Skip to content

Laila Biali 'on the short track to global stardom,' Port Moody musician says

Juno award-winning jazz musician Laila Biali has performed with the likes of Sting, Chris Boti and Suzanne Vega. She'll be in Port Moody on Saturday, Dec. 16; tickets are now for sale.
Laila Biali performs in Port Moody on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023, as part of the Inlet Theatre Music Series.

North Vancouver native Laila Biali has been on the road a lot this year.

And tomorrow, Dec. 12, the Juno award-winning jazz musician kicks off the western Canadian leg of her tour that includes only one stop in the Lower Mainland: Port Moody.

Biali, who is also the host of CBC Music’s Saturday Night Jazz, will be on the Inlet Theatre stage on Saturday, Dec. 16 to perform new and original tunes she composed during her Banff Centre residency in a show called Wintersongs & Holiday Classics — a preview of her full album release next year.

The concert will be the biggest to date for Port Moody musicians Bill Sample and Darlene Cooper, who launched their Inlet Theatre Music Series last fall.

Speaking to the Tri-City News from Toronto today, Dec. 11, Biali said she looks forward to returning home to Metro Vancouver, albeit for a short visit.

It’ll be the second time the singer–pianist–arranger has played Port Moody, “which is such a little jewel in the Greater Vancouver area. The only times I would come out to the Tri-Cities were for soccer games on Sundays, so to get a more meaningful time in this beautiful city, that’s very special and unique to me.”

Biali promises a full program for her Port Moody crowd, starting the first half with Wintersongs accompanied by a string trio that includes Rebekah Wolkstein (violin) and Katrina Chitty (viola).

The second half will be more informal, she said, with “the old familiar fare” for the holidays, including a rendition of My Favourite Things.

Appearing with her on tour are saxophonist Jane Bunnett, bassist Dan Fortin and drummer Ben Wittman, Biali’s husband.

As well, the ensemble will play a tribute to the Canadian icon Joni Mitchell in honour of her 80th birthday.

Mitchell’s music, Biali said, has a jazz “sensibility” that gives rise to storytelling.

“She’s a national treasure,” Biali said.

Sample told the Tri-City News that Biali is a rising star herself, having sold out venues in Europe and Asia; released nine albums (including Your Requests this year); and collaborated with the likes of Sting, Chris Boti and Suzanne Vega.

“Laila Biali’s clearly on the short track to global stardom,” Sample said.

“You can catch her right here in Port Moody at what will be her only performance of Wintersongs in the entire Lower Mainland on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.”


For tickets at $35 to see Laila Biali on Dec. 16 at the Inlet Theatre (100 Newport Dr., Port Moody), go to Tickets are $45 at the door, if available. For more details, visit