Chemistry makes magic

E.S.L. performs uniquely orchestrated songs inspired by everything from Polish cabaret to Neil Young to name a few.

E.S.L. will perform Nov. 20 at the Waverley Hotel.

E.S.L. performs uniquely orchestrated songs inspired by everything from Polish cabaret to Neil Young to the Beastie Boys and Velvet underground, to name a few.

Their chemistry translates into magical live performances that range from roaring Prohibition-era dance numbers to heartbreaking ballads.

E.S.L. is a fusion of players who could each claim top billing anywhere else. But there’s no room for egos here.

Instead, we get an incomparable band that includes Polish-born pianist and singer Marta Jacubek-McKeever (Girl Nobody); noted Cree cellist Cris Derksen; fiddler Diona Davies (Po’Girl, Carolyn Mark, Be Good Tanyas) and drummer Joy Mullen (The People Verses, The Doers, Greg MacPherson). Separately, their credentials are impressive, together, they’re divine.

The Vancouver-based group was formed in 2005 when Jacubek-McKeever (Polish-born pianist and singer of Girl Nobody fame) and Derksen found musical kinship in each other. Mullen joined on drums (The People Verses) soon after. Tess Kitchen recently joined the group and plays trumpet.

A rising star on the Canadian classical/jazz/folk/pop/ electronica/what-have-you scenes, cellist Derksen is known for captivating solo performances building layers of sound into often-surprisingly slamming dance music.

On her debut solo effort, the 13 tracks range from classically oriented, multi-tracked soundscapes (“We Danced Movement I & II”) to upbeat party bumps inspired by her half-Cree ancestry (“Pow wow wow”) and hybridized pieces that sound readymade for climatic moments in art or cinema.

As a side player, Cris has performed with hip hop star Kanye West, Veda Hille, Tanya Tagaq, Kinnie Starr, Lightening Dust (Black Mountain), Rae Spoon, Leela Gilday and Ivan Coyote.

Eye Contact is the stirring debut CD from E.S.L., one of those magic projects conceived in the musical chemistry among first-class artists. A wealth of chops and inspiration come together here, bringing ideas from all over and bending them into an album that ranges across the emotional map. From lavish to swinging, the songs are a gypsy blend that is at times playful and at others heartrending.

For more about the band, visit

This an early show starting Nov. 20 at 9:30 p.m. Come and sample the Waverley’s new menu and listen to this great music through the Waverley’s magnificent new JBL sound system.


— Cumberland Village Works



Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vanier students have put together a new video about road safety. Image, screenshot
Too many driving infractions, say School District 71, Comox ValleyRCMP

G.P. Vanier students also put together a video about safe driving and school buses

Jordan Jay Ward is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for two counts of manslaughter. Photo supplied
Wanted man from Calgary may be in the Comox Valley

Jordan Jay Ward is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for two counts of manslaughter

The City of Courtenay has received an application for a cannabis retail store at the Crown Isle shopping centre. File photo
Cannabis retail proposal draws mixed reviews from Courtenay residents

Coast Range Cannabis has applied to the City of Courtenay to operate… Continue reading

The 5th Street Bridge will be repaired next year. File photo
Former Courtenay councillor suggests waiting a year to repair bridge

In the opinion of a former member of Courtenay council, a year’s… Continue reading

Rotary District 5020 president Rod McKenzie (in chair) agreed to test out the CVCDA ramp and experience it from the perspective of an individual who relies on a wheelchair to get around. McKenzie is being prepped by Comox Valley Wheelchair Sports Society president Stephane Roy. Submitted by CVCDA
Accessibility the focus of Comox Valley Child Development Association Telethon

The Comox Valley Child Development Association Telethon will look markedly different this… Continue reading

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Our Home on 8th, the Port Alberni Shelter that opened in March 2019, has 27 extra ‘extreme weather’ spaces for people who need a place to get out of the cold. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
BC VOTES 2020: Mid-Island candidate plans occupation of shelter to protest homelessness

Graham Hughes says homeless situation a ‘crisis’ in Port Alberni

Parksville’s Jared Huggan won $75,000 playing BC/49. (BCLC/Photo submitted)
Vancouver Island man $75K richer after purchasing winning lottery ticket at Nanaimo Walmart

Parksville’s Huggan plans to purchase electric bike for partner

Actor Ryan Reynolds surprised a Shuswap family with a special birthday message to their son who was worried he’d be alone on his 9th birthday on Nov. 24. (Tiffanie Trudell/Facebook)
Ryan Reynolds text almost gives away Shuswap boy’s birthday surprise

Deadpool actor helps remind eight-year-old Canoe resident he’s not alone

Courtenay council
Subdivision proposal causes stir in Courtenay neighbourhood

Courtenay council approved second reading of a rezoning application to subdivide a… Continue reading

The Cowichan Steelheads’ Jesus Martinez (left) and the Cowichan 49ers’ Daryl Rodgers chase down the ball during Saturday night’s all-Cowichan clash at the Sherman Road turf. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan masters derby takes unexpected turn with broken leg

Soccer community comes together in midst of battle

Larry Whetstone is concerned about the condition of Jeffries Road, where he has lived for 30 years. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Poor condition of rural road in Cowichan has resident fed up

Transportation Ministry says repair plan under development

Most Read