Calgary Bluesfest is very pleased to announce the first recipient of the Joanne Cassell Scholarship for Women In Blues, Kolese Walker.
This scholarship provides for Kolese to be mentored by one of Canada’s finest Women In Blues, musician, songwriter and recording artist, Kat Danser. Kat will provide invaluable guidance in performance, songwriting and stage skills.
Kolese Walker was first introduced to the guitar when she was a kid growing up in the BC Interior, when a neighbour inspired her to take some lessons. Seventeen years later, Kolese is still inspired to play and considers her guitar a passion. Kolese’s family relocated to Calgary, where a friend took her to a local jam. It was at this jam she met one of Canada’s leading bluesmen, Tim Williams, who graciously gave her pointers on stage and lessons to work on.
As a valued member of the Calgary Bluesfest volunteer team, Kolese is part of the stage crew. This backstage team provided the opportunity for her to hear and to meet some of the top players in the blues, including some leading women guitar players, Sue Foley and Suzie Vinnick, among them. Over the years she’s volunteered, Kolese was also offered invitations to sit in with other headline acts including Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials, and the Russell Jackson Band.
One of the goals Kolese aspires to is to fulfill her dream of play at the Roots & Blues Festival back home in Salmon Arm BC, another group she’s volunteered for the last 15 years.
Joanne Cassell was a cherished member of the Calgary Bluesfest family and considered the matriarch of the iconic King Eddy, a local blues bar that was home to many legendary blues musicians on tour. Calgary Bluesfest is proud to keep Joanne’s memory alive through this scholarship offered in her honour.