Rita Di Ghent and Astrid Young
940 Bonisteel Rd. Trenton ON
Music industry legends Rita Di Ghent and Astrid Young take the stage together at the Old Church Theatre. But our stellar line up doesn’t end there. Rita will be joined on stage with Salik Brant and Astrid will bring Ray Farrrugia and Saskia Tompkins on stage to join her in the second set. Want to know more about great musical cast? Please read on:
Rita di Ghent is a Hamilton-born bandleader and songwriter. Her family moved to Chicago when she was a baby and Rita grew up in that music town in a musical family, where everyone played an instrument. Her father was a driver, and chauffeured the Beatles, Diana Ross, Louis Armstrong, and even the Bonanza star, Lorne Greene.
Since 1990, Rita’s been bringing her unique blend of jazz, song, and gritty poetry to stage, record, and airwaves, earning widespread acclaim that includes two nominations for “Jazz Vocalist of the Year” from the National Jazz Awards and a nomination for Montreal Jazz Festival’s Prix de Jazz for her groundbreaking album The Birth of Sprawl.
Rita formed her record label, Groove, in 1993, and quickly became known for her unique approach to songwriting, which she coined “Sprawl”: a combination of traditional jazz, contemporary urban music, and painterly stories that continues to captivate audiences worldwide.
Part singer, part street poet, always rootsy, the world-acclaimed Rita has been variously referred to as “One of the most interesting singers of the contemporary era…” (New York Times), “extraordinarily compelling” (The South China Morning Post), and “a coveted Canadian Treasure” (Jazz Times).
Salik Brant is a Mohawk/Inuk musician from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. He studied music at University of Ottawa and currently teaches drums & guitar lessons at Arden’s Music in Kingston. He is currently playing in a handful of different projects, and is constantly writing his own music in a variety of different styles.
Astrid Young is a singer-songwriter with influences that range from classical to heavy rock, with a healthy dose of blues and country in between. Her discography dates back to 1984 and boasts over forty releases, including four solo albums and a multitude of credits as a side-musician and background singer. Through the years, she has played stages large and small, from the Whiskey-A-Go-Go in Hollywood to Paradiso in Amsterdam, Rock in Rio, and everywhere in between. Citing her primary influences as David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Kate Bush, and Black Sabbath, she plays a 12-string like it’s a weapon and isn’t afraid to change her strings on the day of a show. As a tip to her hard rocking roots, her solo acoustic shows have been compared to Alice in Chains Unplugged, and Music Connection Magazine once said she was “more closely related to Angus…” Music Express magazine describes her as “evocative, stunning, soulful…a gifted songwriter,” and Blues Hamilton rightly notes that there is “a musical surprise around every corner.” Astrid recently released a brand new single called Lay Me Down. Working with the legendary Eddie Kramer, she is currently in the process of recording a brand new album with band members Victor DeLorenzo (Violent Femmes), David J. (Bauhaus/Love & Rockets), Tim Welch (National Velvet/Images in Vogue), and featuring a cameo from her brother, Neil Young.
Ray Farrugia is best known as the Juno-award winning drummer from Junkhouse and Lee Harvey Osmond, but you may have also heard him on recordings with Mary Gautier, Fearing & White, Astrid Young, and laying down the beat for iconic Hamilton bands including The Trouble Boys and Slander.
Saskia Tomkins (she/her) is a master musician of violin, viola, cello and Nyckelharpa, an
educator, and a composer. UK born, she is classically trained with a folk background and a
B.A.hons. in Music (Jazz). She is an All-Britain Champion Irish Fiddler, and in 2022 received an
award for services to Irish Music in Canada. Saskia was the official Artist in Residence in 2022
with Folk Alliance International, and is currently Artist in Residence with British-based
organization The Mixed Museum, which works to preserve and share the social history of racial
mixing in Britain of Black and ethnic minorities for future generations.
Some reviews of Rita Di Ghent and Astrid Young Journeying:
“Wow! We have been booking artists for our unique “Speakeasy” space for three years, including many Juno Award winners and Order of Canada recipients. But this was exceptional. Both Astrid and Rita are such great storytellers with lyrics that engage as much as their music. Just as the most complex sea diving is found where the warm currents meet the cold ones, Rita and Astrid’s musical genres meshed to move the hearts of [the] enthralled, fully-engaged patrons, laughing together and crying together for over three hours. Not one was willing to give up a moment, let alone their seats.”
~ Saxe Brickenden, Partner, Karlo Estates
“[di Ghent and Young] are both refreshingly real… [their] laid back humour and storytelling was felt by all, as well as [their] femininity and beautiful songwriting. It was a treat to see such seasoned talent… I’m sure an ingredient many took away was the inspiration to be vulnerable.”
~ Suzanne O’Connor, host of The Beat, 99.3FM
“The musical duo of Rita Di Ghent and Astrid Young are an incredible force to be reckoned with! The combination of harmonious stories and songs are quite unlike any other; Astrid’s powerful vocals combine perfectly with Rita’s smooth blend of jazz fusion. If given the chance, you certainly don’t want to miss these two amazing women perform!”
~ Alex Rhindress, Owner, The Cardinal, Trenton, ON.