Monday, May 28, 2012

Gotham Dance Festival May 30 - June 10, 2012

From a release:

Gotham Dance Festival
May 30 - June 10, 2012

The Festival returns for two weeks with programs featuring cutting-edge artists, world premieres, and Joyce debuts. Week One begins with Brian Brooks Moving Company in the premiere of BIG CITY, a work that examines the concept of rebuilding after a destructive event. The week also highlights choreographer Jodie Gates, who will set work on Ballet X and Colorado Ballet. Sharing the program with Gates will be Peter Quanz, whose Canadian-based company Q Dance/Quanz Danse will perform two works, including In Tandem, set to a score by Steve Reich.

Week Two opens with a special one-night celebration featuring multiple artists (see below) and continues with the Los Angeles-based BODYTRAFFIC performing a world premiere as well as Stijn Celis' Fragile Dwellings, with a light installation by Erwin Redl. The Festival concludes with Gallim Dance, under the direction of Andrea Miller, performing SIT, KNEEL, STAND, an evening-length world premiere that deconstructs the border between harmony and chaos.

One Night Celebration Program: Working Women
On Tuesday June 5th, Gotham Dance Festival celebrates the choreographic work of American women, in a special concert to benefit the programs of Arts Exchange. This program will include new works and audience favorites. Scheduled to perform are: BalletX performing the work of Jodie Gates (duet from Delicate Balance), Jane Comfort & Company (excerpt from Beauty), Loni Landon (world premiere of don't forget to go home), Camille A. Brown & Dancers (premiering an excerpt of Mr. Tol E. Rance), Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company (New York premiere of Keystone), Kate Weare Company (premiere of a new version of The Light Has Not The Arms to Carry Us). Pam Tanowitz Dance (premiere of Recorded forever in between the cracks with real passion), and a special encore presentation from Monica Bill Barnes & Company performing an excerpt from The Snow Globe Show.

Premium seating ($100 & $75) for Working Women includes center orchestra seats and a special post show reception with the artists.
Call 212-928-6517 or visit
Regular tickets start at $10

performance schedule
• Brian Brooks Moving Company: May 30 7:30pm; May 31 8pm; Jun 1 8pm
• Jodie Gates and Peter Quanz: Jun 2 8pm; Jun 3 2pm
• One Night Celebration: Jun 5 7:30pm
• BODYTRAFFIC: Jun 6 7:30pm; Jun 7 8pm
• Gallim Dance: Jun 8 8pm; Jun 9 8pm; Jun 10 2pm

Tickets start at $10!
(Call JoyceCharge at 212-242-0800 for $10 tickets. All other tickets can be purchased online.)

CD Release: Jazzanova's Funkhaus Studio Sessions

From a media release:


Jazzanova takes it to the next stage: The Funkhaus Studio Sessions

Jazzanova producers, Stefan Leisering & Axel Reinemer, went into the studio with their 7 piece live band with Paul Randolph on vocals to record a 14 track set.

Whoever had the chance to see Jazzanova play live during the last three years knows how magical this experience can be. The Berlin based outfit transports the richness and sublimity of their productions (own compositions and remixes) perfectly on stage. And it adds this extra twist to the performance which makes the music even more tangible and human. In last November the 2 producers of Jazzanova, Stefan Leisering & Axel Reinemer & the original Jazzanova touring band (see below for full line up) brought the spirit of their extensive worldwide tour to the studio to record a typical live set – this time with proper recording gear and state-of-art engineering equipment though.

The “Funkhaus Studio Sessions” marks Jazzanova’s first live album release, including the songs the band learned to love the most on tour over the last three years as well as the audience’s favourites from their initial breakthrough smash “Fedime’s Flight” to “Look What You’re Doin To Me” off the “Of All The Things” album from 2008 and renditions and interpretations of Jazzanova remixes (f.e. the remix for Fat Freddy’s Drop’s “Flashback“). The 14 track strong set also includes a brand new tune with “I Human,” co-written by vocalist and bass player Paul Randolph, a constant member of the live band and now of course the voice of the “Funkaus Studio Sessions.” An album that will please every Jazzanova fan and every true music lover with an affinity for warm, soulful, deep and genuine musicianship. When have you last heard a studio album so alive, fleshly, organic and solid at the same time? It captures the feel of a live recording but without any flaws due to poor recording equipment or sound aesthetics.

The sessions at the legendary GDR Rundfunk Orchestra studios in East Berlin have also been filmed. Check out the accompanying video to “I Human” for some of its footage. With “Funkhaus Studio Sessions” Jazzanova will take you and their music to the next stage.

The musicians involved in this recording: Paul Randolph (Vocals), Arne Jansen (Guitar), Carl Michael Grabinger (Drums), Sebastian Studnitzky (Keys), Sebastian Borkowski (Sax/Flute), Stefan Ulrich (Trombone), Paul Kleber (Bass), Axel Reinemer (Electronics / Percussion), Stefan Leisering (Congas, Synths, Ampli-Celeste).

Instrumental Jazz Release: Wadada Leo Smith's Ten Freedom Summers

From a media release:

Trumpeter/composer/visionary Wadada Leo Smith's civil rights opus Ten Freedom Summers
This 4-CD set of 19 pieces was released May 22, 2012 on Cuneiform.

Recorded shortly after the music's October 2011 world premiere in Los Angeles this project features one of Smith's most significant working groups, The Golden Quintet with the composer on trumpet, pianist Anthony Davis, bassist John Lindberg, and drummers Susie Ibarra and Pheeroan akLaff, as well as the nine-member, Los Angeles-based contemporary classical group, Southwest Chamber Music, under the direction of Grammy-winning conductor Jeff von der Schmidt.  It documents a stunning accomplishment by a musical giant in the midst of an astonishing creative surge.

Triumphant and mournful, visceral and philosophical, searching, scathing and relentlessly humane, Smith's music embraces the civil rights era's milestones while celebrating its heroes and martyrs. Blending improvised and notated music in a synthesis of European classical, African American, and creative music practices, the music speaks in a singular, clear and powerful voice unlike any in contemporary music.

As Larry Blumenfeld wrote in the Wall Street Journal after attending the premiere: "Ten Years in Three Nights: A Decade's Triumph" Ten Freedom Summers was as striking a display of his expansive vision and his vitality. He still plays trumpet as he always has: with little vibrato and a tone that can be either boldly declarative or soft to the point of breakingŠ Mr. Smith had made his own statement through instrumental music. And it sounded complete."

Written over that past 34 years, each of the 19 compositions addresses a different facet of the Civil Rights movement of 1954-1964. The music honors heroes and events in a transformative period of political and cultural liberation, a period that not only shaped all aspects of Smith's life and art, but all of America as well.

"I've always thought about the meaning of my music, how I would like for it to find its meaning in society" Smith says. "So, when I began my research for Ten Freedom Summers and began to write the music, I experienced a deep sense of how much I personally had been touched by these people and events - they had shaped my life as a young man growing up in Mississippi. Knowing that their stories were also my story, it was easier to carry that cultural element into my composing."

Smith, now 70, vividly remembers how the murder of Emmett Till, who was the same age as Smith, affected everyday life for African Americans. "The psychological fears that many African Americans felt when 14-year old Emmett Till was brutally murdered and many activists were killed changed the way we moved through the street," he remembers. "Everyone watched out for the children, young men, and women; and from houses one could see people looking out from their windows making sure that nothing happened to you."

The Script Tease Project Continues to June 3 in Toronto

From a media release:

May 28 - June 3, 2012


TORONTO, ON – Following the huge success of the inaugural Script-Tease Project in 2011, three-time Canadian Comedy Award-winning improv theatre company The National Theatre of the World, are thrilled to announce The Script Tease Project 2012.

The 2012 participating playwrights are: Maja Ardal, Ins Choi, Sky Gilbert, Michael Healey, Karen Hines, Lee MacDougall, John Murrell, Adam Pettle, Anusree Roy, and Scott Thompson.  The show will run for a week opening Monday, May 28th through Sunday June 3rd, at Theatre Passe Muraille.

Continuing to push the boundaries of what theatre and improvisation can be, notorious crowd pleasers Matt Baram, Naomi Snieckus, and Ron Pederson have invited renowned playwrights from Canada and beyond to pen the first two pages of a new play (just a tease) and seal them in an envelope.  Each night the improvisers will open one up, read the two pages, and then improvise the rest of the show before your very eyes.  Ten shows, ten playwrights, ten unbelievable high wire acts of improvisational daring from The National Theatre of the World.

“The reception for this show last year was unbelievable,” says National Theatre of the World co-founder Naomi Snieckus.  “As improvisers, this is our chance to collaborate with our theatre idols and they only have to write two pages.  It’s a playwright’s dream and an actor’s nightmare in a way!  It is the ultimate test for us to be able to complete the plays in a way that is entertaining, relevant, and maintains the writers voice.”

In only four short years the company has given birth to the award-winning Impromptu Splendor, and the award-winning Carnegie Hall Show, a weekly meta-variety show that satirizes the gala retrospective and then riffs on the old time radio play.

In 2010 The National Theatre of the World also launched the SummerWorks Theatre Festival hit Fiasco Playhouse, a theatrical mash up of improv, music, dance, and visual art. They also hosted one of the biggest block parties Toronto has ever seen, the launch of the Toronto International Film Festival’s Bell Lightbox.   The last two years have seen them tour across Europe (Amsterdam, Berlin, London), Canada, and the US including their first run in New York City.  This year The Carnegie Hall Show moved into a new home, The Second City Theatre, and has been playing there the first Friday of every month to record audiences.

10 shows, 10 playwrights, 10 unbelievable high wire acts of improvisational daring from The National Theatre of the World.

Images by May Truong

The National Theatre of the World presents
Created by and starring Matt Baram, Ron Pederson and Naomi Snieckus

Opening Night: Monday, May 28th, 8pm – Maja Ardal
Tuesday – Sunday at 8pm, Friday at 7pm & 9pm, Saturday 10pm, Sunday 2pm

Tickets are $20, Student tickets $15
Tickets can be purchased at the Theatre Passe Murraille box-office,
By phone at 416-504-7529 or online at

Feminist Ladino Rock: Sarah Aroeste's Gracia - CD Release May 31 in NYC

From a media release:

Mysterious Hybrid: Sarah Aroeste Unleashes Ladino’s Sensuous Feminist Power in Original Songs on Gracia
CD Release Party May 31, 2012 at Joe's Pub, New York City

That’s right: Feminist rock in Ladino. The Judeo-Spanish language born in the Middle Ages is the perfect vehicle for articulating an utterly contemporary sensuality, defiance, wisdom, and love. It’s a living language,  lively tradition heard in a generation of new voices from New York to Jerusalem.

One voice leads them: American-born Ladino singer and songwriter Sarah Aroeste, who has spent a decade expanding the possibilities of contemporary Ladino song. The classically trained, pop-savvy vocalist channels generations of poets and wild women in a slow-burning, passionately produced original works on Gracia (Aroeste Music; May 22, 2012). Backed by flickers of flamenco and gorgeous pan-Mediterranean melodies, by lush strings and purring guitars, Aroeste’s airy, potent voice and intense engagement with her lyrics invigorate age-old wedding songs, hot love ballads, and tributes to history’s unsung heroines.

“It doesn’t matter that 99.99% of the world doesn’t understand Ladino,” Aroeste explains. “The themes are universal, the same themes people explore today: going off to war, unrequited love, crushes, death, family dynamics. The music has crossed geographic boundaries and political ones, and the songs are often very celebratory of women--and very sexy.”

“Too often, Ladino singers sing without really understanding the lyrics,” Aroeste reflects. “They sing the music because of its undeniable value as a tradition we all want to preserve. But I think if more people took the time to really examine and dig into the lyrics, they might see a different, more complex and intellectual side of the music. That’s why our treatment of the songs on Gracia is extremely detailed, finely crafted, and layered: Each one really tells a complex story.”

In original songs, Aroeste tells the neglected story of Dona Gracia Naci, a 15th-century Spanish answer to Harriet Tubman, who boldly saved Jewish families from the Inquisition (“Gracia”), who epitomizes the strength and courage of our foremothers. “It’s a Ladino feminist anthem of sorts,” smiles Aroeste, whose poetic tribute to Gracia is framed by a stirring sample of Gloria Steinem.

Using a traditional ballad as a springboard for her own poetry, Aroeste reimagines the wanderings of her Sephardic ancestors—and her own journey to discover her roots—through the eyes of the traditional figure of the morena, the dark-eyed nomad girl, traveling for centuries and drained of her beauty by a harsh world in “Chika Morena.”

Aroeste has a true passion for telling these stories, for the wry wit, pithy idioms, and poetic force of Ladino lyrics. Her own tale winds through family history, lost and joyously found. Aroeste grew up in New Jersey, but understood early that there was something a bit different about her heritage. “I remember visiting my great uncles and grandparents in Florida when I was five or so,” Aroeste recalls. “I was sitting in the front seat of one of their cars and playing around with the preset radio buttons. They were all set to Spanish language stations. I didn’t understand it completely at the time, but I carried that with me, that we had a unique tradition.”

This tradition was part of a longer legacy, the culture of Spanish Jews (like the beautiful 11th-century poetry Aroeste brings to life in “El Leon Ferido”). Subsequently forced from Spain in the late 15th century, they scattered across Southeastern Europe and the Mediterranean. Though their language, customs, and music retained an Iberian core, they continued to develop under the influence of the many tongues and cultures surrounding the tight-knit families and communities. The result is a strikingly rich, multifaceted world of words and sounds.

Film News: Syndicado Acquires Kafka's Last Story

From a media release:

Strange but true
Syndicado acquires Kafka’s Last Story at
Toronto Jewish Film Festival
from Ruth Diskin Films

Even after his death, Franz Kafka’s fate was Kafka-esque. Despite the author’s wish that his remaining unpublished works be burned post-mortem, they survive today after mouldering in a recluse’s apartment in Tel Aviv and a lengthy lawsuit.

But cloudy history has revealed a silver lining for documentarian Sagi Bornstein and distributor Syndicado, who closed a deal to acquire his film, Kafka’s Last Story, at the Toronto Jewish Film Festival.

Not merely one of the most resonant writers of the 20th Century, Kafka was an icon embraced for the Jewish identity perceived in his works.  Syndicado’s Greg Rubidge jumped at the chance to acquire Kafka’s Last Story during its Canadian premiere of the Festival, and signed the deal with distributor Ruth Diskin Films.

"After a number of titles acquired from Ruth Diskin Films over the last few months, I was delighted to add Kafka's Last Story while it screened at the TJFF,” says Rubidge. “Ruth has a distinct and poignant collection of films, including Kafka’s Last Story a compelling doc that follows the mystery of this writer’s legacy, where now historic claims to his “lost” work, after 80 years, can be put to rest, knowing the truth.”

“We were delighted to have the film screen at the Toronto Jewish Film Festival and even happier to add to the film's success by partnering with Syndicado to exploit all the new opportunities available  on digital platforms," says Ruth Diskin. "We've always enjoyed a strong festival presence in North America but we've not had as many options available to reach key audiences as we do now."

TJFF screened Kafka’s Last Story in May 2012 to a sold-out crowd, where the director Bornstein was in attendance and participated in a post-show Q+A.

About Syndicado
Syndicado is a leading digital aggregator and distribution company with a focus on documentaries, independent film and factual TV series. Working in partnership with traditional film and TV distributors, Syndicado has led in the industry in its breadth of distribution channels across the Internet's leading video on demand (VOD) platforms.

CD Release: Chicha Libre's Canabalismo (Barbes Records)

From a media release:

CD Release: Chicha Libre, Canibalismo (May 8, 2012 - Barbès Records)
Soundeater: Chicha Libre Devours Tropical Sounds, Backroom Beats, and Analog Funk on Canibalismo

“Only Cannibalism unites us. Socially. Economically. Philosophically. The unique law of the world.”—Brazilian poet Oswald de Andrade

It’s no joke: A Venezuelan, Mexican, two Americans, and two French guys walk into a bar. A bar that had been transformed into a control booth, while the backroom turned into a recording studio, with coils of effects pedal lines, quirky vintage electronics and homegrown synthesizers, a nylon-stringed cuatro, congas and a battery of timbales. Chicha Libre had taken over the storied Brooklyn music hub, Barbès (turning ten this year), where the regulars hail from all over the map and have gobbled up everything from Pet Sounds to Os Mutantes, from Willie Colon to Serge Gainsbourg.

From gritty backwaters and backrooms, from retro equipment and deceptive nostalgia, the multinational outfit (featuring members of Si Sé and Combustible Edison) returns with Canibalismo (Barbès Records/Crammed Discs; U.S. release: May 8, 2012), an expression of the edgy craving that is fueling a pop rethink around South America and causing a stir in the rock-tired indie scene.

The album of originals, while tackling obscure mathematics and psychedelic inventors, took its cues from Peruvian chicha, a style that put surf guitar, rainforest psychedelics, and Andean flavor to a cumbia beat with open-minded exuberance. Chicha Libre has learned from and teamed up with the unsung mad geniuses of the music—such as Ranil and Los Shapis, who were featured on Roots of Chicha — then taken it as a springboard to join the international stream of tropical experimenters from Colombia to Argentina.

Like the legends of 60s and 70s rock sucked up and radically transformed the blues and jazz, today’s tropicalists are reshaping cumbia’s sound to suit their own unabashed, unconventional tastes. For Chicha Libre, this means vintage rock sounds rumble past irrepressible bursts of percussion, the Valkyries cavort to mellotrons, pan-Latin beats merge with curious lyrics, and the occasional passerby joins in with Guinean guitar or pedal steel riffs.

“Young Latin bands today, like chicha’s stars and like early rock innovators, cannibalize everything around them. They aren’t slaves to codes—the codes haven’t been created yet,” reflects Chicha Libre instigator and cuatro player Olivier Conan. “We’re part of a worldwide movement of people who have that kind of freedom. We don’t just play chicha . We can do whatever we want and absorb anything we like. We’re cannibals.”

Chicha Libre will bring this pop wave to cities across the planet on a worldwide tour that includes stops in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Buenos Aires, Santiago, Bogota, Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, and Moscow.

“We are not making music from a distant place,” Conan insists. “We’re playing our own music, as much as the Beatles were playing their own music. We’re just using a different framework”

Photo Credits:
• Txuca
• Gon de Fazio

Saturday, May 26, 2012

People of Colour: "The Other France" Film Screenings June 1-3 in New York City

From a media release:

A Film Series about "the Other France"

Fri, June 1 to Sun, June 3, 2012
Teachers College, Columbia University
525 West 120th Street
 Tel: 212-864-1760

Today's France is a multiracial and multicultural space. It is a melting pot where African and Caribbean people and their descendants have lived for centuries - whether they arrived as immigrants or were born in colonies of the French Empire.

The "FRENCH CONNECTION" film series features a selection of films that explore stories of people of color in France. Join us to (re)discover this diverse selection of films presented in ADIFF over the last few years as well as films never shown in ADIFF or in the USA before.
FRIDAY, JUNE 1 @ 6PM    
Frantz Fanon, was a psychiatrist, originally from Martinique, who became a spokesman for the Algerian revolution against French colonialism. FREE SCREENING.
FRIDAY, JUNE 1 @ 7:30PM    
A portrait of one of Africa's greatest actor, musician and modern griot who built his life and career in Paris.
This thriller follows a sixty five years old Algerian Muslin living in France who, after inadvertently witnessing a murder, closely escapes from the murderers by hiding out into a mosque.   

SATURDAY, JUNE 2 @ 6:30PM      
Set in France in 1961-1962 during the Algerian War, the film focuses on an Algerian immigrant's relationship with his wife which deteriorates as she joins with other immigrants in a political movement to resist French oppression while he increasingly begins to identify with French attitudes and lifestyles.
SATURDAY, JUNE 2 @ 8:30PM    
A revealing documentary about one of the most famous and popular performing artists of the 20th century who found fame in Paris, during the mid-1920s.  
French-Algerian filmmaker Yamina Benguigui is hoping to start a conversation about affirmative action - a policy that does not exist in France today.
The moving story of a father and daughter whose close-knit, tender relationship is disrupted by a handsome young suitor. By award-winning French director Claire Denis.

In Bloody Roots, Viviane, a Guadeloupian woman, about forty, lives alone in a project in a Paris suburb. She decides that her cardiac mother who stayed in Guadeloupe should
come live with her in France so she may take care of her.

In Return Back Home, Laurent, a young man from Guadeloupe, successful in his studies in Paris and with strong professional experience, decides to go back to his native country to be with his family, his friends and build a life. This film raises all sorts of questions about going back to one's place of birth... US PREMIERE

A Film Series about "The Other France"

WHEN: June 1 - 3, 2012

Teachers College, Columbia University
525 West 120th Street - Room 263 Macy
Train 1 to 116th Street
FREE PARKING on weekends
Photo ID required to enter the building

Ticket price:   
* Free on 6/1 @6PM
* $11, $9 for seniors and students per show on 6/1 @ 7:30PM, 6/2 and 6/3
* Day Pass: $20
* Weekend Pass: $30
Tel: (212) 864-1760

Buy $30 Weekend Pass or $20 Day Pass Online HERE

Buy tickets for a specific show HERE
DVDs of films from Africa and the African Diaspora will be on sale at the venue. $15 per DVD; $25 for 2 DVDs; $35 for three DVDs and $10 for each additional DVD. 

CD Release/Review: Sembeh Ma Fa Fe (June 5 2012 - Stronghold Sound)

With material from a media release:

CD Review
Sembeh Ma Fa Fe: Revisits Volume
Release June 5, 2012  - Stronghold Sound

There's a story behind the tracks of Sembeh Ma Fa Fe: Revisits Volume. Stronghold Sound, the innovative San Francisco based global beats label/collective, traveled directly to Conakry, Guinea to record. It's a big deal because it's quite difficult to get music from that nation from the usual channels, but with the West African nation undergoing its first democratic elections since independence in 1958 last year, the time is ripe for its rich musical heritage - past and present - to be shared with the rest of the world.

Dub Snakkr, one of the key djs/producers behind the Stronghold and a long time student of djembe culture, arrived in Conakry with a portable recording rig and a 7” record player. Setting up in his close friend’s hometown of Matoto, word soon spread that a ‘big-time US producer’ was in town and talent lined up to be involved… literally. Though Dub Snakkr was uncomfortable with his new reputation, he immediately began to record and work with local artists on their sound. Blending traditional West-African, reggae, dancehall, hip-hop as well as his own dub sensibilities, Snakkr (a.k.a. Ahmed Khouja) worked with nearly 20 artists to produce the eclectic and revealing body of Guinean music spanning from the roots of the Mandeng to revisits from the African diaspora. In addition, Raed Khazen and Jana Saleh from B-root Productions (Lebanon) assisted with final production and mixing.

Alpha Oumar ‘Bongo’ Sidibe, a native of the Conakry suburb where the album was recorded and close friend of Dub Snakkr, grew up next door to one of the most renowned djembe masters in the world, Mammady Keita, and has been steeped in the djembe musical tradition since youth. Bongo left to the US to be with his wife, Joti Singh, and teach the djembe art form, but they both returned in 2011 for the first time since emigrating. Amidst fears of election backlash and instability, the couple traveled with their students, to bring artists and musicians together to record a compilation that expresses the current and the past of Guinea.

Bongo and his band Wontanara Revolution are based in San Francisco, CA and their track, “Root Boy” is the only one in the compilation that wasn’t recorded in Guinea. The tracks blends reggae, West African Mandeng influences and jazzy sax, and is not the only song to add political commentary to the mix.

Sembeh Ma Fa Fe, translated from Susu as, ‘strong sound coming,’ is a two volumes compilation that will be released separately.

This first disc, Revisits Volume, comprises several young and upcoming artists’ who’ve paid their dues in the Guinea music and performance scene, having typically come up from eclectic and frequent local block-parties and talent competitions (often featuring breakdance groups, lip-syncs, emcees, acrobatics and more). The results of the recording expedition are sophisticated and feature a blend of influences from the traditional to modern, a pastiche of styles popular in the West African nation today. Guinea was central to the Mandeng Empire and is still home to many masters of the traditional music and culture, along with a new generation who have added the influences of other contemporary musical genres to come up with a new global sound.

The first track, Sembeh Ma by the Matoto Family, features a bouncy reggae flavoured rhythm section overlaid with West African vocals. Tirailleur's Ghetto Di offers hip hop rhymes over syncopated Guinean rhythms. We get the female perspective in rap in Sista Lessa's Rap Guinea Daghee and a smooth, RnB flavoured version in Besto Best's Ma Vie de Galaire (featuring Lilbo).

Traditional polyrhythms and call and answer vocals get a modern dancefloor makeover in tracks by Bom Sone (African Unity & What A Life). Important is another artist who's work (Kaya Poucha, Origin) defies easy categorization, featuring a sonic mesh of complicated rhythms, organ and multi-layers of vocals.

There are 16 tracks in all, with lyrics are English, Susu, French. Other artists featured include Selecta fest. My Baby, Ruphert, Balbore, Symbole, Prince II Saen, Neuf Six and Kati.

The second disc, Roots Volume (release date TBA), will feature arrangements that share aspects of the Mandeng musical traditions, from the powerful polyrhythms of the djembe to the soothing cyclical melodies of the balafon to the longing cries of the vocalist. Each instrument is rich with history and significance to Mandeng’s past.

Stronghold Sound is a San Francisco-based production studio and record label focusing on emerging Arab & African urban music, Latin & Caribbean dance music, as well as innovative traditional and contemporary global music.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Harbourfront Toronto Festivals Summer 2012

From a media release:

Harbourfront - Toronto
June to October 2012

A Canada Day celebration with The Hidden Cameras, Airplane Boys and more
Afro-funk from Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonoul
Chefs from around the world battle at the International Iron Chef Competition
African string music from Masters of Mali featuring Sidi Touré
Susuriwka – Willow Bridge, a Canadian-Japanese dance and musical collaboration
Theatre Panik’s The Corpse Bride

TORONTO, ON – Harbourfront Centre is pleased to announce the first details of the 2012 Summer Festival season, in which over twenty festivals and events bring “The World in One Place.”

Between May and October, hundreds of artists of all stripes unite at more than twenty FREE festivals and events taking place at the heart of Toronto’s waterfront. Join us in celebrating local and international cultural communities through film screenings, art exhibitions, culinary events, live music, theatre and more!

Summer 2012 Festival Highlights

NXNE (North by Northeast), June 16-17

Live music from Russian crazed musical gypsies Jumple, one-man-band dynamo The People of Canada and more

Franco-Fête: Toronto's International Francophone Festival, co-produced by La Franco-Fête de Toronto, June 22-24
For its 30th anniversary, la Franco-Fête de Toronto offers a unique occasion to gather and celebrate the diversity of francophone culture.

TD Toronto Jazz Festival, June 22 - July 1
One of North America's premier jazz festivals! The festival has become a destination event, not just for music lovers but for some of the greatest jazz celebrities in the world.

Canada Day: Going Global presented by CIBC, June 29-July 2
Live music includes: A rare Toronto date from indie-pop stars The Hidden Cameras; the Western-pop-meets-Zulu-rhythms of Johnny Clegg; electro-hip-hop genre-mashers The Airplane Boys
The finalists in the “O Canada” Singing Competition
B-Boy and B-Girl dance competition The Call Out
Come Dance with Me Canada unleashes the power of the collective

Expressions of Brazil, co-produced by Southern Mirrors and Puente July 6-8
Live music includes: Brothers of Brazil, a duo mixing bossa nova, samba, rock, funk and more; and Maria Bonita and The Band, performing Forró music, a mix of European and African traditions
Flicks for all ages in the Brazilian Festival of Film & TV Family Film Series

SoundClash Festival July 13-15

Live music includes: Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou’s homemade voodoo funk all the way from Benin; closer to home, the SoundClash Music Award short-listed acts compete for cash and other prizes
Four dance/DJ crews face off in Bragging Rights: DJ Dance Battle

Hot & Spicy Food Festival: 15th Anniversary presented by CIBC, July 20-22

Chilean artist Ana Tijoux’s spicy blend of jazz, funk, hip hop and more
International chefs battle in the 9th annual International Iron Chef Competition
The Taco Takedown invites the public to determine Toronto’s best tacos

Classical IV: Strings, July 27-29
Masters of Mali featuring Sidi Touré introduce ancient African string music into the modern world
Calling all ukuleleists: The Ukulele Project invites the public to play along with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture

Calypso Stars Showcase, July 31

Experience the sounds, rhythms and cadences of Toronto's vibrant calypso community! Featuring calypso, steelpan and mas' (masquerade) – the three core disciplines of Caribbean festivals.

Island Soul presented by CIBC, Aug 3-6
Live music includes: Wailers’ frontman and rising Jamaican star Duane Stephenson; and a Tribute to the Grandmaster Calypsonian Lord Kitchener, one of Trinidad’s foremost musicians
Traditional dance, music and drama from Caribbean Folk Performers

Planet IndigenUS, co-produced by Woodland Cultural Centre, Aug 10-19
Wab Kinew and Sarah Podemski host the festival’s multi-disciplinary Opening Night Spectacle, “Celebrating the Crossroards”
Canadians Kaha:wi Dance Theatre (featuring Santee Smith) and Japan’s Yokohama Noh Theater combine efforts for Susuriwka – Willow Bridge (ticketed)
Live music includes: Robbie Robertson Tribute Show featuring Derek Miller and Guests and Australian dance-roots duo Oka’s tribal sounds for the digital age
Festival partner Woodland Cultural Centre hosts the group exhibition Earthly Connections, award-winning blues artist Joel Johnson and more

TELUS TAIWANfest, Aug 24-26
The O-Kai Singers’ brand of a capella invokes the group’s aboriginal roots
Dance Works combine traditional Taiwanese culture with tap dance for the performance of Daydreamers+
The delicious search is on for The King of Stewing

Ashkenaz Festival, Aug 28-Sept 3

Cutting-edge world music from Israel’s Yemen Blues, co-presented by the Jewish National Fund
Shadowland Theatre leads the signature Ashkenaz Parade, an awesome spectacle of music, dance, giant puppetry, stiltwalkers and community revelry
Theatre Panik’s The Corpse Bride brings the classic Yiddish folktale into the new millennium (ticketed)

CaribbeanTales Annual Film Festival, September 4-15

Canada's one and only forum showcasing the best of Caribbean cinema, at home and abroad, classical and creole, digital and celluloid.

Vegetarian Food Festival, September 7-9

Regarded as the largest event of its kind in North America, the annual Vegetarian Food Festival gives you an unparalleled opportunity to enjoy a diverse cross-section of vegetarian cuisine.

Tet Trung Thu Vietnamese Lantern Festival presented by CIBC, co-produced by the Vietnamese Women's Association of Toronto, Sept 15
The Ao Dai Competition showcases the best traditional dresses in an exhilarating fashion show
Enjoy a cup of tea and sample a variety of traditional treats at the Mooncake Tasting
Join in the magic of the celebration by making your own paper lanterns

Fortune Cooking presented by CIBC, Sept 16
Street Food Spotlight focuses on Pan-Asian local foods
Chefs battle in the Fortune Cooking Iron Chef Competition
Taiko drum ensemble Raging Asian Women pound out sounds of social justice

HarbourKIDS: Folk, Oct 6-8
Great family-friendly programming to end the summer with a bang

Season-Long Events at Harbourfront Centre
Dancing on the Pier, Thursdays, June 28-Aug. 30, 7-9 p.m.

Join the Dancing on the Pier house band for social interaction and learning that explores global dance trends.

Free Flicks, Wednesdays, July 4-Aug. 29, 9 p.m.
From classic film to cult comedy, we explore the journey of the underdog from zero to hero on the big screen, under the stars.

International Marketplace, weekends, June 1-Sept 3
Fridays, 7-11pm, Saturdays, 12-11pm, Sundays 12-8pm
Shop the world every weekend, all summer long – from Indonesian textiles and Indigenous crafts to African artefacts, South American jewellery and far beyond.

World Café, weekends, May 19-Sept 3
Fridays, 6pm-12am, Saturdays, 12pm-12am, Sundays 12-8pm
Our newly renovated World Café features a rotating selection of the best international cuisine at affordable prices.

Harbourfront Centre Street Stage, weekends from Victoria Day to Thanksgiving, 9 a.m.-11p.m.
Come and see some of the best street performers this city has to offer!

Canoe Rides on the Natrel® Pond (Daily, May-Oct)
Our famous canoe rides will be available at the Natrel® Pond all summer long! Take a break and enjoy a fun float beside our picturesque boardwalk.

• Image of the Westjet Stage by Tom Bilenky

Nacional Records: Ritmo Machine & Ana Tijoux New Videos & July 2012 Dates

From a media release:

From Nacional Records:
New Videos & Collaboration Between Ritmo Machine & Ana Tijoux
Check them out at the Latin Alternative Music Conference - July 13, 2012 in Brooklyn
Ana Tijoux will be at Harboufront Toronto on July 20, 2012

There’s a new video from Ritmo Machine that we wanted to share with you.  This collaboration fromCYPRESS HILL/BEASTIE BOYS percussionist Eric Bobo and DJ/turntablist Latin Bitman also features guest appearances from Sick Jacken (Psycho Realm) and Ana Tijoux.

Ritmo Machine “La Calle”

Filmed in Los Angeles, the music video features infamous West Coast hip-hop landmarks like Pico-Union, the graffiti of the LA river and the bodegas of Boyle Heights. 

Along with Calle 13, Ritmo Machine and Ana Tijoux will be performing a major show together in New York this summer as part of the Latin Alternative Music Conference (LAMC) at Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park on Friday July 13, 2012.

Eric Bobo, the son of Latin jazz legend Willie Bobo, recorded and toured with the Beastie Boys during their groundbreaking albums ‘Check Your Head’ and ‘Ill Communication’, and has been a full time member of Cypress Hill since 1994. For the new Ritmo Machine album, Bobo and Bitman also worked with Money Mark & Mix Master Mike (Beastie Boys), Sen Dog (Cypress Hill), Chali 2na (Jurassic 5), and P-Nut (311).

There’s also another new video from Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux. Her duet with Academy Award winner Jorge Drexler (“Sacar La Voz” / “Raise Your Voice”) is a sublime reflection on the power of protest. Stylistically the song stands in stark contrast to the hardcore hip-hop vibe of her collab with Ritmo Machine, demonstrating her broad range as an artist.

Ana Tijoux “Sacar La Voz”

CD Release & Party: NYC's Caramelo and Flamenco Soul

From a media release:

CD Release: Flamenco, Flygirls and Funky Duende:
NYC’s Caramelo Finds the Flamenco Soul of the City on Debut Album, Ride (release May 29, 2012)
CD Release Party: June 2, 2012 at Drom in New York City

- Flamenco. It’s not about performing; it’s about distilling life’s passion, pain, and love into a single ornament, into one potent gesture. From kitchens to street corners, it’s at its most powerful when it entwines with life in cities like Sevilla, Spain.

And cities like New York, home of Caramelo, a crew of top musicians and flamenco dancers with a shared love of soulful R&B, alt rock, and hot Latin grooves. On their debut Ride (release: May 29, 2012), Sara Erde’s sensuous bilingual purr and the gorgeous, gritty voice of flamenco singer Alfonso Cid (“La Luna”) grace the band’s urbane hooks, unexpected instruments, and ear-candy songwriting.

Caramelo revels in a New-World sound and vision for old-school duende, the spirit of expression and energy that drives flamenco at its best. This streets-meets-Sevilla soul will fill Drom on June 2, 2012, as the band celebrates Ride, thanks to special guests from Antibalas, Chicha Libre, and Gregorio Uribe Big Band —and to the band’s funky corps of lithe, vibrant dancers.

Erde was raised in Brooklyn, in a Jewish folk music-loving family surrounded by Spanish-speaking friends, neighbor kids who convinced her to start dancing flamenco early on. She also grew up hanging out with the Cherry family (she rapped in Spanish on Neneh’s Raw Like Sushi) and chilling at reggae clubs. An actress as well as a musician and dancer, Erde often played in off-Broadway shows late into the night, only to show up at high school the next day in pajamas. Her interests eventually converged as Erde began choreographing operas for major companies, including the Met.

Despite years of intensive training and professional performance in flamenco, Erde still felt she had much to learn. So she headed to Sevilla, the heartland of flamenco, and spent six years there, learning how the art form is inseparable from everyday life. Yet Erde never quite felt in her element: “When I put on a flamenco dress, I felt like I was in drag,” Erde laughs. “I had to find a way that felt organic and reconciled all my different artistic loves. I kept wondering how I could make it mine, so I didn’t feel I was playing a role.”

Meanwhile, guitarist Jed Miley was living a parallel life. After the accidental purchase of a flamenco guitar, Miley simultaneously pursued his obsessions with flamenco and with his home town of Seattle’s alt-rock scene. “It grows as an obsession with you. Flamenco is so deep and complicated that you can keep finding new layers,” Miley reflects. “I was drawn to guitar music, then you discover the dancing and singing.” His obsession gained him spots with Seattle-based flamenco companies and soon took him to Sevilla, where he studied guitar with some of the city’s most revered teachers, experience that made Miley an in-demand music director and guitarist in American flamenco circles.

But something was missing.

“I was in Spain and thought, ‘I love flamenco so much, but I have to recognize where I come from,’” Miley notes. “That’s how I got into Caramelo. I’m not a purist, though I love pure flamenco, but I knew I had to integrate all the other interests and influences that I have.”

“In flamenco, people always sing about the neighborhood they are from,” Erde adds. “That authenticity, that sense of place is so important. That’s the starting point for our music.”

When Erde and Miley met in New York, they found they shared a sense of place, a feel for the crossover between flamenco and the city streets, between traditional palos and Spanish dance forms, and NYC club beats and moves. And Brooklyn yielded an embarrassment of potential riches: accordion licks from Eastern Europe and South America (the tangoing “Peligroso”), salsa percussion and horns, Caribbean and vintage funk vibes (“Brooklyn”), and fly-girl moves (“The Girl is Gone”).

Caramelo’s dancers have serious flamenco cred—they’ve learned from the masters and founded their own companies—and share a burning love of old-school club music. They can leap from flamenco to hip hop in a moment’s shimmy.

The diverse yet beautifully sticky whole comes together in the spirit that animates flamenco—and any truly, deeply felt artistic expression. It’s that moment of intensity and perfection that’s hard to name.

“There are so many ways to express that intangible quality, that swing or soul or duende, that little detail about a person that makes them artistically interesting,” explains Caramelo guitarist Jed Miley. “There are these invisible and unique qualities prized in flamenco, and there’s no real way to describe them, but that’s what we strive for.”

“Duende is a force that comes through you if you’re doing art in the right way,” continues Sara Erde, dancer, singer, and songwriter with the group. “That’s what possesses you. That’s what makes people say olé.”

• Luis Pons
• JP Sevillano (2)

June 2, 2012
New York, NY

85 Avenue A between 5th & 6th
Tix: $10 adv./$15 door, Doors Open: 6:30 pm, Show: 7:30 pm & 9:30 pm
Release Party. Ph: 212.777.1157