What do Elvis Presley, Teletubbies, Monty Hall, Charles Darwin, the Apollo 13 Mission, the guy who invented the car alarm, Coronation Street, the Pope, Jean Cretien, Randolph Scott, K-tel Pattie Stacker, the Devil, God, George Bush, the Monkey, Frug, Twist, Watusi aaaand two grown men shopping at Value Village all have in common? They are characters and situations that have made appearances in the songwriting of Dennis Lakusta. Lakusta a Vancouver Island resident, is a prolific artist and songwriter and credits his Cree ancestry, Monty Python and Jonathan Swift for his somewhat irreverent take on North American culture. Sacred Cows, bring ‘em on — Lakusta delights in lampooning the lunacy he witnesses, both in himself and in the crazy world around him.
For our next performance in the Sooke Folk Music Society’s concert series, we are proud to be presenting Dennis Lakusta and friends.
In addition to his razor-sharp wit, Lakusta’s concerts offer up a multi-faceted feast of variety, color and depth which all testify to a life well-lived. He has traveled the world and seen a lot, both good and bad, and his songs are a direct reflection of the people and experiences encountered along the way. Never one to shy away from thorny issues, Dennis’ subject matter includes: The invasion of Iraq, the obscene wealth and holdings of the Vatican, the blind and wanton destruction of our once beautiful planet, institutional racism and the Indian Residential schools, The Sue Rodriguez and Robert Latimer cases, the flagrant assault on our most basic rights and civil liberties, etc. Not for the faint of heart.
Dennis’ third strong suit in songwriting is in the area of spirit and introspection. Besides coming to terms with the people and situations in the world around him his lyrics reflects a deep desire to understand the profundities buried within his own being.
Conventional wisdom has it that when you reach the age of 65 you’re supposed to slow down, relax in your rocking chair and try to enjoy your “sunset” years - this is a concept, a mean-spirited social construct and a bill of goods sold to us by the same fellows who brought us the Industrial Revolution. Dennis, along with many of his contemporaries who form the vanguard of the baby-boomer generation are about to blow that concept out of the water. He is currently active in 11 different art disciplines. The past three years have seen an explosion in songwriting for Lakusta. He has 45 new compositions, many complete with lyrics and he is preparing to produce and record his seventh and eighth CDs. You can add to this a new and exciting photographic collection to be launched this year and you can see what “Golden Years” means to this Renaissance man.
Dennis’ latest effort is mixed, mastered and ready to fly - a minimalist approach reminiscent of the early Lightfoot days with just a couple guitars, bass and vocals...truly a songwriters album. As usual, the 10 songs on the new CD cut a wide and uncompromising swath through the issues of the day, touching upon such diverse elements as Wall Street, the environment, aboriginal issues, Shakespeare, the human spirit, plus a point-blank examination of the media’s role vis a vis North America’s school-shooting phenomenon. There’s even a cover of a rather obscure Bob Dylan tune.
Nancy Taylor and Terry Porter will be joining Dennis for this concert.
Why don’t you join us as well for what will prove to be a great night of music here in Sooke. It all happens this Saturday evening, March 1 at Holy Trinity Anglican Church on Murray Road. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. with the concert starting at 8. Advance tickets are available at Shoppers Drug Mart.
Contributed by David Gallant