Chenoa Mckelvey

Chenoa McKelvey is a Winnipeg based jazz musician who brings her audiences back in time with the sweet, nostalgic sounds of the 1930’s and ’40s. Audiences will be treated to a performance filled with cheeky swing tunes, delicate and complex solo guitar numbers, and lyrics rich with wordplay; all drenched in the attitude and stylings of the delta blues.

Chenoa McKelvey is a musician of diverse talents, blending influences from blues, country and jazz. In her guitar playing, Chenoa models her sound after the swing guitarists of the first half of the century, notable influences being Django Reinhardt, Barney Kessel, and Charlie Christian. With her lively, riff-based style of improvisation, she aims to bring her listeners back to a time when jazz was not just music for listening, but for dancing. As a songwriter, Chenoa’s lyrics paint pictures with careful details that draw the listener into their story, rich with wordplay, and dark, poignant themes. Her voice has been compared to the likes of Billie Holiday and Madeleine Peyroux, as a unique blend of sweet, smooth, and gritty. Infused with clever harmonic twists and injections of country and blues, Chenoa’s songs are a perfect combination of old and new. Chenoa spends her days freelancing in various jazz ensembles and as a solo performer. She has also worked as a guitarist and bassist for several Manitoba artists outside of the jazz circle including Jaywood, Monika Wall, Jason Willows, and Jayme Giesbrecht. She arranges for and performs in Winnipeg jazz manouche project Juvel, and 1920s/’30s swing trio Smith’s Onion (pronounced ‘Smithsonian’). Both groups are recognized for their cheeky, complex 3 and 4-part harmonies, and their lively four-on-the-floor rhythm.