Sunday, June 30, 2013

African Reggae Star Alpha Blondy Headlines Afrofest - July 6 & 7 2013 in Toronto

Update July 6:
Here's a post with bit of the shows that I caught - including Alpha Blondy

From a release:

Music Africa Presents
Afrofest Toronto 2013
July 6 & 7 2013
Woodbine Park - 1pm to 10pm daily
Free - rain or shine

See map

Toronto’s largest celebration of African music, heritage and culture is back for its 25th year! Afrofest 2013 will take place Saturday July 6 and Sunday July 7, at Woodbine Park, Lakeshore Boulevard East and Coxwell Avenue. Presented by Music Africa, the vibrant two-day festival is a chance to immerse yourself in the beauty and diversity of the African continent.

Michael Stohr, President of Music Africa, says Afrofest was formed from a vision to broaden and challenge the stereotypes of Africa. "Afrofest brings Africans together in celebration while educating all visitors about the vast diversity of the continent,” says Stohr. The colourful festival will feature performances by top international groups and local stars of African music, along with dancing, drumming and theatre.

This year’s stellar Main Stage line up will feature Alpha Blondy (Ivory Coast), one of the world’s most popular reggae artists and classic highlife  singer Jewel Ackah (Ghana).  Also performing are Culture Force (Nigeria), Njacko Backo and Kalimba Kalimba (Cameroon), Okavango African Orchestra (Trans Africa) Waleed Kush (Sudan), Donne Roberts (Madagascar), Kae Sun (Ghana), Ijo Vudu (Nigeria), Jean Asamoah (Ivory Coast) and more.  We will keep you posted with additional updates!

In addition to the performances on the Main Stage, the popular Baobab Stage will have non-stop activity with music and dance workshops and performances by the rising stars of African music.  This year’s line up includes workshops by Sani Abu (Dance), Amadou Kienou (Drum), Evelyn Mukwedeya (Mbira), Bokwa Demos (Dance), performances by Runs Tee, Concept Books, Jemini, Destiny, Hodan Hussein, VITAL, Spoken, Star 5 and more.

The Children's Village provides organized fun and educational activities for youth including: face painting, working with clay, storytelling, beading, a drum area, easels for painting and more.  Belinda Ageda will again coordinate activities with additional story telling by Ruth Danziger.

In the bustling African marketplace there will be an impressive display of authentic African arts, crafts and traditional dishes representing the culinary scene of Africa and the Diaspora.

Afrofest has truly become a summer tradition in Toronto!

This year, 89.5 FM CIUT will be returning to broadcast the event LIVE in Southern Ontario and worldwide at

• Image of Alpha Blondy at Solidays Festival, 2008 (Hippodrome de Longchamp, France) - 4 July 2008; Source - Author KellyChlew

Main Stage – Broadcast live on CIUT 89.5FM
• Saturday 6th July

DJ Apollo
Akwaba Cultural Exchange (Ivory Coast) 1:15pm
Mohamed Diaby and Manding Foli Kan Don (Guinea) 2:15pm
Kae Sun (Ghana) 3:15pm
Waleed Abdulhamid (Sudan) 4:30pm
Donne Roberts (Madagascar) 5:40pm
Blaise LaBamba (Congo) 6:50
Alpha Blondy (Ivory Coast) 8:45pm

• Sunday 7th July
Maracatu Mar Alberto (Brazil) 1:15pm
Amadou Keinou (Burkina Faso) 2:15pm
Ijo Vudu (Nigeria) 3:15pm
Okavango African Orchestra (Africa) 4:15pm
Culture Force (Nigeria) 5:45pm
Njacko Backo & Kalimba Kalimba (Cameroon)  7:15pm
Jewel Ackah (Ghana) 9:00pm

Baobab Stage - Presented by G98.7FM
• Saturday 6th July

DJ Magicflow   1:00pm
Sani Abu    1:45pm
Amadou Keinou 2:30pm
DJ Magicflow    3:00pm
Spoken    3:55pm
Fashion Show  4:15pm
Jemini  4:45pm
DJ Flowmaster  5:05pm
Yusra Khogali  5:35pm
Dance Competition   5:55pm
Yusra Khogali   6:35pm
Ozee Bee 6:50pm
Quabena Maphia  7:15pm
Blandine 7:45pm
Destiny  8:30pm

• Sunday 7th July
DJ Vanestin  1:15pm
Bokwa Demos   1:45pm
Evelyn Mukwedeya  2:20pm
Multinational Fashion Show   2:55pm
Hodan Hussein  3:25pm
Team GLR   3:55pm
Koncept Dance Group   4:30pm
TK Smoothe   4:55pm
Maria Da Silva   5:15pm
Runs Tee   5:40pm
Dance Competition Finals  6:00pm
Concept Books 6:45pm
Trinity    7:30pm
Neza      8:15pm
Star 5        8:30pm

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 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 gratefully acknowledges the support of the Department of Canadian Heritage, Ontario Arts Council and Toronto Arts Council.

Dance at Toronto Fringe: Dabda July 5- 14 2013

From a media release:

part of the Toronto Fringe Festival
July 5 - 14, 2013
(see schedule below)

“Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being.”
~ Albert Camus

Do you remember what it felt like to be a teenager, struggling to define yourself in the face of a world you can’t control? How much would you sacrifice to feel free? Alvinhayle presents DABDA, an original coming-of-age story of seven affluent teenagers in the 1940’s and their journey to find themselves through acts of rebellion, self-liberation and freedom of expression. Combining contemporary dance, fashion and indie music, DABDA is a heartfelt story you do not want to miss. Created by Alvin Collantes & Hayley Paone in collaboration with the ensemble, DABDA plays at Factory Theatre Mainspace as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival July 5-14, 2013.  

• Tickets are available via, by telephone at 416-966-1062(ext.1), or at the door.

DABDA invites you to join these young people on an evening they will never forget. The seven friends escape a posh family Fourth of July ball - and a promise to keep an eye on a little sister - to attend an impromptu underground beach soiree, strictly for teenagers only. The night that follows is filled with innocence and temptation, inhibitions, independence, and love. Ira and her friends push their limits in hopes of discovering freedom. But the plot thickens as they begin to understand the consequences of their actions the morning after Independence Day, and find out there is more to learn about growing up than just being free…

DABDA is a multi-disciplinary, multimedia storytelling experience in dance form.  DABDA’s dramaturgical composition fearlessly employs the language of human gesture and physical expression within contemporary dance movement to tell a wholly-articulated story. The human relationship, conflicts, and emotions of the story are fully realized by this young company using only the dancers’ bodies as medium to interact and communicate with each other, and the audience.

The DABDA ensemble features performances by vibrant up-and-coming talents Sydney McManus, Kelly Shaw, Taveeta Szymanowicz, Tamerra Herres, Amanda Donato, Andrea Galizia, Thomas Colford,Christopher Duarte, Andrew Dragert, Darian Mark, and Zac Rivest.

Project DABDA is a creative partnership between Alvin Collantes (Top 40 Finalist for seasons 3 & 4 of CTV’s So You Think You Can Dance Canada) and Hayley Paone (Artistic Director of iNhayle Dance Company). Exploring new avenues in choreography and composition, Paone and Collantes have performed various collaborations since 2009, including Toronto’s Original Choreographer’s Ball. In 2013, they founded Project DABDA, a creative collaboration lab offering dance artists the opportunity to work with local artists of other mediums.

Show information for DABDA:
Venue:  Factory Theatre Mainspace at 125 Bathurst Street, Toronto (Bathurst at Adelaide)

Fri July 5 – 10:30pm
Sat July 6 – 9:15pm
Sun July 7 – 8:45pm
Tue July 9 – 1:15pm
Wed July 10 – 12:00pm
Fri July 12 – 11:00pm
Sun July 14 – 3:30pm

Please note there is absolutely no latecomer seating.
• Tickets: $10 at the door (cash only) or $11 in advance ($9 + $2 SC, Visa or MasterCard) via or 416-966-1062 ext. 1

Monday, June 24, 2013

Turbo Balkan: Briga Takes 'Contes Turbo/Folk Stories' on Tour July - September 2013

With material from a media release:

Briga: Contes Turbo/ Folk Stories (2012)
Canadian and US Summer tour, July-September 2013

• See Tour Dates Below

Montreal based Briga is on tour this summer into the fall, bringing their Balkan-flavoured music to North America.

Briga's music is complex yet accessible, flavoured above all by firebrand fiddler Briga and her moody violin. Their latest album, Turbo Folk Stories (Turbos Contes) offers shifts in mood from exuberant to bittersweet and pensive along with a range of influences. Certainly, the Balkans are never far from the sonic mix but at times you can hear Indian and Afro-Cuban drumming on the tablas and other percussion instruments and at times it strays into straight up jazz and even emotive alt/prog rock.

Briga trained with Romany violinist Carmen Piculeatax and Bulgarian Georgi Yanev and her playing is drenched in the subtleties and expressionism of Eastern Europe and gypsy violin. She cut her performing teeth playing Romany weddings and her passion and exuberance lights up the music. My favourites on the album are track #4 - Lela - a sultry cabaret-style tune sung in French and track #8 - Moje Brat Mitko - a dancey song with a fat Hammond B3.

The songs are often playful and danceable, yet complex enough to interest a true music lover.

“Much of the music that has inspired me comes from a complex relationship between the emotions, love and hate, drinking and dancing,” muses Briga. “It’s a hyper-saturated photo, with all the melodrama and tragicomedy you can manage.”

That mix of wild joy and shadowy intensity, of quirky playfulness bumping up against pensive bittersweetness (“On the 40”), comes through in Briga’s songs and interpretations of classic Balkan forms (“Vihor”). The teasing vocals, supple violin line, and driving accordion of “Lela” would feel utterly at home in some long-lost, smoky post-Hapsburg cabaret (right down to the French lyrics), while the raucous “Night at the Officers Club” twinkles with Balkanesque Turbo-pop flourishes. Instrumentals like “Duj Duj” groove hard, effortlessly melding the exuberance of Roma-style violin and lively tupan (drum) with the polish and funk of jazz and rock.

July 4-7 2013 - TD Sunfest - London, ON
July 9, 2013 - San Francisco - Venue TBA
July 10, 2013 - The Palms - Winters, CA
July 11, 2013 - The Ashkenaz - Berkeley, CA
July 12-13, 2013 - California Worldfest - Chico, CA
July 14, 2013 - Harrison Festival of the Arts - Harrison Hot Springs, BC
July 18-21, 2013 - Vancouver Folk Festival
July 27-28, 2013 - Mission Folk Festival - Mission, BC
August 9-11, 2013 - Regina Folk Festival
August 13, 2013 - Saskatoon, SK - Venue TBA
August 15, 2013 - North Bay, ON - Venue TBA
August 16-18, 2013 - Markham Jazz Festival - Markham, ON
September 2, 2013 - Rhythm and Roots Festival - Charleston, RI
September 28, 2013 - Small World Music Festival - Toronto, ON

Visual Arts: No Dull Affairs @ ONsite at OCAD continues till September 2013 in Toronto

No Dull Affairs
ONsite at OCAD
featuring Jillian McDonald, Karen Lofgren & Vanessa Maltese
curated by Lisa Deanne Smith
230 Richmond Street West (Toronto)
Show continues to September 2013

This show features the work of three artists in the spare gallery that looks out on Richmond Street. The urban and minimalist environment seemed appropriate to the work in varying ways.

Jillian McDonald is the 2012 Glenfiddich Artist-in-Residence Prize recipient and she spent several months in Du making the video that's in the show. At the opening, (where I discovered an unfortunately expensive fondness for 15-year old single malt) she mentioned spending about two months shooting daily with another couple of months in post production working on animations and other effects. The film - The Valley of the Deer - was actually shot in the iconic valley and the effects are haunting and atmospheric. Based loosely on Scottish myths about the hunting of the stag, the film plays with those icons - the stag, the purple thistles, the shaggy brown cows, kilts, sheep - and the authentic setting makes it naturalistic rather than stereotypical. Its pace is languid and dreamy, fitting for what is really a love letter to the mythical landscape and its magic.

The otherworldly video is contrasted by the starkly modern and minimalist work of the other two artists. Karen Lofgren's metal pieces, including Stabilizer #2 that wraps around the corner of a column in the centre of the gallery. The installations are polished and industrial in flavour but with a variable finish that's quite beautiful close up. While her metal pieces have a utilitarian and deconstructivist flair, the Extrusion Series consists of cylindrical sculptures inspired by the samples extracted from the earth. Despite the weighty subject matter, the pieces are lighthearted, even amusing in their rubbery texture and colourful swirls.

The curator's notes talk about the influence of artists like Kandisnksy and Mondrian on Vanessa Maltese but I was most reminded of Paul Klee's Twittering Machine when I saw her delightful Primary Track; Zag; and Zig - Part A as it was laid out on the floor and suspended from the ceiling. It captures a sense of complexity and also fragility; the pieces move slightly as people pass. It has a sense of fun and imagination.

There are guided tours available during the summer:

June 26 - 6:30pm - Insite Curator's Tour
July 10 - 6:30pm - Insite Exhibition Tour with Lucas Soi, Director/Curator at Soi Fischer
September 25 - 6:30pm - Insite Exhibition Tour with VLadimiar Spicanovic, Dean, OCAD's Faculty of Art

Jillian McDonald is a Canadian artist living in New York. Jillian, the 2012 Canadian Glenfiddich Artist-in-Residence Prize recipient (one of only eight artists in the world selected each year) has recently returned from Dufftown Scotland. No Dull Affairs will feature Jillian’s stunningly beautiful and haunting new work, “Valley of the Deer,” which brings her residency experience full circle. The cutting edge nature and evolution of her participation-based video art work speaks to the pioneering spirit of the Glenfiddich Prize. Her work was featured in a 2013 radio documentary by Paul Kennedy on CBC's Ideas, she has been reviewed in publications including The New York Times, Art Papers, The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, and Border Crossings; and appears in several books including Better Off Dead edited by Sarah Juliet Lauro.

Karen Lofgren is a Toronto-born Los Angeles-based artist who received her MFA from CalArts and an AOCAD from OCAD University. Solo exhibitions include Machine Project, Pitzer Art Galleries, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, royale projects : contemporary art and Armory Center for the Arts. Group exhibitions include Los Angeles County Museum of Art, High Desert Test Sites and Human Resources for Pacific Standard Time. Her work has been featured in Artforum critic’s picks, LA Weekly, and the LA Times, as well as books, catalogues, and album covers. Awards include Canada Council for the Arts and Durfee Foundation grants.

Vanessa Maltese lives and works in Toronto and holds a BFA from OCAD University. The National Winner in the 2012 RBC Canadian Painting Competition, she has presented two solo exhibitions at Toronto's Erin Stump Projects. Maltese will soon be exhibiting in a group show at Wil Aballe Art Projects in Vancouver.

Lisa Deanne Smith is engaged in a cultural practice that moves between multiple mediums — art, events, curation, writing and arts administration — exploring issues of voice, experience and power. Recent curatorial projects at Onsite [at] OCAD University include Ads for People: Selling Ethics in the Digital Age and I Wonder by Marian Bantjes.

Toronto Monologue Slam - June 23, 2013 (and Future Dates)

Toronto Monologue Slam
Drake Underground - Toronto
June 23, 2013

Check the link for future dates

Last night, I checked out the Toronto Monologue Slam at the Drake Underground. It's a semi-regular showcase for young Toronto acting talent and a hugely entertaining event.

It's the brain child of actor Oluniké Adeliyi (Flashpoint, Saw3D, French Immersion - pictured left), and showcases 11 or 12 actors in a kind of competition. After a first round of monologues, the judges - which include casting and other industry professionals - choose the finalists for the second round, for which the actors perform the same monologue on a theme chosen by the judges.

June's winner was Akosua Amo-Adem, a first time performer at the Slam who set the tone as the first one up with a powerful portrayal of a betrayed wife. With only a few minutes to make an impression, she was able to flesh out a believable portrait and has a nice sense of physical presence on the stage.

If you're an actor, the Monologue Slam is a chance to network and keep your skills sharp during those sometimes long gaps between auditions and performances. Many of the actors wrote their own monologues and it's a chance to test drive your material live and experiment in a supportive environment.

The Drake's Underground was packed and the audience noisily enthusiastic. The talent pool in Toronto runs pretty deep and the monologues offer a range of everything from drama to comedy at an impressive level.

You don't need to be an acting professional to enjoy hearing casting professionals and their critiques; there's real insight into the acting process, what works and what doesn't on stage. It's an entertaining night out and your chance to see the city's up and coming theatre artists.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Vieux Farka Touré: New CD (Mon Pays - Six Degrees Records) and North American Tour June/July/August 2013

Update July 1, 2013

A little taste of Vieux last night at Toronto's Harbourfront in concert:

From a media release:

Recently Released:
Vieux Farka Touré
Mon Pays – May 28 2013 on Six Degrees Records

His homeland in crisis, Touré responds with music

‘I wanted to pay homage to our musical heritage,’ says a reflective Vieux Farka Touré. Being that his native Mali has been splintered by territorial fighting between Tuareg and Islamic rebels since January 2012, his new album, Mon Pays (Six Degrees Records), is devoted to reminding the world about the beauty and culture of his homeland.

‘For me it is a statement for the world that this land is for the sons and daughters of Mali, not for Al Qaeda or any militants. This land is for peace and beauty, rich culture and tolerance.This is our heritage, what we must always fight to protect in any way that we can. For me, that means making music that reminds the world of who we are.’

Translating as ‘My Country,’ this predominantly acoustic undertaking had been planned before the invasions began. Inspired by his work with Israeli pianist and vocalist Idan Raichel, Touré initially went into a Bamako studio to honor the acoustic blues tradition of Northern and Southern Mali. Since that time, Mon Pays transformed into an artifact of cultural preservation.

Free download:

The conflict in Mali includes a ban on music and a resurgence of slavery. Touré speaks directly to such tragedies on ‘Yer Gando.’ With its call-and-response style vocals and Souleyman Kane’s calabash rhythm, the song warns of foreign invaders robbing Mali of its heritage. Similarly, he declares that his nation belongs to every citizen on ‘Kele Magni.’

Two songs with English titles—‘Future’ and ‘Peace’—are directly inspired by this situation. The instrumental gems feature Sidiki Diabate’s kora leading an emotional charge complemented by Touré’s spectacular guitar work, as well as subtle percussion flourishes by Tim Keiper.

Both of these songs represent an important generational shift—Sidiki’s father, Toumani, was a close friend of Vieux’s father Ali. Their two records together, In the Heart of the Moon and Ali and Toumani, were awarded Grammies. At the 2011 ceremonies, Vieux accepted the prestigious award for his father, who had recently passed from bone cancer.

‘The most important thing is for the people of Mali to remember that whatever is happening now, we all have a future and it is up to us to create it today,’ Touré says. ‘‘Peace’ is quite simple and speaks for itself. There is nothing more important to our country.’

The young guitarist remembers his father on ‘Safare,’ written by the elder Touré. He pays homage to a family friend by reinventing the traditional folk song, ‘Diack So.’ One of his favorites from the abundant African catalog, the sweet melody was not the only thing that drew him in.

‘It is a homage to the great Diack So, who was a singer and guitarist from my father’s generation who was destroyed by alcohol. I feel like it is similar to the music of the north being destroyed by the Islamists. Mostly, I wanted to preserve his memory and pay tribute to him.’

Tour Dates:
June 23, 2013 @ Performance Works, Vancouver, BC, Canada
June 24, 2013 @ Sugar Nightclub, Victoria, BC, Canada
June 25 & 26, 2013 @ Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley,  Seattle, WA
June 27, 2013 @ The Wild Buffalo, Bellingham, WA
June 28, 2013 @ Mississippi Studios, Portland, OR
June 30, 2013 @ Harbourfront Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada
July 1, 2013 @ Zaphod Beeblebrox, Ottawa, ON, Canada
July 3, 2013 @ Club Soda, Montreal, QC, Canada
July 5, 2013 @ Iron Horse, Northampton, MA
July 6, 2013 @ Higher Ground, South Burlington, VT
July 9, 2013 @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis, MN
July 10,2013 @ Vaudeville Mews, Des Moines, IA
July 11, 2013 @ La Fete de Marquette, Madison, WI
July 13, 2013 @ Yoshis, San Francisco, CA
July 12, 2013 @ Levitt Pavilion, Pasadena, CA
July 14, 2013 @ California WorldFest, Grass Valley, CA
August 2 & 3, 2013 @ Pickathon, Happy Valley, OR
August 4, 2013 @ Crestone Music Festival, Crestone, CO
August 6, 2013 @ Walnut Room, Denver, CO
August 7, 2013 @ JAS Cafe Downstairs At The Nell, Aspen, CO

Mon Amour with the Idan Raichel Project

Saturday, June 22, 2013

African Guitar Summit June 27 2013 at Lula Lounge Toronto

From a media release:

Batuki Music Society presents an AfriCanada Day Special
featuring the AFRICAN GUITAR SUMMIT on Thursday June 27th 2013
at the Lula Lounge.

Indulge in the sounds of the finest Canadian guitarists of African origin! This star-studded collective unites the talents of 9 musicians, each an expert in their individual style and together creating musical magic with African Guitar Summit. Experience live this superb and unique achievement for African music; the mix of musicians who are distinct in cultural backgrounds and languages yet sharing stories and singing each other’s praises, the inspiration of these skilled hands and voices joined in common to reach the summit… A truly incredible experience!

Almost ten years ago, when the members of African Guitar Summit were recruited by CBC Radio for first a concert at Toronto's Glenn Gould Studio, and subsequently a recording, the idea of musicians from different backgrounds playing together was less prevalent. Not so today.

Then as now, the ensemble represented a uniquely Canadian cultural identity: "a diverse group... who have all brought... gifts of their own to this country." That reflection was substantiated both by the 2005 Juno Award won by that debut album, and by the group's appearance a few months later at the Live 8 concert in Barrie, which showcased the best of Canadian talent to an international audience. Since that breakthrough, followed by a second CD and countless kilometres of touring, African Guitar Summit remains "a miracle of compromise and teamwork: each guitarist is a lead voice in their own right, and they work with disparate styles that might otherwise seem irreconcilable"...  worthy 'musical ambassadors' for an early start to Canada Day celebrations.

The 'Toronto-combo' of African Guitar Summit for this 'AfriCanada Day Special' features: from Ghana, the elder master of the guitar, Pa Joe, with 'golden voice' Theo Boakye, the solid bass lines of Ebenezer Agyekum, and the heartbeat of drummer Kofi Ackah; from Kenya, the fiesta guitar of Professor Adam Solomon; and from Madagascar, the quicksilver guitars and harmonies of Donne Roberts, and multiple Juno Award winner Madagascar Slim.

Thursday, June 27, 2013
Lula Lounge, 1585 Dundas St. W. Toronto - Reserve for dinner to guarantee seating – 416 588 0307
Entry 8 PM, show 9 PM
$20 advance / $25 door

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

Sunday, June 16, 2013

TD Toronto Jazz Festival FREE-FOR-ALL-FRIDAY June 21 2013

From a media release:

Including FREE-FOR-ALL FRIDAY, free concerts and the complete lineup
June 21, 2013

The complete schedule of events for FREE-FOR-ALL-FRIDAY

Toronto - On Friday, June 21, the TD Toronto Jazz Festival will present its first-ever FREE-FOR-ALL FRIDAY where admission to the entire Festival is on us! Visit any participating club, venue or restaurant that day and enjoy the music free of charge.

Motown's legendary Smokey Robinson brings his classic hits to the TD Toronto Jazz Festival with a FREE concert! Feel the Motown sound move through the tent as it powers up the downtown core on Friday, June 21, at 8:00 p.m., at Nathan Phillips Square. Renowned for such hits as "Shop Around," "You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me," and "Baby That's Backatcha" and for his work as founder and frontman of the popular Motown vocal group, The Miracles, Robinson is not to be missed. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee will bring his catalogue of Motown hits with him as he kicks off summer.

Motown vocalists Martha Reeves and the Vandellas will join Robinson for the "Heat Wave," with a hot show that will have Festival-goers "Dancing in the Street" to a blend of jazz, blues, R&B, pop, doo-wop, rock and roll and soul!

Jazz will play throughout the city on June 21st for FREE, with various locations playing host to many talented performers throughout the day and late into the night. From the clubs, to the patios, to Nathan Phillips Square, travel the city and get your jazz on without a ticket.

The complete schedule of events for FREE-FOR-ALL-FRIDAY

FRIDAY, JUNE 21 FREE - some of the highlights:
Martha Reeves & The Vandellas / Smokey Robinson - Nathan Phillips Square 8pm
An Evening with Molly Johnson - Jazz Bistro 8pm          
Sondheim Project - Distillery District, Pure Spirits Patio 6pm            
Michael Dunston / Dave Young - Shops at Don Mills 8pm        
An Evening with Molly Johnson - Jazz Bistro 10:30pm

TD Toronto Jazz Festival June 20 - 29, 2013 - Highlights

From a media release:

Featuring Willie Nelson, Steve Martin, Sharon Jones, Trombone Shorty, David Sanborn
June 20 - 29, 2013

Check the website for a complete listing

Toronto –
Turn up the jazz and explore the TD Toronto Jazz Festival as it plays nonstop for 10 days, from June 20 – June 29, 2013. Uniting half a million fans at more than 60 locations across the city, the Festival is the ultimate destination for music lovers. Make the Festival your meeting place this summer and take in a breath of fresh jazz.

More than 1,500 musicians will entertain in over 350 concerts this summer. Some of the highlights the 27th edition include:

WILLIE NELSON & FAMILY - Thursday, June 20, 2013
Massey Hall – Purchase tickets online or call 416.872.4255
Tickets go on sale Thursday, February 14, 2013

NIKKI YANOFSKY – Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Tickets on sale now at Koerner Hall – online or call 416.408.0208

100 Queen Street West - Concerts start at 8pm
Tickets on sale now at Ticketmaster or by calling 1.855.985.5000

Mavis Staples / Dr. John – Saturday, June 22, 2013
John McLaughlin & Fourth Dimension – Sunday, June 23, 2013
Bob James, David Sanborn featuring Steve Gadd – Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue – Wednesday, June 26, 2013
The James Hunter Six / Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings – Thursday, June 27, 2013
Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers featuring Edie Brickell – Saturday, June 29, 2013

Festival International de Jazz de Montréal June 28 - July 7, 2013

From a media release:

10 stages, 300 concerts, 3000 artists…and it’s all free!
The free outdoor program of the 34th edition of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal
June 28 - July 7, 2013

Find out more
Jazz Fest website

Montreal —
It’s finally time to unveil the free outdoor program of the 34th edition of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, presented by TD in collaboration with Rio Tinto Alcan! In keeping with its formula, now an artistic and entertainment signature unique to Montreal, the world’s biggest jazz festival offers over 2/3 of its program free of charge!

From June 28 to July 7, this unique event sets up shop in the heart of the Quartier des Spectacles, on a site perfectly conceived to offer an unparalleled entertainment experience, drawing 2 million visits to its 10 stages and hundreds of concerts and entertainment activities in a convivial and safe atmosphere.

10 days and nights of discoveries, delights and surprises arrayed for aficionados of jazz, but also fanatics of blues, rock, world music, folk and other music genres born in the spectrum of jazz influence. In this vast range of formulas and formats - you’re guaranteed to discover a wealth of hidden treasures, gems of the next generation and essential legends, thousands of musicians invited from some thirty countries, playing electric guitars alongside balafons, double bass next to turntables, in intimate musical rendezvous and large-scale concerts in the heart of downtown, from noon into the wee hours… Yes, it’s free music at its absolute summer best!

Three major free outdoor Grands événements
The TD Stage on the Place des Festivals hosts three absolutely essential massive outdoor events to gather and delight Fest fans at 9:30 p.m. Feist gets the ball rolling on Friday, June 28 in the TD Grand Opening Event in collaboration with SiriusXM. At the midpoint of the festival, Tuesday, July 2, brilliant French songwriter-composer-producer-manager and DJ Wax Tailor ignites the party. After burning up the Métropolis in 2010 (opening for Caravan Palace) and L’Astral last year with his invigorating and cinematic blast of orchestral trip-hop and hip-hop, this leading light of the international electronica scene invites in an array of super special guests: Jennifer Charles, Charlotte Savary, Mattic, A.S.M. and Voice. On Sunday, July 7, the 34th edition of the Festival closes under the colours of Mali with 2 of its most brilliant stars, Amadou & Mariam, our Antonio Carlos-Jobim Award honorees this year! The Rio Tinto Alcan Closing Event welcomes this magical, vibrant duo, who throw a party wherever they appear and unleash a refreshing joie de vivre as powerful as their funky rhythms. Their irresistible musical chemistry reaches full potency on their 7th album, Folila, which they’ll unveil here accompanied by another luminous figure from the inexhaustible Malian music scene: Fatoumata Diawara.

Theatre Double Bill: The Way of All Fish & Miss Fozzard Finds Her Feet June 19 - 23 2013 in Toronto

From a media release:

Kourage Theatre, Cric Crac Collective & Crazy Folk Productions Present
A Double Bill Featuring Three Seasoned Actors
Previews June 19; Runs June 20-23, 2013 at Tarragon Theatre Extra Space

The Way of All Fish
By Elaine May

Miss Fozzard Finds Her Feet
By Alan Bennett


TORONTO - Kourage Theatre, Cric Crac Collective and Crazy Folk Productions (an Equity approved cooperative) present two plays for five days:  The Way of All Fish by Elaine May, and Miss Fozzard Finds Her Feet by Alan Bennett.

This entertaining double bill previews Wednesday, June 19.  It opens Thursday, June 20 and runs to Sunday, June 23, 2013 at Tarragon Theatre’s Extra Space, 30 Bridgman Avenue, Toronto.  Evening performances are 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $20 - $25, including HST; with a Pay-What-You-Can matinee Sunday, June 23, and are available from the box office at (416) 531-1827 or by visiting  Preview tickets are $15. More info on the double bill is at Kourage Theatre on Facebook.

The Way of All Fish is directed by Dian Marie Bridge (Aneemah’s Spot, Clicking Venus, Da Kink in My Hair) while Miss Fozzard Finds Her Feet is directed by Terry Tweed (Blood Brothers, Bonjour là, Bonjour, Salt-Water Moon).   Casts include three seasoned actors: Elva Mai Hoover and Tracy Rankin in Fish, and Nonnie Griffin in the solo role of Miss Fozzard.  Ms. Rankin is also producer of both plays.

The Way of All Fish by Elaine May

“It’s time for us to measure.”

A self-absorbed executive and her devoted secretary spend an unexpected evening together.  Things are suddenly not as they appear and we find one of them may have other plans in mind.  A challenging game of cat and mouse ensues.  But who's the cat and who's the mouse?  And more importantly, who is strong enough to be ...the biggest fish?

Gemini and Genie nominated, Elva Mai Hoover (Road to Avonlea, Mama, Murdoch Mysteries) stars as Ms Asquith. In 2012, Now’s Jon Kaplan named hers as one of the eight outstanding performances at the Toronto Fringe Festival.

Tracy Rankin (Three Sisters, Flashpoint, Joan Macleod’s Jewel – *****, one of the top six shows at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival) stars as Miss Riverton.

Miss Fozzard Finds Her Feet by Alan Bennett
“If you want to open the door to a lifetime of hard skin, I can’t stop you.”

Miss Fozzard, an aging store clerk, regularly has appointments with a foot care specialist.  When Miss Fozzard's chiropodist moves away, she finds herself playing footsie with a new doctor who has a foot fetish.  A saucy adventure of the feet.

Nonnie Griffin (Sister Annunciata’s Secret at the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, The Flying Avro Arrow, and the memoir Show Biz & Other Addictions) stars as Miss Fozzard.

New Jazz Releases: Coming June 18th 2013 from Capri Records - Mike Wofford's It's Personal & Chip Stephens Trio's Relevancy

From a release:

New Releases: Two fine new discs coming June 18th from Capri Records

* Pianist Mike Wofford's solo piano masterpiece, It's Personal

On this terrific CD, the acclaimed pianist and composer interprets originals, Ellington, Gillespie, Bricusse, Talking Heads and more.

Having appeared on over two hundred recordings as a sideman, pianist Mike Wofford now continues to record and perform primarily as a leader.  He has received critical acclaim for his “Live at Maybeck” volume 18 in the Concord Records solo piano series, and his 2004 CD “Live at Athenaeum Jazz” on Capri Records features bassist Peter Washington and drummer Victor Lewis. In 2007, Capri released “Live at Athenaeum Jazz, Vol. 2”, a duo CD with flutist Holly Hofmann.

In 1989, he became pianist and music director for Ella Fitzgerald until her retirement in 1992. He was also house pianist during this time at San Diego’s two national jazz clubs, Elario’s and the Horton Grand Hotel. At these venues he performed with many legendary jazz figures from Art Farmer and Charlie Haden to Slide Hampton and Ray Brown, among many others.

Wofford currently performs and tours with his own groups and as co-leader in a quartet with his wife, flutist Holly Hofmann. He is also now performing with and arranging for their string orchestra configuration focused on the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim, and Ellington/Strayhorn. He continues to be one of the most in-demand pianists in jazz, working with such artists as Charles McPherson, Kevin Mahogany, Houston Person, James Moody, Phil Woods, Kenny Burrell and Benny Golson.

Benny Golson has said, “I could sum up Mike in one word: quintessential. He is the essence of a jazz pianist in his purest and most concentrated form.” Of Mike, Shelly Manne said, “[He] is outstanding…a musician’s pianist….He inspires as he plays.”

* Chip Stephens Trio's Relevancy
Stephens, with trusted teammates Dennis Carroll on bass and Joel Spencer on drums, takes on a spectrum of material that touches on outstanding work by Carla Bley, Bill Evans, Sammy Cahn, and the acclaimed songwriting teams of Rodgers and Hart, and Van Heusen and Burke, as well as three Stephens originals that reveal his gift for lyricism and vivacious swing. The result is an album that celebrates the durable joys of the mainstream piano trio tradition while also asserting the in-the-moment creativity and intensity that can be brought to it.

Born in Ashland, Ohio, in 1964, Chip is one of the best jazz artists of “generation x”. A protegé of legendary pianist and cult figure Pat Pace of Akron, he is a veteran of the Glenn Miller, Woody Herman, and Maynard Ferguson bands. Now settled in Cleveland, he is part of a growing number of musicians demontrating that geography need not be destiny, namely that pianists far removed from the east coast can put together great trios and play convincing music. Possesing formidable technique, an advanced harmonic sense, and a restless mind, Chip’s playing combines strength with whimsy and solidity with surprise.

Chip Stephens is an anxious, energetic, and uncommonly talented pianist and composer whose work displays an impressive command of a widely varied palette of compositional and improvisational styles. It will be interesting to follow his growth pattern as he assumes a leading role among pianists heading into the 21st century.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Music, Dance and Bacon: Canada Day Weekend 2013 at Harbourfront Toronto

From a media release:

Canada Day Weekend Celebrations
June 28 to July 1, 2013

This Canada Day weekend, celebrate a new chapter in our history as we officially open the brand new Canada Square with music, dance (lots of dance!), food and spectacular 'Canada Eve Fireworks' presented by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, on Sunday, June 30.

Check the link for a full listing of events

· Urban All-Styles Dance Battle

Saturday, June 29 from 2-3:30 p.m. – WestJet Stage
Be apart of the largest outdoor dance competition by the water this summer that features a multitude of urban styles showcased by the best of Canada's dance community. Hosted by Benzo of Bag of Trix
· Spectrum - Raagini Dance Company and Jasmyn Fyffe Company
Saturday, June 29 and Sunday, June 30 from 3-5 p.m. – Redpath Stage
Spectrum is a programming initiative by Pratibha Arts that highlights common themes amongst different cultural dance and music styles. Sacred Dances highlights the spiritual nature of African and contemporary dance traditions and will be performed by the Jasmyn Fyffe Company. Rhythmic Feet highlights the rhythmic emphasis in Indian classical and urban dance and will be performed by Raagini Dance Company. Hands-on workshops on African, Indian and contemporary dance will also be featured.
· Elliott BROOD
Saturday, June 29 from 9:30-11 p.m. – WestJet Stage
Elliott BROOD's Juno-winning album Days Into Years is their third full-length recording, the follow-up to 2008's Polaris Prize short-listed Mountain Meadows. Since forming in 2002, the group has become a Canadian music institution. With Days Into Years they will bring their music, and of one of the greatest Canadian stories, to the world.
· Viex Farka Toure
June 30 from 7 to 8:30pm - WestJet Stage
Often referred to as "The Hendrix of the Sahara," you won't want to miss this rare Canadian appearance by Malian singer/guitarist Vieux Farka Touré. Vieux released his third studio album, The Secret, in 2011. The album was produced by Soulive guitarist Eric Krasno and features Dave Matthews, Derek Trucks and John Scofield. It also features the last collaboration between Touré and his late father. The album reached the #1 spot on CMJ's New World chart.
· Alex Cuba
Monday, July 1 from 2-3 p.m. – WestJet Stage
Alex Cuba is a Latin Grammy and Juno Award winner, singer-songwriter who is not tied to tradition. His melodies, pop-soul hooks and powerful guitar riffs, reflects primarily Latin and African influences, but with a mix of funk, jazz and pop.
· The World’s Largest Dance Freeze (Guinness World Record Attempt)
Monday, July 1 at 5 p.m. – Redpath Stage and surrounding area
Harbourfront Centre is attempting to set a world record by doing the largest dance freeze at our Canada Day Celebrations. Practice runs will be held throughout the weekend before the grand finale on July 1.
Monday, July 1from 1-8 p.m. –Zone 5
All things Bacon will be explored for everyone to sample, we are partnering with the best Restaurants in town that specialize in Bacon.

Toronto Dance Premiere: Cloud 9 / 7e Ciel June 27 to 29 2013

From a media release:

Cloud 9 / 7e Ciel announces Inaugural Performance
An Evening of Exceptional Dance Featuring Two World Premieres
by Award-Winning Choreographers Susie Burpee and Tedd Robinson

Performed by Seasoned Canadian Dance Artists
Sylvie Bouchard, Karen Kaeja, Claudia Moore
and guest artists Michael Sean Marye and Ron Stewart
in partnership with Young Centre for the Performing Arts
June 27 - 29, 2013

(Toronto) Cloud 9/7e Ciel is a new endeavor that promotes and incubates a new kind of future for seasoned Canadian dance artists. In partnership with the Young Centre for the Performing Arts, Cloud 9/7e Ciel presents its inaugural performance evening featuring two world premieres by acclaimed choreographer Susie Burpee and Tedd Robinson. These stunning works will be performed by Cloud 9/7e Ciel founders/co-artistic directors Sylvie Bouchard, Karen Kaeja and Claudia Moore with guest artists Michael Sean Marye and Ron Stewart on June 27-29, 2013 in the Young Centre's Tank House Theatre.

Tedd Robinson, one of Canada's most esteemed dance smiths, has created a thirty-minute ensemble work for Cloud 9/7e Ciel to the music of Chopin featuring all five dancers. Sylvie Bouchard, Karen Kaeja and Claudia Moore will also perform a twenty-minute trio choreographed for them by Susie Burpee.

These commissions are rife with the complexities of human relationship. They encompass both the humour and the darkness of life in compelling physical language. The senior performers of Cloud 9/7e Ciel - brave, bold and exquisite - bring years of experience and artistry to their uplifting and courageous performances in the intimate setting of the Tank House Theatre.

Cloud 9/7e Ciel promotes accomplished Canadian dance artists who are passionate, award winning and highly driven. As the founders and co-artistic directors of this new collective, Sylvie Bouchard, Karen Kaeja and Claudia Moore have joined forces to bridge a void in the Canadian dance scene - the creation of a senior dance ensemble. Throughout their long and distinguished careers, they have founded MOonhORsE Dance Theatre, Older and Reckless, CORPUS, Dusk Dances, Kaeja d'Dance, and Festival of Interactive Physics. With Cloud 9, they commission brilliant choreographers for dancers over 45 years old, to perform masterful dance works on the world stage.

Cloud 9 / 7e Ciel
June 27 - 29, 2013 at 8pm Preview: June 26 at 8pm | Matinee: June 29 at 2pm
Young Centre for the Performing Arts
Distillery Historic District, 50 Tank House Lane, Toronto
For tickets call 416-866-8666 or visit
Regular Admission - $25 | Student, Senior CADA - $18 | Preview - $15
Information: 416-504-6429 x 24

Images by Cylla von Tiedemann

Musicians on Film: Indiecan Entertainment Presents The Sheepdogs Have At It - Opening June 21, 2013 in Toronto

From a media release:

Indiecan Entertainment presents
Directed by John Barnard

Opens in Toronto – June 21, 2013
Cineplex Yonge + Dundas

Also opens in:
Saskatoon – June 19 (Special Premiere Screening) Then June 21st – The Roxy Theatre
Regina – June 21st – Rainbow Cinema Regina
Waterloo – June 21, 22, 23 – Princess Theatre
Winnipeg, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary Dates TBC

(Toronto)  – Indiecan Entertainment presents the debut of John Barnard’s feature film THE SHEEPDOGS HAVE AT IT, which was the Closing Gala of the Whistler Film Festival last year.

Producer Kyle Bornais (We’re The Weakerthans, We’re From Winnipeg) and Barnard's Farpoint Films documentary features the successful rise of the super popular rock band - The Sheepdogs - and their efforts in winning the coveted spot on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine.

THE SHEEPDOGS HAVE AT IT is a rock and roll documentary about the incredible story of a Canadian  band’s rapid rise from obscurity to the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, and the recording of their next, and most important, album.  The film follows the band into a Nashville recording studio as they record the album with producer Patrick Carney from The Black Keys. The band’s fate rests upon the success of their new album, and everyone is watching and waiting for the four young men to prove themselves to the world.  The film also provides a glimpse inside a rapidly changing music industry and the challenges faced by management, marketing and agents with increasingly limited resources.  THE SHEEPDOGS HAVE AT IT is about believing in yourself, being dedicated to what you love, and never ever giving up.

The Sheepdogs are Sam Corbett, Ewan Currie, Ryan Gullen, and Leot Hanson - 100% Canadian made from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

“I am very excited that Indiecan will be releasing THE SHEEPDOGS HAVE AT IT, says distributor Avi Federgreen. “ As a huge Sheepdogs fan to begin with, when I saw the film it was obvious this was one music documentary that could not be left out. I know audiences will eat this up.”

“I made the film because I loved the music and felt an innate need to tell this story,” says producer Bornais. “When looking for distribution I knew it had to be someone who was just as passionate about the music as they would be about the film, as I was, and certainly found that in Avi and Indiecan.”

THE SHEEPDOGS HAVE AT IT will be the Opening Film at this year's Open Roof Festival on June 20, with a special live performance by the band who will be in attendance.

The band  will attend  Friday, June 21st early evening screening, and will conduct a Q+A following the screenings with Director John Barnard.  John Barnard will be at the late show Q&A on the 21st also and on the Saturday, June 22nd early and late shows.

At the special premiere in Saskatoon on the 19th. John Barnard will be there and so will the band and they will be doing a special short acoustic set after the Q&A

Pan-American Sonic Sympathies: Matuto's New Release 'The Devil and the Diamond' and NYC Show June 20 2013

From a media release:

Fun as Hell: Matuto’s Seductive Philosophical Trip through Brazilian Beats and Southern Roots on The Devil and The Diamond
Recently released:  The Devil and the Diamond (Motema Music, May 14)
Live at the Lincoln Center Atrium, New York City
June 20, 2013 - 7pm

• They're touring all year long - check the link for a show near you

It’s Carnival in Recife. It’s Mardi Gras in New Orleans. And watch out: That just may be the Devil spinning through the drunken, dancing crowd, trying to get friendly with the saint in disguise, with the diamond in the rough. The rolling drums and quicksilver accordion licks, the earthy vibe and thoughtful reflections mingle on Matuto’s latest refinement of their Appalachia-gone-Afro-Brazilian sound, The Devil and The Diamond (Motema Music; release: May 14, 2013).

Matuto’s songs can sway hips just as easily as spark insights. Drawing on Northeastern Brazil’s folkloric rhythms like forró, maracatu, or coco, and on deep Americana—from bluegrass to spirituals to swampy Louisiana jams—Matuto uses unexpected Pan-American sonic sympathies to craft appealing, roosty, yet philosophical tales of love, self-discovery, nostalgia, and true peace.

“The devil is what’s keeping us from our best selves, which is the diamond we have the potential to become,” Ross explains, spinning the narrative thread that ties the album’s pieces together. “That dichotomy, that tension exists in all of us. In a loose way, this album outlines the journey we take, when we wrestle with the devil and find the diamond.”

What wide-ranging Americana and jazz guitarist Clay Ross and accordionist Rob Curto, one of the movers behind New York’s Forró For All (when not touring with folks like Lila Downs and David Krakauer) began as a curious exploration of their shared musical loves, Matuto (a Northeastern Brazilian slang term for “bumpkin”) has blossomed into a platform for expressing broad truths, ideas inspired by Buddhist sutras, personal epiphanies, and the musicians’ down-home upbringings. It felt like the perfect way to celebrate ten years for Motema, an open-eared and broad-minded label featuring music that crosses genres and takes listeners on a journey thanks to stellar musicianship, and wise and intriguing lyrics.

Matuto are part of a broader, loosely defined movement of hard-to-define acoustic innovators, musicians savoring their own heritage as they commune across genre and cultural bounds. Hailing from different parts of the country, Ross and Curto first met in Brooklyn’s genre-defying music scene. After laying down tracks on each other’s albums, they headed to Recife together and became fast friends as they played music, listened to local ensembles, held workshops in favela community centers, and won over local fans.

Friendship and co-creation honed the original Matuto idea. They turned what could have been little more than a wacky side gig into a serious musical venture, in which seemingly disparate threads and brainstorms are woven together organically. “Our sound has really gelled,” explains Curto, “and our style had become more codified, from a musical stand point, especially in the use of the accordion and fiddle.”

Matuto can start with an unexpected arrangement of an old chestnut like “Wayfaring Stranger” (resulting in “Diamond”), or with harmonium lines from a jam session with an Indian vocalist (“Tears”). Inspiration may come from Recife (“Toca Do Sino”) or from Carolina childhood horseplay sessions (“Horse Eat Corn”).

But it all comes together, as far-flung sounds converge in coherent, seamless songs, in music leaping beyond the fun of fusion, to express a bigger artistic picture, be it a tale of thwarted desire or the challenge of tussling with inner demons.

“Trimming the fat, that’s the idea of the record, both lyrically and sonically,” Ross notes. “Musically, it was more about editing instead of layering, more about things that we took away, as opposed to things that we added. The last record has this massive band, whereas we simply use the sound of our six-piece live band this time around. It gives the songs real continuity, as there’s a similar sonic palette.”

Ross, whose parents thought he’d grow up to be a preacher, and Curto found they were both deeply moved by the practices of Buddhism, in particular the self-observation and compassion that are cultivated by meditation. Images arising from the Diamond Cutter Sutra and life lessons gleaned from long sessions sitting in silence guided the shape of the album.

Yet another current—the sensual danger and madcap renewal of the pre-Lenten carnival season across the Americas—sidled up to the songs’ suggested spiritual journey. The juxtaposition and tensions make instrumentals like “Demon Chopper,” a title suggested by a high-strung acupuncturist’s announcement of her powers, poignant and catchy at once, as rippling guitar, fiddle, and accordion solos shine against a backdrop of earthy Afro-Brazilian beats. “Tears” feels as ear-catching as a well-crafted, bittersweet pop song, though based on afoxê beats connected to the Afro-Brazilian religious rituals of candomblé and powered by modal, distorted blasts of accordion.

The mix of bluegrass and forró, of Mehta and Mardi Gras, has proven to have real legs, taking the band from club dates in the Deep South to diplomacy-minded State Department tours across Eastern Europe and West Africa. A showcase in Copenhagen got the band a gig at one of the most staunchly traditional festivals in Recife, the Feast of St. John, Brazil’s biggest forró event. The traditionalists get it: Matuto has distilled some of the spirit of the music, even as they have blended it with other sounds, and kept its steamy, sensual dance side intact.

“Matuto does what we do out of love,” reflects Ross, “and our message is simple: Follow your passion, if it leads you to Brazil, or to Cajun, klezmer, or hip hop music, it doesn’t matter. Just follow your bliss. Follow it and don’t worry.”

“We feel that way playing music together,” Curto adds. “We can just look at each other and start laughing. There’s a lot of humor and joy, even in the most serious moments.”

Images by Vincent Soyez

NXNE Showcase: Grammy Award WInning Soca Soul Man Anselm Douglas June 15 2013 in Toronto

From a media release:


• TICKETS: For full info please visit the NXNE Website

TORONTO – Grammy Award-winning artist for the internationally acclaimed hit, “Who Let The Dogs Out” is unleashing his latest musical gems from his CD Project A.D. Trinidadian/Canadian singer-songwriter ANSLEM DOUGLAS will showcase his more soulful and funky soca self at this year’s NXNE on Saturday, June 15, with an 11:00 pm set at Crawford Bar on College St. For more information please visit    

Who hasn’t heard of the 2000 massive internationally acclaimed hit and Grammy Award-winning single “Who Let The Dogs Out”? Sure it was made famous by the Baha Men, (an English band that utilized a popular style of Bahamian music called Junkanoo), but did you know it was written and recorded two years before, in the very exciting and traditional soca style by Toronto-based singer-songwriter Anslem Douglas? It was originally called “Doggie” and here is the link to that first recording which was a huge hit in the Caribbean initially and which is very different from the version that most of us know. The covered version was a chart success in many countries, and also became a popular song at U.S. sporting events and featured in the 2009 hit comedy The Hangover.

Music has always been at the core of this Trinidad-born Canadian, and the accolades that Anslem Douglas has received prove that he has made an indelible mark on the musical world stage. But his taste of the spotlight had come much earlier in his career where at 16 he cut his teeth singing in his local Penticostal church as well as a group that formed from there called Exodus. He served and performed for the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard Band where he honed his skills further and began to incorporate his many diverse influences such as Soca greats Blakie and Lord Kitchener and international R&B superstars like Peabo Bryson and James Ingram.

It did not take Anslem very long to establish himself and be recognized as a true artist of exceptional talent. He performed with some of the biggest bands out of Trinidad like Fire Flight (with whom he recorded his first song in 1988) and Atlantik. During this time he delivered some other mega hits like “Ragga Poom Poom” and “Good Music To Dance.” Anslem has musically delved into the entire gamut of human experiences from “Friend” on the Soul Island album and “Ooh Ahh”, the smooth jazz hit produced by Eddie Bullen and written by Anslem on the same record, to the social outrage of “Abuse” featured on his Sir Anslem Douglas album released in 2000.

Fast forward to 2013. Anslem Douglas is set to “bring it” with new music to new audiences at NXNE and more dates currently in the works for this summer. With the aim of keeping his music relevant and the desire to challenge himself, he has recorded a ten-track neo soul/pop album entitled PROJECT A.D. with most of the songs written by himself and produced by Eddie Bullen with his son Quincy Bullen. Released in the spring of 2012, it has been on heavy rotation in the U.S. and offers much more than just the traditional style soca.

This hip, upbeat album winds its way around energetic dance mix riffs and mellow grooves. The unique, husky yet sultry sound of Anslem’s vocals fit like a glove, especially on some of his more sizzling x-rated tunes like “The Sex You Give To Me,” I Ain’t Gettin’ None,” and the funkadelic and very danceable “Slap-It.” Arrangements and production is slick yet raw at the same time as evidenced in the beat-driven, house-styled tracks “Love Making” and “Forever” (where his voice sounds very reminiscent of early Seal recordings). The more psychedelic-inspired “Tony Needs a Daddy” and the soul-baring “Mrs. Brady” shows off the softer melody and lyrics from Anslem’s arsenal.

Anslem’s other contributions for 2013 include the single, “Do You Think He Will Understand”, a power Soca called "Bacchanal", a neo-Calypso single, "Dancing With You", and a piece written specifically for women "When You Wine." Project A.D. and the singles are all now available on iTunes and CD Baby.

Shakespeare Meets Dance Meets Neuroscience in Anikai Dance Theatre's The Knocking Within June 15-23 2013 in Montreal

From a media release:

ANIKAI Dance Theatre
The Knocking Within
Performed and co-directed by Wendy Jehlen and Pradhuman Nayak
At the 2013 St. Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival, venue: MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels)
June 15-23, 2013 (see details below)

MONTREAL May, 2013 - ANIKAI Dance Company comes to Montréal for the first time to present The Knocking Within.  Just coming off a tour in India, where the show played to standing-room only audiences and received rave reviews, The Knocking Within will be at the MAI, as part of the Montreal Fringe Festival, before returning to Boston for a an extended return engagement. The Knocking Within is created by performers Wendy Jehlen and Pradhuman Nayak with lighting design by Stephen Petrilli.

Inspired by research into the neuroscience of sleep and the anthropology of dreams, The Knocking Within weaves a portrait of two lovers and the nightmares that plague them, unveiling the violence that lies just beneath the surface.  With influences from Capoeira to Bharata Natyam, American Sign Language poetry to Kalaripayattu, West African dance to a wide range of Contemporary forms, this work combines a dizzying array of movement vocabulary, woven together into a new language of the body. The piece calls into question the lines we draw between art forms, between cultures, even between methodologies.

The Knocking Within draws on texts from Shakespeare, arguably the most recognizable playwright in the English language in the world, including lines from Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, Twelfth Night, Titus Andronicus and the sonnets, to effect a re-staging of theater, taking it decidedly into the realm of visual communication. The texts are present but implicit, creating a tension between the permanence of print, the persistence of imbedded cultural stories, and the immanent meaning-making power of bodies moving through space.

These texts, taken out of context and performed mostly in translation into Hindi or American Sign Language, conjure up entire narratives with just one line, one word, one gesture.  The challenge for the audience is to use these references, but not to see these characters as the Shakespearean ones – Macbeth, Othello, Ophelia – but rather as two unnamed lovers who could be anyone.

The show was performed in India just after a horrific gang rape and murder had led to widespread protest against rampant violence against women. ANIKAI Dance Artistic Director, Wendy Jehlen, addresses this violence in the play, “So often we view these events as separate from ourselves.  I hope that audience members will connect viscerally with the characters and carry this understanding into their engagement with real world violence.”

Past audiences have responded strongly to the troubled relationship laid bare onstage. One audience member had this to say: “The Knocking Within is a very intense and personal experience. At one point during the show I noticed pain in my fingers. It was only then that I realized I had my hands clutched together, fingers interwoven, squeezing against my wedding ring. I was completely unaware of the physical response I was having to the tension unfolding on stage until my fingers went numb.”

The Knocking Within
ANIKAI Dance Theatre at the St-Ambroise Montréal Fringe Festival

MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels), 3680 rue Jeanne-Mance, Running time: I hour
Dates: June Sat 15/6 21:45, Sun 16/6 22:30, Mon 17/6 19:45, Thu 20/6 16:45, Fri 21/6 20:00, Sun 23/6 14:45
Tickets: $8.00/$5.00 students/seniors (+ $2 service charge)
To purchase: 514 849-FEST (3378), online at, at the Central Box Office located at FRINGE Park (corner Rachel/ St-Laurent) or at the MAI as of one hour before show time.

Three Picks from the Festival St-Ambroise Fringe de Montréal (Continues to June 23 2013)

From a media release:

Picks from Festival St-Ambroise Fringe de Montréal 2013
June 13 - 23, 2013

• Uncanny Theatre Company presents Crossdressers and Criminals: 3 Ways to Lose Yourself
• Scotty’s Boys Productions presents Elvis is Water
• Jess for Laughs Presents OBSESSION

• Tickets: 514 849-FEST (3378), online at, at the Central Box Office located at FRINGE Park (corner Rachel and St-Laurent) or at the show venue as of one hour before show time.

Uncanny Theatre Company presents
Crossdressers and Criminals: 3 Ways to Lose Yourself
Written by Jonathan Fournier and Marie Markovic  Directed by Marie Markovic
At the 2013 St. Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival, venue: Freestanding Room

Crossdressers and Criminals: 3 Ways to Lose Yourself is an intertwined collection of solo pieces featuring three original characters: A beard-wearing biker chick on a quest to fill an unexpected void; a modern day mermaid facing her creator on dry land; and a vigilante in women’s clothing on a stake out by a nightclub. Because to find yourself, you have to lose yourself first. This is Jonathan Fournier’s third Montreal Fringe Festival show; he is also the playwright of The Boy and the Wrapper (available through various online retailers) and Miner Inconvenience.

Dates:  June 13-23- Thursday to Saturday at 10:00PM, Sunday at 6:00PM
Running time: 60 minutes

Scotty’s Boys Productions presents
Elvis is Water
Written by Katherine Sandford  Directed by Jason Andrews
At the 2013 St. Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival, venue: Cabaret du Mile End

Elvis is Water is a vibrant musical exploration of the early Sun Records sessions. Thirty five years after his death, Elvis is now more alive than ever: so much a part of our world it’s as if we are fish - and ‘Elvis is water’. Why are people still fascinated? Why is Elvis…Elvis? Singer John Burns and his band- Joe Hawkins (electric guitar), Denis Drouin (stand-up bass) and Deb Thomson (keyboard)- bring to life the music that changed it all. Elvis is Water is a story and a performance you’ll never forget.

Dates:  Sat. June 15- 7:15 pm; Sun. June 16 - 2:15 pm; Mon. June 17- 6:45 pm;
Thurs. June 20- 4:00 pm; Fri June 21- 8:15 pm; Sat June 22- 6:00 pm
Running time: 75 minutes

Jess for Laughs Presents
Written by Jess Salomon
At the 2013 St. Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival, venue: Montreal Improv

Everything Jess Salomon comes into contact with she become obsessed with: her iPhone, garbage men, soap star Jack Deveraux on Days of Our Lives, human rights… EVERYTHING! Some people measure their life according to milestones. Jess measures hers according to her various obsessions.

Jess Salomon is a former UN war crimes lawyer turned stand-up comic. Montreal Metro called her comedy, “charming and intelligent”. She calls it, “raconteur-ish, personal, dirty on a good night”. Her 93 year old grandmother calls it, “time to go back to law and find a husband”. The Charlebois Post wrote in 2011, “I can see her getting even better with time”. It’s 2013. Jess is MUCH BETTER!

Dates:  June Fri. June 14- 7:15pm; Sat. June 15- 3:45pm; Sun. June 16 - 10:45pm; Tues. June 18- 10:45pm; Wed. June 19- 9:00pm;
Fri June 21- 5:30 pm; Sat. June 22- 7:15; Sun. June 23- 1:00pm Running time: 45 minutes