It’s the perfect summer break for a post-secondary music instructor: pack up the band and tour a new album through the landscapes of British Columbia.
Melody Diachun released her latest EP Get Back to the Groove earlier this month and the Selkirk College Contemporary Music & Technology Program Instructor will now spend most of June on the road. The ideal jazz singer for the 21st Century, the JUNO Award nominee continues to build on her knowledge and experience in the industry that is then passed onto a new generation at Nelson’s Tenth Street Campus when classes resume in September.
Selkirk College Contemporary Music & Technology Program Instructor Melody Diachun is hitting the road this summer with her band to tour her latest release Get Back to the Groove. (Louis Bockner photo)
"My colleagues and I are all working musicians and that has been a key ingredient to the success of the program since it started in the late-1980s,” says Diachun, who began teaching at Selkirk College in 2012. “We teach what we know. I think it's important for students to see us walk-the-walk. Continuing to record and tour also helps me stay on top of the many rapid changes in the music industry."
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Diachun has a very appealing and friendly voice, a subtle but exciting improvising style, and is open to the influences of current pop and R&B music. Her brand of groove-jazz is both creative and accessible, appealing to a wide audience while being joyfully unpredictable.
Celebrating two decades of writing and performing music together, the nucleus of the recording is Diachun as the vocalist-songwriter and guitarist-bassist, co-writer, mixing engineer, producer, and husband Doug Stephenson.
“Get Back to the Groove marks the premiere recording of our newly formed label, Third Beach Records,” says Diachun. “Since moving to the Kootenays in 2012, we have developed a cohesive sound and camaraderie of a true band with the musicians heard on the recording.”
The band includes Clinton Swanson on tenor sax, Mark Spielman on electric bass and Tony Ferraro on drums. The recording is augmented by long-time collaborators Chris Andrew on keys and Chris Gestrin on Hammond B3, and by one of Diachun’s former Selkirk College voice students, Andrew Matthews, on background vocals.
Get Back to the Groove is Diachun’s fourth recording and focuses on irresistible originals, unexpected covers, and compelling grooves.
Originally from Montreal, Diachun graduated from McGill University’s Jazz Performance Program and was living in Vancouver when she received a Facebook message from a friend about a job opening at Selkirk College. Though she had never been to Nelson, Diachun had heard of the Contemporary Music & Technology Program so she decided to apply.
“I was invited to join the faculty starting in August of 2012 and my husband and I packed up our lives and moved to the Kootenays,” says Diachun, who teaches Songwriting, Vocal Labs, Ensembles and The Business of Music. “It didn't take long for us to decide we wanted to stay. I love working with the students and helping them realize their musical aspirations. There is a lot of music in the Kootenays which allows my husband and I the opportunity to continue to perform and record. We love Nelson's beauty, live-and-let-live attitude… and skiing!”
The Get Back to the Groove Tour 2018 kicks off at Calgary’s JazzYYC Summer Festival on June 15. From there the band will make their way back to British Columbia on a six-show June run that includes Cranbrook, Enderby, Vancouver, Duncan and Victoria. Diachun will perform at Nelson’s Shambhala Music & Performance Hall on the Selkirk College Tenth Street Campus on June 21. Her summer also includes a Music in the Park Concert Series stop in Castlegar (July 25), the Kaslo Jazz Etc. Festival (August 3) and the Trail Concerts in the Park Series (August 23).
The June 21 show in Nelson starts at 7:30 p.m. with doors opening at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 and available at Otter Books in Nelson or at the door. Get Back to the Groove is available now on iTunes, Amazon MP3 and Spotify.
For more information on Melody Diachun head to her website.