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Hot enough to melt the ice - Davina and the Vagabonds to perform 2 shows

Central Lakes Community Performing Arts Center presents Minneapolis sensations Davina and the Vagabonds for two shows Jan. 6 in the Chalberg Theatre on the Brainerd campus at CLC. Showtimes are 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Submitted

Central Lakes Community Performing Arts Center presents Minneapolis group Davina

and the Vagabonds for two shows Jan. 6 in the Chalberg Theatre on the Brainerd campus at CLC. Showtimes are 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

"This is the third occasion we've presented Davina," Theater Director Patrick Spradlin stated in a news release. "She and the band have developed a real following here in Brainerd. We sell her shows out every time."

For those who haven't seen the group, Spradlin states: "The best description I've heard about this band was from Jon Bream of the Star Tribune. It was this: 'Davina Sowers Lozier sounds like the daughter of Leon Redbone and Betty Boop trained on piano by Randy Newman.' That just about says it all."

Davina Sowers and the Vagabonds have created a stir on the national blues scene with their high-energy live shows, sharp-dressed professionalism, and Sowers' commanding stage presence. With influences ranging from Fats Domino and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band to Aretha Franklin and Tom Waits, the band is converting audiences one show at a time, from Vancouver to Miami and across Europe.

So much more than just a blues act, the shows are filled with New Orleans charm, Memphis soul swagger, dark theatrical moments that evoke Kurt Weill, and tender gospel passages, the release stated. Sowers' voice and stage presence defy category in a different way. Sowers has been compared to Etta James, Amy Winehouse, Janis Joplin, Billie Holiday and Betty Boop, but comparisons don't suffice.

"Something unique to this blues project is the instrumentation," the release stated. "This rollicking quintet is held together by Sowers' keyboard playing, with acoustic bass, drums and a spicy trumpet and trombone horn section. The group's focused, clean sound and emphasis on acoustic instruments is novel to both blues and jazz worlds, and sets the show closer to New Orleans than to Chicago."

This has set the Vagabonds apart at blues festivals in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Sighisoara, Romania, Sierre, Switzerland, Kemi, Finland, and 2012's New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and Monterey Jazz Festival 2013 and 2014.

Davina, a classically-trained pianist, has years of experience in piano performance. She and her band made a big splash at Duluth's Bayfront Blues Festival in 2006 to 2008, having the highest sales in CDs all three years.

Tickets are available online at www.clcperformingarts.com or from the CLC Theatre Box Office at 218-855-8199.

The show is sponsored by Birchwood Therapy Services and Prairie Bay Grill and Catering. The entire CLC Performing Arts Center season is made possible in part by an operating grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

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