Davina & the Vagabonds
Davina Sowers and the Vagabonds have created a stir on the international blues scene with their high-energy live shows, sharp-dressed professionalism, and Sowers’ commanding stage presence. With influences ranging from Fats Domino and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band to Aretha Franklin and Tom Waits, the band is converting audiences one show at a time, from Vancouver to Miami and across Europe. The band’s latest recording, 2011’s Black Cloud, was named one of the 10 best releases of the year by the Minneapolis Star & Tribune.
So much more than just a blues act, DATV’s shows are filled with New Orleans charm, Memphis soul swagger, dark theatrical moments that evoke Kurt Weill, and tender gospel passages. Davina’s voice and stage presence defy category in a different way. Davina has been compared to Etta James, Amy Winehouse, Janis Joplin, Billie Holiday and Betty Boop, but comparisons don’t suffice: Sowers is a true original.
Something unique to this “blues” project is the instrumentation. This rollicking quintet is held together by Sowers’ keyboard playing, with acoustic bass, drums, and a spicy trumpet and trombone horn section. The group’s focused, clean sound and emphasis on acoustic instruments is novel to both blues and jazz worlds, and sets the show closer to New Orleans than to Chicago. Catch this one-of-a-kind live show while they are in town!
“…easily among the breakout stars at this year’s [Monterey Jazz] festival.” – Monterey Herald
“They dare to be different. Davina zips to near impossible heights in a divine declaration of romance” -Downbeat Magazine
“Sowers’ vocals are unreal. She simultaneously evokes Adele and Bessie Smith, and the band’s sound is vintagey and fresh, a modern take on old-time blues and jazz.” -PennLive
“ Think of a meld of Bessie Smith, Etta James, Alberta Adams and Amy Winehouse, and you come close to understanding what Davina Sowers is all about…Davina is a real talent who deserves greater exposure – and I have no option but to highly recommend this band.” -Blues In Britain
“Davina Sowers’ classically trained right fingers shimmy down the piano keys and meet up with an insistent boogie-woogie bass. Then she reveals her other musical talent: a sassy, salty, sweet voice that’s childlike at the top, husky at the bottom.” - NPR / Marc Silver 2011 “Song of The Day” / Lipstick and Chrome
“Two things remain consistent at all her shows though: her throaty but cushiony voice, which has a sort of hard-mattress comfort to it that’s part Bonnie Raitt, part Etta James and a little Amy Winehouse; and her band’s rollicking New Orleans flavor, driven home by dueling horn players and a bayou-thick standup bass.” -Chris Riemenschneider, Star Tribune