Previously Performed in: 2016, 2015
What if Nina Simone played guitar like Jimi Hendrix and grooved like Sly Stone? Bursting through the confines of 12-bar blues with heavy dollops of rock, soul, jazz and afro-beat, Cécile Doo-Kingué definitely mines the traditional blues subjects such as love, personal demons and loss. But she also addresses current politics fearlessly and fiercely, whether she’s singing about the Russian crackdown on homosexuality in the lead up to the Sochi Olympics ("Bloodstained Vodka") or police shootings of unarmed black men in the United States ("Six Letters"). In true blues fashion, though, Doo-Kingué’s unflinching gaze never comes at the expense of a good groove, a catchy melody or a sharp guitar lick. The daughter of Cameroonian diplomats, Doo-Kingué was born and raised in New York, moving to Montréal at 20.She seamlessly moves between French and English in her singing, often in the same song, and has developed a reputation for blistering live sets in her two decades of performing. During last year’s Calgary Folkfest, Doo-Kingué’s wide-open collaborative heart and jaw-dropping chops instigated some of the juiciest, most unforgettable sidestages of the weekend.