Brunch is a favourite past time shared by many and should be an extraordinary experience, one that you will cherish. Vancouver has some wonderful places for brunch. Each of the places I visit is unique for what is offered along with the type of service and selection of dishes. I am on a journey around the city to find these extraordinary places and, at the same time, I will be joined by a notable personality who may be a Film Producer or Director, Musician, Arts Festival Director, Actor or other well-known individual for Brunch at restaurants in and around Vancouver.
For my fifth brunch in this series, I was joined by musician Michael Fraser at the Waldorf Hotel talking music, food and more!
Proficient on both turntables and violin, Michael Fraser spins House with the addition of live Jazz, Gypsy & Classical influenced melodies. His fresh approach creates musical pandemonium that keeps crowds dancing and leaves them wanting more.
Listen to some of his tunes here
I saw Michael perform with Tambura Rasa this past summer on an outdoor stage at the In The House Festival in East Vancouver. He recently joined me for the Mexican brunch at the Waldorf Hotel in East Vancouver.
How long have you played the violin?
Almost 19 years (started when I was 4 years old), it is good to start young because you develop ear training at a young age.
Have you always wanted to be a violinist?
Probably went in waves from fascination to work. I also play synthesizers and on the computer. I realized this is my gest as my parents pushed me to play when I was younger.
What Genre is your music?
Background in jazz, sonically gravitate towards gypsy and middle eastern tones. Jazz is a huge component of a lot of different styles.
Has your music style changed over the years?
It has and has not – jazz while growing up –adapts to surrounding through Tambura Rasa- Balkan, fusion, flamenco, playing has developed over the years.
Tell us about your involvement with Vancouver based Tambura Rasa? And what type of music the group performs?
Balkan Flamenco Fusions – Ivan is a technically minded person, music is challenging, cinematic and technical, groovy and dancing. Important to be within the groove, I have been in the group for 4 years.
What is your favourite food?
Indian is my ethnic food of choice. I love making salads and cooking gluten free at home.
What is your favourite restaurant inside and outside Vancouver?
- Inside – Akbars Own
- Outside – The Dream Café in Penticton
Michael had the Hangover Breakfast Tacos ($12) on corn tortilla and Richard had the Chilaquiles with Chicken ($18).
What do you do in your off time?
- To look for music online through blogs
How far in advance do you plan your concerts?
Weeks to 6 months or longer.
Do you come from a musical family?
My parents met at music camp, my dad plays Dobro Lapsteel and guitar, playing Gypsy jazz, my mom plays bass.
Tell us about your Violin
My violin (1939) and I play this one only when I record or practice.
I have a generic violin for playing all of my concerts.
For dessert, Michael and I shared Pancakes with Dulce de Leche.
Where was your most recent trip?
Saltspring Island playing Beaver Hall
Where is your next trip?
Whistler to play at Rics Grill on November 11th at Cornucopia and the Dream Café in Penticton on November 26th with Tambura Rasa.
How long have you been teaching Violin?
3 years – all different ages, different types of music, but from a jazz angle. Use ears as you learn.
What is your favourite music festival that you have performed at?
Folk on the Rocks in Yellowknife
What is your favourite city for live performance music?
- Island cities: Saltspring and Tofino
- Big cities: Montreal
Is there a music festival that you have wanted to perform at and have yet too?
Vancouver Folk Music Festival
Who are your mentors?
- Lawrie Hill (VSO Violinist)
- Tom Keenliside (Jazz Violinist)
- Stuff Smith (on recording)
- Stephanie Grapelli
- Daniel Moir (Human Life)
- Rick Buckman Coe
- Don Johnson (in the UK)
- Ben King (from the Yardbirds)
- Robin Nolan (Gypsy Jazz)
Who are you favourite musicians to collaborate with?
- Ivan from Tambura Rasa
- Andrew Clement
What are some of the best clubs to perform at in Vancouver?
- Waldorf Hotel
- Joes Apartment
- Jazz Cellar
Are there any musicians who have influenced your musical career? If so who?
What’s next for you or what’s on the horizon musically speaking?
- Working on an Album
- Gypsy House Project ( a solo project with funky tunes)
What is your favourite music to dance too?
- Disco house
- Hip hop
Does Tambura Rasa have any concerts coming up locally?
Beginning in January 2012 we will be playing the Jazz Cellar every 2nd Thursday.
Style: a La Carte
Time: Brunch is offered Saturday and Sunday 11:00am – 4:00pm
The Waldorf Hotel
1489 East Hastings Street, Vancouver
For Reservations, please call 604-253-7141
Stay tuned to my next guest Interview along with the next Brunch in and around Vancouver.
By: Richard Wolak