Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Toronto's Turbo Street Funk - New Album 'Momentum' (July 6 2016) & CD Release Party

From a media release:


Buy their CDs

CD Release Party with opening act Kunlé
The Horseshoe Tavern, 370 Queen St W, Toronto, ON | (416)-598-4226
Wednesday, July 6 - Doors @ 8:30 pm / Opening act: 9-9:45 pm / Turbo – 10-11:15 pm
TICKETS: $10 – Purchase advance tickets here 

TORONTO – Toronto’s own high-energy, horn-band sensation TURBO STREET FUNK accelerate their forward motion with their new, sophomore album, MOMENTUM. Known for their explosive, infectious live performances, that have consistently drawn huge crowds – from their beginnings busking on the streets of The Six, to intimate club dates, and massive festival stages – the band will bring their hyper-engaging live show to The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern as they release the new album on Wednesday, July 6th.

• The doors open at 8:30 pm, opening act Kunlé starts at 9:00 pm, and Turbo Street Funk hits the stage at 10:00 pm. 

Momentum is a very apt name for the new Turbo Street Funk album: most of the self-penned songs encourage forward motion through our lives, and the recording captures the epic thrust and drive of their live show. Most of the players in the band are music school graduates and they’re all skillful, talented musicians, but it never gets in the way of their musical fun – or ours. If this album doesn’t make you want to smile, laugh, or dance, you might wanna check your vital signs. This is lease-breaking music at its best.

The title track "Momentum,” with its climactic chorus and stadium-friendly refrain, is an inspirational, feel-good anthem that lives up to the band’s turbo-charged name.

“If I Think Twice” finds ska and klezmer mixing it up in the alley with gypsy rock, with a surprisingly funky tuba, fun backing vocals and a crazy-ass guitar solo.

Although one of the songs is called “Never Been To New Orleans,” judging by the performance on this song, it sure sounds like they have. It showcases double-time tempo for the featured bluesy harmonica and sax solos, as well as the party finish, replete with growling horns and cheering crowd.

"Seven" – an instrumental mashup of The White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army," The Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)," and Grieg's "In The Hall of the Mountain King" – employs a ska rhythm to get to the funky soul of these classic, and classic-rock gems. It takes great verve and imagination to pull this inventive medley off, but Turbo Street Funk does.

Their cover of the Ghostbusters’ theme – perfectly timed to coincide with the blockbuster reboot movie of the summer of 2016 – rides an ultra-rhythmic beat and a wailing sax solo to end the album on a high.

All of the songs on Momentum were produced by Chris Birkett and engineered by James Finnerty at Revolution Recording in Toronto, except track four “Whoever You Are,” which was produced and engineered by Ross Hayes Citrullo at Media One Creative in Toronto.

Musicians on the Album:
Casey Van: Vocals, Guitar & Harmonica / Juan Manuel Arce: Alto Saxophone / Joel Eric Szabo: French Horn / Camilo Gallon: Drums / Ian Feenstra: Sousaphone

Upcoming Tour Dates
May 27 – Mississauga, ON – Failte Irish Pub
June 3 – Orangeville, ON – Orangeville Blues & Jazz Festival
June 4 – Toronto, ON – Riverside Eats & Beats Festival
June 4 – Streetsville, ON – Streetsville Bread & Honey Festival
June 11 – Midland, ON – Butter Tart Festival
June 18 – Burlington, ON – Sound of Music Festival
June 19 – Toronto, ON – Princess Margaret Journey to Conquer Cancer
June 24 – Ajax, ON – Pickering Village JAMFest
June 25 – Ajax, ON – Pickering Village JAMFest
June 26 – Toronto, ON – Royal Conservatory of Music’s Wide Open House
July 1 – Toronto, ON – Canada Day At Mel Lastman Square
July 2 – Gravenhurst, ON – FunkFest
July 6 – Toronto, ON – CD RELEASE at Horseshoe Tavern
July 8 – Kincardine, ON – Lighthouse Blues Festival
July 13 & 14 – Mont Tremblant, QC – Tremblant International Blues Festival
July 16 – Sackets Harbor, NY, USA – CAN AM International Festival
July 23 – Orillia, ON – Downtown Orillia’s Summer Block Party
July 29 - 31 – Clarendon, ON – Blue Skies Music Festival
Aug 6 – Ottawa, ON – Upper Ottawa River Race and Paddle Festival
Aug 13 – Owen Sound, ON – Avalon Jazz Lounge
Aug 14 – Owen Sound, ON – Harbour Nights

Get Social: 

TURBO STREET FUNK perform "TO THE STREET" in Toronto, Ontario, Canada at the Beaches Jazz Festival "Street Fest" on July 23, 2015.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Travel the Eastern Townships, Quebec L'Été des chefs Balnea / Balnea Summer of Chefs July 3 to September 11 2016

With material from a media release:

Travel the Eastern Townships, Quebec
L'Été des chefs Balnea / Balnea Summer of Chefs 

July 3 to September 11, 2016
at Balnea Spa
319 chemin du Lac Gale
Bromont, Quebec J2L2S5
450-534-0604 / 1-866-734-2110

• Check out hotel options and deals that combine Balnea Spa packages with accommodations and more nearby

BROMONT, QC - 10 chefs. 10 plats. 1 destination. Un concours gastronomique rassemblant 10 des plus grands chefs du Québec. Des plats originaux et inspirés de la réserve thermale, servis à tous les dimanches au Club de plage et tout l’été dans les restaurants des chefs participants (Soubois, Bottega Pizzeria, Monsieur & Miss Prêt à Manger, Meson, Jatoba, L’impérial, H4C, Thursday’s, O’Chevreuil, Orange rouge) pendant la saison estivale.

10 chefs. 10 dishes. 1 destination. A gourmet food competition that brings together 10 of Quebec’s best chefs. Original dishes inspired by the thermal reserve, served every Sunday at the spa’s Beach Club and in the 10 participating restaurants - Soubois, Bottega Pizzeria, Monsieur & Miss Prêt à Manger, Meson, Jatoba, L’impérial, H4C, Thursday’s, O’Chevreuil, Orange rouge - all summer long starting July 3rd.

When you dine, be sure to enter the contest to see if you can win a luxury trip. Last year's prize was an all expense paid trip to an exclusive Mexico resort worth $5,600.
Eastern Townships
The Eastern Townships region of Quebec is known for its upscale skiing resorts in the winter. In the summer, the hills and forests are green and the emphasis is on the outdoors with a very human touch.

As a tourist region, expect the bar to be set high for cuisine. Chefs emphasize local ingredients and agricultural food products, which are abundant in the still largely agricultural region.

Balnea is housed in a stunning contemporary building within a 400-acre private nature reserve with a thermal spa and offers a variety of experiences, including - of course! - dining.

Here's the list:
Panoramic Finnish saunas, Turkish bath, outdoor hot tubs with salt water, heated terraces, cold chute, lake with endless dock, sweat-lodge, 22km of hiking trails, a forest basin, thermal waterfall, solarium offering splendid views of the Appalachians, rest areas with huge fireplaces, coffee, Slow Food, cinema-lounge and beach club.

Spa Treatments
Traditional or classic massages, exceptional beauty treatments, mythical rituals, cures, couples massages, personalized treatments.

3 Dining Options
At the LUMAMI restaurant, on the Terrace or at the Bar Orange, discover an ever changing, refined seasonal cuisine.

Last year's event

South African Grooves Recently Released: Lorraine Klaasen - Nouvelle Journée (Justin Time Records - Mar 11 2016)

From a media release:

Recently Released:
Lorraine Klaasen - Nouvelle Journée
(℗ 2016 Justin Time Records - Mar 11, 2016)

Available now on iTunes 
• For more information please visit /

TORONTO – Canada’s South African queen and JUNO award-winning artist Lorraine Klaasen has a new album out called Nouvelle Journée, or New Day, (Justin Time Records). It’s a stunning collection of songs sung in Tsonga, Sotho, IsiZulu and Xhosa, as well as English and French, that have a slight political tone, infused with hip-shaking, toe-tapping rhythms.

On seeing singer Lorraine Klaasen coming at him with open arms, radiant in her multi-coloured stage outfit, Nelson Mandela, (then on an official visit to Canada), hugged her warmly and said, with a broad smile, “You really are the spitting image of your mother! But can you sing like her?”

Based in Montreal for more than 35 years, Klaasen still has the bearing of a queen. Through her mother, the legendary South African singing star Thandie Klaasen, she decoded the authentic grooves of her country’s Townships. After raising a family in Montreal, she embarked on a brilliant solo career, during which she has delighted music lovers with her irresistible mix of South African sounds, strongly spiced with West Indian flavors.

The award-winning Klaasen has already garnered a JUNO for World Music Album of the Year in 2013, for her Tribute to Miriam Makeba, and the Hagood Hardy SOCAN Award as chosen by her peers, the following year.

Now upon her return to the concert stage, Klaasen presents Nouvelle Journée which translates as “New Day,” and which represents a new beginning!

Nouvelle Journée is an optimistic, danceable record but also a lucid, sincere and engaging work. Not holding back, Lorraine sings in Tsonga, Sotho, IsiZulu and Xhosa – tribal languages of her home country – as well as in English, and all with her charming Soweto accent. The title track even features her singing in French for the first time!

Lorraine Klaasen pays tribute to her mother by covering “Izani Nonke,” a song that stridently criticizes those elected to govern us. “Never trust a politician,” she sings, and goes on to deplore the lack of ethics displayed by these untouchable, high-placed figures, described as “dishonest puppets” who profess to love the people but instead abuse them.

“Where to Now?,” is a poignant, soul-charged ballad that Klaasen wrote nearly 30 years ago, imploring people to have compassion and to condemn greed. “There are a lot of homeless and destitute people and my heart is heavy,” she admits, evoking the migrant crisis currently affecting European countries. She adds, “We can’t ignore what’s been happening in the world today.”

Produced by Washington DC-based Mongezi Ntaka – the incomparable guitarist and producer, with whom Klaasen had already worked in the past, on the album Africa Calling (2008) – the album boasts some top notch musicians. Others on board for the project are the brilliant Congolese drummer Noel Mpiaza and Haitian musician Medad Ernest, who contributes his jazz and gospel groove on the accordion and keyboards. Local musicians completing the roster are Assane Seck, the most in-demand Senegalese artist in town, brothers André and Ross Whitman (of the famed West Indian Soca band Jab Jab), as well as Quebec’s double-bassist extraordinaire Cédric Dind-Lavoie, who has become a fixture on the local world music scene.

And just to add a little extra dynamite to the mix, an irrepressible trio of young backing vocalists (Anne Metellus, Melissa Gresseau, Cynthia Binette), enhance Klaasen’s eclectic repertoire.

Lorraine Klaasen, a born stage performer if there ever was one, is definitely back on the scene and we can look forward to getting our groove on, starting with songs like “Township Memories,” “Polokwane” or “Babalazi,” which brings to mind the South African mega hit Pata Pata.

Twitter: @JustinTimeRec

A Weekend in Paris...Ontario at the historic Arlington Hotel

With material fron a release:

A Weekend in Paris...Ontario
at the historic Arlington Hotel

106 Grand River St N, Paris, ON N3L 2M5, Canada
Phone:+1 226-227-1767

Tucked on the banks of the Grand River in southwestern Ontario, Paris offers an escape from the ordinary. The Arlington Hotel was established in 1851 in the chateau style of architecture that evokes the grandeur of European capitals of the time.
Arlington Hotel by Misty De Meo (

Paris, Ontario is a pretty town west Hamilton and near Brantford. It began its life as a milltown in 1929 and was officially established in 1856. Nowadays it forms part of the surrounding Brant County.
Bridge over Grand River by Perry Quan from Oakville, Canada

The town actually gets its name from the gypsum deposits that are mined and make plaster of paris - not for the French capital.

Paris sits on the green banks of the Grand River with a downtown that has kept a lot of its ornate Victorian charm along with the addition of many newer residential areas. The Arlington Hotel is part of that iconic streetscape, a landmark that sits directly across from the River.

Paris public library (1902) by Misty De Meo

There are 23 rooms, each with unique design and decorating details. The Arlington gets rave reviews on Tripadvisor and Expedia. While the hotel is historic, the rooms are fully outfitted with the usual amenities, including free WiFi and upscale furnishings.

Paris, Ontario may not boast a nightlife scene to rival its French counterpart, but all the ingredients are present for a relaxing escape from the everyday, including a spa and other amenities.

Executive Chef Matt Kershaw features imaginative menus and there is an emphasis on craft cocktails with flair, using local wine and spirits.

There are three options that include elegant fine dining at Woolf & Wilde, featuring a farm to table menu and a lovely vine-covered terrace. The casual yet stylish vibe of the Library Bar offers an innovative bar menu and delicious small plates for nibbling. The 1851 Public House features a speakeasy theme. It's located in the cellar and features wood framing and exposed rock formations.
1851 Public House

What's Close By
Treks in the Wild - an outdoor adventure service for canoe and kayak rentals and more a few minutes' walk away
• The Paris Grand Golf & Country Club - about 2.5 km away

A wedding in Paris

Friday, May 13, 2016

CD Release: Chris Wirsig - The 13 Crystal Skulls (no:carrier music - May 13 2016)

CD Release: 
Chris Wirsig - The 13 Crystal Skulls
(no:carrier music - May 13, 2016)

Get it from the album page

The 13 Crystal Skulls is a concept album that works, an evocative take on a legend and the brainchild of composer Chris Wirsig.

Los Angeles based these days, Chris is a classsically trained musician on the piano and saxophone, having studied audio engineering in Munich. He brings 15 years' experience in music production and recording to this latest project that takes its inspiration from the legend that drove Indiana Jones into the jungle - the magical 13 crystal skulls.

According to the legend, the skulls date from pre-Columbian Mesoamerica and were crafted by the Aztecs from clear quartz. The 13 carved skulls were said to have paranormal powers and are supposedly scattered around the world.

Chris has used the various elements of the electronic music palette with a view to the music and the overall effect - this is electronica in service of a musical purpose. It often sounds like some of the best of prog rock, using a variety of sounds both electronic and orchestral to create layers of texture that build and mesmerize. Each track offers something different.

The release begins with a spooky and atmoshpheric Overture that is still grounded in melody. Wordless voices add a bright layer to Crystal Skull 2 - the Ghosts of the Aztecs. It's a track a grandeur of vision that reads like a soundtrack. Crystal Skull (CS) 4 - Ceremony in Tenochtitlan - appropriately enough - has a techno feel with an Asian inspired melody and harmonic structure.

Some tracks, like Crystal Skull 5 - Carved Legend - mystery, like Trent Reznor/NIN and CS 10 - Excavation veer farther away from melody and harnonic structure, wallowing in spacey machine sounds.

CS 6 - Watching Eyes takes the spacey sound and adds a throbbing beat and a spooky piano line for a sort of  dysfunctional galactic dance music. CS 8 - Refraction and 9 - On The Hills continue the same kind of weirdly danceable beat.

It's an interesting and very listenable meditation on a legend that continues to fascinate through the ages.

Other recent news: His soundtrack for "20 Matches" is now playing in film festivals around the country while the iPad Top Ten game "Alien Tribe 2" also features a soundtrack by Chris.

Retail Therapy & Fine Art: Simon's and Brendan Tang's Raincity Robot

Retail Therapy & Fine Art
Simon's and Brendan Tang's Raincity Robot
at Square One, Mississauga

Simons is a fashion retailer with an incredible 175-year history. Based in Quebec City, the venerable business opened its first story in Ontario - its 12th store and third outside Quebec - in Mississauga at Square One earlier this year.

Raincity Robot by Brendan Lee Satish Tang
But this isn't a story about fashion - it's about art, something the Quebecois retailer believes in supporting. In particular, the company makes a point of supporting Canadian talent.

As such, they commissioned ceramic artist Brendan Lee Satish Tang for a piece to display in the new store. Raincity Robot is the result, a 10 1/2 foot tall fibreglass sculpture that sits at the top of the escalator.

Brendan is quoted in Canadian Interiors describing his piece.

"My artistic practice embodies the influencers, tensions and contradictions that define the postmodern world. I hope that my piece will not only be a source of pride and engagement for Simons’ customers and employees, but will add a new voice to the public art dialogue of Mississauga."

From a company statement:

Juggling futuristic and traditional ideas, Raincity Robot brings to light the tensions and contradictions that characterize contemporary culture. The Chinese vase recalls the four sisters smokestacks of the old Lakeview Generating Station, while robotic limbs inspired by barnacles make up the base, a nod to Mississauga’s high-tech industry and the city’s lakeside location.

Brendan LS Tang is a Canadian artist born in Dublin to Trinidadian parents. His reconfiguration of traditional art and use of mixed media explore the notions of tradition, cultural appropriation, and hybridity. Internationally recognized, Tang's work is found in the permanent collections of many top museums.

Raincity Robot is the latest in Brendan's Manga Ormolu series, that combines elements of the traditional 17th century ormulo, or gilded vessel, and modern Japanese manga.

Toronto Travel Tips: What's New at Pearson? The UP Train is Awesome and the Doctor is In

Toronto Travel Tips
What's New at Pearson?

If you're traveling in and out of Pearson this summer, there's been some changes you'll want to check out.

UP Train
Getting to and from the airport isn't usually on anyone's list of fun things to do. It's an ordeal rather than one of the things you look forward to when you're taking a trip.

The people at UP are looking to change your mind with a sleek, stylish train and upscale amenities that can will set your trip off on a high note. It's clean, ultra modern and efficient; there are lots of reasons to love UP.

  • The trains run every 15 minutes between Uniotn Station and Pearson from 5:30am to 1:00am every day
  • The trip only takes 25 minutes
  • The one-way fare is only $9 with Presto, $12 without, $6 for seniors and free for kids 12 and under

Hot Tip
While you're waiting, check out the CIBC lounge - just follow the signs and arrows to the upper level lounge, an oasis of casual yet stylish dining and imbibing. It's a chic and relaxing way to begin your trip.

Pharmacy & Doctor In The House
Skyhealth at Pearson
Medical clinic hours: 8am-10pm daily
Pharmacy hours: 6am-10pm daily

Nobody likes to think about getting ill while you're on vacation or on the road, but anything can happen and it usually does.

Skyhealth is located at Pearson Terminal 1, open 7 days a week to offer medical clinic and pharmacy services to travelers and frequent flyers, including prescription transfers and refills.
You'll find a state of the art clinic with high tech amenities and a European style full service pharmacy. You can get travel vaccinations and see a doctor without an appointment.

In addition, Skyhealth kiosks are located throughout the airport terminals to offer basic pharmacy products like aspirin and bandaids.

I can remember taking a trip with the fam in the late 1990s in old Terminal 1... hotter than hell with no air conditioning and it felt like a rabbit warren. We've come a long way, baby.