Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Polaris Prize Winner Tanya Tagaq November 15, 2014 at Molson Canadian Studio at Hamilton Place


From a media release:

Hamilton World Music Series #2

Polaris Prize Winner Tanya Tagaq
November 15, 2014
at Molson Canadian Studio at Hamilton Place

• Tickets: $30 regular / $25 seniors & students / $20 members
Buy them online
• In person at Bryan Prince Booksellers (1060 King Street West)
• Email info@matapa.ca


“… [Tagaq] made it (Inuit throat singing) sound fiercely contemporary, futuristic even. Recalling animal noises and various other nature sounds, she was a dynamo, delivering a sort of gothic sound art while she stalked the small basement stage with feral energy.” —Jon Caramanica, The New York Times

Check out her electrifying performance at the Polaris Prize Gala:



What do free improvisation, Inuit throat singing, and hair-raising passion have in common? Add descriptors like mesmerizing, intimate and ‘pushing the edge’ and you begin to understand the endlessly inventive quality of Tanya Tagaq’s sonic equation.

Born and raised in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut in Canada’s high arctic, Tanya grew up surrounded by Inuit and western culture. It wasn’t until her teenage years that she began experimenting with Inuit throat singing, developing her signature solo style. Her first professional gig at a festival in Inuvik won the admiration of friends of Bjork, eventually leading to an appearance on the Icelandic artist’s 2004 CD, Medulla and a chance to accompany her on tour.

Tanya has released four critically-acclaimed albums, Sinaa (2005), Auk/Blood (2008), anuraaqutuq, a live recording (2010) and 2014's Animism, the stunning release which recently garnered her the Polaris Prize.

In his introduction of Tanya during the Polaris Prize ceremony, presenter Geoff Berner had this to say about her latest release,

"Animism is a masterpiece because it transcends opposites. Dizzyingly complex and sophisticated in structure, it also completely hits you in your guts, in your soul.

"It takes traditions that are tens of thousands of years old, and makes truly innovative music, music that could not have existed without Tagaq and her brilliant collaborators, violinist Jesse Zubot, drummer Jean Martin and DJ Michael Red."


Join us on November 15 as we bring this unique and innovative musician to Hamilton. Here's the trailer for Animism:

GRAMMY-WINNING COMPOSER MARIA SCHNEIDER AND HER ORCHESTRA NOVEMBER 25 - 30 2014 in 10th ANNUAL THANKSGIVING WEEK PERFORMANCES AT THE JAZZ STANDARD NEW YORK CITY

From a media release:

GRAMMY-WINNING COMPOSER MARIA SCHNEIDER AND HER ORCHESTRA
NOVEMBER 25 - 30 2014 in 10th ANNUAL THANKSGIVING WEEK PERFORMANCES
AT THE JAZZ STANDARD NEW YORK CITY


Maria Schneider's Collaboration with David Bowie
Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime) - To Be Released November 17, 2014

The Thompson Fields, the First CD in Seven Years from the Maria Schneider Orchestra, to be released April 21, 2015


You can participate here


The Grammy-winning composer Maria Schneider and her Orchestra perform Tuesday, November 25 to Sunday, November 30, 2014 at The Jazz Standard, 116 East 27th Street, NYC. Sets nightly at 7:30 and 10 p.m. with an 11:45 p.m. set on Friday and Saturday. 

• Tickets are $35. 
• Call 212-576-2232 or log on to http://jazzstandard.net/


In addition to composing for and recording The Thompson Fields, the first CD in seven years from the Maria Schneider Orchestra (to be released April 21, 2015 via ArtistShare), Schneider has been involved in a myriad of activities. In the spring, she was approached by David Bowie to collaborate on a new work. The resulting song, “Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime),” will be released on a 10-inch Bowie record on November 17, as well as on his new greatest hits 3-CD and 2-CD compilations as the only new song.  As Maria says: “I am thrilled with the results.”

In addition, she testified before Congress about music creators' rights and the need for change in copyright laws. 'It's now or never time for music creators to make our voices heard,' says Schneider. 'Free music is a relatively new concept, and it's just so ridiculous, almost as ridiculous as everyone being convinced they should pay for water in plastic bottles. I say, let's pay for music as we always did, and drink water for free from the tap, just like we used to.'

Maria Schneider's music has been hailed by critics as 'evocative, majestic, magical, heart-stoppingly gorgeous, and beyond categorization.' She and her orchestra became widely known starting in 1994 when they released their first recording, 'Evanescence.' With that recording, Schneider began to develop her personal way of writing for her 17-member collective, made up of many of the finest musicians in jazz today, tailoring her compositions to distinctly highlight the uniquely creative voices of the group. Subsequently, the Maria Schneider Orchestra has performed at festivals and concert halls worldwide. She herself has received numerous commissions and guest conducting invites, working with over 85 groups from over 30 countries spanning Europe, South America, Australia, Asia and North America.



Schneider’s music blurs the lines between genres and she is on a very short list of those who have received GRAMMY Awards in both "jazz" and "classical.” Her long list of commissioners are quite varied and range from the Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra, to Peter Sellars' New Crowned Hope Festival (Vienna’s Mozart Festival), Jazz at Lincoln Center, Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, The American Dance Festival, Kronos Quartet, The Metropole Orchestra, the Danish Radio Orchestra, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and most recently, the Ojai Festival, the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Cal Performances ('Winter Morning Walks'), featuring soprano, Dawn Upshaw, and three musicians long associated with Schneider: pianist, Frank Kimbrough, bassist, Jay Anderson, and multi-instrumentalist, Scott Robinson.

Schneider's latest fan-funded recording with Dawn Upshaw ('Winter Morning Walks') earned three 2014 GRAMMY Awards: Best Contemporary Classical Composition ('Winter Morning Walks'), Best Classical Vocal Performance (Dawn Upshaw), and Best Engineered Recording/Classical (David Frost, Brian Losch, Tim Martyn).

Schneider and her orchestra have a distinguished recording career bringing her a total of ten GRAMMY nominations and three GRAMMY awards. Unique funding of projects has become a hallmark for Schneider through the trend-setting company, ArtistShare®. For these projects, she documents her creative process for participating fans, who "fan-fund" her recordings through pre-orders. She's now composed four works for her own orchestra with the participation of commissioners coming directly from her ArtistShare® website fan base. Her album, 'Concert in the Garden'  (2004) became historic as the first recording to win a GRAMMY with Internet-only sales. Even more significantly, it blazed the "fan-funding" trail as ArtistShare's® first release. In 2012, her alma mater, the University of Minnesota, awarded Schneider an honorary doctorate.

CD Release: Federico Parra - CD: Descending (Independent - Nov 1, 2014)

CD Release:
Federico Parra - CD: Descending
(Independent - Nov 1, 2014)

Pre-order/buy the CD


From the first spacey, spiritual, celestial notes of One Taste, the first track on Descending, the new release by Federico Parra, you can tell this is no lightweight pop album. The music is challenging at times - not really meant for light listening, yet not inaccessible.

The track is also cinematic and symphonic in its effect. Federico achieves a great deal of expression with his unique method of singing and he uses the bells and smashing cymbals we'd associate with Buddhist music and tradion combined with a Western harmonic sensibility and symphonic passages - the Western melodic idioms of rising and falling phrases ends with a children's chorus and a kind of joyous abandon.

And that's just the first track.

Federico is a composer and multi-instrumentist who practices what is called contemplative music and harmonic singing expert. Originally from Argentina, in 2014 Federico received Green Card based on his “extraordinary talents and achievements” as a musician and music teacher.

It's no surpise as well to find that in addition to his musical pursues Federico is a Masters student in Clinical Psychology in Paris 8 University. He dedicated 12 years to the study and practice of Buddhist contemplative traditions of meditation and now divides his time between Paris, France an Boston, in the US.

It doesn't mean, however, that this is a one-note record. The second track, The Other, is more like avant garde jazz/artsy singer/songwriter pop - erudite but also appealing and accessible despite its esoteric subject matter. It features piano and acoustic guitar in a recognizable song structure.

We ask you to feel with the heart of the Other...

Federico has a pleasant voice that's perfect for the singer/songwriter shtick. Into the forest is another meditative track, featuring Buddhist-style vocals and musings on the nature of nature. It's all all emotion - no words.

He does a cover of Peter Gabriel's San Jacinto with an electronic beat and his breathy vocals slightly out of step with the contemporary medium. It comes as an injection of timeless spirituality amid the samples of various sounds including aboriginal chants.



Dancing Voices is fairly descriptive, sonic poetry without words with a female voice in a spartan arrangement. The two vocalists do dance around each other. Descending is another philosophical art-pop jazzy quasi-love song to humanity, featuring interesting instrumentation with a global flavour.

The album ends with Stellar Waves, another descriptive title for a piece that could be just that - the music of the spheres in swelling and ebbing waves of electronica.

The overall effect soothes the mind while still providing enough to pique sonic interest.

Tracklisting:
One Taste
The Other (featuring Andres Beeuwsaert, pianist from Argentina)
Into the Forest (featuring Beatritz Lalanne , singer from France)
San Jacinto
Dancing Voices (featuring Alisa Apreleva, singer from Russia)
Descending (featuring Gagik Gasparyan, Duduk player from Armenia, and
Mariano “Tiki” Cantero, percussionist/drummer from Argentina)
Stellar Waves

Get social:
Www.Facebook.com/federicoparramusic
https://twitter.com/federicomusic

IndieGoGo Crowdfunding Federico Parra's new album! from Samadhi Integral on Vimeo.

Sex. Death. Bananas. CIRCLE JERK November 6 to 23, 2014 - Toronto

From a media release:

Soup Can Theatre, safeword, and Aim for the Tangent Theatre proudly present

CIRCLE JERK
Sex. Death. Bananas.
November 6 to 23, 2014
lemontree studio - Toronto

Buy tickets


Concept by Justin Haigh.  Written by Justin Haigh, Scott Dermody, Brandon Crone, and Wesley J. Colford. 

TORONTO - Soup Can Theatre, safeword, and Aim for the Tangent Theatre are proud to present Circle Jerk; one production, four new and provocative short plays written under unique constraints. This past summer, members of the public were invited to submit original snippets of dialogue that the participating playwrights would have to use as the opening and closing lines of their new creations. After receiving almost 300 submissions, four intriguing lines were selected and assigned to the writers:

“Subtlety is not your specialty.”
“What’s Bulgarian for slut?”
“I think it’s time we talked about your filthy rituals.”
“I fucking hate potatoes.”

As an added twist, each of the lines of dialogue were assigned to two playwrights in order to serve as both the closing line of one play and the opening line of the following play. This loosely interconnected and ultimately cyclical structure (with the first play starting and the last play ending with the same line) puts the “circle” in Circle Jerk. After an intense writing and production period, the end results are four diverse yet cohesive works backed by an impressive roster of talent:

Dust Peddling: Part II by Scott Dermody; A bold and confrontational movement-based piece exploring themes of sexuality and bodily interactions. Directed by Joanne Williams (Wild Dogs On The Moscow Trains - NOW Magazine Critics Pick: Outstanding Production) and starring Scott Dermody (Love is a Poverty You Can Sell 2, Soup Can Theatre - NOW Magazine Critics Pick: Best Ensemble) and Lisa Hamalainen (As You Like It, Humber River Shakespeare).

Sex and This by Wesley J. Colford (The Wakowski Bros., Aim for the Tangent ““ Best of Fringe - NOW Magazine Critics Pick: Outstanding Production); A touching and distinctly modern comedy-drama about death, self-destruction, and the new rules of mourning in the age of Facebook. Directed by two time Dora Award nominee Jakob Ehman (Cockfight, Theatre Brouhaha; Minotaur, Young People’s Theatre; Donors, safeword) and starring Tiffany Deobald (Much Ado About Nothing, Single Thread Theatre) and Carys Lewis (The Corpse Bride, Theatre Panik).

Maypole Rose by Brandon Crone (Donors, safeword - My Theatre Awards Winner: Best New Production); A quirky and salacious window into the imperfect life of a gay couple with an affinity for junk food, weed, and monkey sex. Starring Alexander Plouffe (As You Like It; Canadian Stage) and G. Kyle Shields (Sucker; Theatre Brouhaha).

The Session by Justin Haigh (Love is a Poverty You Can Sell, Soup Can Theatre - Best of Fringe); A dark comedy about a workplace therapist determined to crack open an antagonistic nuclear safety expert with more than just safety on his mind. Directed by Justin Haigh and starring Allan Michael Brunet (Marat/Sade, Soup Can Theatre; Wintuk, Cirque du Soleil) and Matt Pilipiak (Three Men in a Boat, Pea Green Theatre - Best of Fringe - NOW Magazine Critics Pick: Best Ensemble).

In addition to the four new theatrical works, four new short musical compositions ““ each inspired by one of the four lines of dialogue ““ will be performed by a live five-piece ensemble and serve as interludes between the short plays; Subtlety is not Your Specialty by Marla Kishimoto, What’s Bulgarian for Slut by Soup Can Theatre’s Music Director, Pratik Gandhi, and I Think it’s Time We Talked About Your Filthy Rituals by Peter Cavell.

Audience Warning: Mature Content, Nudity, Explicit Sexuality, Depictions of Drug Use

Performance Details:
Where: lemonTree studio - 196 Spadina Ave. (just north of Queen)
When: November 6 & 7 at 8pm, November 8 & 9 at 2pm and 8pm, November 14, 15, 16 at 8pm, November 21, 22, 23 at 8pm

About Soup Can Theatre: Soup Can Theatre is a Toronto-based company that strives to explore and comment on contemporary issues and societal challenges, and to offer audiences a theatrical experience that is both entertaining and enriching. Previous productions include Love is a Poverty You Can Sell (1 & 2), Marat/Sade, Antigone, and an opera/theatre double bill presentation of A Hand of Bridge & No Exit.

About safeword: safeword is an independent theatre company focused on producing original Canadian plays that embrace controversy, rawness, and realism. Previous productions include Turtleneck and Donors.

About Aim for the Tangent Theatre: Aim for the Tangent Theatre is a Toronto based theatre company with an interest in providing creative opportunities and mentorship for emerging artists, and finding innovative ways to tell old stories through the development of new work. Previous productions include Mature Young Adults, The Wakowski Bros., and Genesis and Other Stories.

Recently Released: The Great Escape (Independent - Oct 17, 2014)

Recently Released:
The Great Escape
(Independent - Oct 17, 2014)

Amie Miriello - Vocals
Malte Hagemeister - Guitar
Kristian Nord - Drums

Buy the CD


Art rock? Eclectic pop? Venice, CA trio The Great Escape defy categorization on their eponymous debut release. After honing their sound - anchored by strong vocals from Amie Miriello and a deft musical versatility from Malte Hagemeister (guitar) and Kristian Nord (drums).

Amie's got a voice that can be sweet or strident and she wields with a playful sense of inventiveness. The musicians are equally as tight.

Having first met while songwriting for other artists, the three L.A. transplants quickly realized they had a shared vision: Together, they wanted to create an update to that 60s, 70s sound when rock and pop music was still raw and unpolished.

The album kicks off with an inventive arrangement including a horn section on I'm a Rebel.

I wash my hair with champagne
I don't care - I'm a rebel

The world won't change
If you stay the same


It's typical lyrically of the rest of the album - rock rebellion with a little feel-good philosophy (they are from Cali after all) and romance thrown in here and there.

While they self-produced the release, they enlisted the help of some of the best studio hands in the business. Album guests include old studio hands such as Stanley Behrens on blues harp (Jimmy Smith, Canned Heat, War, Willie Dixon), Kevin Dorsey on vocals (Michael Jackson’s vocal director, Ray Charles, Santana, Aretha Franklin), Zac Rae on B3, piano and keys (Lana Del Rey, Norah Jones, Santana), as well as a shape shifting horns section comprised of Katja Riekermann (Rod Stewart, Al Green) and Marco Palos (Los Lobos, Louis Prima Jr).

There's a range of styles. The Secret Song is a country/pop song and Amie's voice turns sweet and girlish. On I Want It All, she delves into a vintage jazzy feel with keyboards, horns and backup vocals. There's a sense of theatricality about much of it that works well for the most part.

Don't Wake Me Up is a pop song in a slow, swingy folk mood with a rising chord progression - a personal favourite with its harmonies in a minor key. The track plays on her strength - the pure voice. Versatility is great but here she's really at her best - sweet and strong.

That track is contrasted by It's Getting Better, which veers from a little girl whine to a full-bodied tone, but the song actually only comes alive after the lyrics are over and the band rocks out. There's a cute ending where the refrain ends with her laugh - it's a bit too much of an in joke.

The one critique I'd level is that their versatility seems to be an end unto itself. They attempt much and venture into areas just because they can, as in Put It On Ice, clearly "The Funk Song". The notes are there but it's a bit of groove by the numbers rather than real, organic funkified feel.

The lyrics have a personal and often philosophical bent, as in Let's Go, a call to arms of sorts in a bright pop mode.

This will be our battlefield
This is where it's getting real
Together we cannot go wrong


It's not exactly revolutionary poetry, but it's catchy as she sings it. It's in tracks like I Just Can't Help Myself that she sounds entirely at home; a kind of quirky folk/pop mode where her voice is at its best.

It's an interesting listen from start to end and a voice that I'll look forward to hearing more of.

Tracklisting:
1. All I think about
2. Rebel
3. The secret song
4. I want it all
5. Don’t wake me up
6. It’s getting better
7. Let’s go
8. Put it on ice
9. I just can’t help myself

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

National Dance Theatre of Jamaica (NDTC) in Toronto - November 4 2014

From a release:

National Dance Theatre of Jamaica (NDTC)
at the Sony Centre For The Performing Arts, Toronto
 – one performance only – November 4, 2014, 7:30PM

Buy tickets


The National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC) of Jamaica proves that emancipation is the genesis of creativity. This creative force, birthed in 1962-the year Jamaica gained independence from Great Britain-will grace Toronto with one performance only on November 4th at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts.

NDTC's "Tribute to Rex" is an ode to its co-founder, Ralston Milton "Rex" Nettleford, Rhodes Scholar, OM, FIJ, OCC, who died in 2010. Nettleford was a Jamaican scholar, activist, dance aficionado, Professor and Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies. NDTC has been lauded for its ability to fuse "The lore, music and dance traditions of Jamaica, Africa and the American South, with both modern and classical ballet."

Under the legendary and seasoned leadership of artistic director Barry Moncrieffe, NDTC has taken its belief that "dance, music and song," are of themselves tools to deepen and stretch the cultural imagination to new levels. With a well-honed international reputation, the company has moved audiences from Sydney to Kiev, New York to London and is poised to do the same for its long-awaited return to Toronto's diverse audiences.

The company's legendary co-founder Nettleford said, "The power to ­create and innovate remains the greatest guarantee of respect and recognition." Nettleford's vision carried NDTC to the vanguard, and the November 4 soiree is a fitting end to its 52nd season that will summon the greatness of Nettleford's signature, seminal choreography with works like "Dialogue for Three" and Kumina.

Supported by the NDTC singers and a group of musicians the company will deliver a show stopping performance on November 4th.

Tickets are available at Ticketmaster and the Sony Centre Box Office. For more information, please call Jones & Jones Productions at 905.452.1911.

imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival October 22 - 26, 2014 in Toronto

From a media release:

imagineNATIVE
Film + Media Arts Festival
Presenting Sponsor: Bell Media
October 22 - 26, 2014

TORONTO
- The 15th Annual imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival begins in days, running October 22-26, 2014 with the most compelling and distinctive Indigenous works from around the globe. Festival highlights include: 130 films and videos; nine Radio Works; seven multi-platform New Media works; four art exhibitions featuring 19 media artists; 11 industry panels and public workshops; and 17 commissions. This year, imagineNATIVE will feature 175 artists representing more than 70 distinct Indigenous nations from 12 countries, including a special International Spotlight.

Kicking off the 15th anniversary Festival, on Wednesday, October 22, will be the Opening Night Gala film, What We Do In The Shadows presented by NBC Universal at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. Immediately following the Opening Night Gala will be the Opening Night Party at the Everleigh, presented by RBC Royal Bank.

This year’s International Spotlight, supported by the Canada Media Fund, shines the light on the diverse, inspiring and remarkable work of Indigenous artists from across Australia. imagineNATIVE is absolutely delighted to work with three highly esteemed guest programmers–Rachel Perkins, Pauline Clague and Jenny Fraser–who will each will present a selection of short works representative of different sectors of the Indigenous Australian media arts industry.

As imagineNATIVE celebrates 15 years, they will also honour the 10th anniversary of Wapikoni with the special program, Wapikoni 10 Ans/Years, curated by Caroline Monnet, presented entirely in French on Thursday, October 23. Wapikoni is the world’s largest producer of short films made by francophone Indigenous artists, most of whom are youth. imagineNATIVE has a long history with Wapikoni who has contributed a significant body of work to international Indigenous cinema.

On Friday, October 24, imagineNATIVE and its co-founder, Vtape, will present indigiTALKS: Following that Moment, a critical discussion and presentation of a series of short works from the 1990s by curator Lisa Myers. indigiTALKS began in 2013 as an opportunity for imagineNATIVE to present curatorial theses on Indigenous media arts from members of the community. Later that day, imagineNATIVE’s annual Art Crawl of exhibitions and co-presentations, taking place throughout the 401 Richmond building, will feature contemporary Indigenous new media art, commissions, retrospectives and talks by leading curators and artists.

imagineNATIVE is proud to present the premiere of Storytellers Screening, presented by RBC Royal Bank, a cinema-meets-storytelling experience, on Saturday, October 25 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Storytellers Screening combines a new screen-based video work and a live reading. For this inaugural year, CanLit star Joseph Boyden will present a new work with master of animation Terril Calder. Together artists–each from a Métis or mixed culture–combine their craft, transcend traditional media and explore new territory to tell a story unlike any other. Saturday night is jam-packed with the 2014 Awards Show, presented by APTN, followed by an evening of entertainment at imagineNATIVE’s 15th Birthday Party, supported by Super Channel.

Commissioned in celebration of imagineNATIVE’s 15th anniversary, the Festival’s Closing Night Gala, presented by Global Toronto, is the world premiere of The Embargo Collective II, five short films created by five distinguished artists, presented by Global Toronto on Sunday, October 26. Executive produced by former Artistic Director of imagineNATIVE, Danis Goulet, these shorts push the creative boundaries of the participant filmmakers and invite viewers into new Indigenous cinematic landscapes.

The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival is the world’s largest Indigenous festival showcasing innovation in film, video, radio and new media. The Festival presents the most compelling and distinctive works from Canada and around the globe, reflecting the diversity of the world’s Indigenous nations and illustrating the vitality and excellence of Native art and culture in contemporary media.

Download the 2014 imagineNATIVE brochure for complete listings: www.imaginenative.org/home/sites/default/files/catalogs/2014_catalog_pages.pdf

The 14th Annual imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival
October 22 – 26, 2014

Single Tickets and Festival Packages On Sale Now
Tickets can be purchased by phone or in person at the TIFF Bell Lightbox
In-person: 10am to 10pm daily • 350 King Street West
By Phone: 10am – 7pm daily • 416.599.TIFF (8433)
Online: www.imagineNATIVE.org

For more information please call 416.585.2333 or visit www.imagineNATIVE.org
facebook/imagineNATIVE / @imagineNATIVE / #iN15th