As Tour de France rolled into Bern, Switzerland I ran into someone who looked a lot like David Bowie. Switzerland, I thought, David Bowie had a Chateau here, and then I recalled him telling me how he had picked up the phone and asked EMI Music in London to sign a friend to their label and she too now is a citizen of Switzerland one of Bowie’s old-time friends Tina Turner.
If you roll with Le Tour de France, sometime you wake-up and wonder where am I. Switzerland was no such affair. In Switzerland you saw those red flags with the white plus sign everywhere gone was the flag of France but France was not gone from anyone’s memory “NICE” posters, banners were there to let you know that the Swiss stood in mourning with all those who lost their lives in NICE. During the Tour de France you see so many faces all smiling, cheering the riders but one face really struck me and that was this man (below) who just reminded me of David Bowie and that brought back a lot of memories of Bowie.
Then there was the time David Bowie had lived in Switzerland his home le Château du Signal which he talked to me about and his great friend Tina Turner who also lives in Switzerland and while born in the USA is now a Swiss citizen. Needless to say this all made me miss David Bowie a great deal . David would tell me in a very excited child like manner “They asked me to do the poster for the Montreux jazz festival “, and I would tell Bowie how my friend is always invited to the jazz festival as his dad was a great jazz musician. Bowie would later ask me who my friend was and I would tell him Arron Davis his dad was Miles Davis. So here is the poster David Bowie designed for Montreux (the man loved his art creating it and admiring it).
Here is one of my favorite songs, sung by Tina Turner with David Bowie, and on this note Le Tour de France and I say adieu to Switzerland.
Also in New York City at this time is another great Italian photographer filmmaker Sebastiano Vitale to whom I suggested he shoot the band through his adventurous lens.
Hill Kourkoutis was brought to my attention by a very dear friend of mine who loves Canadian talent record producer Tim Thorney.
So I caught up with Hill at the best possible place at a bar over an old fashion cocktail and instantly released why Hill and David Bowie would have connected on both a creative and intellectual level ( even though Bowie liked to say I’m not intellectual I’m just a pop musician). Hill and the talented musicians with her simply do what they do for the sake of art, they seek no fame, but fame is what they will have.
Now I am the guy who blew off the Rolling Stones in Cuba to jet back to Toronto to see Prince’s Piano & A Microphone gig because I just knew how special. So I’m giving all of you a heads-up , this is gonna be very special
I am also so excited to have a super talented photographer Sebastiano document the magic that will take place at 8:30pm at Bar Nine. Go check out the gig.
No more blah, blah, blah, check out some of the YouTube videos just to get you into the mood.
“I’m just an individual who doesn’t feel that I need to have somebody qualify my work in any particular way. I’m working for me.” – David Bowie 60 Minutes 2002
David Bowie named his yacht ‘Deneb Star C’ ( Deneb) the brightest star in the constellation Cygnus. Bowie while in a courageous battle with cancer before his death released ‘Black Star’. The stars in the sky have been guiding humankind since time began and it’s in these sky’s that the Greek gods live. These deities or gods presided over the elements of sky, light and heavens. They at times to amuse themselves play chess with the lives of those who live on earth. The gods of Greek mythology, can whirl us into the nasty vicissitudes of life or into a magical space and it is up to us to recognize this and act upon it.
Hill Kourkoutis, is a award-winning songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist, performer and filmmaker from my home town of Toronto, and a day after David Bowie’s death she was placed into such a magical space.
Holy Holy a band formed by Bowie’s longtime producer Tony Visconti and his one-time drummer Mick (Woody) Woodmansey, named after an obscure 1971 Bowie single was playing at The Opera House in Toronto. The Holy Holy gig booked since December took on new meaning since the passing of the ever-evolving, boundary-kicking artist.
Holy Holy two gig’s in Toronto had sold out, and now this Canadian girl with Greek heritage ( don’t forget those Greek gods I was telling you about), because just like that, a ticket to sold out show found its way into the hands of Hill. While Hill was apprehensive about a tribute concert as Tony Visconti said on the stage in Toronto to the nine hundred people, “The reason why we’re doing this is about 46 years ago Woody and I were the original musicians who played this album, so technically we’re not a tribute band; we are the real deal”.
Hill was in the space now feeling the emotion of the musicians on stage and all those Bowie fans the ‘community’ she was listening to them playing “Ziggy Stardust,” and a couple of those lyrics had poignant meaning, too: “Became the special man/then we were Ziggy’s band” was fitting since Visconti and Woody were Ziggy’s band.
Hill that night was transported to another universal dimension, emotionally overwhelmed she would confess to me that after the gig that night in her dreams David Bowie came to visit, ( yes folks David Bowie is not dead, yes physically but his spirit lives), after all she was placed in my path and I quickly recognized why Bowie would have like her.
So who is Hill Kourkoutis you ask? Well she is in her mid twenties but as she told me she has sixty years of work under her belt having played all the dingy places, or living it as they say.
Hill as a performer and musician has played for Serena Ryder, The Weeknd, Martha and the Muffins, Tara Slone, The Cliks, Saidah Baba Talibah, Keisha Chante and Dane Hartsell, to name a few. Hill through this collective of pursuits has had the opportunity to tour across North America, Europe and Asia that led to many television appearances including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the Juno Awards and the MuchMusic Video Awards. Hill was a part of an array of musical projects including the indie alt/pop/rock band Drowning Girl, before pursuing her current solo project Hill & The Sky Heroes, an alien/surf-rock band.
Hill has also acted, and directed music videos and won several awards directing. I told her to me she seemed like the film director Jodie Foster and that should tell you something.
Hill like the quote above by Bowie creates for herself, she is not looking for fame, she is purely a creative person stimulated by the community which is her anchor. Hill in her own small way wants to create a shift for the positive she has been fortunate to have been able to make a living pursuing her passions, whether that be playing music, directing, acting, doing talk shows on television or whatever comes her way. Like Bowie who said –
“I suppose for me as an artist it wasn’t always just about expressing my work; I really wanted, more than anything else, to contribute in some way to the culture I was living in.” – David Bowie
Hill has David Bowie looking out for her and I have a very good feeling that something magical is around the corner from the girl who wants to buy a house one day and grow her own vegetables, while enriching the collective community around her.
Heavens are smiling upon you because you are in luck as Hill & The Sky Heroes are playing on April 25th.
APRIL 25. THE DRAKE. Emma-Lee and Hill & The Sky Heroes TAKEOVER. BE THERE OR BE…RECTANGLE.
Meet a Canadian recording artist Virginia Storey her influences were David Bowie, Sparks, Ian Hunter, and early works of Queen. Virginia has also continued a long career in post production audio as one of Canada’s top Foley Artists, garnering nominations and wins per the Emmy, Gemini, Genie, and Golden Reel Award societies.