Thursday, August 2, 2007
The blues came banging on Sista Monica’s door, but the resilient vocalist refused to let them in. The knock came in the form of a cancer diagnosis, which took the Santa Cruz-based blues belter off the scene for two years. Suddenly, she went from starring at festivals with legends like Buddy Guy, Etta James and Gladys Knight to nursing her strength between bouts of chemotherapy.
But after a gruelling ordeal, Sista Monica (aka Monica Parker) returned with, >>Can’t Keep A Good Woman Down!, a soul-infused CD that leaves no doubt that she’s back in form.
Sista Monica performs Sunday in Seaside’s free Blues and Art in the Park series in a double bill with the Chicano All-Stars. Her band features Danny “B” Beconcini on piano and organ.
“What she went through was brutal, not many people would have made it,” says Beconcini. “But she keeps fighting. And now we’re back.”
Named “Artist of the Year” at the 2002 Monterey Bay Blues Festival, then one of the “12 most powerful women of Silicon Valley “ by the >>San Jose Mercury News, and last year nominated “Best Soul Blues Female Artist” by the Blues Foundation, Sista Monica’s reputation only grows.
She draws strength from the music whose power to sustain people through rough times makes the blues a cornerstone of African American culture. “The whole cancer thing represents change, what kind of positive vibe I keep around me, what negativity I need to eliminate. You do look at life differently.”
SISTA MONICA performs the 20th Annual Blues and Art in the Park, 1-4:30pm Sunday at Laguna Grande Park, Seaside. 899-6805 or ci.seaside.ca.us