Iconic Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell will celebrate her upcoming 70th birthday several months early at Toronto's annual Luminato Festival of arts and culture this June.
Festival artistic director Jorn Weisbrodt confirmed Tuesday that the legendary folk singer will attend both an onstage discussion as well as a star-studded musical celebration of her career next month.
"Everything I dreamed of when we started this journey... has come true," Weisbrodt said in the announcement. "We have an incredible line-up of singers that will interpret the timeless songs of one of the most important artists of our time."
First up, the Alberta-born Mitchell will join her frequent collaborator, drummer and bandleader Brian Blade for an onstage discussion led by New York Times chief pop music critic Jon Pareles.
The June 16 event is one of several TimesTalks events the paper is holding at the Isabel Bader Theatre during this year's Luminato.
The two-night concert and birthday celebration Joni: A Portrait in Song follows on June 18 and 19 at the historic venue Massey Hall.
Joining previously announced performers Chaka Khan, Glen Hansard and Rufus Wainwright for the musical tribute are:
Singer-songwriter Cold Specks
Singer and actor Liam Titcomb
Singer and composer Lizz Wright
Singer-songwriter Kathleen Edwards
Grammy-winners Esperanza Spalding and Herbie Hancock, also a Mitchell friend and collaborator. The pair will perform at the second concert.
Mitchell turns 70 on Nov. 7.
Each year, Luminato's Canadian Songbook series features a renowned Canadian musician honoured through inventive covers of his or her work by other artists. Past festivals have paid tribute to influential Canadians such as Bruce Cockburn, Kate McGarrigle, Ron Sexsmith and Neil Young.
Luminato runs June 14-23.
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