Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hot & Spicy: Food, Music, Dance & More at Harbourfront Toronto Sept 2-5

From a media release:

Sept. 2-5, 2011
at Harbourfront, Toronto
Presented by NOW Magazine

TORONTO - Hot & Spicy returns for its 14th edition as one of the premier food events in the city, packed with a full menu of culinary arts, music, film panels and dance. Highlighting culinary “Hot Spots” around the world, the rise of hot culinary neighbourhoods in the GTA and a favorite summer pastime, BBQ, expect a festival full of fiery performances for all the senses!

Just some of the highlights:

Check the link for full listings, including loads of music & dance by Baby Boyz

John Ellison
Friday, Sept. 2, 7-8 p.m. (Redpath Stage)

A tasty BBQ demonstration and musical performance by legendary Soul Brothers Six singer and songwriter John Ellison. He wrote the classic song “(She’s) Some Kind of Wonderful.” To date, more than 42 million copies of the song have been sold, and it has been recorded by 58 different artists. In addition to his career in music, Ellison also owns the Some Kind of Wonderful Food Company, which has a specialty lineup of spices that celebrate his southern heritage.

Bajan Lime with DJ Niterider
Saturday, Sept. 3, 6-8 p.m. (Redpath Stage)

Mychael Clarke, a.k.a. “The Magnificent” DJ Niterider, makes you move, spinning sounds of soca, reggae, calypso, old school, classic house, soul, funk, R&B and hip hop. This Bajan Lime is the ultimate dance party! Special thanks to our partners the Barbados Tourism Authority and the Consulate General of Barbados.

Nomadic Massive
Sunday, Sept. 4, 9:30-11 p.m. (WestJet Stage)

Montreal’s live hip hop legends Nomadic Massive are known for their energetic and crowd-moving shows that combine live instrumentation, samples and a wide array of vocal styles.

SoundClash Winner Showcase
Friday, Sept. 2, time TBA (WestJet Stage)

Enjoy a performance by the winner of Harbourfront Centre’s inaugural music award, SoundClash presented by NOW Magazine. Hundreds of emerging Toronto based artists submitted to get the chance to showcase and win top spot.

Guarco: Latin CD Release & Brand New Facebook Download App

From a media release:

Milkshakes and Brimstone: Guarco’s Afro-Uruguayan Beats, Raw Rock, and Searing Irony Brings Fresh Edge to Latin Sounds

Don’t get Guarco wrong: he’s crashing on the couch to plot a revolution. He’s seen the world end in a carnival flourish, and watched life continue despite it all. He may wink at The Pixies, Lee “Scratch” Perry, and Caetano Veloso, but his heart beats with Afro-Uruguayan Candombe.

The Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter’s long-simmering debut Fiebre (“Fever,” guarco.net; August 9, 2011) bursts with these tensions. It moves frenetically between pissed-off revolutionary and blasé hipster, between worldly sarcasm and magical realism, between Spanish and English. It shakes, questions, and burns, with help from producer, engineer, and friend Ben Kane (D’Angelo, The Roots, Blitz the Ambassador).

Fiebre will be offered via Guarco’s Facebook band page to fans, the first use of the social networking platform’s apps for independent commercial music distribution. (The app is being built specifically for this project.) As part of this innovative use of Facebook, purchasers will be able to name their price for the album. This distribution approach will make the music accessible to all, and puts its value in the hands of the listener.

Here's the video that's currently featured on Youtube:

Electronica Release: D. Gookin's Spiral Style

From a media release:


New Haven beatsmith and solo artist D. Gookin, a.k.a. Mike Birnbaum, is on a mission. Think of it as retaliation against a recession both economic and emotional. While his peers delve ever deeper into moodiness and sonic murk, Gookin flips life's unsavory bits into maxed-out, genuinely uplifting music. Combining the adventurousness of modern electronic innovators like Tobacco and Daedelus with the playfulness of '90s pop usurpers like Soul Coughing and Len, his sound is as propulsive as it is melodic, as freewheeling as it is meticulously orchestrated, and as blown-out bright as it is endlessly detailed.

Raised by journalists in the wooded suburbs of Maryland, Gookin found his way to music at a young age. He began piano at 5, encouraged by his family, and later an unhealthy obsession with Nirvana's In Utero left him fiending for guitar lessons. By 9, he'd assembled a drum set out of paint cans and toy tambourines, and after a year of bootleg clanging, his folks surprised him with a legitimate kit. He soon became a beat-driven tyrant—that rare drummer who fancied himself leader of the band, ordering his kid friends to learn instruments so they could back him.

Here's the single Unbraid the Knot:

  D.Gookin - Unbraid the Knot by extramusicnew

By the time Gookin left to pursue music production at the Hartt School of Music, he'd founded and dismantled at least one jam-thrash nu-funk outfit, and nurtured a deep love for IDM artists like Aphex Twin, Luke Vibert and Squarepusher, plus collagists like DJ Shadow. At school, he befriended jazz-addled glitch crew Landau Orchestra and became their drummer, gleaning the ins and outs of laptop production along the way. He took to it instantly and began to "just loop and listen," the process he employs to this day. Hence, D. Gookin was born.

His first self-released record's LP How 2 Deal and 2008's EP When You're Lonely, Everybody's a Celebrity (Moodgadget) were steeped in '80s electro and Italo Disco and yet oddly melancholic, like hearing someone else's dance party through a wall, or a pop tune playing from the bottom of a swimming pool. After contributing to Passion Pitâ's full-length breakthrough Manners, Gookin self-released 2010's From Here the Wall of Undoing EP, where he took a different tack. He pushed his drums and vocals to the forefront, adopting a psychedelic, rock-driven, maximalist approach à la Dan Deacon. Meanwhile, he developed his kinetic live show to match, both locally and on the road with Mux Mool.

Chasing Madoff Canadian Release

From a media release:

eOne Films presents
A Documentary Film by Jeff Prosserman

* Screened at the Toronto Jewish Film Festival 2011
Film opened in Toronto and Vancouver on Friday, August 26, 2011

The untold true story of the team that uncovered the Bernard Madoff scandal.

CHASING MADOFF is the compelling true story of Harry Markopolos and his team’s ten-year struggle to expose the harrowing truth behind the infamous Madoff scandal. Throughout the decade long investigation, Markopolos (pictured left) pieced together a chain of white-collar predators, consisting of financial fraudsters, lieutenants, and henchmen, all linked to the devastating Ponzi scheme.

With risk and danger apparent, Markopolos and his loyal team, known as the “The Foxhounds”, relentlessly continued to pursue the frightening truth. Finding himself trapped in a web of epic deceit, the once unassuming Boston securities analyst turned vigilante investigator now feared for his life and the safety of his family.

Running time:  91 minutes

Canadian World Music Online Launch

From a release:

Canadian World Music is now on-line!

We are excited to announce the launch of canadianworldmusic.com, the first web-based catalogue of Canadian world musicians.

The site features 23 Ontario-based, market-ready Canadian world music artists and groups that can be searched by genre, name and city.

The website aims to raise the international profile of Canada as a country rich in musical diversity and high-calibre world music acts.

The catalogue will be promoted at national and international markets and sent to a vast contact list with the hope of facilitating a greater diversity in the bands being selected by presenters across the country.

About Us
Canadianworldmusic.com was created by Tridha Arts Association, in association with Lula Music and Arts Centre and with financial assistance from FACTOR. Our primary objective is to enhance the artistic opportunities, both nationally and internationally, for market-ready Canadian world music artists and groups.

The groups listed in the catalogue were selected by a committee of industry advisors including representatives from Small World Music, Sunfest, Batuki Music and Lula Music and Arts Centre.

At present, canadianworldmusic.com is a pilot project that includes only Ontario musicians. With additional support in the future, we hope to expand the catalogue to include the rest of Canada in 2012.

We will send out a bimonthly newsletter to presenters and artists with news on the artists that are part of the catalogue.

Monday, August 29, 2011

My PC Has A Virus!

Art & Culture Lovers,

My beloved PC has come down with a virus - some horrible Trojan thingie that is proving tough to pin down and eliminate.

While my son the computer genius (all the young 'uns is computer genius', aren't they?) tries to find a fix, I'm left with my laptop and a few problems:

a) All the my posts are queued up by date in a lovely, organized file that's now languishing on my sick hard drive,
b) I'm now about two days behind in my regular work from all the fiddling around (in vain so far), and
c) that last l fact is preventing me from piecing my posts back together from email.

I will be back up and running in the next couple of days, but since it looks like I'll be cobbling from emails - and my inbox gets very full, very fast - I'll apologize in advance for those that get left behind, or fall between the cracks. Things should be back to something like normal soon!

- Anya

Alt Rocker Anna Rose Covers Arcade Fire's My Body is a Cage

From a media release:




Choosing this song to cover came about quite organically. It's actually the only song that was arranged in the studio, rather than in the rehearsals prior to recording. I really love Arcade Fire and this is a song I had been tinkering around with for a while. Kevin Salem, the producer for this session, had heard me messing around and suggested we get a recording of it. There are some truly inspiring artists out there and it's an honor to do my own version of My Body Is A Cage.”

Velvet-voiced songstress Anna Rose is back in the studio, announcing her presence with the release of a sultry, soulful cover of the Arcade Fire’s “My Body Is A Cage.” The daughter of composer Alan Menken and a ballet dancer, the 26-year old singer, songwriter, pianist, and guitarist is busy composing the follow-up to her phenomenal 2010 debut Nomad.

On Nomad, Anna crafted ruggedly expressive songs that impressed both critics and audiences alike, crossing the boundary of “singer-songwriter” to create a sound fully her own.  Citing influences such as Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, and calling celebrated guitarist Arlen Roth her mentor, Anna proves that she comes from a place very different than the typical definition of female singer-songwriter.

Anna Rose is a true child of rock and roll, a self-taught musician who is one of today’s most dynamic performers.  First introduced to the guitar at age 5 during a family gift swap, she has proved her musical prowess time and again with her powerful voice and instinctive ability to turn classic rock basics into distinctive, memorable songs. As Jay S. Jacobs of PopEntertainment.com said, “Rose is effortlessly able to create songs that feel like you have known them for years and at the same time feel totally new.”

“My Body Is A Cage” is an exciting preview of what is to come from Anna Rose as she works on her second album.  More details on the release will be announced shortly - an a tour in the fall.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Battle of the Beatmakers - Canada's Official Producer Competition August 25-28 in Toronto

From a release:

Battle of the Beatmakers
Canada's Official Producer Competition
Toronto, Ontario
August 25 - 28, 2011

Toronto, Canada – Grammy award winning and nominated producers, T-Minus, Boi-1da, 9th Wonder and Maybach Music Group Recording Artist Stalley will be joining aspiring producers in Toronto, Canada for the nations official producer competition and retreat.  BBM Producer Retreat is a three-day, ten-event series.

•  Check the link for full details on all the events

Grammy nominated and platinum-selling producer, T-Minus is taking time to show his love for the event that gave him his initial push as a producer.  T-Minus was crowned champion at the 2005 installment of the competition.  “It’s an honour to come back and be a part of what was a big influence on my career, says T-Minus.

“It was a pivotal moment in my life; it really showed that I had the talent to make it in the industry.”  Since his win at BBM, T-Minus has gone on to earn a Grammy nomination for his production work on Ludacris’ “How Low”, and has produced chart toppers like T.I.’s “Poppin’ Bottles”, Nicki Minaj’s “Moment 4 Life” featuring Drake and current smash hit by DJ Khaled “I’m On One” featuring Drake, Rick Ross and Lil’ Wayne.

Grammy award winning and platinum-selling producer Boi-1da has competed in the event winning three times in previous years and took part as a judge in 2008 and 2010.   He returns this year looking for the next top producer to win the 2011 crown.

“I’m looking for creativity, transitions in the beats, and honestly just hard hitting beats” says Boi-1da.  “Their beats have to move the crowd!” Boi-1da has garnered much awards and acclaim with chart topping hits and album credits such as Eminem’s album “Recovery”, Drake’s “Thank Me Now”, DJ Khaled’s “We The Best Forever” to name a few.  Collectively selling platinum six-seven times over.

Grammy award winning producer 9th Wonder makes his first appearance to the competition this year. Very familiar with the grind producers have to endure to make it in the industry.  9th was tapped to produce on Jay-Z’s “Black Album”, three songs for the R&B Super group Destiny’s Child on the album “Destiny Fulfilled”, Mary J. Blige for “The Breakthrough”, Erykah Badu’s “Honey” and Ludacris’s “Do The Right Thang”, and will also be working with Drake on his sophomore album.  

9th Wonder signs on as a special guest judge, panelist and keynote speaker at the Pro Audio Conference.  The excitement doesn’t stop there!  9th Wonder will be screening the Canadian premiere of “The Wonder Year”, a documentary directed by Kenneth Price.   A year in the life of CEO, NAACP ambassador, Duke University professor, husband, father, son and Grammy award winning producer 9th Wonder. The film features Drake, DJ Premier, DJ Green Lantern, J. Cole, Murs, Phonte, Sha Money XL, Young Guru, The Alchemist and more.

Maybach Music Group recording artist Stalley lands a spot as a special guest judge.  A fan of Boi-1da and T-Minus he recognizes that Canada has a vast pool of producers with massive talent.  “I expect to hear some of the dopest producers out of Canada” Says Stalley.

“What I look for in a producer is that originality, someone who is very musical with their production, fill it up with those violins, 808s and 909s.  But I do enjoy a good mixture of music.” Known for tracks “The Cook Up”, “The Tune Up”, Slapp”, “Babblin” and “Hercules” off of his recent release “Lincoln Way Nights”.  Stalley has worked with producers Ski Beatz (on tracks “Address”, “Do It Big”, “Harsh Ave”), Rashad Thomas (on album Lincoln Way Nights) and J. Rawls (on track “Babblin”).  He is featured on Curren$y’s Universal/Def Jam album “Pilot Talk”.  His album “Lincoln Way Nights” has received over 130,000 full album downloads and ranked the #2 Hip-Hop release on Bandcamp.com for over five weeks.

“Producers and artists like the announced judges motivate aspiring producers to strive for success.  Those same aspiring producers motivate me to continue putting my heart and soul into keeping BBM going.”  Says Clifton Reddick, BBM/Sound Supremacy Entertainment Founder.  “Turning on the radio and hearing Boi-1da & T-Minus or turning on the TV and watching music videos even awards shows featuring or acknowledging them is also something that makes me know the show must go on.”

Sound Supremacy Entertainment would like to proudly announce the screening of “The Wonder Year” as a part of the “Battle of the Beat Makers: Producer Retreat”. Come join Grammy Award Winning producer 9th Wonder, film director Kenneth Price and Woodie White from L-R-G for the Canadian screening premiere of “The Wonder Year”. Presented by L-R-G in association with Sound Supremacy Entertainment and Urbanology Magazine.  This is a Canadian exclusive one time screening that you do not want to miss!  Brief introduction before the film and Q&A session after with 9th Wonder and Kenneth Price.

The Wonder Year Screening:
Date: Sunday, August 28th, 2011 | Time: 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Location: The Royal Theatre (608 College Street, Toronto)
Ticket Price: $20 (Bonus: Access to after-party)
Tickets also available for purchase @ Play De Record (357 Yonge Street)

The Wonder Year - Trailer from LRG on Vimeo.

Tiken Jah, Meta, Los Rakas - Central Park Summerstage August 20 2011

Central Park Summerstage on August 20, 2011
Los Rakas, Meta and the Cornerstones & Tiken Jah Fakoly

It was a whirlwind trip, but I couldn't resist checking out Central Park Summerstage last Saturday - along with a big crowd with a big West African presence.

I'd never heard of Los Rakas before, but their infectious Latin hip hop with an occasional reggae flavour had me hooked. They're based in Oakland, California with members from Panama and the U.S.


Meta is from Senegal, the Cornerstones hail from all over, and his sunny style of reggae was perfect for a hot, hot afternoon in the sun. They've played before thousands in Paris and seem like they're on the way up. He's only been in New York City for a few years but is obviously making his mark.

I caught Tiken Jah Fakoly in Toronto in March and welcomed the chance to see him again on a bigger stage outdoors. He gave a generous hour and a half performance peppered with his typically insightful/inciteful political observations on the inherent unfairness of the visa systems employed by developed nations and the liberating revolution of education that Africa needs - among others.

The band is big and fantastic, with an especially impressive kora player adding that West African touch to his reggae tunes. Add a big crowd who loved him and all in all, it adds up to a great, full afternoon of music and sweaty dancing in the sun.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Classical Piano: Taka Kigawa at (le) poisson rouge NYC August 22

From a release:

Taka Kigawa at (le) poisson rouge
August 22, 2011 - New York City

Critically acclaimed pianist Taka Kigawa has earned outstanding international recognition as a recitalist, soloist, and chamber music artist since winning First Prize in the prestigious 1990 Japan Music Foundation Piano Competition in Tokyo, and the Diploma Prize at the 1990 Concurs Internacional Maria Canals De Barcelona in Spain.

He's earned such accolades from The New York Times as “Mr. Kigawa’s feat deserves the highest praise, especially since it was combined with such alacrity and sensitivity to the musical material ... brilliantly done … a careful and serious-minded musician, quietly poetic and considerate” and from The New Yorker “Unbelievably challenging program. Kigawa is a young artist of stature.”

Taka Kigawa, piano
with the music of Stockhausen, Saariaho, and Boulez
Mon., August 22, 2011
All Ages
Doors Open: 6:30 PM
Show Time: 7:30 PM

This is a first-come, first-served partially seated event. Seating is limited and not guaranteed; please arrive early.

Photo: Kenji Mori

Drama and Debauchery: the Canadian Opera Company's Rigoletto Sept 29 to Oct 22

From a media release:

drama and debauchery wrapped in a musical masterpiece with coc’s rigoletto
at the Four Seasons Centre, Toronto
September 29 to October 22, 2011

– A tragedy of Shakespearean dimensions is brought to life by some of opera’s most passionate and memorable music in the COC’s fall production of Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi.  The story of the tragic jester, Rigoletto, who vows to avenge his cruelly seduced daughter but ends up losing everything he loves, comes alive in a new production by the innovative team of COC Music Director Johannes Debus, American director Christopher Alden and award-winning Canadian designer Michael Levine. 

Sung in Italian with English SURTITLES™, Rigoletto runs for 12 performances at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts on Sept. 29, 30 and Oct. 2, 5, 8, 13, 14, 16, 17, 18, 20, 22, 2011.
Coming together to perform Verdi’s perennial favourite are up-and-coming opera stars as well as established voices from the operatic world.  Hawaiian baritone Quinn Kelsey’s stage presence and fluid voice has been turning heads in North America and Europe since he graduated from Chicago Lyric Opera’s prestigious young artist program in 2006, and he makes his COC debut as Rigoletto.  Kelsey shares the role with notable Verdi baritone Lester Lynch (2001’s Billy Budd), whose commanding, rich and nuanced voice has made him a regular presence in the major opera houses of the U.S.

Young Russian soprano Ekaterina Sadovnikova makes her COC debut as Rigoletto’s doomed daughter Gilda, a role she recently sang in an impressive debut at Royal Opera House Covent Garden.  Sadovnikova shares the role of Gilda with COC Ensemble soprano Simone Osborne, a rising Canadian star who charmed audiences last winter with her Pamina in the COC’s The Magic Flute and has been called “a joy to hear” by the LA Times.  This production of Rigoletto marks Osborne’s debut in the role of Gilda.

Sharing the role of the dashing but debauched Duke of Mantua are two of the most exciting and promising young artists on the horizon today: American tenor Dimitri Pittas, “an appealing, rising young singer of unaffected charm” (New York Observer) compared in look and sound to a young Plácido Domingo; and Mexican tenor David Lomelí, a first-prize winner of Domingo’s world opera competition Operalia who has been described as “mesmerizing” (Wall Street Journal) and “delightful” (New York Times).

Canadian bass Phillip Ens (2010’s Aida) returns as the suavely sinister assassin Sparafucile.  Young American mezzo-soprano Kendall Gladen, who is quickly earning a reputation as an important young artist and has been heard throughout the U.S., makes her company debut as Sparafucile’s sister Maddalena.  Canadian mezzo-soprano Megan Latham (2011’s Nixon in China) is Gilda’s nurse Giovanna; Canadian bass Robert Pomakov, who can also be heard in this fall’s Iphigenia in Tauris, is the wronged Count Monterone who curses Rigoletto; and tenor John Kriter, a COC favourite, is the courtier Borsa.

Rounding out the cast are COC Ensemble Studio alumnus bass Alain Coulombe (2010’s Aida) as Count Ceprano, new Ensemble soprano Mireille Asselin as Countess Ceprano and returning Ensemble members baritone Adrian Kramer as Marullo, bass-baritone Neil Craighead as an Usher and soprano Jacqueline Woodley as a Page.

COC Music Director Johannes Debus conducts Verdi’s musical masterpiece. Maestro Debus last delighted Toronto audiences when leading the COC Orchestra and Chorus in last season’s Aida and The Magic Flute.  He also performs as a guest conductor all over the world and returns to the opera company following an active summer schedule that included engagements at the Bayerische Staatsoper, the Staatsoper Berlin, the Spoleto Festival and Festival Opéra de Québec.

Director Christopher Alden, who staged the COC’s highly acclaimed production of The Flying Dutchman, once again brings his singular vision to this production.  Set in Verdi’s own time (Rigoletto was composed in 1851), Alden’s staging unfolds within the rich, ribald surroundings of a 19th-century gentleman’s club and brings to the fore an exploration of a patriarchal world in which powerful aristocratic men are given free rein.

Joining Alden in bringing this creation to life is award-winning Canadian designer Michael Levine, whose previous COC collaborations include some of the opera company’s most renowned and internationally acclaimed productions (Bluebeard’s Castle/Erwartung, Oedipus Rex and Symphony of Psalms, the Ring Cycle).  His Victorian-styled sets and costumes for Rigoletto promise to be as equally visually arresting.  Duane Schuler (2003’s The Italian Girl in Algiers) returns to design the lighting.

This Rigoletto is a new co-production by the COC with English National Opera, based on the 2000 Lyric Opera of Chicago production directed by Christopher Alden and designed by Michael Levine.  Rigoletto was last performed by the COC in 2004.

Single tickets for Rigoletto are $12 – $318 (includes applicable taxes) and go on sale Aug. 15, 2011.  Tickets are available online at coc.ca, by calling 416-363-8231, or in person at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts Box Office, located at 145 Queen St. W., Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

See the link for Standing Room, Young People, Opera for a New Age, Student Group Ticket & Rush Seat Discounts

From A-Z Films: Sarah's Key - Canadian Release Dates

From a media release:

A-Z FILMS presents
Directed by Gilles Paquet-Brenner
Starring: Kristin Scott Thomas, Aidan Quinn, Niels Arestrup

**Opening in Toronto at Cineplex Odeon Varsity and Cineplex Odeon Sheppard August 19**

(Toronto)  Following its critical acclaim at last year's Toronto International Film Festival, and a brand new edit, Sarah's Key, directed by Gilles Paquet-Brenner, will open in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver beginning  July 29. In the U.S., Weinstein Co., opened the film July 22.

Opening in Canada:
• July 29 - Montreal
• August 19 - Toronto
• August 19 - Ottawa
• August 26 - Vancouver

Based on Tatiana de Rosnay's book, Elle s'appelait Sarah (which spent many weeks on the New York Times best seller list and sold well over 2 million copies worldwide) it follows the story of an American journalist in Paris, Julia Jarmond (Kristin Scott Thomas) researching an article about the Vel' d'Hiv Roundup in 1942 in France. She stumbles across a story about a 10-year old Jewish girl named Sarah, who in 1942 was taken along with her parents by the French police who went door-to-door in the middle of the night arresting Jewish families.

Desperate to protect her younger brother, Sarah locks him in a bedroom cupboard - their secret hiding place - and promises to come back for him as soon as they are released. More than sixty years later, Julia stumbles on the terrible secret that the home Sarah's family was forced to leave is about to become her own. Julia comes across a trail of secrets that link her to Sarah and changes the way she sees the world.

Sarah's Key is directed by Gilles Paquet-Brenner. Written by Serge Joncour and Gilles Paquet-Brenner. The film also stars, Mélusine Mayance,  Frédéric Pierrot, Michel Duchaussoy, Dominique Frot, Gisèle Casadesus, and Natasha Mashkevich.

Country: France
Year: 2011
Language: French, English
Producer: Stéphane Marsil
Screenplay: Serge Joncour, Gilles Paquet-Brenner
Runtime: 102
Format: 35mm/DCP

East African Famine Benefit: Msaada at Lula Lounge Toronto August 25

From a media release:

Batuki Music Society presents:  MSAADA
A Fundraiser for East Africa Relief.
Lula Lounge, Toronto
August 25, 2011

Toronto - Batuki Music Society invites you to Msaada, the East Africa Relief concert to benefit the Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders Horn of Africa Crisis campaign taking place at the Lula Lounge on Thursday August 25th at 8 pm. Msaada means help in the Kiswahili language, widely spoken in East Africa.

The concert features a lineup of some of Toronto's popular African artists:  Henok Abebe, Kooshin, Faduma Nakruma, Daniel Nebiat, Donne Roberts, Kemer Yousef, Njacko Backo and Val, Sonia Aimy, Ijovudu Dance, Hussein Adani, Yared Tesfaye, DJ Apollo and more. Many of the musicians performing hail from the countries severely affected by the famine (Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya) and are joining hands with Batuki Music Society to raise funds and public awareness.

100% of proceeds of the Msaada concert to benefit the Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders Horn of Africa Crisis Campaign.
• All donations will be matched by the Government of Canada's East Africa Drought Relief Fund.

A wide swath of East Africa that includes Kenya and Ethiopia has been hit by years of drought, and regions of Somalia are suffering from the worst famine in 20 years, over 3 million people starving. Years of conflict in southern Somalia have exacerbated the emergency, preventing aid agencies from helping communities in the area. Thousands of Somalis have fled mainly to Kenya and Ethiopia, with many dying during the journey.

Your donations are valuable. We have a real opportunity to save lives through emergency relief efforts in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia. Our hope is that Canadians will learn more about this crisis and donate funds to help those in need. Every dollar counts.

Asante, shukran, thank you, merci.

Msaada East Africa Relief Benefit Concert
Lula Lounge, 1585 Dundas Street West
Doors open at 7 pm. Concert at 8 pm.
Tickets: Suggested donation $15 / PWYC
Information: info@batukimusic.com www.batukimusic.com www.msf.ca www.acdi-cida.gc.ca

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Masala! Mehndi! Masti! - South Asian Culture Fest at Harbourfront Toronto August 19 to 21

From a media release:

Masala! Mehndi! Masti!
South Asian Culture Fest at Harbourfront, Toronto
August 19 to 21, 2011

A three-day festival connecting the diverse elements of South Asian culture

TORONTO, ON  – Harbourfront Centre, along with its lead summer partner The Toronto Port Authority, presents Masala! Mehndi! Masti! created and co-produced by Satya Arts Association, Aug. 19-21.

The Masala! Mehndi! Masti! Festival, part of ‘Hot Spot Summer’ on downtown Toronto’s waterfront, is a celebration of incredibly diverse South Asian and South Asian-inspired culture. As a “Dor/Dhaga/Thread”, Masala! Mehndi! Masti! ties and binds diverse parts of the culture together, connecting and creating continuity, while not compromising the uniqueness of each part. It pulls and draws each element closer to the other or creates a link between them all. Sacred Threads abound in the day-to-day life of South Asians, and this festival weaves cultural threads that are just as powerful and important in many ways.

The film segment, MMMovies! features an exciting personality this year: the new face of Indian cinema and one of Bollywood’s 10 most desirable actors, Abhay Deol. His just-released film, “Zindagi Milegi Na Dobara (You Only Live Once)” has taken the planet by storm.

Winners of the reality TV show “India’s Got Talent”, the 17-member Shillong Chamber Choir from Meghalaya (a tiny north-eastern state of India) perform a repertoire of classical, jazz and musica sacra on the WestJet Stage. Sri Lanka’s biggest hip-hop stars, Bathiya and Santhush, fly in as festival closing headliners, and classical artist Snehasish Mozumder also performs with his double-necked mandolin, fusing gorgeous music with his unique voice. Part traditional and part contemporary, Bhanging by the Lake presents the best in Bhangra dance and music.

Dance takes over the Redpath Stage as some of the best choreographers come to Masala! Mehndi! Masti! to showcase the traditional and non-traditional dances of South Asia. Promising to excite the audience with fast-paced dance, Swar Sadhana is a group known for their traditional music; they present Dandiya Raas, inviting one and all to participate in this Gujarati community dance. GhuMMMo! is an hour-filled production of exceptional dance performances that highlights a range of dance techniques that include jazz, classical and ballet.

Actors take audiences on a journey through South Asian customs and culture in Sacrifice, by Nobel Prize winner Rabindranath Tagore, a tale about a king and queen in conflict with each other when religion dominates politics. Dirty Pakistani Lingerie has Pakistani-American women airing their dirty lingerie while trying to find their place among two very different cultures.

Little Girl Blue: Lady Dove at the New York Fringe Fest August 19 to 21

From a release:

Little Girl Blue: Dove Culture
Lady Dove at the New York Fringe Festival

at the Bowery Poetry Club, New York City
August 19 - 21, 2011
Part of the NY Fringe Festival

A Woman's Journey to Self-Love

Written and performed by Pheralyn Dove aka Lady Dove
Music composed and performed by bassist Warren Oree

A worker with words and an artist with a life-long passion for arts, entertainment, fashion and culture. Lady Dove also feels a passion for honoring our dearly departed from places close to the heart - my native Philadelphia, Haiti and New Orleans/Gulf Coast.

Journey to self-love. From the abyss to triumphant transformation. Laugh and cry as Philadelphia's Lady Dove portrays 17 characters in this raw, searing Black woman's urban odyssey. Bassist Warren Oree accompanies Lady Dove during performances.

Experience one woman's transformation from tragedy to triumph!

Friday August 19 @ 4:15pm;
Saturday, August 20 at 12noon & 7:30 pm,
Sunday, August 21 at 5:15 pm & 9:45 pm

Bowery Poetry Club
308 Bowery
New York NY 10003

1h 30m
• General Admission: $15
• Buy tickets online at www.fringenyc.org or half hour before curtain.
• Recommended for Mature audiences.

This production is presented as part of the 15th Annual New York International Fringe Festival, FringeNYC.

Mark Morris Dance Group at the Mostly Mozart Festival - August 18-20 in New York City

From a release:

Mark Morris Dance Group
August 18 - 20, 2011
Rose Theater at Lincoln Center, New York City

Part of the Mostly Mozart Festival

Mark Morris returns to MMF with the NY premiere of Renard paired with Socrates and the exceptional new Festival Dance in a program unusually broad in its musical and stylistic scope.

Renard, with sets by Illustrator Maira Kalman, is Morris' most recent work and these performances will be its New York Premiere. With scenic design by illustrator Maira Kalman and set to Stravinsky's short opera of the same name, it had its world premiere recently at the Tanglewood Music Fesitval, where MMDG has performed since 2004 and remains the only dance company to ever be invited to that music festival.

Festival Dance, Morris' 150th work in his professional career and created for the company's 30th anniversary performances at the Mark Morris Dance Center in March, was called "Simply exhilarating" by The New York Times. Morris finds inspiration aplenty for his inimitable reworking of Middle European folk dancing into full-bodied modern-dance theater. (Wall Street Journal)

Renard NEW YORK PREMIERE (Music: Stravinsky)
Festival Dance (Music: Hummel - Piano Trio # 5)
Socrates (Music: Satie)
In a Mostly Mozart first, the company will be accompanied by the MMDG Music Ensemble.

Program subject to change without notice.

LIMITED AVAILABILITY (Tickets start at $40)

Mark Morris Dance Group
7:30pm - August 18 - 20, 2011
Rose Theater at Lincoln Center
Broadway at 60th Street New York, NY
Part of the Mostly Mozart Festival

Arts for Peace Salon at (le) poisson rouge NYC August 19 2011

From a release:

Arts for Peace Salon
with Jourdan Urbach , The Phantoms and Sima Cunningham
at (le) poisson rouge, New York City
Fri., August 19, 2011

An evening of music, art, and conversation.

Jourdan Urbach

Concert Violinist and recording artist trained at Juilliard and Yale University; headline performer to sold-out houses at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and Jazz at Lincoln Center; featured on Steve Martin’s Grammy winning album, The Crow; Composer of Elah & The Moon (Tribeca and Cannes Film Festivals, 2009/2010); profiled extensively in the press (NY Times, NY Post, US News, Daily News, Forbes, Newsday) and featured on CBS Sunday Morning, Good Morning America, The Today Show, and MTV for his music and philanthropic work; founder of 2 international philanthropic organizations: Children Helping Children and International Coalition of College Philanthropists, Jourdan has raised $4.7 million for medical causes; winner of the 2010 World of Children Nobel Prize for Global Child Advocacy.

Jourdan Urbach performs and composes in his original musical style that brilliantly fuses the classical, jazz blues, theatrical and contemporary genres. Critics call him a “Young Paganini with laser sharp technique,” and Yale Daily News hails this virtuostic “polystylist and polymath…whose music embodies the spirit of the modern musical Renaissance man.” Host Robert Sherman of WQXR’s Young Artist Showcase called Urbach “the one to watch for the future…a brilliant performer.”

The Phantoms
Arts for Peace 2011 Emerging Artists of the year, The Phantoms were formed in the wake of the earthquake in Haiti as the brainchild of Haitian/American artist Jordan Lorrius. A recent collaboration with Serbian band Darkwood Dub and Croatian singer Ida Prestor has led to a music video organized by Thomas G. Ehr of MTV in the countries of former Yugoslavia of “Listen”, a song in response to the events in Haiti which is now bringing a message of hope to a new generation of Serbians and Croatians. The Phantoms have performed at venues as varied as: UNHQ, Yale, The Provenance Center, a former Gestapo prison in Frankfurt, and a concert sponsored by MTV Adria in Belgrade. At our inaugural Salon, Thomas G. Ehr, General Manager, MTV Adria and Chairperson, MTV EXIT Foundation introduced the Phantoms and spoke about their remarkable work in Serbia and in response to the tragedies in Haiti.

Sima Cunningham
Sima Cunningham is a Chicago-based singer, songwriter and musician. She is currently studying music and cultural diplomacy at New York University. Sima recorded her first album, Squeeze, at age 15 with one of Chicago’s leading independent rock producers, Brian Deck. A year later, she and others formed the rock-n-roll group The Audians and recorded Aliens and Friends. www.theaudians.com.

Sima plays guitar and piano and is a classically trained singer with roots in many musical genres–from blues to rock to country to South African protest. The Chicago Sun-Times recognized her as one of three “Women to Watch Under 30”. Music critic Jim Derogatis heralded her as “an incredibly powerful and self-assured performer, with a smoky, sexy voice.”

Sima has performed at many of Chicago’s premier music venues, including The Hideout, Pritzger Pavilion at Millennium Park, Cabaret Metro and Sub-T. As a member of the New York music scene, she has performed solo at music clubs such as Sidewalk Cafe and The Lovin’ Cup.

Video Notes:
“Elah”: Score composed by Jourdan Urbach; screened at Tribeca (2009)and Cannes Film Festivals (2010)
“Feeling Good”: Excerpt from arrangement by Jourdan Urbach

Arts for Peace Salon
with Jourdan Urbach , The Phantoms and Sima Cunningham
Fri., August 19, 2011 / 6:00 PM
(le) poisson rouge | 158 Bleecker Street | 212.505.FISH | info@lprnyc.com

This is a general admission event. Seating is limited and available on a first come, first seated basis. There is a two item minimum per person at all tables. Standing room is also available. We recommend arriving early.

Stella Chiweshe - the Queen of the Mbira - Plays Toronto's Lula Lounge August 21

From a media release:

Batuki Music Society presents
the ‘Queen of Mbira’ Ambuya Stella Chiweshe and the Chivanhu Band
Sunday August 21st 2011 at Lula Lounge

The remarkable Stella Rambisai Chiweshe, known worldwide as the ‘Queen of Mbira’ is an acclaimed virtuoso of the mbira, a sacred instrument central to Zimbabwean Shona culture. The original mbira consists of 22 metal keys but nowadays mbira players have added a few more to 28 keys fixed on a small wooden board made from a special healing tree.

Originally, for resonance the instrument was wedged with a stick from a special mind cleansing tree. The keys are played with the right forefinger and the two thumbs. Chiweshe is one of the few musicians in Zimbabwe and Southern Africa who have worked for over 35 years in the role of mbira musician, dancer, instructor, and traditional spiritual advisor.

Born in Mujumhi, a village in Mhondoro Zimbabwe, the woman now known by her people as ‘Ambuya Chinyakare’ (Grandmother of Traditional Music) began drumming at the age of eight and attended her first mbira ceremony at 16 years old. When Zimbabwe was still a British colony (Rhodesia), Chiweshe played at forbidden ceremonies before returning to her job as a young maid. The colonial government banned the instrument fearing its magical powers, and playing mbira was punishable with prison. At the time, local missionaries called mbira music “Satan’s work”. Even her own people told her that it was taboo, an instrument that a woman could never play. Yet by the mid-sixties, she had become recognized as a gifted maridzambira (mbira player), playing at healing ceremonies, funerals, concerts and important parties and her debut single, ‘Kasahwa’, had gone gold.

After independence she was asked to join the National Dance Company of Zimbabwe, where she took the role of a leading mbira soloist, dancer and actress and toured throughout Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Australia, China, India, Korea and Europe. She left the National Dance Company in 1985 when requests for her to play solo had expanded.

Her solo work has established her as one of the most original artists in the contemporary African scene using popular music to show the depth and power of her traditional spiritual music at home and abroad. Chiweshe has accumulated an extensive discography of 22 singles and 7 international albums. Regular European and North American touring, plus notable appearances at Womad festivals have helped to keep her long career as a performer, educator and healer alive and vibrant.

Stella Chiweshe will be backed by her Toronto-based Chivanhu Band consisting of; Mutamba Rainos on mbira, Pasipamire Gunguwo on marimba, Tichaona Maredza on marimba and guitar, Tichaona Gombiro on bass guitar, and Gordin Mapika on drums.

Stella Rambisai Chiweshe and the Chivanhu Band
Sunday August 21, 2011
Lula Lounge, 1585 Dundas St. West, Toronto
Doors at 8 pm. Show at 8:30 pm.
• Tickets: $15 at the door
• Information: info@batukimusic.com www.batukimusic.com

Batuki Music Society gratefully acknowledges the support of the Ontario Arts Council.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Air Canada's enRoute Film Festival 2011 - Jury Announced

From a media release:

Celebrating its fifth anniversary, Air Canada’s enRoute Film Festival announces 2011 jury
Canadian short films showcased in-flight

Toronto, ON – Air Canada’s enRoute Film Festival announced it is showcasing emerging Canadian short film talent on Air Canada flights around the world until Wednesday, November 30. All 21 selected shorts will compete to win the prize for Best Short Film, Achievement in Direction, Achievement in Cinematography, and Achievement in Animation.

Millions of Air Canada passengers around the world will be able to view the selected short films on their personal entertainment system with 8.9-inch wide digital in-seat monitors and touch-screen controls offering hours of audio and video on demand programming at every seat.

Once again, a star-studded jury will select the winners, who will each receive an all-inclusive trip for two to the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival in France courtesy of Air Canada. The grand prize winner will also receive $5,000 courtesy of presenting sponsor Cineplex.

This year’s jurors include:
• Atom Egoyan, director (Chloe)
• Don Carmody, producer (Chicago)
• Emmanuelle Chriqui, actor (Entourage)
• Molly Parker, actor (The Road)
• Jean-Marc Vallée, director (Young Victoria)

A FREE public screening of the top films will take place at Scotiabank Theatre (259 Richmond St. W., Toronto) in November, followed by an awards celebration at Neubacher Shor Gallery (5 Brock Ave.,Toronto).

• Atom Egoyan at the Third Golden Apricot Film Festival, February 11, 2007
• Emmanuelle Chriqui at TIFF 2008 by gdcgraphics

For news on the festival and film profiles, please visit www.enroutefilm.com. 

About Air Canada’s enRoute Magazine:
Air Canada’s enRoute Magazine is published by Spafax, one of the world’s leading custom publishers and providers of in-flight media, with offices in eight cities around the world. Spafax is a part of the specialist communications division of WPP.

2011 Gemini Awards: The NFB Dominates Digital Media Category

From a media release:

NFB receives special Gemini Award for digital media & dominates digital media category in upcoming Geminis

Montreal, August 2011 – The National Film Board of Canada is receiving new recognition for its achievement in the field of digital distribution, in the form of a Special Gemini Award for Outstanding Technical Achievement in Digital Media, which will be presented to the NFB by the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television on August 30, 2011.

In addition to this special recognition, NFB productions and co-productions are nominated in five categories, and the public producer dominates the category of Best Original Program or Series produced for Digital Media – Non-Fiction, receiving six out of six nominations.

About the NFB
Canada’s public film producer and distributor, the National Film Board of Canada creates social-issue documentaries, auteur animation, alternative drama and digital content that provide the world with a unique Canadian perspective. Since the NFB’s founding in 1939, it has created over 13,000 productions and won over 5,000 awards, including 12 Oscars and more than 90 Genies.

Honens International Piano Competition Adds Five CDs to its Catalogue

From a media release:

CD Releases and Launch of Honens Sessions Live digital series
by Canada's Honens International Piano Competition

The competition takes place October 17 to 26, 2012 in Calgary, Alberta

CALGARY, AB, August 2011 - Canada's Honens International Piano Competition has added four discs to its catalogue of studio Laureate recordings - the Honens Laureate Series -  and has introduced a new live-performance digital series named Honens Sessions Live.

The release of these recordings coincided with the birthday of Andrew Raeburn, Artistic Director of Honens International Piano Competition from 1993 to 2004. Raeburn passed away last summer at age 77. Minsoo Sohn's Goldberg Variations was the last recording Raeburn produced after a long career as musician, arts administrator and record producer. Sohn's disc is dedicated to him.

With Sohn's CD, Honens and The Banff Centre expand their commitment to past Laureates of the Honens Competition by recording and releasing their projects beyond the three-year Artistic & Career Development Program.

Honens Laureate Series recordings are available in CD format from honens.com and for digital download from all major online music retailers. All recordings, made at Canada's Banff Centre, were made possible through the Honens Competition's Artistic & Career Development Program with support and guidance from The Banff Centre's Music & Sound Program.

Honens Laureate Series Releases

Minsoo Sohn
2006 First Laureate
J.S. BACH - Goldberg Variations, BWV 988

Listen to some of it here

Georgy Tchaidze
2009 First Laureate
Sonata in A major, D. 664
Drei Klavierstïcke, D. 946
Fantasy in C major, D. 760, 'Wanderer'
Allegretto in C minor, D. 915
(pictured right)

Evgeny Starodubtsev
2009 Laureate

SZYMANOWSKI - Masques, Op. 34
HINDEMITH - Suite (1922), Op. 26
SCHOENBERG - Klavierstücke, Op. 23
STRAVINSKY - Sonata (1924)
(pictured below)

Gilles Vonsattel
2009 Laureate

RAVEL - Sonatine
DEBUSSY - Images Séries I & II
HOLLIGER - Elis: Drei Nachtstücke
HONEGGER - Hommage à  Ravel
RAVEL - Gaspard de la nuit

The new Honens Sessions Live series features live solo and collaborative recordings by Honens Laureates. These recordings are available for digital download only. The first in the series, by Trio élan, features Gilles Vonsattel, Laureate of the 2009 Honens Competition, and the music of Beethoven, Brahms and Ravel.

honens sessions live release

Trio élan 
BEETHOVEN - Piano Trio in E-flat major, WoO 38
BRAHMS - Piano Trio No. 3 in C minor, Op. 101
RAVEL - Piano Trio in A minor
(Gilles Vonsattel pictured right)

These new Honens-label releases are available for free-listening at honens.com until September 30, 2011.

NB - Gilles Vonsattel is performing as part of the Bard Music Festival in Annandale on the Hudson on August 14!