this could have been the fault of the acoustics, seeing that this was a live performance.
All in all, the performance was great and its location at House of Jazz added to the success of the evening. Karoleena Belfo is definitely worth exploring.

Anyone who is interested can visit http://www.myspace.com/karoleenabelfo or http://www.tunecore.com to check out her album.

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