Jona Kristinsson will play a selection of not-so-traditional holiday classics, both old and new, at Knox United Church in Parksville on Dec. 9.
The Nanaimo-based singer will be joined by a six-piece ensemble of musicians and three dancers from the mid-Island area for ‘Is This The Christmas’. Her band will include members of well-known Nanimo acts Wunderbread and Johnny Inappropriate.
The show will include a mix of contemporary and old-school blues, with favourites of Kristinsson’s such as ‘What Christmas Means to Me’ by Stevie Wonder and the Temptations’ arrangement of ‘Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer’.
Kristinsson, originally from Iceland, said she is especially excited for this performance because she has not had time to play many concerts lately.
“I’m going to be sharing quite a bit of the Icelandic Christmas tradition, which is much different from just one Santa Claus,” she said. “We have 13 yule lads, which is 13 Santa Clauses. They’re all different, they all have different names and do different things.”
Some of the songs Kristinsson will sing have been adapted into Icelandic lyrics.
“I’ll sing a little bit in Icelandic. too. You’ll know the melody, but you won’t understand what I’m saying,” she said.
Kristinsson was introduced to the blues by her uncle, Thor Kristinsson of Thor and the Thundercats, when she moved to Canada 25 years ago.
“When I lived in Iceland, there was no blues,” she said. “When I came here my uncle had a blues band here and I was just sort of like ‘what is the blues?’”
The Icelandic music scene has changed since then and the country now has a blues society, she added.
When pandemic restrictions saw gigs cancelled, Kristinsson kept herself busy by opening a clothing store, Curva-voom, in downtown Nanaimo. The past few years, without live performance, were tough for her, as with many other musicians who saw their calendars go blank.
For Kristinsson, it’s good to be back on stage.
“It’s the emotion and the energy that I get from a crowd,” she said. “I’m very interactive with my crowd and I really feel a crowd.”
Kristinsson, who balances teaching vocals with managing the store, her singing career and dee-jaying, is looking forward to working on her first-ever solo album in the new year, which will be done with producer and engineer Rick Salt.
She is also known for her show ‘Miss Peaches and Me: Tribute to Etta James’, which has been running for five years and has played to audiences around Canada’s west coast.
The concert begins at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Tickets are $30 and are available online and at Parksville retailers Fireside Books and Close To You Boutique.