Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Fela Lives: The Best of the Black President 2 Feb 5 2013 Release & Broadway Show on Tour Through June 2013

From a media release:

Fela Kuti lives on in FELA! Tour Through June 2013 &
The Best of the Black President 2 releases on Knitting Factory Records on February 5, 2013

the Tour hits D.C., Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta and more through June 2013

On January 29, 2013, the national tour of FELA! kicks off in Washington DC with stops all over the US from now until June.  To capture Kuti’s unorthodox, action-packed life, the producers of FELA! created a multi-faceted performance concentrating on one short, highly-charged period during the late seventies in Nigeria.  This vibrant snapshot—powered by the unflagging energy of an on-stage band (with members of Antibalas) and performers like Michelle Williams (Destiny’s Child) — is the perfect vehicle to present Fela’s commitment and courage, and to show how art can become a stunning expression of human dignity.

At the same time, The Best of the Black President 2 releases on Knitting Factory Records on February 5.  The twelve tracks include 1975's "Everything Scatter," one of the ultimate Afrobeat tracks, as well as an extended version of the classic "Sorrow Tears and Blood", inspired by the South African apartheid regime's crushing of the Soweto uprising in 1976. Fela recounts stories such as police having unsuccessfully attempted to charge him for possession of weed ("Expensive Shit") and speaks out about the practice of skin-bleaching among Nigerian women ("Yellow Fever"). Fela's final period of recording is covered with 1992's "Underground System (Part 2)", inspired by Fela's friend, Burkina Faso's revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara and his assassination.

Return of the Warrior: Fela! Channels Afrobeat Founder’s Uncompromising Complexity into a Music-Powered Show

Every Tuesday, Fela Kuti would go to his Lagos club and main base of musical operations, The Shrine. There, before a core group of supporters and fans, the musical revolutionary and gifted composer would take questions and answer them, often using his radical responses and the crowd’s ideas as the seed of his next song.

This passionate immediacy and heated dialogue—all seamlessly supported by Fela’s unmistakable sound, soulfully executed—pervades Fela!, on tour across the U.S. in the first half of 2013. Cities include DC, Chicago, LA, Miami, Seattle, Dallas, Detroit, Atlanta, Tucson, Cleveland, Charlotte NC, Tempe AZ, and Schenectady.

Fela! is a vibrant embodiment of Kuti’s music, using sound and lyrics as a way to capture his wild, complex, no-compromise life. The show echoes the many sonic layers, visual elements, and personal dimensions of Fela’s work. Guided by the music and bursting with dynamic, visually engaging action, the show takes Afrobeat classics like “Zombie” and “Water No Get Enemy” and brings them to colorful, intense life.

“I think of Fela as a returning warrior, somebody who has made his mark in another time, and now returned to our era, to us,” reflects director Bill T. Jones. “We are bringing him back to fresh eyes, as well as to eyes that are hungry to see him again, and hope that people will get truly excited about the music he made.”

The show’s excitement flows from years of painstaking work and dedication to interpreting Fela’s ambitious art and complicated character. Instead of flashy biography, Fela! is a snapshot of a period in the 1970s when the musician faced some of his most trying hours. Spearheaded by a fan-turned-producer, Stephen Hendel, Fela! brought together diverse crew drawn from America’s burgeoning Afrobeat scene (members of Antibalas), from the American stage’s most respected names (Jones, for one), and from pop stardom (Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child so loved the show, she joined the cast).

"He was James Brown, Bob Marley, and Malcolm X in one person. It single-handedly changed my life," explains ?uestlove, Fela! associate producer. “The trials and tribulations he went through socially, politically, creatively: It’s the story of making something into nothing. It’s a story that resonates with American hip hop.”

Listen to the Master: Afrobeat’s Maverick Founder Fela Kuti Returns on Carefully Curated Collection of Seminal Classics, The Best Of The Black President 2

Nigerian icon and Afrobeat originator Fela Kuti passed away 15 years ago but his legacy lives on, thanks to his still relevant, forthright political views and powerful music. The complete works of Fela, consisting of almost 50 albums, are now being re-packaged, with in-depth track commentaries written by Afrobeat historian Chris May, whose thoughtful perspective sheds new light on Fela’s nuanced work.

The return of Fela continues with the release of The Best Of The Black President 2 (Knitting Factory Records; U.S. release: February 5, 2013), a two-disc collection with foreword written by Senegalese-American R&B/hip-hop artist Akon. The twelve tracks include 1975's "Everything Scatter," one of the ultimate Afrobeat tracks, as well as an extended version of the classic "Sorrow Tears and Blood", inspired by the South African apartheid regime's crushing of the Soweto uprising in 1976. Fela recounts stories such as police having unsuccessfully attempted to charge him for possession of weed ("Expensive Shit") and speaks out about the practice of skin-bleaching among Nigerian women ("Yellow Fever"). Fela's final period of recording is covered with 1992's "Underground System (Part 2)", inspired by Fela's friend, Burkina Faso's revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara and his assassination. A special deluxe edition of The Best Of The Black President 2 also includes a DVD of Fela's legendary 1984 Glastonbury concert.

In his introduction Akon writes: "Despite everything they threw at him, Fela's music and his message never lost their way. He was always real and he was always with the people. That's why we love and miss him all the more."

Fela was very vocal in his views, with biting, acerbic critiques of European cultural imperialism, corrupt African governments and any forms of social injustice. This did not go down well with Nigeria's military regimes during the 70s and 80s who routinely harassed and brutalized Fela and his supporters. Two hundred arrests, serious beatings that left scars all over his body whilst fighting for those who had 'drawn life's short straw', never stopped him from coming forward, again and again. "Ah well, they didn't kill me," he would say. On August 2, 1997 Fela died—and a million people, the people he fought for, came to his funeral in Lagos to pay their last respects.

Akon, who grew up on Fela's music, believes "Fela's political beliefs were ahead of their time in so many ways, not least in their global vision. Today, the most influential protest movements – the environmental campaigners, the Occupy activists – have global perspectives … It is a risky business attributing opinions to people who have passed, but it's safe to say that Fela would almost certainly have stood alongside today's environmental and economic activists, and that he would just as certainly have approved of their global outlook."

And Afrobeat, the music Fela created, didn't die. Fela's sons, Femi Kuti with his band Positive Force and Seun Kuti with Fela's band Egypt 80, both travel the world and release their albums, keeping the flame burning brightly. But it's not just Nigerian Afrobeat artists who make sure Afrobeat can be heard all over the planet: There are now in excess of 50 Afrobeat bands operating in Europe, the United States, Britain, Japan and Australia.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

February & March 2013 Concerts at the Royal Conservatory Toronto

From a media release:


• Debuts by Meow Meow, Milton Nascimento, Poncho Sanchez, and Christian Scott
• Four Fabulous Pianists: Louis Lortie Returns, Hélène Mercier Makes Her Koerner Hall Debut, and Jan Lisiecki and Jonathan Biss Make Their Toronto Recital Debuts
• The Glenn Gould School Opera Presents Mozart's Don Giovanni
• Amici Chamber Ensemble Celebrates its 25th Anniversary with Isabel Bayrakdarian

TORONTO - Four internationally renowned artists are making Koerner Hall debuts in late winter at The Royal Conservatory. Comedic kamikaze cabaret care of Meow Meow on February 2 gets things rolling as the diva "blends performance art, cabaret, and pop culture into a style that defies labeling," (Preview Magazine), and "drags cabaret kicking and screaming into the 21st century," according to Time Out New York. The ¡Qué Rica Cuba!  and TD Jazz Series: Devoted to Dizzy series continue on March 9 with the Koerner Hall debuts of Grammy Award-winning conguero and bandleader Poncho Sanchez with his Latin Jazz Band and the 2010 Edison Award winner for Best International Jazz Artist, trumpeter Christian Scott. The artists commemorate the 1947 Dizzy Gillespie and Chano Pozo revolutionary recording, Cubano Be, Cubano Bop.

The Invesco Piano Series continues with four exceptional pianists. Louis Lortie returns to Koerner Hall for the third time on February 3 in a concert that is also part of the Montréal á Toronto concert series. On this occasion, he is joined by fellow French Canadian pianist Hélène Mercier in a concert of 4-hand and 2 piano works, following the critical successes of their joint recordings. The first part of the program, titled One Piano/Four Hands, includes Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Andante and Variations in G Major, K.501; Franz Schubert's Fantasy in F Minor, D.940 (Op. posth. 103) ; and Maurice Ravel's Rapsodie espagnole, while Part Two: Two Pianos, consists of Sergei Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances, Op. 45 and Franz Liszt's Reminiscences de Don Juan, S. 656. Rising international sensation, the 17-year-old Canadian pianist Jan Lisiecki, who is currently studying at The Royal Conservatory's Glenn Gould School, presents an all Fryderyk Chopin Program consisting of 12 Etudes, Op. 10 and Op. 25 on March 3. Lisiecki will also be recording this same program in Koerner Hall for his upcoming Deutsche Grammophon release. Third generation in a family of musicians, award-winning American pianist Jonathan Biss is recognized for his artistry, musical intelligence, and deeply felt interpretations of a wide range of repertoire. In his Koerner Hall debut on March 24, Biss plays Robert Schumann's  Fantasiestücke, Op. 12 interspersed with selections from Leoš Janáček's On the Overgrown Path; Alban Berg's Piano Sonata in B Minor, Op. 1; and Robert Schumann's Davidsbündlertänze, Op. 6. Mr. Biss will also give a post-concert lecture on his recital program.

The Glenn Gould School students figure prominently in February and March at Koerner Hall. Canadian Opera Company Music Director Johannes Debus returns to conduct the Royal Conservatory Orchestra on February 15 in a repertoire of Georg Friedrich Handel's Music for the Royal Fireworks, HWV 351 and Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 1 in D Major. The concert will be preceded by a prelude recital in Koerner Hall at 6:45 and will feature performances by students and faculty of The Glenn Gould School. The Glenn Gould School Opera presents their annual mainstage opera on March 20 and 22. This year, Uri Mayer conducts Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Don Giovanni, considered by many to be the greatest opera ever written. This production is set in the 1960s and is inspired by the TV hit show Mad Men. Ashlie Corcoran directs the members of the youthful cast consisting of Diego Catala in the title role, Jonathon Kirby as Leporello, Alexandra Leblanc as Donna Anna, Raymond Acolas as Il Commendatore, Justin Stolz as Don Ottavio, Heather Kozak as Donna Elvira, Beste Kalender as Zerlina, and Tristan Jones as Masetto. The rest of the production team includes Brahm Goldhamer (artistic director), Camellia Koo (set and costume design), and Kimberly Purtell (lighting design).

The Amici Chamber Ensemble (Serouj Kradjian on piano, David Hetherington on cello, and Joaquin Valdepeñas on clarinet) celebrates its 25th anniversary on March 1 with special guests such as The Royal Conservatory's Glenn Gould School alumna, soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian, as well as The School's faculty members Marie Bérard (violin), Barry Shiffman (viola), Jeffrey Beecher (bass), Sarah Jeffrey (oboe), Michael Sweeney (bassoon), Neil Deland (horn), and Andrew McCandless (trumpet). Their program, which will also include special guests Jonathan Crow (violin) and Beverley Johnston (percussion), consists of Ludwig van Beethoven's Septet for Strings and Woodwinds in E-flat Major, Op. 20, Ernest Chausson's Chanson perpétuelle, Op. 37, Francis Poulenc's Le bal masqué, FP 60, and Xavier Montsalvatge's Cinco canciones negras, arranged by Serouj Kradjian.

The Conservatory Theatre will once again be the setting for the popular Bluebird North series on February 23. During these entertaining evenings, top Canadian songwriters come together with host Blair Packham to perform their music and tell us about the inspiration, the songwriting process, and the stories behind the songs. Participating singers/songwriters will be announced soon. Bluebird North is presented in partnership with the Songwriters Association of Canada (S.A.C.). The S.A.C. gratefully acknowledges the support of The SOCAN Foundation and the Government of Canada through the Creators' Assistance Component of the Canada Music Fund.

Four performances in Mazzoleni Concert Hall, located in historic Ihnatowycz Hall, include An Afternoon of Brass with Toronto Symphony Orchestra Principal Horn Christopher Gongos, joined by fellow colleagues Andrew McCandless (TSO Principal Trumpet), Gordon Wolfe (TSO Principal Trombone), guest pianist Vanessa Lee, and the top Glenn Gould School brass students in a recital featuring sonatas, trios, and brass ensemble pieces (such as the Triple Concerto for Trumpet, Horn, and Trombone by Anthony Plog) on February 24; on March 5, the twice Grammy Award nominated ARC Ensemble (Artists of The Royal Conservatory) perform a program of Paul Ben-Haim's Clarinet Quintet, Op. 31a, Szymon Laks's Piano Quintet on Popular Polish Themes, and Mieczysław Weinberg: Piano Quintet, Op. 18, which they will later present in their debut performance at London's prestigious Wigmore Hall; Cecilia String Quartet, the top prizewinners of two of the world's most respected international music competitions - Calgary's Honens International Piano Competition and the Banff International String Quartet Competition, is joined by pianist Georgy Tchaidze on March 23 in a program that includes César Franck’s Piano Quintet; and The Glenn Gould School Vocal Showcase on February 2 features The School's talented voice students in an evening of art songs and opera arias.

February & March Performances at The Royal Conservatory

The Glenn Gould School Vocal Showcase (Discovery Series): Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 7:30pm (MCH); $15
Meow Meow (Cabaret): Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 8pm (KH); starting at $28
Louis Lortie & Hélène Mercier (Montréal á Toronto Series, Invesco Piano Series): Sun., Feb. 3, 2013 at 3pm (KH); starting at $45
Royal Conservatory Orchestra with Johannes Debus (Orchestra): Fri., February 15, 2013 at 8pm (KH); starting at $25
Bluebird North (Music Mix, Pop, Folk): Saturday, February 23, 2013 at 8pm (CT); $25
An Afternoon of Brass (Mazzoleni Masters): Sunday, February 24, 2013 at 2pm (MCH); $32
Amici Chamber Ensemble with Isabel Bayrakdarian (Chamber Music): Friday, March 1, 2013 at 8pm (KH); starting at $40
Jan Lisiecki (Invesco Piano Series): Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 3pm (KH); starting at $25
ARC Ensemble (Mazzoleni Masters): Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 7:30pm (MCH); $32
Cubano Be, Cubano Bop ( ¡Qué Rica Cuba! , TD Jazz Series: Devoted to Dizzy): Sat., Mar. 9, 2013 at 8pm (KH); starting at $30
The Glenn Gould School Opera: Don Giovanni: Wednesday, March 20 & Friday, March 22, 2013 at 7pm (KH); starting at $25
Cecilia String Quartet with Georgy Tchaidze, piano (Mazzoleni Masters): Sat., Mar. 23, 2013 at 7:30pm (MCH); $32
Jonathan Biss (Invesco Piano Series): Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 3pm (KH); starting at $30
KH: Koerner Hall; MCH: Mazzoleni Concert Hall; CT: Conservatory Theatre

• Tickets are available online at, by calling 416.408.0208, or in person at the Weston Family Box Office

Black History Month in Toronto: Kuumba at Harbourfront Feb 1-3 2013

From a media release:

Kuumba (Feb. 1-3, 2013)
Part of the TD Then & Now Series
Harbourfront Centre’s Annual Black History Month Festival

Harbourfront Centre celebrates Black History Month at the 17th Annual Kuumba Festival, part of the TD Then & Now Series. “Kuumba” is the Swahili word for “creativity” which embodies Harbourfront Centre’s vision to celebrate the creativity and vitality of Toronto's African and Caribbean communities.

From February 1-3, join us as we showcase local and international artists from the African and Caribbean diaspora and celebrate milestones, anniversaries and the outstanding contributions of black Canadians.

Kuumba Festival Highlights:

10th Anniversary Celebration of The Trane Studio – An all-star lineup of local and international artists including Alexander Brown, Waleed Abdulhamid, Ernest Dawkins, Ursula Rucker, pay tribute to what would have been the 10th Anniversary of the Trane Studio. Hosted by CBC’s Garvia Bailey (Feb. 2 from 8 p.m.- 2 a.m. Cost $15).

Afrofusion with Esie Mensah -  Learn how to create a fusion of styles with no boundaries allowing a new style of dance to emerge. Fuse traditional movements from West Africa with various styles such as house, hip hop, contemporary and more. Fun time for the whole family! Facilitated by Esie Mensah. (February 2 - 3:00PM- FREE) Just one of several dance workshops!

An Evening with Dwayne Morgan – The official launch of Dwayne Morgan’s new book, Everyday Excellence, followed by an evening of soul music and spoken word performances (Feb. 1 from 8-11 p.m.).

Kuumba Hair Showcase, Film Screening and Panel Discussion – I Heart My Hair, Kinky Kreations Hair Salon and other industry professionals explore the wonders of black hair through panel discussions, a hair show and film (Feb. 2 from 7-9 p.m.).

The Known Unknown: Top 10 Emerging Artists Unplugged Edition – An unplugged and intimate showcase featuring rising urban music stars including Savannah Ré, Derek Wise, Jelly TooFly and more! Hosted by singer and television personality Tika Simone (Feb. 2 from 2-8 p.m. and Feb. 3 from 2-6 p.m.).

Kuumba Gospel Lounge – A two-hour gospel extravaganza featuring a full choir, choral groups and soloists (Feb. 3 from 4-6 p.m.).

Soca On Ice (part of DJ Skate Nights) – Dr. Jay De Soca Prince spins soca and calypso music on The Natrel® Rink at this annual Caribbean party on ice. Skate rentals available. Hosted by CBC’s Anne-Marie Mediwake and Dwight Drummond (Feb. 2 from 8-11 p.m.).

Additional event listings are available at

This season’s programming explores The Big IDEA of “Re.” When placed in front of another word, “re” asks us to consider something again. It challenges our vantage points, makes us question the familiar and examine our assumptions. It asks us to look back to the places we’ve journeyed from. And that, for us, is one of the fundamental aims of artistic expression. The big idea explored throughout Kuumba is Re:Wind, where we honour and explore important histories and traditions surrounding black culture.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

2013 Dance on Camera Film Festival February 1 - 5 in New York City

From a media release:

2013 Dance on Camera Festival
February 1-5, 2013

in New York City

Full schedule of films at the link

Dance Films Association and the Film Society of Lincoln Center present the 41st edition of Dance on Camera. Taking place February 1-5, the dance-centric film festival returns to Film Society for the 17th consecutive year with an exciting and diverse array of dance films, including several premieres, including a bevy of in-person appearances and premieres.

This year's lineup includes fascinating documentaries about everything from ballet-dancing triplets to Finland's enfant terrible of the accordian, a two-part celebration of dance-turned-filmmaker Shirley Clarke, the 50th anniversary of the great flamenco film Los Tarantos, and the festival's first foray in to the glamourous and virtuosic genre of ice dancing with an introduction by skating legend Dick Button!

“Dance on Camera is an exuberant hybrid. Its roots hold the seeds of innovation inherent in the concept of combining dance with cinematography in ways that alter one’s perception of both mediums,” said Joanna Ney, co-curator of the Dance on Camera Festival. “While recorded dance has its place, this year we are reaching beyond  traditional genres to encompass ideas we have not explored before, with programs devoted to ice dancing, the body’s relationship to landscape and music, and the fusion of choreography and narrative in non- verbal ways.”

“Since dance films are ever evolving, we hope that this year’s programs will allow audiences new ways to experience dance on camera. We’ve selected films and programs that are currently stretching the boundaries of the art form, and invited filmmakers who are using dance on camera and new media in an innovative ways,” says Dance on Camera Festival co-curator Liz Wolff.

• A Girl from Mexico Maclovia Martel Zachary Freyman (Carmen Gutierrez)
• American Overture John Williams

Music Africa & Gladstone World Present Free Friday Night Concerts in Toronto February 2013

From a media release:


FEBRUARY 1, 8, 15, 22, 2013 - 8 p.m.

Afrofest is celebrating its 25th anniversary on July 6 & 7, 2013, returning to Woodbine Park, Lakeshore Boulevard East and Coxwell Avenue. As a part of the celebrations, Afrofest will be saluting Black History Month this February for its 6th annual series of Friday night concerts. The weekly events will take place at the Gladstone Hotel on February 1, 8, 15 and 22, beginning at 8 p.m.  The series features a diverse selection of top African artists living and working in the city - Discover Africa in Toronto! Each week there will a different line-up of African talent performing live, so get ready for a night of dancing!

Friday Concerts line-up:
February 1 – Donné Roberts *
February 8 – Waleed Abdulhamid and Ruth Mathiang*
February 15 – Jabulani*
February 22 – Njacko Backo* - CD release party: Njacko's 10th album, which includes tenor banjo and cello banjo tracks by Ken Whiteley, soprano sax by Jane Bunnett,     trumpet by Larry Cramer, djembe by Mohamad Diaby, in addition to tracks from Kalimba Kalimba.

Afrofest 2013 is a chance to discover Africa in the heart of Toronto, presented by Music Africa. Held annually since 1989, it is a free showcase of the rich and diverse African culture.  Michael Stohr, President of Music Africa says, "Afrofest is proud to celebrate its 25th year in 2013. We hope that the concerts during Black History Month bring together the community to not only enjoy the local stars of African music, but to also highlight the importance of history and culture of Africa in Canada.”

Admission is Free! Co-presented by CIUT 89.5FM.

About Music Africa: Music Africa is a non-profit community-based organization whose main objective is to promote African music in Toronto through the "Afrofest" music festival and other occasional events. Established in 1990, Music Africa is among the oldest and most respected organizations promoting African music in Canada.

Music Africa provides a strong platform for emerging artists from the many African communities in the city and elsewhere in Canada. In recent years, the organization has taken the initiative to include more youth-centered African musical forms both at Afrofest and other venues. Music Africa presents both English and French artists along with many other African languages in order to better represent the diversity within these communities.
Music Africa also supports the activities of other non-profit cultural organizations through partnerships for various events. Through its activities, Music Africa is committed to enhancing appreciation and awareness of African music among Canadians while also striving to establish Toronto as a thriving global centre for African music.

Music Africa wishes to gratefully acknowledge the support of the Department of Canadian Heritage, Ontario Arts Council and Toronto Arts Council.

*Donné Roberts is a passionate and highly skilled guitarist and vocalist with a very unique sound and style; his songs are mainly in Malagasy his mother tongue from his birthplace of Madagascar. Donné came to wider recognition after he released his first album “Rhythm Was Born” and for his contribution as one of the members of the African Guitar Summit project, which won a JUNO in 2005 and was nominated for another one in 2007. Donné raised and educated in Moscow Russia and now lives in Toronto. In Moscow, he was the first black VJ on MTV Russia. His brand new record INTERNATION was released in 2012. With friends and collaborators, he makes something entirely original and uniquely Canadian that is imbued with a Donné Roberts sound.

*Waleed Abdulhamid and Ruth Mathiang are both from Sudan. They sing in Arabic, Nuer, and Kiswahili. Ruth Mathiang comes from a musical family, where both her parents were musicians in their youth. In Kenya, she performed with local musicians, in styles ranging from traditional music to hip hop. Her dream of having her own CD came true when she immigrated to Canadato attend the University of PEI and in 2002 released her first CD My Cry, Peace, a collection of gospel/peace songs. In 2005-2006, she recorded her second album Butterfly, a mixture of her favourite styles of music, from hip-hop, reggae, afrobeat, to gospel. It received great praise, reviewers invariably noting Mathiang’s soaring voice, her great versatility and her ability to find intimacy even in songs intended for huge crowds. “I believe freedom is in the heart and when we let love in, freedom awaits our invitation. I sing and write about the struggle of the human heart to open and let freedom shine,” she says.

*Jabulani: the Zulu word meaning “we are happy”. Jabulani: the name of the band whose music makes one feel happy. Jabulani, based in Toronto, has been performing their unique brand of World music for eight years in Canada. The band, led by Brian Litvin, originally from Johannesburg, South Africa, plays a blend of Township Jive, Zulu Maskande, traditional Zulu music and South African Jazz.

Before coming to Canada, Brian was a successful performer in his native South Africa. Together with his band, Fireflies, and as a solo act, Brian was a well-known entertainer at venues and festivals across the country. With the contributions from well known musicians, Mafata Lemphane, from Lesotho, on bass guitar and vocals, the versatile George Morellato on drums and vocals, Mafa Makhubalo from Bloemfontein, South Africa, on percussion and vocals, and Gideon Litvin on guitar, the sound of Jabulani has matured and is now a tight, melodic group who sings in both English and in Zulu. In addition to enjoying the music, audiences are thrilled by the exciting spectacle of traditional Zulu dance. Jabulani has performed on multiple stages from National Music Festivals to official Consular events.

*Entertainer, musician, composer, dancer, choreographer, author and educator Njacko Backo shares his uplifting music, energizing dance, and hope-filled stories with audiences of all ages and all walks of life. Njacko was born in Cameroon in 1958 and raised in the hills in a small village called Bazou, which means “The Walkers.” To paint a picture of life in his village, Njacko often points to the movie “The Gods Must Be Crazy” to demonstrate the truly rural and organic nature of his upbringing.

Musically and spiritually Njacko draws on the lessons he learned in Africa from his musical family, mentors and village life. Like most children in his village, Njacko began playing percussion and making instruments at age three. However, with his Grandmother’s assistance, Njacko met with the elders of the village who taught him to play music starting with the hand drum (toumkak), kalimba (thumb piano), and African harp (zaa koua and ngoni).

To date, Njacko has independently released nine full-length albums, three drumming instruction CDs, a drumming instruction DVD, and a DVD with nine music videos. The title song of Njacko’s most recent release, the DVD Mama Oh (2008), won Njacko an honourable mention in the World Music category of The 2006 International Songwriting Competition.

Harbourfront Centre Toronto's NextSteps Kicks Off Black History Month with TRIBUTE Feb 1 & 2 2013

From a media release:

dance Immersion presents
A Moving History of Canadian Blacks in Dance
part of Harbourfront Centre's NextSteps

Kicks off Black History Month
February 1 & 2, 2013

• For tickets, call the Box Office at 416-973-4000 or Online

Toronto, January 2013 - Vivine Scarlett, Program Director/Founder of dance Immersion, proudly announces the company's eighteenth annual Showcase Presentation, TRIBUTE: A Moving History of Canadian Blacks in Dance. This landmark, multi-media event launches Black History Month with two performances running Friday, February 1 and Saturday, February 2 at 8pm at Fleck Dance Theatre as part of Harbourfront Centre's NextSteps.

TRIBUTE honours nine iconic dance artists from across Canada - pioneers who have enriched the Canadian and global dance ecology: Len Gibson, Dr. Jeni Legon, Dindi Lidge, Zab Maboungou, Paul Pettiford, Kevin Pugh, George Randolph, Jean Sheen and Sharlene Thomas.

TRIBUTE highlights various dance disciplines - from folkloric to traditional to contemporary - and features leading artists and companies performing the work of those honoured: Zab Maboungou's dynamite Compagnie Danse Nyata Nyata perform Montreal by Night. Ronald Taylor and Tamla Matthews direct remounts of works by Jean Sheen (Mood of Zenzi) and Paul Pettiford (Pieces of Paul). Canadian modern dance icon Danny Grossman directs a remount of his piece Inching, a work that Dindi Lidge performed in.

While TRIBUTE offers a theatrical peek into the history and artistry of "Canadian Blacks in Dance," it also highlights how these groundbreakers have inspired a whole new generation of dance artists and movement.

Talented choreographer Kevin Ormsby, Artistic Director of KasheDance, directs the TRIBUTE Crew, an ensemble cast of gifted youth from COBA and the Children and Youth Dance Theatre of Toronto who embody this new generation. The TRIBUTE Crew anchor the evening and appear throughout to weave the various elements of the show together for a fresh and contemporary spin on how traditional forms have steered today's popular culture.

Visionary Len D. Henry is the Creative Director for the evening. Henry has won various awards from BravoFACT!, VideoFACT and the MMVAs and is the founder and a principal at fashcam - a fashion/music new-media production company.

dance Immersion is a Toronto-based organization that produces and promotes dancers and dances of the African Diaspora while providing skill development and networking through workshops, youth arts programs, collaborative projects and forums.

Honorees Biographies

Alberta-born Len Gibson (1926-2008) had a versatile career that spanned over six decades. He choreographed and appeared in Bamboula in 1954, the first musical variety television series produced by the CBC from Vancouver and one of the first programs to feature an interracial cast. During the 1960s, Gibson pursued international opportunities and returned to Canada in the 1970s where he opened his legendary Len Gibson Dance Ensemble in Toronto and touched the lives of many with his passion for artistic excellence.

Chicago-born Dr. Jeni LeGon (1916 -2012) was one of the top tap dancers of the '30s, '40s and '50s. At 16, she was dancing in the Count Basie Orchestra's chorus line and went on to perform with Bill "Bojangles" Robinson and Fats Waller, whom she worked with throughout her career. She was the first black woman to sign an extended contract with a Hollywood studio (MGM) and appeared in Hooray for Love, and Birth of the Blues, among others. In 1969, LeGon settled in Vancouver where she taught tap and point.

Actor, dancer, dance instructor, choreographer, director, producer, college instructor, business manager and writer, the late Charles E. "Dindi" Lidge was born in Buffalo, New York and came to Toronto in 1974. Among others, Dindi danced with New York's prestigious Martha Graham Dance Company from 1978 to 1981 and Toronto's famed Danny Grossman Dance Company from 1980-85.

Born in Paris and raised in Congo-Brazzaville, Zab Maboungou has danced with Congolese ballets in Europe and North America. She has been teaching rhythm and movement dance courses in Montreal since 1981 and founded Zab Maboungou/Compagnie Danse Nyata Nyata in 1986. A choreographer, performer, musician, author, and teacher of philosophy and dance, she is dedicated to the development and promotion of African dance in Quebec, across Canada and abroad.

The late Paul Pettiford was born and raised in the Windsor area. Even though he suffered with polio as a young boy, he taught himself to dance by watching Fred Astaire and Bill "Bojangles" Robinson on tv and in movies and went on to perform on stages around the world. His vision was to work with young people of colour. Pettiford was a beloved teacher at the Harriet Tubman Centre, and started his own dance school where he taught all forms of dance - Jazz, Ballet, Tap, African, Afro-Cuban, Caribbean and Contemporary. 

Kevin Pugh is a former principal dancer with the National Ballet of Canada, one of its biggest stars in the 1980s, known for his electric stage presence and powerful jumps. He retired from the stage in 1991 and is now a renowned teacher with his own school, DanceTeq, which operates out of the Walter Carsen Centre, and is one of Toronto's best open format dance studios on the professional circuit.

George Randolph, born and raised in New Jersey, first came to Canada in 1980 as a principal dancer with Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal after being a principal dancer with the internationally renowned Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble. From 1985 to 1992, George presided over his Randolph Dance Theatre before founding the Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts in 1992 where he is currently President. The Academy's unique post-secondary Triple Threat program trains aspiring performers for careers in stage, TV and film.

Jean Sheen received her dance training in her native country of Trinidad and Tobago as well as New York City. She moved to Toronto in 1970 where she founded and ran Chissamba Chiyuka Arts Inc. from 1975-1996, the first Caribbean dance school in Ontario.

Trinidad and Tobago born, Sharlene Thomas has thrilled audiences across Canada and internationally for over 20 years as Artistic Director of Edmonton-based Movements Dance Ensemble, which she founded on February 11, 1990 - the day former South African President Nelson Mandela was freed from prison.

dance Immersion presents TRIBUTE: A Moving History of Canadian Blacks in Dance
Friday, February 1 to Saturday, February 2, 2013, 8PM
part of Harbourfront Centre's NextSteps
Fleck Dance Theatre, 207 Queens Quay West
Tickets: $25-$28 (Students/Seniors/CADA $18-$20)
Purchase through Harbourfront Centre Box Office: 416-973-4000 and/or online for tickets and info.

Last 3 photos by Christopher Cushman.
Photo #1 - Pieces of Paul, choreography by Paul Pettiford, performed by (L-R) Kimya Hypolite, Natasha Eck. Remount Diector Tamla Matthews.
Photo #2 - Mood of Zenzi, choreography by Jean Sheen, performed by (L-R) Shaleeka Scarlett, Tamla Matthews, Kimya Hypolite and Natasha Eck. Remount Director Ronald Taylor.              
Photo #3 - Inching, choreography by Danny Grossman (L-R: Gabriella Parson, Alistair Graphine). Remount Director Danny Grossman.

Musical Theatre: Do You Want What I Have Got? A Craigslist Cantata Toronto Premiere Jan 30 to Mar 3 2013

From a media release:

January 30 to March 3, 2013

After playing to sold-out houses and rave reviews at Vancouver’s PuSh Festival in 2012, Do You Want What I Have Got? A Craigslist Cantata, by Veda Hille and Bill Richardson, will be playing January 30 – March 3 in Factory’s Studio Theatre. The Toronto premiere is co-produced by Acting Up Stage Company and Factory Theatre. Do You Want What I Have Got? A Craigslist Cantata is a contemporary exploration of humanity through the lens of Craigslist - an online classified site with over 50 million ads posted each month. Previews are on January 30, 31 and February 1, 2, 3 and 5. The previews are at 8 p.m., with the exception of the Sunday, February 3 preview at 7 p.m. The industry evening is on February 6, 8 p.m., and the opening is on February 7, 8 p.m., in the Studio. The show closes on March 3.

“It's a rare occasion to find a hit Canadian musical, but after our presentation last year of Ride the Cyclone, lightning indeed struck twice when I saw A Craigslist Cantata at last year's PuSh Festival,” said Mitchell Marcus, Artistic Producer, Acting Up Stage Company.  “We are so honoured that Bill, Veda and Amiel gave us the Ontario rights to the show and agreed to launch a new production in Toronto. Featuring some of the original Vancouver collaborators, our new production includes an incredible local design team, new choreography by Monica Dottor and new cast member Daren A. Herbert who was Dora nominated for his work in our production of Parade. It has also been a perfect collaboration with Factory Theatre, and Craigslist has been the ideal project to merge their commitment to new Canadian work with our commitment to innovative and contemporary musical theatre.”

Nina Lee Aquino and Nigel Shawn Williams, Factory Theatre’s Interim Artistic Team, agree: “We are pleased to partner with Acting Up Stage to present this poignant and witty Canadian musical to Toronto audiences. And thrilled to offer such a fun piece to our subscribers, the first subscription offer in the Studio Theatre we have made in several years.”

Directed by Amiel Gladstone (select directorial credits: Arts Club/PuSh Festival’s world premiere of Do You Want What I Have Got? A Craigslist Cantata; world premiere of Theatre Replacement/PuSh Festival’s 100% Vancouver; Vancouver Opera’s Lucia di Lammermoor), the musical features a strong cast and creative team.  In the cast is Dmitry Chepovetsky (Canadian Stage’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Vancouver Playhouse’s This), Bree Greig (world premiere of Arts Club/PuSh Festival’s Do You Want What I Have Got? A Craigslist Cantata; Footlight Theatre Company’s The Wizard of Oz and The Sound of Music; Patrick Street Productions’ Bat Boy The Musical), Daren A. Herbert (Acting Up Stage’s Parade; DanCap Production’s The Toxic Avenger), Veda Hille (composer, musical director and performer), Selina Martin (select acting credits: Arts Club/PuSh Festival’s world premiere of Do You Want What I Have Got? A Craigslist Cantata; Crow’s Theatre’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Dali, Godzilla;) and Barry Mirochnick (musician). Veda Hille is joined on the creative team by choreographer Monica Dottor, set and costume designer Robin Fisher and lighting designer Kimberly Purtell, with stage management by Dustyn Wales.

• All previews are at 8 p.m., except for the Sunday, February 3 preview at 7 p.m.
• Regular show times for Craigslist run Tuesday to Saturday, 8 p.m., plus two Saturday 2 p.m. matinee shows - February 9 and 23, and two shows on Sunday, 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
• Preview tickets are $22 with regular single tickets for Craigslist at $35 Tuesday to Thursday and Sunday (advance), $40 on Friday and $47 on Saturday.
• Sunday Pay-What-You-Can (PWYC) tickets and savings for students, seniors, arts workers, and groups (10+) are available.

• To celebrate and provide an online participation aspect of Do You Want What I Have Got? A Craigslist Cantata, Acting Up Stage Company and Factory Theatre are proud to partner with Jennifer Walls and her SINGular Sensation band in throwing an evening of Craigslist-inspired cabaret performances on February 13, 2013.

• Call the box office at (416) 504-9971, visit in person during box office hours at 125 Bathurst Street, Toronto, or visit online 24/7 at • Follow updates @actingupstage AND @factorytoronto (#singcraigslist) and facebook.

Factory Theatre 2012/13 season is sponsored by BMO Financial Group. Acting Up Stage Company’s presenting Season Sponsor is Nu-Trend Construction.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Daniel Barenboim & the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra in New York City Jan 27 to Feb 3 2013

From a media release:

Daniel Barenboim & the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra in New York City

Tuesday January 29, 2013
NPR Music, WQXR, and (Le) Poisson Rouge present
Members of West-Eastern Divan Orchestra and Daniel Barenboim
FREE - This is a first-come, partially seated event.

Carnegie Hall - Jan 30 - Feb 3, 2013

This month, eminent pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim returns to the United States for a rare American appearance with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, the lauded ensemble that he founded in 1999 with the late Palestinian literary scholar Edward W. Said, which comprises young musicians from Israel, Palestine, and other Arab countries. Culminating in four concerts at New York's Carnegie Hall (Jan 30-Feb 3, 2013), during which Barenboim will lead the orchestra in a complete cycle of Beethoven's nine symphonies, the tour also includes the orchestra's debut performance at Boston's Symphony Hall (presented by the Celebrity Series of Boston, Jan 27), as well as concerts and talks at two Ivy League universities: Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island (Jan 23-28) and Columbia University in New York City (Feb 1).

In advance of the Carnegie Hall concerts, two free events are being presented in New York City to celebrate the Divan's arrival. Symphony Space hosts a screening of the Emmy Award-winning documentary about the orchestra, Knowledge Is the Beginning (Jan 27), and NPR Music and WQXR 105.9 FM present Barenboim and members of the Divan in an eclectic chamber music program at the downtown venue (Le) Poisson Rouge (Jan 29). While the orchestra appears frequently throughout Europe during its annual summer tour, the early 2013 dates mark only its second tour to America. The performances are part of the orchestra's multi-year "Beethoven for All" tour, which seeks to take the composer's message of common humanity to audiences around the world.

Daniel Barenboim and Edward W. Said created the original West-Eastern Divan Orchestra workshop in 1999 with the aim of fostering intercultural exchange between Israelis and Arabs and creating an opportunity for them to work together on a matter of common interest: music-making at the highest level. The founders named the orchestra and workshop after a collection of poems by German scholar and author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe titled West-Eastern Divan, which Barenboim and Said considered a central work in the evolution of the concept of world culture.

Over the years, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra has matured into a world-class ensemble, performing at leading international concert halls and music festivals and releasing a number of critically acclaimed recordings. In 2006, the orchestra made its New York debut at Carnegie Hall. Maestro Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan last performed the full Beethoven symphony cycle in July 2012 at the BBC Proms as part of the London 2012 Festival, the cultural celebrations of the Olympic Games. To coincide with the Proms appearances, Decca released a box set recording of Barenboim leading the orchestra in all nine symphonies, titled Beethoven for All: Symphonies 1-9. Launched in 2010 at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, the orchestra's Beethoven for All tour will have spanned four continents by 2013.

New York Concerts and Events

In an event to kick off their New York residency, members of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra and Daniel Barenboim appear at Greenwich Village's (Le) Poisson Rouge on Tuesday, January 29, presenting an eclectic evening of music from the Western classical and Middle Eastern traditions. Featured performers on this program include two rising stars of the Divan who are quickly gaining international reputations as soloists: clarinetist Kinan Azmeha and violinist Michael Barenboim, Maestro Barenboim's youngest son. The concert will be webcast live online by NPR Music at and by WQXR 105.9 FM: New York's classical music radio station at Ticket information will be available online by the co-presenters NPR Music, WQXR, and (Le) Poisson Rouge. Doors open at 7pm, and the concert and live video webcast begin at 8pm.

The orchestra's Carnegie Hall series begins on Wednesday, January 30 at 8pm with Maestro Barenboim conducting Beethoven's First, Fifth, and Eighth Symphonies. The Third and Fourth Symphonies follow on Thursday, January 31 at 8pm. On Saturday, February 2 at 8pm the orchestra performs the Sixth and Seventh Symphonies before concluding the cycle on Sunday, February 3 at 2pm, with the Second and Ninth Symphonies. The all-star quartet for the performance of the Choral symphony comprises soprano Diana Damrau, mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey, tenor Piotr BeczaÅ, and bass René Pape. They are joined by the Westminster Symphonic Choir under the direction of Joe Miller. The Barenboim-Said Foundation USA will host a benefit reception with Daniel Barenboim, Mariam C. Said, and members of the orchestra in the Shorin Club room at Carnegie Hall immediately after the concert on Saturday; tickets to the reception are available by calling (347) 689-9429.

The final concert on February 3 will be aired on WQXR 105.9 FM: New York's classical music radio station and on stations nationwide as part of the Carnegie Hall Live broadcast and digital series, produced by WQXR and Carnegie Hall in collaboration with American Public Media and hosted by WQXR's Jeff Spurgeon and American Public Media's Fred Child. Concerts in the series are available for live streaming on and During every live broadcast, WQXR, Carnegie Hall, and digital partner NPR Music host live web chats including Twitter commentary by the broadcast team from backstage and in the control room, connecting national and international fans to the music and to each other.

Indie Film at the Royal Toronto: Igor Drljaca's Krivina Opens Jan 25 2013

From a media release:

directed by Igor Drljaca
opens January 25, 2013
at the Royal Cinema, Toronto

Director Igor Drljaca will be on hand for Q+As on January 25 and 26, following the screenings.

(Toronto)  A quietly chilling and finely surreal meditation confronting traumas of the past, director Igor Drljaca's debut feature, Krivina, returns to Toronto for its theatrical release following its world premiere at TIFF - and right before its international premiere at the Rotterdam International Film Festival - for an exclusive engagement at The Royal, starting Friday January 25.

Krivina tells the story of Miro, an immigrant from the former Yugoslavia living in Toronto. Miro is restless, and never stays in one place for long. He decides to leave Toronto and move again after he finds out that his friend Dado, who has been missing for almost two decades, is now wanted for war crimes. Driven by a desire to find his friend, Miro embarks on a trip through Bosnia.

"After spending nearly three years trying to finish Krivina, I began to realize that it was my own therapeutic journey," says Drljaca, "as I struggled to understand both my complicated birth country former Yugoslavia, and my adopted one, Canada. Krivina's primary resource was a group of very talented individuals in the Toronto film community, so it's an immense joy to be able to show and experience the film with a Toronto audience."

Born in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and because of the war, Igor Drljaca moved to Canada in 1993 with his family. He completed his Master's in Film Production at York University's graduate program in 2011. His 2010 short film, Woman in Purple was made as part of the Sarajevo City of Film Grant, and has screened at dozens of international festivals, including Telluride Film Festival, Tampere Film Festival, Palm Springs Shortfest, and Sarajevo FF. While primarily a fiction filmmaker, he continues to explore new territories and make hybrid and non-fiction work. The Fuse: Or How I Burned Simon Bolivar is his first non-fiction film, which was  chosen as one of Canada's Top Ten short films of 2011. It has screened at various festivals including; Toronto IFF, SXSW, Melbourne IFF, Cinema du Reel, Los Angeles FF, Sarajevo FF, and Era New Horizons FF.

Lyrics from Lockdown at the National Black Theatre Harlem NY Jan 25 to Feb 24 2013

From a media release:

written and performed by Bryonn Bain
directed by Mei Ann Teo
produced by Harry Belafonte & Gina Belafonte and Dr. Barbara Ann Teer's National Black Theatre, in association with The Correctional Association of New York

January 25 - February 24, 2013
National Black Theatre
2031 Fifth Avenue (Between 125th & 126th Streets)
Harlem, NY

Tickets available online here

Here is what Producer Harry Belafonte says about Bryonn Bain and the production:

"Shortly after producing the film Beat Street, in the years that followed, I grew frustrated with Hip Hop. I was disillusioned by how many artists have turned their backs on social responsibility. The world needs to see how Bryonn Bain's LYRICS FROM LOCKDOWN carries the tradition of joining art and activism as an instrument for justice - at a time when the prison system has our communities in crisis."

LYRICS FROM LOCKDOWN begins a limited engagement January 25-February 24, 2013 at the National Black Theater. Tickets are $35 with discount rates for groups, students and seniors. To purchase tickets visit, call 212.868.4444 or go to the National Black Theatre Box Office at 2031 Fifth Avenue (125th & 126th Streets).

Written and performed by Nuyorican Slam Poetry Champion, Brooklyn activist, educator and performing artist Bryonn Bain and directed by Mei Ann Teo, LYRICS FROM LOCKDOWN, weaves the voices of over 40 characters into an extraordinary, internationally acclaimed tour de force. This groundbreaking multimedia production uses a live band and video DJ, fusing hip hop, theater, spoken word, rhythm and blues, comedy, calypso and classical music, to tell the unbelievably true story that followed an unbelievable case of racial profiling, mistaken identity and wrongful incarceration.

BRYONN BAIN is Brooklyn's own prison activist, spoken word poet, hip hop artist, actor, author and educator. Described by Cornel West as an artist who "…speaks his truth with a power we desperately need to hear," Bain's discussions and debates have aired weekly in 28 million homes worldwide on BET's award-winning talk show My Two Cents. His interviews have included guests including Jim Jones, LL Cool J, Snoop Dogg, Ciara, Damon Dash, Malik Yoba, Omali Yeshitela and Malik Zulu Shabazz.

Wrongfully imprisoned during his second year at Harvard Law, Bryonn sued the NYPD, was interviewed by Mike Wallace on 60  Minutes, and wrote the Village Voice cover story - "Walking While Black" - which drew the largest response in the history of the nation's most widely-read progressive newspaper. Bain's grassroots organization, Blackout Arts Collective, which developed the  annual Lyrics on Lockdown Tour, has reached prisons in 25 states, and spawned a series of university courses using the arts to teach critical literacy in correctional facilities. His new book, The Ugly Side of Beautiful: Rethinking Race and Prisons in America, will be published in 2013 by Third World Press.

Visual Arts at Harbourfront Toronto: True North Jan 26 - Apr 14 2013 (Opening Jan 25)

From a media release:

Harbourfront Toronto
January 26 - April 14, 2013

True North
Kim Dorland, David R. Harper, Catherine Lane, Lisa Myers, Luke Painter, David Trautrimas, and Douglas Walker
Curated by Patrick Macaulay

Opening is Friday January 25 from 6 to 10pm

TORONTO - The myth and imagery of the North is embedded in Canada’s national identity. We are smug about our ability to suffer extreme conditions. We are gratified with the increasing centimetres of snow outside our door in a seeming test of endurance. We are convinced of our connections to wilderness and excel in developing technology and innovating our industries to cope with challenging and vast environments. We routinely surpass many other nations in winter sport and recreation.

But in reality, the majority of Canadians live in the most southern regions of this country. Do we really comprehend the “true north?” How do we define this north? Is a “true north” only to be found subsequent to certain latitudes? Is the “true north” merely a romantic ideal that includes the requisite snow-dusted forest and serene lake? Do we consider that this symbolic national “true north” differs from the geographical north, a place that is home to a diversity of communities?

This exhibition brings together seven artists who create work addressing many conceptions of north. Rather than claiming to give definitive answers to the notion of the “true north” these artists illustrate an array of perspectives investigating the myth, imagined and lived experiences.

– Patrick Macaulay,
Head, Visual Arts, Harbourfront Centre

- Luke Painter. Baffin Island/Fortress of Solitude (detail), 2013. Computer generated animation. Image courtesy of the artist.
- David Trautrimas. The Metric Movement, 2012. Baltic Birch & Acrylic. Image courtesy of the artist.

Songwriters' Rendezvous: Benoît LeBlanc and Soozi Schlanger January 25 2013 in Toronto

From a media release:

Benoît LeBlanc and Soozi Schlanger rendezvous
Friday, January 25, 2013 at 8:00pm
The Royal Conservatory - Toronto

If there is one thing that all Canadians share, it is our close relationship with the songs that have defined our landscape and character. That's the idea behind Chansongs, a series of rendezvous bringing together songwriters who represent the best of the Montréal and Toronto music scenes.

Curated and hosted by Dominique Denis, Artistic Director at Alliance Française, these bilingual soirées combine music and personal stories to celebrate the craft of songwriting. The Conservatory Theatre's intimate setting will provide the audience a chance to interact in both languages with the artists.

Our second Chansongs songwriters rendezvous, featuring Benoît LeBlanc and Soozi Schlanger, can best be described as a meeting of kindred spirits.

One of Montréal's true musical treasures, Benoît LeBlanc's universe draws from the raw emotions of roots music and the perfectly crafted songs of Félix Leclerc and Richard Desjardins. It was only natural that his path would lead him to Soozi Schlanger, who has emerged from the world of Toronto's legendary band Swamperella to craft a visceral yet articulate body of work, informed by her love of traditional music and her gift for storytelling. Few songwriters, in any genre, are capable of hitting the bull's eye so frequently and accurately.

These great artists will swap stories and professional secrets, reminding us that the love of songs - and the desire to share them - is the surest way to bridge the gap between our so-called solitudes.

Chansongs, part of the Royal Conservatory's Montréal á Toronto series, is presented in association with the Songwriters Association of Canada.

Chansongs: Benoît LeBlanc and Soozi Schlanger
Friday, January 25, 2013 at 8:00pm
Conservatory Theatre at The Royal Conservatory
TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning, 273 Bloor Street West, Toronto

• Tickets are $25 and include GST and service charges
• Tickets are available online at, by calling 416.408.0208 or in person at the Weston Family Box Office

The Interior Design Show Jan 24 to 27 2013 in Toronto

From a media release:

The Interior Design Show
January 24 – 27, 2013
Metro Toronto Convention Centre

The Interior Design Show (IDS13), Canada’s Design Fair, is back in Toronto from January 24 to 27, 2013. The newest and most innovative in international and Canadian products are annually presented by 300 exhibitors. Inspirational exhibits feature both emerging and established designers and highlight international interior, architecture and industrial design trends.

– IDS13 Trends
Trend – Mix It Up: Brave Blending of Colour and Pattern
On Opening Night KIA will unveil a unique exhibit at IDS showcasing four cars wrapped in colourful, custom patterns created by Karim Rashid, Christiane Lemieux, Douglas Coupland and Jürgen Mayer H. Show goers will also see how other exhibitors are embracing colour and pattern this year through various designs.

Trend – Back to Nature: Use of Natural Materials
Throughout the show visitors will notice multiple exhibitors featuring items that highlight the beauty found in natural materials like wood and stone.

Trend – Accessible High Design
After visiting design capitals from New York to Tokyo, Designboom’s finely curated pop-up shop makes its Canadian debut featuring works by emerging designers from around the world. Designboom Mart offers high-profile design in a familiar street market style setting. More than 200 design objects, small furniture items and lighting projects (prototypes and/or limited edition pieces) will be on display, each created by a different international design professional. Visitors can purchase intelligent, useful and quirky pieces for a symbolic price between $1 - $100. The sales from these affordable pieces help fund the designers’ trip to Toronto and also provide an international showcase opportunity otherwise unavailable to young designers.

Trend – Craft Redefined
IDS visitor will see craftsmanship, rooted in both Canadian and international cultural influences, refined to create unique contemporary pieces that still allude to the historical traditions from the city or country of inspiration.

Trend – Inspired Work Spaces
Technological advances coupled with the rapid adoption of mobile technology mean, for many people, a permanent office space has been rendered obsolete. Two features at IDS explore inspired work spaces: How Do You Work? presented by Steel Space Productions challenged four design teams to explore the boundaries and balance of work and play by transforming empty shipping containers into modern work spaces. Another IDS feature, WORK.SPACE presented by National Bank, curated by Trend Hunter and designed by Jentry Chin, is a showcase of 23 of the most innovative offices from around the world.

Other Highlights:

OneXOne Blu Dot Auction

Blu Dot Real Good Chairs, up for bid, as part of an auction raising money for OneXOne children’s charity. Each chair will feature a different digital design by a designer, artist, fashion designer or illustrator. ONEXONE (, does critical work to improve the health, wellness and vitality of children around the globe. Participating designers include Charles Pachter, moimoidesign, WeKillYou, Oeuffice, Doublenaut, Burton Kramer, Marian Bantjes and many more.

Design Icons presented by KIA.
Displaying the coolest design classics in this larger-than-life exhibition, where five iconic designs will be showcased as attendees enter the Interior Design Show.

Studio North, Limited Edition & Prototype presented by NATIONAL BANK and supported by PDLab and Metropolis Magazine.
The Studio North, Limited Edition and Prototype sections are promoted as one of the highlights of IDS. It is hosted in a gallery-like space on the show floor presenting independent design at its best. Brand new products that have never been sold in Canada before.

Prototype & Studio North Exhibitors:

Tahir Mahmood – Accessories, Lori Harrison – Accessories & Furniture, Oliver Yaphe – Floorcoverings, Christopher Solar – Furniture, Zac Ridgely – Lighting, Nick Day – Furniture, Six Point Un – Furniture, Rollout – Wallpaper Studio Garneau – Furniture, Randall S. Orr, Flavour Furniture – Furniture, McKaskel Haindl

CD Concert Launch: Pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico Performs Visions: Rhapsodies & Fantasias Jan 22 2013 in Toronto

From a media release:

Launching World Premiere Centrediscs CD Set - January 22 2013 at the Gould


Piano virtuoso Christina Petrowska Quilico performs a concert launching the world premiere of a two-CD Centrediscs recording, Visions: Rhapsodies & Fantasias, Tuesday, January 22, 2013, 7:30 p.m. at the Glenn Gould Studio, 250 Front Street W., Toronto.

The concert features the evocative, exhilarating and profoundly individual music of Constantine Caravassilis.

Tickets, $20, $15 students and seniors, are available from the Roy Thomson Hall box office,, phone 416-872-4255.

The two-CD recording is the result of the awarding of the inaugural Harry Freedman Recording Award jointly to Petrowska Quilico and Caravassilis in 2010.  It is also made possible by a recording grant from the Ontario Arts Council.

The January 22 concert promises to be an extraordinary evening of music and art. It features works from Constantine Caravassilis' complete books of Rhapsodies and  Fantasias for solo piano - most receiving their world premieres. As Petrowska Quilico describes them, "They are visions in sound, transcending lyricism to become a dramatic opera for the keyboard."

The concert is presented by Summers International.

Petrowska Quilico - who brings a rare combination of virtuosity, adventurousness and dedication to contemporary music - has created some 100 paintings, all inspired by the music.  They will be screened before and after the concert and during intermission, and some are being printed in the CD program book. The Canadian Music Centre in Toronto will subsequently display them in an exhibition. Petrowska Quilico is also the author and artist of Opera Illustrated, a critically acclaimed book of drawings, published in 1994.

It is no surprise that the composer's virtuosic piano works should inspire these paintings.  In Caravassilis's synaesthetic* musical "vision", musical sounds are linked to color and movement. 

His music is also intimately connected to his Hellenic roots, drawing inspiration from ancient Greek mythology and Byzantine music, while also reflecting his strong affinity for classical music that ranges from the baroque to impressionism. 

Caravassilis praises Christina Petrowska Quilico for not only her vast experience in premiering and recording new music, but also for her command of the standard repertoire, as well as her formidable technique. He adds, "Discovering the odd wrong note in the scores and choosing to keep it for its 'spicier' sound has been one of the many moments of joy in working together with this singular artist."