Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Journey To The Origins Of Jazz And Blues - So Long Seven April 8 2017 in Toronto

From a media release:

JOURNEY TO THE ORIGINS OF JAZZ AND BLUES
So Long Seven - April 8, 2017
Part of the 15th Annual Small World Asian Music Series, sponsored by TD Bank.

Buy Tickets

TORONTO - In the fourth and final installment of the TD Discovery Series Special Projects, So Long Seven will premiere several new compositions as they explore the West African origins of jazz and blues on Saturday, April 8 at the Small World Music Centre.

Collaborating with master percussionist Amara Kante , So Long Seven will showcase the influence of West African music on the contemporary scene drawing on the expertise of Kante, one of the top djembe players in the world. The origin and evolution of the banjo will also be acknowledged as they explore the rich and rhythmic language of this tradition.

"The banjo is an important instrument in that it is a descendant of an instrument called the ngoni that is played in Africa," states So Long Seven's banjoist Tim Posgate. "The ngoni and other similar instruments were brought to North America by slaves to the United States where it evolved into the banjo like I play today."

So Long Seven masterfully blends genres such as jazz, classical, world and folk to create richly textured acoustic music. Influenced by bands such as Punch Brothers, Shakti, Oregon and many others, So Long Seven creates a seamless tapestry of sound through their original music. So Long Seven consists of Neil Hendry (guitar / mandolin), William Lamoureux (violin / voice), Ravi Naimpally (tabla / percussion) and Tim Posgate (banjo). Amara Kante is a master drummer known for his encyclopedic memory of rhythms and his exceptional technique on the djembe drum as well as instruments such as dununs, bara, n'tama and krin.

The TD Discovery Series Special Projects is a year-long initiative of music and educational performances created by Toronto Downtown Jazz, producers of the Toronto Jazz Festival, and supported by TD Bank Group. Designed to encourage the creation, development and presentation of unique new programming, the TD Discovery Series showcases some of Toronto's finest local jazz talent.

So Long Seven with special guest Amara Kante
Small World Music Centre - 180 Shaw Street
Saturday, April 8, 2017 - 8 p.m.
Tickets $15 advance

Friday, March 10, 2017

Dance: An Interview With Laurence Lemieux On James Kudelka's Love Sex & Brahms March 16-19 2017

An interview with Laurence Lemieux

Choreographer James Kudelka premieres #lovesexbrahms – the expanded version
Presented by Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie (CLC)
and featuring Evelyn Hart
March 16 – 19 2017 
at the Betty Oliphant Theatre, Toronto

Get Tix For The Show

From March 16 to 19, legendary Canadian choreographer James Kudelka will be presenting a piece that first made a splash on local stages a couple of years ago. The piece is an expansion on a shorter piece of the same name that was originally commissioned in 2015 by Andrew Barashko's Art of Time Ensemble, involving 13 of Brahms' Intermezzi for piano. The performances netted a Dora Mavor Moore Award for Best Choreography for James Kudelka and Best Lighting Design in Dance for Simon Rossiter. The new, expanded piece includes all 18 short Intermezzi, some of the last pieces for solo piano that Brahms ever wrote.
Bill Coleman, Evelyn Hart, Luke Garwood, Ryan Boorne - Image by Jeremy Mimnagh

Along with 60 year old dance icon Evelyn Hart, the work will feature ten dancers from the CLC company and live piano by Andrew Barashko. Laurence Lemieux is both dancer and choreographer, but she takes the former role in this piece. "It's a really fascinating work," she says. "It feels more lilke a play."

The music is rich and dimensional, and lends itself to interpretation. "It's actually a series of Intermezzi composed by Johannes Brahms," she explains, "like little jewels." Along with marrying contemporary dance to European classical music, the work is a dramatic one that follows intrigues and tensions in the relationships between the dancers as characters, along with Sarkis, the puppet who acts as a host. "They're like little stories, each one."

"James is a choreographer, but he's directing it more like  play." The scenes are set in a vintage, Victorian world – appropriate to the work of Brahms, after all, who lived from 1833 to 1897. It allows for some elegant costuming. "I'm approaching it as an actress."
Evelyn Hart & Tyler Gledhill - Image by Jeremy Mimnagh

What's it like to work with one of Canada's true dance legends, Evelyn Hart? "She's amazing - dedicated, passionate, smart - great to work with."

Laurence is also excited by the prospect of dancing to live music by Andrew Barashko. "He's such a beautiful pianist," she says.

The work comes in contrast to her next project, a short work she's taking to France for the commemoration of the Battle of Vimy Ridge - an outdoor work. "It's an uncontrolled environment," she says. "It's like night and day."
Andrew McCormack & Bill Coleman - Image by Jeremy Mimnagh

But first, Kudelka and Brahms.

Love, Sex & Brahms showcases costumes by Hoax Couture, lighting design by Simon Rossiter, with puppet design by Nell Coleman. An ensemble of 10 CLC company artists will be joined onstage by Evelyn Hart, including: Laurence Lemieux, Bill Coleman, Danielle Baskerville, Luke Garwood, Tyler Gledhill, Louis Laberge-Côté, Andrew McCormack, Victoria  Mehaffey, Ryan Boorne and Daniel McArthur.

Join Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie for a special pre-show, Opening Night Gala celebration on March 16 at 7pm, hosted by CLC Board Chair Stephen Delaney, with a special introduction by choreographer James Kudelka.

Rehearsal clip from the 2015 production:

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Innov Gnawa: Sebitiyin - The Jewish Songs of Gnawa in New York City April 20, 2017

From a media release:

Innov Gnawa:
Sebitiyin - The Jewish Songs of Gnawa in New York City
Thursday, April 20, 2017 at 8:00 pm

In this evening of deep cuts from the Moroccan gnawa repertoire, Innov Gnawa honors the strength of Moroccan national identity to transcend religious distinctions with a rare performance of the Jewish songbook of this ancient Moroccan musical tradition.

at Greenwich House Music School
46 Barrow Street, New York City
Showtime: 8pm

In addition to being the name of this trance-inducing musical style, the term "gnawa" also refers to the people originally from kingdoms spanning Mali to Ghana who were enslaved by the Moorish rulers and brought North to present-day Morocco. The Jewish presence in Morocco dates back to over 2,500 years ago and upon interaction with the gnawa community, a bond formed over appreciation for gnawa music and its healing powers.

Gnawa music pre-dates Islam and originally centered around animistic, spiritual, mystical concepts sung in sub-Saharan languages such as Bambara, Fulani, and Sudani. Upon embracing Islam, gnawa songs began to incorporate Arabic language and themes around the Muslim prophets. "Sebitiyin," meaning The Saturdays in Moroccan Arabic, is the collection of songs that grew out of the gatherings hosted by the Jewish community for the revered gnawa maalems whom they deeply respected. Themes of these songs still include the original elements of spirits and the natural world, and later came to incorporate shared saints from their Abrahamic traditions. Today, it is still rare to find a maalem that knows this full repertoire so we are especially lucky to have Maalem (Master) Hassan Ben Jaafer, son of the late Abdallah Ben Jaafer, lead us through a powerful moment of unity in music.
Photo Credit: Kevin Yatarola — with Maalam Hassan Benjaafar, Samir LanGus and Amino Belyamani at Lincoln Center
Innov Gnawa is a young musical collective dedicated to exploring Morocco's venerable gnawa music tradition in the heart of New York City. Formed in the summer of 2014 by Moroccan expat Samir LanGus, the group draws on the considerable talents and expertise of Hassan Ben Jaafer, a Maâlem, or master gnawa musician, originally from Fes, Morocco. Under the guidance of Ben Jaafer, Innov has delved deep into the roots and rituals of gnawa music, and made a big splash in New York City, playing some of the city's most prestigious rooms including Lincoln Center, Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn Bowl and the storied backroom of Brooklyn's Barbès.

For the uninitiated, gnawa music is the ritual trance music of Morocco's black communities, originally descended from slaves and soldiers once brought to Morocco from Northern Mali and Mauritania. Often called "The Moroccan Blues," gnawa music has a raw, hypnotic power that's fascinated outsiders as diverse as writer/composer Paul Bowles, jazz giant Randy Weston and rock god Jimi Hendrix. The music is utterly singular, played on an array of unique instruments -- from the lute-like sintir that the Maâlem uses to call the tune, to the metal qarqaba (castinets) with which the kouyos (chorus) keep time and pound out clattering, hypnotic rhythms.

Hailed by Brooklyn Magazine as one of the "5 Bands You Need to Know in Brooklyn's Arabic Music Scene," Innov Gnawa make great use of this traditional repertoire, and add their own, contemporary spin with additional African and Latin percussion. Taken as a whole, this exciting new outfit works hard to fuse a centuries old North African tradition with the pulse and attitude of New York City.

Personnel and Instrumentation:
Maalem (Master) Hassan Ben Jaafer - Vocals and Sintir
Samir Langus - Vocals and Qraqeb (Castanets)
Amino Belyamani - Vocals and Qraqeb (Castanets)
Ahmed Jeriouda - Vocals and Qraqeb (Castanets)
Nawfal Atiq - Vocals and Qraqeb (Castanets)
Said Bourhana - Vocals and Qraqeb (Castanets)

CENTURY SONG Soprano Neema Bickersteth journeys through 100 years of female experience April 18-29, 2017 in Toronto

From a media release:

CENTURY SONG
Soprano Neema Bickersteth journeys through 100 years of female experience
A Volcano production in association with Moveable Beast

Created by Neema Bickersteth, Kate Alton and Ross Mason
April 18-29, 2017 in Toronto

Tickets

TORONTO - Nightwood Theatre is thrilled to present Volcano’s breakout success from the 2016 Progress Festival, Century Song, onstage at Crow’s Theatre, 345 Carlaw Avenue, April 18-29, 2017.
Photography by: John Lauener and Dahila Katz
After touring Canada and Europe to rave reviews, this tour de force performance returns to Toronto for a limited run. Called a “must-see” (NOW Magazine), Century Song is a live performance hybrid showcasing the extraordinary talent of soprano Neema Bickersteth as she seamlessly melds classical song and movement to inhabit a century of Canadian women.

Created by Bickersteth, and Dora Award-winning collaborators Kate Alton (choreography) and Ross Manson (direction), this gorgeously unique show features music by some of the past 100 years’ most adventurous composers (Sergei Rachmaninoff, Olivier Messaien, John Cage, Georges Aperghis, and Toronto’s own Reza Jacobs), as well as projections by Germany’s fettFilm – astonishing visuals that bring alive major art movements of the 20th century. Both whimsical and riveting, Century Song is a wordless chronicle of the age, built from art.
Photography by: John Lauener and Dahila Katz
Born in Alberta to Sierra Leonian immigrants, Bickersteth has received acclaim for her work as a classical singer, performing at major venues in Canada and Europe. When describing the inception of Century Song, Bickersteth says, “Once I became comfortable with my ability as an opera singer, once I got to the point where I felt immersed in the form, then I began to question the form itself. I started to wonder how I, as a black person singing white European roles from another era, connect personally to this art form. It became problematic to connect with what I was trained to sing. I love the music, but I began to feel constricted in my expression of it. I began to look for other ways to fuse my training and love of classical music, with my dawning awareness of other modes of expression.”
Photography by: John Lauener and Dahila Katz 
PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE:
  • Tues, April 18 – 8 pm *PREVIEW – all tickets are $20 
  • Wed, April 19 – 8pm *OPENING
  • Thurs, April 20 – 8pm
  • Fri, April 21 – 8pm
  • Sat, April 22 – 8pm
  • Mon, April 24 – 1:30pm
  • Tues, April 25 – 8pm         
  • Wed, April 26 – 8pm          
  • Thurs, April 27 – 8pm            
  • Fri, April 28 – 8pm  *SOLD OUT
  • Sat, April 29 – 2pm
Tickets range from $20 to $35 and are available in person at the Crow’s Theatre Box Office, 345 Carlaw Avenue, 647-341-7390 or at nightwoodtheatre.net or crowstheatre.com

ABOUT NIGHTWOOD
As Canada’s foremost feminist theatre, Nightwood provides an essential home for the creation of extraordinary theatre by women. Founded in 1979, Nightwood Theatre has created and produced award-winning plays which have garnered Dora Mavor Moore, Chalmers, Trillium and Governor General’s awards.

From Nacional Records: Los Macuanos Release New Single "Soldado Sin Cara" Album Epílogo - Out March 31st 2017

From a media release:

From Nacional Records
Los Macuanos Release New Single "Soldado Sin Cara"
Album Epílogo - Out March 31st 2017

"An epic war cry against Mexico’s military state." - Remezcla

Buy It On iTunes

The Tijuana buzz band is set to release their new album Epílogo, a dark and moody continuation of their signature electronic tribal sounds.

The band is known for pioneering "Ruidosón," a genre they helped create by mixing their penchant for electronic music and folk norteño nostalgia.

Armed initially with only a laptop, a sequencer and a shoddy wooden güiro, Los Macuanos have surfaced as one of the most promising acts in modern electronic music, in what Camilo Lara (Mexican Institute of Sound) has proclaimed “the great hope for Mexico in the coming years.”

Though emerging in the wake of the burgeoning global bass scene, and strongly situated in the continuum of Tijuana electronic music, Los Macuanos nonetheless go beyond this spectrum, in a sound that is wholly their own.

To describe their music is to inhabit a unique vision of Mexico’s sonic legacy, rooted in centuries of akin sounds and sensibilities which are digitally permutated almost beyond recognition. Through spectral evocations, and ominously low-frequencies, Los Macuanos invoke the spirits of their country’s past, resulting in a macabre rendition of traditional Mexican sounds. A hauntological feast, equally suited for the ears and the hips.

Employing the format of a live band, Los Macuanos navigate the mid-ground between the energy and dynamism of live performance and the textural intricacies that only a DJ set can afford, presenting a unique kind of hybrid for the modern dancefloor.

The band never ceases to be experimental, and Epílogo is a fitting follow-up and expansion on the vast themes of musical resistance. Pre-order of the album is available now - receive the single as an instant download.

Listen to "Soldado Sin Cara" on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, or wherever you stream music.

Theatre for our world: lemonTree creations Spring 2017 News

From a media release:

Theatre for our world:
lemonTree creations
Spring 2017 News

Find Out More

TORONTO - We are living in turbulent times. There is, from our perspective, anger and confusion alongside resilience and creativity in our neighbourhoods and around the world. Politically, there are things to watch out for along with a sense of unity as communities come together to make the world a better place.

These small acts of resistance are what drive lemonTree creations as we move into spring 2017. This year starts off quite busy and we couldn't be more excited. In each of our projects, there is an investigation of our humanity and desire to understand how we relate to each other.

APRIL and JUNE 2017
ON TOUR
MSM [men seeking men] 

This tour marks the first time lemonTree will be performing outside of our home base and we couldn't be more thrilled to take our critically acclaimed show MSM [men seeking men] to three different cities.  MSM was a top grossing show at the Fringe Festival (2013) where it was first presented and went on to premiere as part of the World Pride festivities in Toronto (2014).

Concept and Direction by INDRIT KASAPI
Dramaturgy by JONATHAN SEINEN
Production Design by JOE PAGNAN

National Tour
In The Soil Arts Festival, St. Catherines, ON April 28 - 30
Intrepid Theatre's OUTstages, Victoria, BC June 23
Queer Arts Festival, Vancouver, BC June 20 & 21

If you're in Toronto and cannot make any of these shows don't fret. There will also be a ONE NIGHT ONLY presentation of the show in Toronto in June. Stay tuned for those details!

MAY 2017
WORLD PREMIERE
Rope Running Out

The ties of Nacio and Félix's love have begun to fray. Evolution is necessary for their non-sexual partnership - but something holds Nacio back. When a footloose drifter from his past appears, Nacio must make a decision: stay bound or let go completely.

In this sexy, intimate, and unflinching new work award-winning playwright Raf Antonio explores the power of the erotic and asks the question, 'if we are multidimensional, can any one person truly be enough?'

Written by RAF ANTONIO
Directed by INDRIT KASAPI

This production marks the first time lemonTree will produce a show inside our downtown {studio} at King and Bathurst.

MORE INFO COMING SOON

Rope Running Out was initially developed at the Soulpepper Playwrights Circle 2015 and subsequently developed at Cahoots Theatre's Hot House Creators Unit 2015-2016. Raf Antonio acknowledges the support of the Toronto Arts Council through their Grants to Individual Playwrights 2016.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Soundstreams Toronto presents: R. Murray Schafer's Odditorium March 2-5, 2017

From a media release:

Soundstreams presents:
R. Murray Schafer's Odditorium
March 2-5, 2017

TORONTO - Soundstreams is thrilled to present Odditorium from March 2nd-5th, a selection of music theatre works by acclaimed Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer,under the creative direction of award-winning film and theatre director Chris Abraham.

• Tickets range from $22-$67.50 and are available through the Crow’s Theatre Box Office at 647-341-7390 or online at Soundstreams.ca.

Performances: March 2nd-5th, 2017
Thursday March 2nd, 2017 at 8PM
Friday March 3rd, 2017 at 7PM and 10PM
Saturday March 4th, 2017 at 7PM and 10PM
Sunday March 5th, 2017 at 2PM

Venue: Newly opened Crow’s Theatre, 345 Carlaw Avenue
Repertoire: Amente-Nufe, Crown of Ariadne, Tantrika, La testa d’Adriana

Odditorium weaves together 4 works from opera, theatre, and dance, all selections from Schafer’s Patria-cycle: Amente-Nufe, Crown of Ariadne, Tantrika, and La testa d’Adriana. Conceived over a 40 year period, Patria is considered one of the most radical and inventive Canadian works created in the past half-century, and consists of a cycle of 12 music-theatre works featuring a labyrinth of sideshows, lovers, buskers, and Tantric experts. As the Toronto Star has proclaimed, “there is nothing like Patria in the history of Canadian musical theatre.”

The newly conceived realization of these 4 works from Schafer’s Patria cycle will debut at Streetcar Crowsnest, Crow’s Theatre’s new state-of-the art performing arts facility in Toronto’s east end. Odditorium will be brought to life with creative collaboration from multi-award-winning film and theatre directorChris Abraham (Crow’s Theatre, Stratford Festival, Canadian Stage Company).

Odditorium features two outstanding Schafer stalwarts, harpist Judy Lomanand accordionist Joseph Macerollo. They are joined by some of the country’s most prominent interpreters of contemporary music and dance: Carla Huhtanen, soprano, Andrea Ludwig, mezzo-soprano; percussionists Ryan Scott, Dan Morphy; and dancer/choreographers Andrea Nann and Brendan Wyatt.

“Schafer invites us to journey with him into an exceptional world of magic and mythology. He touches us constantly with the eerily familiar, yet leaving us with a profound yearning for a return to innocence. These four remarkable works have been sculpted together as a continuous whole, exploring the deepest recesses of Schafer’s creative mind” explains Lawrence Cherney, Soundstreams Artistic Director.

“Myths of creation and destruction, death and re-birth, and the mythic archetypes of Ariadne, Theseus, the minotaur, and the labyrinth are on Schafer’s mind.  He speaks to our unconscious mind, in order to activate our mythic imagination. Our aim has been to follow his lead and create a space for connections and resonances between these four works” said creative consultant Chris Abraham.

Soundstreams has a storied history with R. Murray Schafer. Soundstreams has commissioned numerous works: the large-scale opera The Children’s Crusade co-produced with Luminato; The Fall Into Light for 7 choirs; Death of Shalana, Isfahan, The Soul of God, and Hear The Sounds Go Round. Schafer, one of Canada’s most prolific composers, librettists, and music educators, was the first recipient of the Jules Léger Prize (1978) and the Glen Gould Prize (1987). Among his numerous awards and accolades, Schafer has received the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement, and was made a Companion of the Order of Canada in 2013.

Cast:
Andrea Ludwig, Mezzo; Judy Loman, Harp; Carla Huhtanen, Soprano; Ryan Scott, Percussion; Dan Morphy, Percussion; Joseph Macerollo O.C, Accordion; Andrea Nann, Dancer; Brendan Wyatt, Dancer/Co-choreographer

Creative Team:
Chris Abraham, Creative Consultant; Zack Russell, Creative Assistant; Andrea Naan, Choreographer; Kim Purtell, Lightning Designer; Shannon Lea Doyle, Costume/ Set Designer; John Hess, Vocal Coach/ Music Director; Thomas Ryder Payne, Sound Designer

The Crown of Ariadne by R. Murray Schafer: