Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Recessionize! For Fun and Profit! Airing on TVO June 1 & 5 2011

From a media release:

Toronto – May 31, 2011

Recessionize! For Fun and Profit! 15 Simple Steps
a film by Jamie Kastner
The First Funny Film About The Great Recession!
A sell-out hit at Hot Docs 2011 and now coming to a TV near you!

"Witty, informative, and sometimes infuriating! A call-to-arms!” – Dave Robson, Sound on Sight
"A mix of satire and bizarre innovations!” – Sarah Gopaul, Toronto Film Scene 

World Broadcast Premiere on TVO - Wednesday June 1, 2011, 9:00pm
• Repeat Screening: Sunday June 5, 2011 at 11:00pm

(Also airing on DOCUMENTARY late summer TBC)

Ever dream of…
Starting a camp to teach kids how to make millions?
Opening a Hamster Villa -- for humans?
Making a living by squatting in upscale homes?
Neither did a lot of people!

Now you too can enjoy these perks of the new economic order, and a whole lot more in Jamie Kastner’s Recessionize! For Fun And Profit! 15 Simple Steps!, the new comic documentary from the filmmaker behind, Kike Like Me, and Djangomania!

In Recessionize! Kastner sets off on a black-comic verité-style road trip through California, Europe and
Dubai, meeting folks who are turning economic crisis into opportunity. Told in a series of globe-hopping parables, the 56-minute film is framed as a mock educational/business primer. The quirky cast, by turns funny, absurd and heartrending, range from kids attending Camp Millionaire in Santa Barbara, to Berlin prostitutes offering eco-discounts, to the French hoteliers behind the hit “Hamster Villa” - all models of economic resilience.

Kastner’s present-day journey is interwoven with equally dark/funny tales of economic ingenuity from the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Ultimately Recessionize! tells a unique, bittersweet tale that touches on the universal ironies of modern market-guided existence.

Written, Directed and Produced Jamie Kastner
Editor Greg West
Line Producer Diana Warmé
Director of Photography Derek Rogers
Research Susan Kastner, Spencer Ramsay
Original Music David Wall featuring the song “Recessionize!” by Susan Kastner


Monday, May 30, 2011

LuminaTO 2011 - Hanan Al-Shaykh Event Ticket Giveaway

LuminaTO Event Ticket Giveaway

The British Council of Canada is giving away tickets to the LuminaTO event with Hanan Al-Shaykh, writer and collaborator on the Festival's production of One Thousand and One Nights (as dramatized and directed by Tim Supple).

• They are doing a raffle for 4 pairs of free tickets to the event - which is almost sold-out.

Just "like" them on Facebook.

• Draw will be held June 8

Sunday, May 29, 2011

New Latin Dub/Downtempo from Ocote Soul Sounds & Second Sky

From a release:

New Latin Dub/Downtempo for the Electronic Listener
Ocote Soul Sounds and Second Sky

Ocote Soul Sounds "Taurus" due out on ESL Recordings on May 31st.

"Ocote Soul Sounds" is a project by Grammy Award winner Adrian Quesada and Tony Award winner Martin Perna. Their fourth collaboration, "Taurus," features vocal collaborations with fellow ESL Music regulars Natalia Clavier, Sitalil, Verny Varela and Chico Mann. The record was produced by Eric Hilton of Thievery Corporation, and has been featured on the radio through Distiller Promotions.

July 8, 2011: Ocote Soul Sounds (Sound System set) at the Bowery Poetry Club, NYC 8pm ($10)

  Ocote Soul Sounds - Primavera by INgroovesmarketing

Second Sky - The Art of Influence
Released by: Rhythm and Culture
Release date: May 24, 2011

Second Sky, coming from the D.C. based label Rhythm and Culture feature African and Latin influences, serious down tempo and dub, and top notch instrumentation.

Second Sky is the trio of co-conspirators Billy Medina, Wes DiIorio and William Lascek-Speakman. Together, they are remixing the traditional idea of a musical group: crossfading organic and electronic, live and studio, while recombining classic genres for a completely new and eclectic sound. Based in Dub and Trip-Hop, Second Sky blends elements of Soul, Pop, Arabic, Afrobeat, and Indian music styles (among others) into something that always manages to come out sounding distinctly like Second Sky.

This fusion comes naturally to Billy, William, and Wes, who revel in the sounds of classic Bollywood soundtracks and early electronic music. The subsequent effect is a sonic world of sultry beaches, thrilling car chases, exotic scenery, and lost scenes from imaginary films. Ultimately, the band looks to share it's love of all forms of music with their friends and audiences worldwide; creating more than a sound, but a complete experience through rhythm and culture.

"The Art of Influence" is the debut album from eclectic trio Second Sky. They were featured as the #1 add on CMJ RPM, as well as through Distiller Promotions (Radio) and continue to spread their latin dub and downtempo sound throughout the country.

Check out this free track  "Under The Line."

  Second Sky - Under the Line by INgroovesmarketing

Photography Show: George Dumitru’s Midnight Junk in Toronto

 George Dumitru: Midnight Junk

Photographer George Dumitru is pleased to announce a new collection of photography: "Midnight Junk".

The work will be shown at Cinnamon Girls Cafe, located at 1170 Queen St. West in Toronto.

Photographer George Dumitru’s latest work depicts the found 'junk' of the Mojave Desert. Shot entirely at night, utilizing innovative light painting, life and vibrancy shine through the rust to bring the subjects to life.

This collection will be be on display to July 10, 2011

Cinnamon Girls Café
1170 Queen St W
Toronto, ON  M6J 1J5
(416) 531-7080

New CD: Federico Aubele's Berlin 13

From a release:

Federico Aubele: Berlin 13

Federico Aubele returns to a smoky realm of acoustic guitar licks, heavy rhythms and sinister dub atmospherics for his fourth studio album, Berlin 13. The record pulls from the personal transformation Aubele experienced in his time living in Berlin and the vibe of a city strongly associated with electronic music.

Berlin 13 features collaborations with Natalia Clavier, Ka, Mauro Refosco and Jesse Harris. To set the tone for this album, Aubele revisited his deepest musical influences, focusing on those he believed essential in his formation as an artist. From the backing beats to the musique-concrete samples, and the nylon string guitar layered with his baritone voice, the result is a blending of the elements in his unique style.

  Federico Aubele - "No One" off the upcoming album "Berlin 13" on ESL Recordings by INgroovesmarketing

“I had a formal musical education. One of the things I rescue from those years, is being exposed to a lot of 20th century composers and styles. I was fascinated with Schoenberg’s atonalism, Stockhausen’s explorations in electroacoustic music and musique concrete, Ligeti’s tone clusters, etc. The core of my music is a combination of electronic music, dub, classical guitar and the experiments those composers conducted in the 50’s and 60’s.”

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Thomas Mapfumo to Headline Afrofest Toronto - July 9 & 10

From a media release & hot off the press:

The Lion of Zimbabwe:
Thomas Mapfumo & the Blacks Unlimited to Headline Toronto's Afrofest
July 9 & 10 at Queen's Park

TORONTO: AFROFEST, a free celebration of the richness and diversity of African culture, is set for Queen’s Park in Toronto on Saturday July 9th and Sunday July 10th.  Featuring world-renowned African musicians and top African groups based in Canada, an African marketplace, food and craft vendors, artistic displays, music workshops, and organized activities for youth and children. Afrofest is THE cultural event of the summer.  Discover Africa in the Heart of Toronto!

African music legend Thomas Mapfumo, with his band The Blacks Unlimited, will be a feature act of Afrofest 2011. “The Lion of Zimbabwe” is considered both the Bob Dylan and the Bob Marley of Southern Africa for the immense impact his songs and life example have made on the music and culture of his homeland.  The "Chimurenga" music he created was the soundtrack of the revolution in Zimbabwe. 

A titan of African recording, Mapfumo, with more than 20 albums of outstanding original music to his name, has been performing his songs of love, freedom and justice for more than 40 years.  Mapfumo has twice before performed at Afrofest, this year he’ll take the stage to complete the weekend line-up, on Sunday, July 10.

Thomas Mapfumo will also be performing an ‘Afterfest’ concert at the Lula Lounge, 1585 Dundas Street West, on Monday, July 11. Admission is $20 at the door, $15 in advance – Tickets available at Afrofest and other locations to be announced.

South Africa’s Dizu Plaatjies and Ibuyambo will make their Canadian debut performance at Afrofest 2011. Dizu led his band Amampondo in wowing the crowd at Nelson Mandela’s famous birthday concert at Wembley Stadium in 1988. They were later made official ambassadors of South African music, and their 2000 show at Afrofest stands as one of the festival’s finest ever performances.

The Afrofest headliners will be supported by some of the top African groups based in Canada, including:
JP Buse (Zaire)
Femi Abosede & Culture Force (Nigeria)
Zekuhl (Cameroon)
Ruth Mathiang (Sudan)
• Ijo Vudu (Nigeria)
Soukous Tchatcho (Congo)
• The Tich Maredza Band (Zimbabwe)
Anastasio & Zalang Band (Equatorial Guinea)
Amoudou (Guinea)
Beyond Sound (various Africa)
Justine CanAfric (Ivory Coast)
Symphonix (Trinidad).
More acts will be announced very soon. For more information on Afrofest and stage performers go to www.musicafrica.org

More acts will be announced very soon.

For more information on Afrofest and stage performers go to www.musicafrica.org

Music Africa thanks all those who supported keeping Afrofest at Queen's Park in 2011. There should be no doubt that Music Africa will resolve all outstanding issues and put on an Afrofest to be remembered.

Music Africa gratefully acknowledges the support of the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Toronto Arts Council, the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Ontario Arts Council. Many thanks also to media co-partners CBC Radio 99.1 FM and CIUT 89.5 FM.

Image is the cover of Thomas Mapfumo - The Chimurenga Singles 1976 - 1980 - Earthworks 1984

Sex Scandals in Religion Final Episode Airing May 30 on Vision TV

From a media release:

Sex Scandals In Religion
Final Part - Episode 4
May 30 at 10:30pm ET/PT | On Vision TV

Produced by Cogent/Benger Productions Inc.

Episode 4: The Name Of The Lord - Directed by Peter Findlay
This final episode of the spectacular 4-part series travels to the Deep South of America, where a charismatic preacher rallies the nation against the evils of homosexuality - but this Leader of the Flock coaches fatherless young men with questionable intent. Supporters dismiss the allegations of impropriety and shun the victims. The stain of accusation and lawsuits follow God's preacher in this examination of power, persuasion and corrupted scripture.

A provocative four-part original TV series, Sex Scandals In Religion offers viewers an unprecedented look at misbehavior manifested in four religions. The four half-hour episodes - produced by Toronto based Cogent/Benger Productions Inc. -  takes an intimate, compelling and emotional look at the dark secrets that lurk inside houses of the spirit.
Sex Scandals In Religion looks beyond the infamous and well-publicized sex abuse scandals in the Catholic Church to stunning stories of sexual misfeasance in four other world religions. In Buddhism, a world-renowned Rinpoche is accused by several women of sexual exploitation; in Islam, the actions of zealots leads to the religiously justified rape of students and gays; in Orthodox Jewry, the mechanisms of justice are obscured in a case involving a rabbi and young boys; and in Christian Evangelism, a homophobic black bishop in Atlanta is accused of the serial molestation of fatherless boys.

Sex Scandals in Religion is Produced by Christopher Sumpton and Robin Benger. Directors include Alan Mendelsohn, Robin Benger, Debi Goodwin, and Peter Findlay.

About Cogent/Benger Productions
Cogent/Benger Productions Inc. has been producing high-profile network documentaries and specials since 1998. The company has a reputation for producing films destined for a wide public that explore major social issues.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

See-I Reggae/Rock/Dub Release: Free Download Now, CD June 28

From a media release - one of the many great things this blog has brought me is that people keep introducing me to great music:

SEE-I – SEE-I - Out June 28, 2011 (Fort Knox Recordings)

Fort Knox Collaborators & Thievery Corporation Vocalists Arthur “Rootz” Steele And Archie “Zeebo” Steele Bring Their Unique Brand Of Reggae On Their Debut Album – Injected With Heavy Doses Of Funk, Soul, Dub And Rock – To The Fort Knox Vault

Fort Knox Recordings presents the debut album from See-I entitled “See-I.” Long time Fort Knox collaborators Arthur “Rootz” Steele and Archie “Zeebo” Steele bring their band’s unique brand of Reggae – injected with heavy doses of Funk, Soul, Dub and Rock – to the Fort Knox vault.  We are proud and excited to be releasing their debut album.

“Homegrown” (2011 Version) FREE DOWNLOAD - HERE

Download Instructions
• On a PC: right click, select “Save This Link As…” and choose the destination for the file on your computer.
• On a Mac: option-click on the link. File will download to your desktop.

The story begins with two brothers, Rootz and Zeebo, who found their way from college in North Carolina via the Caribbean only to end up in Washington, DC.  It was in the cultural melting pot of the Nation’s capital that they developed their creative and musical talents.  In the heady days of the late 1980s, the brothers Steele would launch the project that has defined their lives: See-I.  They quickly became a fixture of DC’s burgeoning Reggae scene crossing paths with Reggae aficionado Eric Hilton who was determined to include them in his future projects.  Hilton was opening the Eighteenth Street Lounge and associated record label, and brought Rootz and Zeebo on board.  Throughout the 90’s and into the coming millennium they would go on to record, perform and tour with Thievery Corporation.

Then in 2005 Zeebo and Rootz started a regular Wednesday night gig at the Eighteenth Street Lounge that would see them coalescing one of the greatest live bands the city has ever seen. Slowly gathering momentum, guest musicians and members – from the Thievery Live band and the Chuck Brown band amongst others – the See-I live band would grow into a nationwide touring phenomenon, and are now considered one of America’s premier Reggae party bands.

At long last, after years of live performances, an album has been made. Produced by Zeebo, Enea Diotaiuti and Rob Myers (Sitar/Guitar with Thievery Corporation, Thunderball and Fort Knox Five), See-I’s 13-track debut album is an epic showcase of the energy, sound and talent of this exciting group. This is Reggae music for music lovers, so sit back and enjoy the ride!

About Fort Knox Recordings:
Fort Knox Recordings is the renegade funk n’ soul label from Washington DC. Established in 2003, our mission is to explore the funkier side of global music. Fort Knox is set to ‘Tell It Like It Is’ by smashing the artificial barriers established by the ‘System’ that keeps all ‘Good’ music down. Forget about tempos and genres – we want to take you back to the roots and reunite all music from our funk, dub and soul brothers – you dig? So stop being so serious, this is music, it’s supposed to be fun.

See-I  Feature Shows:
05/29/11 – Washington, DC – U Street Music Hall
07/01/11 – Darlington, MD – PEX Summer Festival
07/03/11 – Washington, DC – U Street Music Hall
09/23/11 – Earthdance Festival – Vallejo, CA

Tour Dates w/Thievery Corporation:
06/04/11 – Ozark, AK – Wakarusa Music Festival
06/24/11 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Waterfront
06/25/11 – Atlantic City, NJ – Caravan Festival
08/13/11 – Aspen, CO – Belly Up
08/14/11 – Morrison, CO – Red Rocks Amphitheatre
09/01/11 – Salt Lake City, UT
09/02/11 – Aspen, CO – Aspen Jazz Festival
09/04/11 – Chicago, IL – North Shore Festival + Full show at night

*Images & video by Jesse Justice

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Stephen Burks: Man Made at the Studio Museum, Harlem NYC to June 26

Stephen Burks: Man Made
at the Studio Museum, Harlem NYC
continues to June 26, 2011

Stephen Burks is an industrial designer whose work I checked out recently at his show at the Studio Museum in Harlem. His work explores craft in a global context, in particular and specific to this show, his collaborations with Senegalese basket weavers. The entire show is anchored by the basic concept of basket weaving - baskets reconfigured and reimagined.

The exhibition includes a variety of pieces along with videos that show the meticulous work as it progresses, speeded up so you can take in the whole process. It's fascinating work and I marveled at the skill of the artisans as they deftly produced row after perfect row.

Burk's pieces included baskets woven in a combination of sweetgrass and brightly coloured strips of polyethylene. They create a truly mesmerizing effect, especially a whole room of them. The show demonstrates their practical utility too, using them as speaker and light holders. A few pieces were made entirely of recycled polypropylene. I've always - since childhood - been plastic averse, there's something about it I've never liked, but I actually found myself ignoring the medium because of the sheer visual appeal of Stephen Burks' work.

The show, as the gallery's notes mention, is meant not only to evoke the artisans of West Africa and their art, but also the large presence of West Africans and their artisan objects in Harlem today.

A smaller room off the main gallery is showing Sculpted, Etched and Cut Metal Works from the Permanent Collection, and while there aren't many pieces due to the size of the room, I loved the work of Stephanie Pogue and Haitian artist Edgar Brierre, particularly the latter's Rooster, cut from oil drums, as was La Sirene and her Playmate by Georges Liautaud. The pieces were playful and lyrical.

I didn't have time to look at the other shows in detail, but I did pick out Benjamin Patterson's Ants Revisted - avant-garde work with a sense of humour from the show Born in the State of FLUX/us: Scores - along with a piece by Brooklyn based artist Wangechi Mutu, who's one of my favourite artists anywhere.

Pulitzer Prize Winner Lynn Nottage's By The Way, Meet Vera Stark Extended to June 12

From  release:

By Lynn Nottage
Directed by Jo Bonney
With Stephanie J. Block, Daniel Breaker, David Garrison, Kimberly Hébert Gregory, Kevin Isola, Sanaa Lathan & Karen Olivo

At Second Stage Theatre, New York - extended through June 12

In a new comedy from the Pulitzer prize-winning playwright of Ruined, Lynn Nottage draws upon the screwball films of the 1930’s to take a funny and irreverent look at racial stereotypes in Hollywood.

By The Way, Meet Vera Stark is a seventy year journey through the life of Vera Stark, a headstrong African-American maid and budding actress, and her tangled relationship with her boss, a white Hollywood star desperately grasping to hold on to her career. When circumstances collide and both women land roles in the same Southern epic, the story behind the cameras leaves Vera with a surprising and controversial legacy scholars will debate for years to come.

Vera Stark's story continues at www.meetverastark.com, where you'll find excerpts from her autobiography, her complete filmography, and Herb Forrester's short documentary, "A Leading Lady in a Maid's Uniform: A Closer Look at The Belle of New Orleans".

In March , 2001 the cast of Lynn Nottage’s new play, By The Way, Meet Vera Stark collaborated with Stage Director Jo Bonney, filmmaker Tony Gerber and cinematographer Stuart Dryburgh to re-create the finale of the 1933 film-within-the-play “The Belle of New Orleans.”

Off-Broadway Deal - Mint Theater's A Little Journey - Deals X 2

From a release:

Off Broadway Deal

Mint Theater Company Presents
by Rachel Crothers
Directed by Jackson Gay

Continues through July 10th!
• Two ways to save - see the bottom of this post

A Little Journey, set on a westbound train leaving New York City, transports us to another world. A proud, but heartsick young woman feels like she's come to the end of the line until she realizes that a second chance for happiness is just across the aisle. Ten strangers on a train take the ride of their lives in A Little Journey by Rachel Crothers (author of Susan and God, seen at the Mint in 2006).  This heartfelt human comedy, one of Crothers’ best, was nominated for the first Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1918.

“A compelling human story of love and sorrow” was how the Washington Post greeted the play, which, in the grand tradition of travelogues, showcases an eccentric and charming array of passengers:

There’s the auburn-topped lady from New York, excruciatingly funny in her ultra-sophistication and yet human.  There are two young college lads, awkward, yet lovable.  There’s the sweet young girl, traveling with her deaf grandma; there is the self-centered plutocrat who travels in the drawing room; there is a mother—an unmarried mother; and there are Jim West, the big-hearted Westerner, and Julie Rutherford, the girl who finds real life after having been hedged about and bound by conventions and traditions.

Julie’s down on her luck, and Jim is a lonely rancher who’s survived his own troubled life journey. Jim falls in love, but Julie sinks deeper into despair…until a dangerous detour gives them an unexpected chance at happiness.

“A simple moving story deftly and very convincingly told” wrote John Corbin in the New York Times, while in the New York World, Charles Darnton deemed the play “by far the finest play Miss Crothers has written” praising its “simple human feeling.”

Achieving that “simple human feeling” was Crothers’ goal.  She was inspired to write the play while riding on a train, struck by how travel “brought together such characters as I required.”

This Little Journey happens somewhere every day, and it means merely a bundle of humanity tied together by circumstances, each part of the bundle struggling to keep itself free and separate by the force of its own tremendous ego, but finally melted into a common whole by forces stronger than selfishness.

Playing NOW through July 10th
Tues., Wed. & Thurs. at 7pm
Fri. & Sat. at 8pm
Sat. & Sun. at 2pm

Deal #1:
• Use code BOB40 and SAVE $15 per ticket! Pay only $40 for all performances through June 19th.
Order tickets HERE
• or call (212) 315-0231
Deal #2:
CHEAPTIX: 1/2 Price Tickets
Don’t care where you sit? Save 50% with Cheap Tix! We offer a LIMITED NUMBER of seats at HALF-PRICE ($27.50) for EVERY PERFORMANCE.
Get Cheaptix HERE
• click "unreserved seat"

No Service fee for online orders! - $2.50 service fee will apply for phone orders

A Peek Backstage: A Little Journey by Rachel Crothers at the Mint from Mint Theater Company on Vimeo.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Toronto Jazz Festival June 24 to July 3 2011

Update June 14 - Sad news! Youssou Ndoor has cancelled all his upcoming Canadian dates, including appearances in Ottawa & Montreal. According to the Montreal Gazette, the West African singer's management was not able to complete visa requirements in time! :(

From a variety of sources:

Toronto Jazz Festival.
June 24 - July 3, 2011

Check the link for all ticket information

It kicks off with Aretha Franklin and Dave Brubeck and never looks back - you'll really need to look at the calendar and check everything out in detail, but here is a look at some of the highlights.
Dave Brubeck Quartet
Fri June 24 8:00pm
Koerner Hall at The Royal Conservatory

Dave Brubeck, designated a “Living Legend” by the Library of  Congress, continues to be one of the most active and popular musicians in both the jazz and classical worlds. With a career that spans over six decades, his experiments in odd time signatures, improvised counterpoint, polyrhythm and polytonality remain hallmarks of innovation. 

Aretha Franklin / Opening - Jordan John & The Blues Angels
Fri June 24 8:30pm
Toronto Star Stage at Metro Square

• Free

Aretha Franklin is the undisputed “Queen of Soul” and the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She is a singer of great passion and control whose finest recordings define the term soul music in all its deep, expressive glory. As Atlantic Records co-founder Ahmet Ertegun observed, “I don’t think there’s anybody I have known who possesses an instrument like hers and who has such a thorough background in gospel, the blues and the essential black-music idiom.…She is blessed with an extraordinary combination of remarkable urban sophistication and of the deep blues feeling that comes from the Delta. The result is maybe the greatest singer of our time.”

• Admission is free.
• Doors will open at 7:00pm.
• There will be no tickets,  or seating.
• Access to the Marquee will be on a first come, first served basis (wristband policy in effect - one wristband per person).
• Outdoor video screens in the Square will make the concert accessible for everyone.

Youssou N'Dour / Opening - Dubmatix
Toronto Star Stage at Metro Square
Sun June 26 8:30pm

More about him in a previous post

After countless forays into the western world, Youssou N’Dour chose Dakar as a base from which to lead his geopolitical campaign in music. His strategy is pan-African: "What all of us Africans share is much more important than what we don't share," says this elegant, fifty-year old youngster, who grew up in the Medina in Senegal's capital city, Dakar. Bringing unity to the African continent has been his priority for a long time; the key (along with love, opinions and a great festive sense) lay in the professional practise of music for some thirty-seven years. Yet his career was bound to lead to a form of musical expression that has become universal: Reggae, which was born in Jamaica in the Sixties.

Paco de Lucia / Opening - Edmar Castaneda
Sony Centre
Mon June 27 8:00pm

Paco de Lucia, world renowned flamenco guitarist, will set the Sony Centre alight on Monday, June 27 as he plays with unparalleled speed, precision and passion. Pat Metheny calls him, “the greatest in the world, period.” Paco de Lucia, one of the greatest living guitarist in the world, was born Francisco Sanchez Gomez in Algeciras, a city in the province of Cadiz, in the Southernmost tip of Spain on December 21st, 1947. His stage name is an homage to his mother Lucia Gomez.

Robert Cray Band
Toronto Star Stage at Metro Square
Mon Jun 27 8:30pm

Robert Cray has been known as one of the most popular artists in blues and soul music. Cray helped to shape the blues on the national scene in the 1980s with his breakthrough album Strong Persuader in 1986. His soulful and creative guitar work has been a dominant force in blues. Over the years Cray’s musical influence has been recognized and acknowledged. He was inducted in the Blues Hall of Fame on Wednesday, May 4, 2011 at the Memphis Marriott Downtown in Memphis, Tennessee.

Jessye Norman
Tue June 28 8:00pm
Koerner Hall at The Royal Conservatory

The exceptionally gifted American soprano, Jessye Norman, received in 1961 a scholarship to study at Howard Univversity in Washington, D.C., where she had vocal lessons from Carolyn Grant. She continued her training at the peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore and at the University of Michigan, where her principal teachers were Pierre Bernac and Elizabeth Mannion. In 1968 She won the Munich Competition.

Jessye Norman made her operatic debut in 1969 as Elisabeth in Tannbauser at the Berlin Deutsche Oper. She appeared in the title role of L'Africaine at Florence's Maggio Musicale in 1971, and the following year sang Aida at Milan's La Scala and Cassandra in Les Troyens at London's Covent Garden. Subsequently she made her USA stage debut as Jocasta in Oedipus rex and as Purcell's Dido on a double bill with the Opera Company of Philadelphia in November 1982. She made her Metropolitan Opera debut in New York as Cassandra in September 1983 (or Les Troyens of Berlioz, which opened the company’s 100th anniversary season in 1983). Numerous operatic appearances at the Metropolitan Opera followed, the most recent of these was her celebrated portrayal of the title character in the Met’s premier production of Janacek’s The Makropulos Case in 1996.

Los Lonely Boys / Los Lobos
Toronto Star Stage at Metro Square
Tue June 28 8:30pm
Los Lobos

More than three decades have passed since Los Lobos released their debut album, Just Another Band from East L.A. Since then they’ve repeatedly disproven that title—Los Lobos isn’t “just another” anything, but rather a band that has consistently evolved artistically while never losing sight of their humble roots.

Los Lonely Boys

Since their breakout 2004 self-titled album, which went twice platinum and garnered a Best Pop Performance Grammy for the No 1 hit single “Heaven,” Los Lonely Boys have toured all over the world, performing roughly 200 shows to more than 350,000 fans in 2009-10 alone. Their last studio album, 2008′s ‘Forgiven,’ earned the band even more critical favor, with the LA Times extolling that it “oozes bone-deep feeling throughout.” The band recently performed at the March for Immigration Reform on the National Mall in Washington before an audience of 90,000.

Branford Marsalis & Joey Calderazzo, Songs of Mirth & Melancholy - World Premiere
Koerner Hall at The Royal Conservatory
Koerner Hall Jazz Series presented by Panasonic
Wed June 29 8:00pm

Songs of Mirth and Melancholy

Few contemporary pairings of saxophonist and pianist have been as inspired and productive as that of Branford Marsalis and Joey Calderazzo. Since replacing the late Kenny Kirkland in Marsalis’ quartet in 1998, Calderazzo has blended seamlessly into the uncompromising creative atmosphere of the ensemble and revealed new facets of his own conception, while Marsalis in turn has been inspired by the pianist’s challenging instrumental support and growing strength as a composer. The relationship grows ever deeper, as documented on the new Marsalis Music CD Songs of Mirth and Melancholy.

Kenny Barron - Solo Piano
Glenn Gould Studio

Wed June 29 6:00pm

A thorough examination of Kenny Barron's musical accomplishments over a span of 50 years necessitates a discography of more than 200 pages. That's because in addition to a distinguished career as soloist and leader he has served as one of the most dependable sidemen in all of post-bop mainstream modern jazz. More than 40 albums have appeared under his name, and his presence on literally hundreds of recordings by other musicians paints a panoramic picture of Kenny Barron's lifelong devotion to the music.

Bela Fleck And The Flecktones - the orignal line-up / Opening - 5 After 4
Toronto Star Stage at Metro Square
Thu June 30 8:30pm

Bela Fleck returns to Toronto with The Original Flecktones (Victor Wooten, Futureman and Howard Levy). This tour is in support of an upcoming release, their first recording in over 19 years. Born and raised in New York City, Béla began his musical career playing the guitar. In the early 1960's, while watching the Beverly Hillbillies, the bluegrass sounds of Flatt & Scruggs flowed out of the TV set and into his young brain. Earl Scruggs's banjo style hooked Béla's interest immediately. "It was like sparks going off in my head" he later said.

Bootsy Collins / Opening - Saidah Baba Talibah
Toronto Star Stage at Metro Square
Sat July 2 8:30pm

Bootsy Collins is best known as the bassist for Parliament/Funkadelic and leader of Bootsy's Rubberband in the late 70's.

Bootsy got into music long before he became a part of Parliament/Funkadelic. Growing up in Cincinnati OH, he started playing guitar and bass at an early age. When he was 14 he led a band that did recording sessions at Kings Records with Charles Spurling.

The Godfather of Soul was so impressed with the band that, he sent them on tour with his production Artist like: Marva Whitney, Hank Ballard, to name a few, then he asked them to become his regular band in 1969 and Bootsy's band was re-named the J.B's. After touring all around the world, with James Brown, Bootsy and the group were ready to do their own thing. When the band returned from England in 1971, they decided to leave James Brown and launch their own career.

That is when Bootsy met up with George Clinton and became a part of Parliament Funkadelic. In 1975 Bootsy and his band did some recording on their own under the name Bootsy's Rubberband, based on their single, Stretching Out. Together, Parliament/Funkadelic and the Rubberband put on some of the most stunning and evolutionary live Funk shows.

Bootsy now lives in his hometown of Cincinnati OH and spends much of his time producing Movie, game and animation scores, along with producing and mentoring young talent. Check out the artists section of the site to find out more about the groups on his label, Bootzilla Productions.

DOCNOW Free Documentary Media Festival - Toronto to June 25 2011

From a media release:

MAY 11 – JUNE 25, 2011

TORONTO, May 2011 – DOC NOW is a free media arts festival showcasing the work of graduating students from the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Documentary Media program at Ryerson University in
Toronto, Ontario.

The festival presents the final works of emerging documentary media artists from May 11 to June 25. Film screenings take place at the TIFF Bell Lightbox Cinema 3 (June 7, 8 and 9), the films will also screen at Ryerson's Eaton Theatre (June 11 and 12). Exhibitions will be presented at Toronto Image Works Gallery, Pari Nadimi Gallery, Inglenook Community High School, Beaver Hall Gallery, [Suite 208] 80 Spadina, and IMA Gallery between May 11 and June 25.

Free - see www.docnow.ca for a full list of exhibitions, screenings, venues, and artists.

Fresh voices in film, photography and new media

This year's lineup includes a wide variety of works in film, photography, and new-media, with four panel discussions, six exhibitions and over twelve hours of screenings which ranges from the personal to the
political, exploring a gamut of documentary subjects.

Paula John's autobiographical work seeks to embody, through a variety of visual media, the multivalent trauma of mental illness and the unseen internal processes of breakdown and subsequent healing through creative production. With Chris Manson's work we move from mental to physical illness, in his documentary photo-essay about the lifestyle changes required of Canadian adolescents living with type 1 diabetes. Garett Walker and Dafydd Hughes attempt to document hidden organizational processes of geographic and digital spaces. Walker's work explores how memory and imagination work to create meaning in photographs of Toronto's unmarked landmarks. Hughes' digital exegesis of Robert Frank's "The Americans" examines the degrees to which technology intervenes in our interpretation and organization of the ever-increasing amount of information we contend with daily. In Daniel Froidevaux's film "Little Castle" and Scott Humphries' "Humphries Road" explore the illusory quality of identity, the shared subjectivity of memory, and the intersection of familial inheritance within broader economic and political trends. While Froidevaux's work addresses issues of identity, displacement and memory through the story of his great aunt's expulsion from Nazi Germany, Humphries documents the issues surrounding family farm succession and the future of agriculture in Ontario. These individual accounts hint at the relevance of micro-history as a means of reexamining the past and re-imagining the future. For more information on these projects and more, visit www.docnow.ca

• Free and open to the public

DOC NOW is a great opportunity to see some compelling films and view thought-provoking exhibitions. All shows and screenings are free and open to the public, including openings. Fostering new documentary talent – Ryerson University's MFA in documentary media This unique program was established in 2007 and is the only MFA degree program in Canada dedicated to developing tomorrow's documentary filmmakers, photographers, and new-media artists. Canada has a world-renowned reputation for excellence in documentary media and the Ryerson Documentary Media program is committed to nurturing new talent in this important area. For more information on this program visit www.docnow.ca

To reserve tickets, please email tickets@docnow.ca

Youssou Ndour CD Release & North American Tour in June 2011

From a media release:

Youssou Ndour, one of the world's best known and best loved African singers will be releasing his first foray into Reggae music, Dakar- Kingston on June 7th, 2011 and embarking on a North American tour that kicks off in Los Angeles on June 16

He'll be part of the Blue Note Jazz Festival in New York on June 24
He'll be at the Toronto Jazz Festival on June 26
• Full tour dates below

In Marley’s Footsteps:
Youssou Ndour Discovers the African Heart of Reggae on Dakar-Kingston

Youssou Ndour’s journey to Kingston began with the music pulsing from the Dakar market stalls of his childhood. It began during long hours of listening to reggae LPs from his uncle’s record store. It continued decades later, long after Ndour became one of the world’s best known and best loved African singers, as circumstances conspired and he found himself at Tuff Gong studios, walking in Bob Marley’s footsteps and jamming with Marley’s musical friends.

Dakar-Kingston (Emarcy Records; June 7, 2011) maps this road, turning Ndour classics and several new originals into reggae anthems, reflecting reggae’s deep impact on West African music and culture. Guided by veteran reggae producer and former Marley collaborator Tyrone Downie, Ndour finds the sunny and urgent, the laid-back and the hard-grooving sides of Jamaican music, supported by a multigenerational crew of Jamaican and African reggae voices.

Ndour, a pioneering performer whose strikingly expressive voice transformed both the mbalax music of his native Senegal and Western pop, is an experienced traveler. He has effortlessly climbed charts in North America and Europe thanks to duets with Peter Gabriel, Neneh Cherry, and Sting. He has traced the roots of his griot (traditional oral historian) heritage, and explored his Muslim faith and its sonic impact by collaborating with Egyptian musicians, winning a Grammy® for his efforts.

"Reggae gives you more space than mbalax. You have more room to breathe,” Ndour reflects. “You know the rhythm and the emotion, exactly what the song is saying to you. It’s very direct at its heart.

For Ndour, this freedom and directness translates into a stronger medium for the messages that he, too, has dedicated his career to spreading. His voice has launched Senegalese social movements (“Set” became a rallying cry for urban youth activists in 1994). His songs have whipped up international support in the fight against malaria (2009’s “Fight Malaria”) and for women’s rights (1989’s “Shaking the Tree” with Peter Gabriel), to name just a few of the issues Ndour has addressed. His work as a UNICEF ambassador—and as a global pop star dubbed “the world’s most famous singer” by Rolling Stone—has taken him across the planet.

On his travels, the importance of those who had gone before hit home, musicians like Bob Marley who hailed from long-denigrated places and yet managed to parlay powerful music into global stardom and a new social consciousness. “When I started traveling, I started seeing how Bob Marley had affected the world. I saw how someone from an underdeveloped country can become a star, someone who’s really loved,” Ndour explains. “He was my example. I knew looking at Bob Marley that I could do my music from Senegal and touch the world.”

In reggae, Ndour also heard the powerful transits that music from Africa made, as slavery ripped people and sounds from their homelands: “When people were taken from Africa, the music left, too.” Reggae’s African heart had long intrigued Ndour, whether listening to Marley songs in the market or at home on his uncle’s records. He fantasized about taking his catchy yet moving songs and letting them unfold in a new reggae context.

“For years, people told me that my voice would be perfect for a reggae album,” Ndour chuckles. “Then one day, I really felt how my songs could get a second chance through reggae. It made sense to me.”

After performing a tribute to Bob Marley at a festival in Senegal, Ndour knew it was time: He was going to finally make the reggae album.

He called Tyrone Downie, an experienced producer and former Wailer who had played with everyone from Peter Tosh to Burning Spear. Downie, who more recently has worked with African reggae icons Alpha Blondy and Ivorian Tiken Jah Fakoly, leaped at the chance to collaborate with Ndour and flew to Dakar, where he and Ndour began working on the songs that became Dakar-Kingston.

After revisiting songs like “Joker” and arranging new reggae-inflected works like “Black Woman,” Downie and Ndour went to Kingston and recorded at Tuff Gong, a crucial studio in reggae history. There, Ndour found himself embraced by a reggae community that included old hands (The Wailer’s Earl China Smith on guitar) and rising stars (Morgan Heritage, Patrice).

Their combined confidence and urgency vibrates on songs like the new and vibrant “Don’t Walk Away” and on “Marley,” Ndour’s homage to reggae’s global hero. This multi-generational reggae community extends across the Atlantic, as Nigerian soul singer Ayé demonstrates, joining Ndour on a Peter Tosh-inspired version of “Africa, Dream Again.”

“When we were in Jamaica, Mutabaruka came to the studio,” Ndour recounts, referring to the dub poet and reggae icon. “I was a big fan. He listened to my words on ‘Marley’ and said, ‘Give me the mic. I’m going to talk about Marley.’ He knew him, and he knew just what to say.”

For Ndour, this kind of intense collaboration was one of the most satisfying aspects of the project. “They know me and my music. They wanted to support me and be with me on this project,” notes Ndour. “I was really touched by their reaction. For me, this album makes me understand how Bob Marley did so much good work. He was working with the musicians like a family.”

• Images of Youssou Ndour by Youri Lanquette 

Youssou Ndour, Dakar-Kingston (Decca Label Group): Tour Schedule

June 16, 2011
Greek Theatre, 2700 North Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, CA
Tix: $35-$55, Show: 7:30 pm
Ph: 323.665.5857

June 17, 2011
Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway, Oakland, CA
Tix: $25-$80, Show: 8:00 pm
Ph: 510.465.6400

June 18, 2011
Austin City Limits Live at the Moody, 310 Willie Nelson Blvd, Austin, TX
Ph: 877.435.9849

June 19, 2011
Georgia International Convention Center, 2000 Convention Center Concourse, Atlanta, GA
Tix: $40.00, Show: 10 pm

June 22, 2011
Meymandi Concert Hall, 2 E South St, Raleigh, NC
Show: 7 pm
Ph: 919.831.6060.

June 23, 2011
Lisner Auditorium, 730 21st Street, NW, Washington, DC
Ph: 202.994.6800

June 24, 2011
Terminal 5, 610 W. 56th St.. @ 11th Ave., New York, NY
Tix: $50 adv./$55 door, Doors Open: 9:00 pm, Show: 10:00 pm
Ph: 212.375.1200

June 26, 2011
Mainstage – Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival, Toronto, ON

June 27, 2011
Metropolis Theatre, Montreal, Québec

June 28, 2011
Confederation Park, 100 Elgin Street Ottawa, ON

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Gotham Dance Festival: Jun 1 - 12 2011 at the Joyce Theater

From a release:

Gotham Dance Festival
The Joyce Theater, New York
June 1 - 12, 2011

Fresh off the overwhelming success of last summer’s presentation of four female choreographers, Gotham Arts Exchange presents the Gotham Dance Festival, returning to The Joyce Theater with expanded programming and a newly branded festival. Gotham Dance Festival presents six programs featuring ten choreographers at The Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue, NYC. The festival will also present six talented emerging artists in Summer Sampler Matinees.

Check the website for full details on showtimes and tickets

Brian Brooks Moving Company
June 1-5

Choreographer Brian Brooks fuses "minimalist rigor with flamboyant whimsy" (The New Yorker). For its Joyce debut, the Brian Brooks Moving Company will present a world premiere, as well as MOTOR, performed under a set that stretches three miles of cables beyond the stage and over the audience. Touring internationally since 2002, the group was described by Deborah Jowitt in The Village Voice as "smart, utterly unpretentious heroes; they make your eyes water and your spirit soar."

Monica Bill Barnes & Company
June 2-4

Dubbed by The New York Times as "the master of the dance equivalent of a sly guffaw," Monica Bill Barnes returns to The Joyce after sold out performances this summer. The company will present three works: Suddenly Summer Somewhere (2007), the New York premiere of mostly fanfare (2010) and the world premiere of Everything is getting better all the time (2011). This evening of outrageous and whimsical dance is full of surprise and borrows from the glamour of rock concerts, the good will of a little league game, and the enthusiasm of a high school marching band. Come see this unique company, which "can stir your heart as well as make you laugh" (The Village Voice, Deborah Jowitt).

Abraham, Driscoll, Dolbashian
June 4-5

In addition to performances by Monica Bill Barnes & Company, Kate Weare Company, Brian Brooks Moving Company, and CorbinDances, the Gotham Dance Festival features six talented emerging artists in
Summer Sampler Matinees.

The weekend's afternoon programs feature Kyle Abraham's Abraham.in.Motion performing one of his newest works, The Quiet Dance; Gregory Dolbashian's The DASH Ensemble presenting Like the eagle, a sensual piece full of dramatic tension and soft conflict; and the Faye Driscoll Dance Group performing not...not, part I, an examination of the poignant tension between beauty, power and desire.

Kate Weare Company
June 7-11

Heralded by The New Yorker as "an arresting new talent," Kate Weare returns to the Joyce with more of the striking physicality and evocative performance style that sold out houses here in 2010. The company presents two works: Garden (world premiere), grappling with the powerful issues of creative impulse, origination and identity, and a revival of the critically acclaimed Lean-To (2009), described by Deborah Jowitt of The Village Voice as: "eroticism in its primal, devouring purity - challenging, at times ambiguous, and infinitely complex."

Jun 8-12

CorbinDances celebrates its fifth anniversary with the premiere of Shady, an evening-length suite of dances based on a single phrase of movement. Once one of Paul Taylor Dance Company's most beloved dancers and now a proven choreographer in his own right, Patrick Corbin explores community, humanity and sexuality, striving for a greater understanding of "Us." CorbinDances' work is described as "fully and uncompromisingly danced... uninhibited, brash, spirited, musical, [and] space engulfing." -- Lisa Traiger for Dance Magazine.

Barnett, Leite, Skybetter
Jun 11-12

This weekend, Gotham Dance Festival presents three talented emerging artists in Summer Sampler Matinees, in addition to performances this week by Kate Weare Company and CorbinDances.

The weekend's afternoon programs feature Julian Barnett performing his gorgeous solo Echologue; Sydney Skybetter's ensemble, Skybetter and Associates, presenting the world premiere of Temporary Matters, as well as a revival of Halcyon; and Ashleigh Leite returning to New York to present The Zoo, an explosive work with music by The Magnetic Fields and an original sound design by Leite herself.

Gotham Dance Festival
June 1 - 12, 2011
The Joyce Theater

175 Eighth Avenue (at 19th Street) NYC
Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday at 7:30pm
Thursday - Saturday at 8:00pm
Saturday and Sunday at 2:00pm

Prices start at $10
Buy at JoyceCharge: +01 212-242-0800