Bocephus King finds la dolce vita 

The singer-songwriter funks out at the Flag Stop Arts Festival following Italian tour

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - Fly guy Bocephus King is performing at the Flag Stop Arts Festival.
  • PHOTO submitted
  • Fly guy Bocephus King is performing at the Flag Stop Arts Festival.

Bocephus King (a.k.a. Jamie Perry) is holding court at home in Ladner.

A month ago, the singer-songwriter was in Italy on his third tour this year, performing the finale at a festival in Milan dedicated to the music of David Bowie.

"I grew up playing Bowie around campfires in Tsawwassen or Point Roberts, I know a lot of his songs," Perry says.

He played another show there just after Bowie died in 2016, and was the only performer who knew all the lyrics to his songs. The songs? "Modern Love" and "Let's Dance."

"This time I played a whole set of Bowie. They wanted someone who could play 'Lazarus' and Blackstar. It just happened to be an album I spent a lot of time with. We played it gypsy style," Perry says.

"It was really good. I also did a Bob Dylan night."

How does a Lower Mainland guy take hold of the land of la dolce vita?

Perry's second album, A Small Good Thing, sold well in Holland and England as a small-label record, but really took off in Italy.

"That brought me over there, and from late '99 until 2003 I went quite a few times playing. And it held on there and I got a core following," Perry says.

His styles have changed over the two decades of his career; he now plays shows in Italy backed by orchestras and works with Italian songwriters.

"I just kept changing and the Italian people really embraced whatever I did. I still play for the original fans, but it has gotten bigger and different. There are a few different groups I perform with over there now," he says.

"I love Italy a lot."

It's not surprising, therefore, that his upcoming album, Fight No More Forever, was recorded in Artesuono Studios in Udine, near Venice, using Italian musicians.

"I'm very fortunate. I tour the Kootenays and Italy a lot. Some of the best places on Earth," Perry says.

Bocephus King performs at the Flag Stop Theatre & Arts Festival at The Point Artist-Run Centre on Alta Lake on Friday, Aug. 11, hitting the stage at 9 p.m.

"I will be bringing up a gypsy violin player to Whistler, Suzka Mares. She's super great. That's along with my full band, John Hughes on bass and a drummer, Kenan Sunger," Perry says.

"The last time I came up, I brought a jazz trio, and this time it's more like funky stuff. You can dance. But who knows, though! Who knows."

He also promises to bring up shakers for the audience to do their bit, in terms of percussion.

"I like to do stuff like that," he laughs.

The Flag Stop Theatre & Arts Festival (see story on page 53) runs until Aug. 13.

For more information and for tickets, visit www.thepointartists.com.

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