Thursday, February 28, 2013

Tarragon Theatre Toronto's And Slowly Beauty... Continues to March 31 2013

From a media release:

And Slowly Beauty...
Continues to March 31, 2013

"I never thought theatre could be as good as that!"

TORONTO - Tarragon Theatre proudly presents the Toronto premiere of And Slowly Beauty, a Belfry Theatre/National Arts Centre English Theatre co-production directed by Michael Shamata. This acclaimed and poignant celebration of life and art runs February 27 to March 31 in Tarragon Theatre's Mainspace (with previews beginning February 20). Tickets range from $27-$53 (inclusive of HST) and are available by calling the box office at 416.531.1827 or by visiting

Tarragon continues its long tradition of presenting English translations of outstanding French-language plays with this work by Quebec City's Théâtre Niveau Parking Artistic Director Michel Nadeau, in collaboration with Marie-Josée Bastien, Lorraine Côté, Hugues Frenette, Pierre-François Legendre, Véronika Makdissi-Warren and Jack Robitaille, translated into English by Maureen Labonté.

When Mr. Mann wins tickets in an office draw to a modern version of Anton Chekhov's The Three Sisters, he ends up going alone as his family is busy elsewhere, even though he rarely goes to the theatre. But in those few precious hours watching the play, something unexpected stirs inside of him. And Slowly BeautyŠ tells the story of the transformative effect of theatre (and beauty) on a perceptive - albeit average - middle class, middle-aged man. A love letter to art and the poetry of life.

Michael Shamata is Artistic Director at Belfry Theatre in Victoria, B.C. since December 2007, where he originally directed the English-language premiere of And Slowly Beauty... as well as numerous other shows including The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee which won him a Jessie Richardson Award for Outstanding Direction.Shamata also directed the National Arts Centre 2011 production of And Slowly Beauty...

Dennis Fitzgerald (Alberta Theatre Projects' Our Country's Good, Zastrozzi, Problem Child; Great Canadian Theatre Company's A Doll's House) is Mr. Mann. Caroline Gillis (Tarragon's Was Spring, After Akhmatova, Communion, A Beautiful View) is Mr. Mann's wife Claudette, Shawn Ahmed (Driftwood Theatre's Macbeth, Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA) is his son Quentin and Celine Stubel (Atomic Vaudeville's Legoland, Belfry Theatre's My Chernobyl - Jessie Richardson Award, Electric Company's Studies in Motion for Citadel and Canadian Stage) is his daughter Nadine. Mary-Colin Chisholm (National Arts Centre's Creation; Neptune Theatre's The Beauty Queen of Leenane, The Little Years) is the coffee-shop waitress Anita and Christian Murray (National Arts Centre's The Little Years, Artistic Fraud/World Stage's Afterimage, Neptune Theatre's The Producers) is his co-worker Sylvain.

All of the talented cast, except for Ahmed, appeared in Shamata's original Belfry and National Arts Centre productions in the fall of 2011; at the time, they were members of the 2011-12 National Arts Centre English Acting Company. And all of the cast, except for Fitzgerald, play multiple roles - transforming into characters from The Three Sisters, as well as family members, office colleagues and more as the play moves through the present as well as simultaneously through Mr. Mann's memory and imagination.

Set and costume design is by John Ferguson, lighting design is by Michael Walton while sound design is by Brooke Maxwell. Marie Fewer is the stage manager.
Tarragon Theatre presents the Toronto premiere of
And Slowly Beauty...
By Michel Nadeau
in collaboration with Marie-Josée Bastien, Lorraine Côté, Hugues Frenette, Pierre-François Legendre, Véronika Makdissi-Warren and Jack Robitaille
Translated by Maureen Labonté
A Belfry Theatre/National Arts Centre English Theatre co-production
Directed by Michael Shamata
Starring Shawn Ahmed, Mary-Colin Chisholm, Dennis Fitzgerald,
Caroline Gillis, Christian Murray, Celine Stubel

Set and Costume Designer: John Ferguson
Lighting Designer: Michael Walton
Sound Designer: Brooke Maxwell
Stage Manager: Marie Fewer

Opens February 27 and runs to March 31, 2013 (Previews from February 20)
Tarragon Theatre's Mainspace, 30 Bridgman Avenue, Toronto, M5R 1X3
Tuesday-Saturday at 8pm; Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:30pm starting February 24.

 Tickets range from $27-$53 (including discounts for students, seniors and groups)
AND a Pay-What-You-Can 2:30pm matinee on March 23
Tickets can be purchased through the box office at 416.531.1827 or visit
- $13 Rush Tickets at the door Fridays (on sale at 6pm) & Sundays (on sale at 1pm) starting March 1-

Bette Midler on Broadway: Tix for I'll Eat You Last on Sale Now (Previews Begin April 5 2013)

From a media release:

Tickets to Bette Midler in I'LL EAT YOU LAST
On Sale Now




Single Tickets
Premium Tickets

NEW YORK CITY - Tickets went on sale to the general public recently for Bette Midler’s return to Broadway in John Logan’s new one-woman play I’LL EAT YOU LAST: A CHAT WITH SUE MENGERS, directed by Joe Mantello. For tickets, call  212-239-6200  or visit

The limited engagement for I’LL EAT YOU LAST begins previews Friday, April 5 and opens Wednesday, April 24 at the Booth Theatre (222 West 45th Street).

Appearing on Broadway for the first time in 30 years, Tony and Grammy Award-winning superstar Bette Midler will play the legendary Hollywood agent Sue Mengers (1932-2011) in the new, one-character play. 

Sue Mengers was an American original. She was the first female “superagent” at a time when women talent agents of any kind were almost unheard of. She came from near poverty, a refugee from Hitler's Germany, and worked her way up through pluck, charm, and a legendary wit. In that uniquely American way, she invented herself; and when the career she wanted didn't exist, she invented that as well: “Superagent.” It was a term Hollywood all but coined for her. By the 1970's, she represented almost every major star in Hollywood and went on to become the town’s most renowned hostess.

The creative team includes three-time Tony Award winner Scott Pask (scenic design), Academy Award winner Ann Roth (costume design), three-time Tony nominee Hugh Vanstone (lighting design), and Drama Desk Award winner Fitz Patton (sound design).

I’LL EAT YOU LAST is produced on Broadway by Graydon Carter, Arielle Tepper Madover, James L. Nederlander, The Shubert Organization, Terry Allen Kramer, Stephanie P. McClelland, Jeffrey Finn, Ruth Hendel, Larry Magid, Jon B. Platt, and Scott & Brian Zeilinger.

Ticket prices range from $82 – $142. Standing room and rush policies will be announced in the coming weeks.


Please note I’LL EAT YOU LAST will be dark on Thursdays. Unless otherwise noted, the production will play seven performances per week.

- FRIDAY, APRIL 5 – SUNDAY, APRIL 7 (3 PERFORMANCES): Friday and Saturday at 8 PM. Matinee on Sunday at 3 PM.
- MONDAY, APRIL 8 – SUNDAY, APRIL 14 (6 PERFORMANCES): Monday through Wednesday at 7 PM, Friday and Saturday at 8 PM. Matinee on Sunday at 3 PM.
- MONDAY, APRIL 15 – SUNDAY, APRIL 21: Monday through Wednesday at 7 PM, Friday and Saturday at 8 PM. Matinees on Saturday at 2 PM, Sunday at 3 PM.
- MONDAY, APRIL 22 – SUNDAY, APRIL 28 (WEEK OF OPENING): Monday and Tuesday at 7 PM, Wednesday (opening night) at 6:30 PM, Friday and Saturday at 8 PM. Matinees on Saturday at 2 PM, Sunday at 3 PM.
- MONDAY, APRIL 29 – SUNDAY, MAY 26: Monday and Tuesday at 7 PM, Friday and Saturday at 8 PM. Matinees on Wednesday and Saturday at 2 PM, Sunday at 3 PM.
- MONDAY, MAY 27 – SUNDAY, JUNE 2 (6 PERFORMANCES/WEEK OF MEMORIAL DAY): Tuesday at 7 PM, Friday and Saturday at 8 PM. Matinees on Wednesday and Saturday at 2 PM, Sunday at 3 PM. Please note there will be no performances on Monday and Thursday of this week.
- MONDAY, JUNE 3 – SUNDAY, JUNE 30: Monday and Tuesday at 7 PM, Friday and Saturday at 8 PM. Matinees on Wednesday and Saturday at 2 PM, Sunday at 3 PM.

Mathai: From The Voice to A New Single Out Now...

Update April 3, 2013: 

Here's that single from her debut project "Once Again":

From a media release:

New Single Soon...

Featured on the Voice and picked by Adam Levine within 8 seconds of hearing her sing, Mathai made it very far in the show before eventually being voted off.

Now she is managed by Outkast's Ian Burke and Stone of Icon Studios in Atlanta. She'll be dropping a single very soon and then a debut indie album to capitalize off all of the buzz she has had since her The Voice debut. We'd like Okayplayer to be apart. On her own her videos generate around 100-200k views per video, and her The Voice debut video is approaching 6 million views, with reactions and comments daily.

Born on November 27, 1992 in Queens, NY, Mathai is the first generation of her family (who hail from India) born in the United States. She was only 3 years old when she started singing, primarily in church events and at the age of 10 her family moved to Dallas, TX to raise the family in a safer area and better school system.

During the next 9 years, Mathai would attend Coppell High School where she maintained her status in the top 10% of her class throughout all four years. Subsequently, she earned a scholarship to study Nursing at Texas Women’s University, and worked hard for a 3.98 GPA.

Mathai had always been driven towards the medical profession and, growing up in a South Asian family of medical professionals; there was never any other expectation for her career path.

Never thinking music would get her anywhere; singing was always considered more of just a hobby for Mathai. Classically trained in jazz during her childhood, Mathai started developing her unique vocal style around the age of 16 with a sound reminiscent of such artists as Billie Holiday, Norah Jones, Nelly Furtado and Adele.

During the winter of 2010 she had the opportunity to perform during the popular AMTC convention in Orlando, FL where she was discovered by two entertainment executives, and soon thereafter took a break from school to move to Atlanta to pursue her music career.

Her parents, who were once completely against her decision, are now warily but lovingly supportive after seeing how people reacted to their daughter’s talent during the blind auditions for NBC’s hit television show, The Voice Season 2. They realized that there was a definite calling on their daughter to share her gift with the world.

Mathai has been busy since her appearance on The Voice. While prepping her new project, she was tapped by Atlanta's Q100 "The Bert Show" to record a special song for the "Bert's Big Adventure" charity event.

The song is called "This Is Me" and it's in a style that Mathai normally doesn't do, but it definitely shows her versatility! This song has more of a pop vibe, something that the kids whom this charity will benefit will definitely love!

Listen to "This Is Me" below :

"This Is Me" is available on iTunes. Be on the look out for Mathai's first official single that will drop shortly after!

More info on "Bert's Big Adventure" :
Established in 2002, Bert’s Big Adventure is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides a magical, all-expenses-paid, five-day journey to Walt Disney World® for children with chronic and terminal illnesses and their families. To qualify for Bert’s Big Adventure, children must be between the ages of 5 and 12, live in “The Bert Show” radio listening area, prove financial need and have never been to Walt Disney World®.

Following the annual trip, Bert’s Big Adventure provides year-round support through initiatives such as the Reunion Adventures, the Fairy Godparent volunteer program and additional charitable services. The trip and programs create a community of families that establish lasting friendships with others facing similar challenges.

Reggae Meets Jazz and Tropicália: Kiwi CD Release

From a media release:

Reggae Meets Jazz and Tropicália: Kiwi Brings You a Uniquely Uplifting Sound

Get it here

“On the Move” is the 2nd full-length album by Jersey City-based group Kiwi, a masterful and joyful celebration of reggae rhythms, soulful vocals, and Latin jazz-inflected harmonies. The band’s expansive, brass-heavy arrangements echo the classic reggae and R&B grooves of the late 60s/early 70s.

Kiwi’s music is welcoming and eminently danceable, radiating an infectious energy that belies the oft-introspective content of singer-songwriter Alex Tea’s lyrics. Tea, the grandson of a classical violinist, playfully sets melodies inspired by the classical music he grew up hearing against Brazilian jazz chords and an insistent reggae rhythm.

Initially founded as an acoustic duo, Kiwi has grown into an 8-piece juggernaut with a stable core comprised of the New York area’s best jazz and funk players. “On the Move” features the talents of Ramsey Norman (drums), Matt Quinones (bass), Ben Guadalupe (percussion), Dave Stolarz (keys), Barami Waspe (tenor sax), Curtis Taylor (trumpet), and Rob Edwards (trombone).

As a singer, Tea is a gentle crooner one moment and a raw-throated proselytizer the next. A lyrical ferocity undercuts the percolating rhythms of many Kiwi songs; a conscious lyrical vision of a world full of injustice as well as possibility. “My poetry leaned left as I was leaning to the right,” Tea sings on the Wailers-evoking album track “Sun Never Set.”

The inspiration for Kiwi’s sound has its origins in Tea’s multiple extended stays in Brazil, beginning with a trip to the ocean-side city of Fortaleza over a decade ago. It was in Fortaleza that Tea first fell in love with the Portuguese language and capoeira, the Brazilian martial art that combines exuberant dancing with powerful strikes and take-down maneuvers. Capoiera was developed in colonial Brazil by enslaved Africans and their descendants, who wanted to keep their battle training a secret from their Portuguese overseers.

"What drew me most into capoiera was the sense of community among everyone involved,” says Tea. “Each roda [capoeira exhibition/match] also had a live soundtrack that featured instruments, melodies, and cadences that I had never heard before." The new album features an original love song sung entirely in Portuguese called “Aprendiz”.

Brazilian instruments also play a large role in shaping the sound of the record; Brazilian jazz aficionados may recognize the sounds of the cuica and agogo, as well as the fishing-pole shaped berimbau. “On the Move” was produced by the band and mixed in upstate New York by Jocko (moresound).

After honing their sound at clubs, parties, and dancehalls in New York City’s Greenwich Village, Philadelphia, and Boston, Kiwi is currently booking its first national tour and seeking label/management representation.

Funding Request: Acclaimed Jazz Trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith for New Work

From a media release:


• To donate to the project, log on to by Monday, March 11, 2013

Trumpeter /composer/musical innovator Wadada Leo Smith is seeking $17,000 to complete and premiere a new work for his highly acclaimed civil rights opus Ten Freedom Summers. The new work, entitled The March on Washington D.C.- August 28, 1963, will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. This will be the 22nd composition of Ten Freedom Summers, which the trumpeter has written over the past 34 years and calls "one of my life's defining works." 

The new work-composed for quintet, along with string quartet and harp-will be performed by the Golden Quartet, the Pacific Coral Reef Ensemble, the Flux String Quartet and video artist Jesse Gilbert. Through the USA Projects funding, Smith plans to premiere this new work at Roulette in Brooklyn, NY in May 2013 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of this historic event. The funding will help Smith to improve the theatrics of the performance, which would include additional high-definition screens for video projections, and to show the Civil Rights Movement in a new light. 

A kaleidoscopic, spiritually charged collection of compositions inspired by the struggle for African-American freedom, Ten Freedom Summers was released on CD on the Cuneiform label in May 2012. It has been heralded as "his masterpiece," (Barry Witherden, BBC Music Magazine), "the veteran trumpeter's defining statement," (Mike Hobart, Financial Times), "the most challenging (and emotionally rewarding) release of 2012," (Bret Saunders, Denver Post), "stirringly beautiful Š an astounding aesthetic achievement." (Michael Casper, Oxford American), "an emotional and intellectual luxury, a chance to commune with greatness," (Josh Langhoff, Pop Matters), and "the work of a lifetime by one of jazz's true visionaries. Š Triumphant and mournful, visceral and philosophical, searching, scathing and relentlessly humane, Smith's music embraces the turbulent era's milestones while celebrating the civil rights movement's heroes and martyrs." (Bruce Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery).

Composer and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, whose roots are in the Delta blues, is one of the most boldly original figures in American jazz and creative contemporary music, and one of the great trumpet players of our time. Born and raised in Leland, Mississippi, Smith start playing trumpet in R&B bands, encouraged by his stepfather, blues guitarist Alex Wallace. By the mid 1960s, he had gravitated to Chicago's burgeoning avant-garde jazz community where he was part of the first generation of musicians to come out of Chicago's AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Music). Smith formed the Creative Construction Company together with saxophonist Anthony Braxton and violinist Leroy Jenkins and collaborated with a dazzling cast of fellow visionaries including Muhal Richard Abrams, Richard Davis and Steve McCall. Early in his career, Smith invented an original music notational system called Anhkrasmation, which was radical for its time and remains the physical and philosophical foundation of his oeuvre.

Since the early 1970s, Smith has performed and recorded mainly with his own groups. He currently leads four principal ensembles: Mbira, a trio with pipa player Min Xiao-Fen and drummer Pheeroan akLaff; the Golden Quartet, his highly celebrated group that now includes Anthony Davis, John Lindberg and Pheeroan akLaff; Organic, a larger ensemble that utilizes instrumentation consisting primarily of electric string instruments; and the Silver Orchestra, which explores Smith's music for large ensemble. He has released nearly 50 albums under either his own or his bands' names on ECM, Moers, Black Saint, Tzadik, Pi Recordings, TUM, Leo, Intakt and Cuneiform, among others. In addition to the 4-CD Ten Freedom Summers, he also recently released Ancestors, a duo CD with Louis Moholo-Moholo on the TUM label.

Smith has been awarded grants and fellowships from the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, Chamber Music America with support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the FONT (Festival of New Trumpet Music) Award of Recognition, Southwest Chamber Music funded by the James Irvine Foundation and the Clarence E. Heller Charitable Foundation, the MAP Fund and the National Endowment for the Arts, among others.  An esteemed educator and music theorist, Smith has been on faculty since 1993 at Cal Arts, where he is director of the African American Improvisational Music Program and has profoundly influenced several generations of artists.

• Tom Beetz @
• PR image from his website

CanStage Toronto Celebrates Spotlight Japan to March 2 2013

From a media release:

Canadian Stage celebrates contemporary Japanese high-tech theatre and dance
with Spotlight Japan

Four productions showcase two of Japan’s most exciting artists, Hiroaki Umeda and Oriza Hirata from February 26 to March 2, 2013

Toronto, ON – Canadian Stage presents Haptic, Holistic Strata, Sayonara and I, Worker in a one-week festival of Japanese theatre and dance as part of Spotlight Japan. This series is part of a city-wide celebration of classic and contemporary Japanese culture taking place from January through April 2013, programmed by five of Toronto’s leading cultural institutions: TIFF, Canadian Stage, Soundstreams, the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre and the Japan Foundation.

Spotlight Japan at Canadian Stage features a selection of work from Japan’s leading playwrights, choreographers and performers, offering a rare opportunity for Toronto audiences to experience exciting and innovative, international work. Presented as two double-bills, Spotlight Japan marks Canadian Stage’s second biennial international festival, following Spotlight Italy, programmed as part of the 2010.11 season. Two pairings, Haptic and Holistic Strata (double bill one), and Sayonara, and I, Worker (double bill two), will be on stage from Tuesday, February 26 to Saturday, March 2 at the Berkeley Street Theatre (26 Berkeley St.). Tickets for each two-show pairing are $54, available online at, by phone at 416.368.3110, or in person at the box office.

“Canadian Stage’s Spotlight Festival series was created from our desire to share work from countries around the world that have a concentrated focus on truly relevant contemporary work, involving artists who are pushing the boundaries of their art forms,” said Matthew Jocelyn, Artistic & General Director. “For the last 40 years, Japan has been a hotbed for artists who continually invent new ways of telling stories, first sweeping Europe and North America twenty years ago with the Butoh movement. The country continues to create ground-breaking performance art, and we can’t wait to share this work by turning our Berkeley Street Theatre into a hub for these touring artists.”

Beginning each evening will be the hypnotic hip-hop video/light extravaganzas created by Hiroaki Umeda and S20, Haptic and Holistic Strata. Choreographed by Umeda, a dancer, choreographer and sound and lighting designer, the pieces are part art installation, part dance performance and part visual light show, combining electronic soundscapes, dramatic strobe lighting, cyber-imagery and frenetic gestures.

Next on the playbill are two short plays by Japan’s leading contemporary playwright Oriza Hirata called Sayonara and I, Worker. Created as part of The Robot Theatre Project, a collaborative project between Seinendan Theatre Company and Osaka University, both pieces feature human and robot actors exploring the intersection between human and artificial intelligence on stage in an innovative fusion of theatre arts and science.

Additional Spotlight Japan programming at Canadian Stage will feature music, food tastings, robot demonstrations with FIRST Robotics and local high school students, poster art and more. Live music will be performed in the front lobby of the Berkeley Street Theatre each night between shows and after the final performance of the evening. Featured musicians include koto and shamisen artist Linda Caplan (February 26 and 27), flutist Ron Korb (February 28) and Japanese folk music ensemble ten ten (March 1 and 2). Japanese food and drink will be available in the lobby, with a complimentary sake tasting from the Ontario Spring Water Sake Company featuring their Izuma-branded sake (February 26, 28, and March 1 at 7 p.m.).

Canadian Stage will also host free readings of two contemporary Japanese plays by Oriza Hirata: Loyal Ronin: The Working Girls' Version and The Yalta Conference, both translated by Hiroko Matsuda and Cody Poulton. The readings, presented with support from the Japan Foundation, will be held at the Berkeley Street Theatre on March 1 and 2 at 4 p.m. Donations will be accepted for the Actor’s Fund of Canada.

Spanning four months, multiple venues and genres, and with a mixture of both free and ticketed events, Spotlight Japan offers the opportunity for total Japanese cultural immersion this winter. For more information, please visit

About Spotlight Japan at Canadian Stage
February 26 to March 2, 2013

Haptic and Holistic Strata will be on stage at the Berkeley Street Theatre, Downstairs (26 Berkeley St.). Performances run Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The double-bill performance runs 65 minutes with a brief intermission.

Sayonara and I, Worker will be on stage at the Berkeley Street Theatre, Upstairs (26 Berkeley St.). Performances run Tuesday through Saturday at 9 p.m. with a matinee on Saturday, March 2 at 2 p.m. The double-bill performance runs 75 minutes with an intermission.

Tickets for each two show double-bill are available for $54, in limited supply. Due to demand, a new performance of Sayonara and I, Worker has been added on Saturday, March 2 at 2 p.m. and has the best availability. Tickets can be purchased online at, by phone at 416.368.3110 or in person at the box office.
Single tickets start at $24, with C-Stage Under 30 tickets available for $15 (taxes and fees included). Subscriptions and tickets may be purchased by phone at 416.368.3110, in person at Canadian Stage’s Bluma Appel Theatre (27 Front St. E.) or Berkeley Street Theatre (26 Berkeley St.) or online at

• 1st & 3rd - Hiroaki Umeda in Holistic Strata. Photo by Ryuichi Maruo (YCAM).
• 2nd - Sayonara. Aichi Triennale 2010 © Tatsuo Nambu.
• 4th - Performers in Sayonara by Oriza Hirata

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Broadway Ticket Deal: Motown on Broadway - Previews Begin March 11, 2013

From a media release:

Broadway Ticket Deal:
Motown on Broadway
Broadway Previews Begin March 11, 2013 or call 877-250-2929; Code SMOKEY

Mid Mezzanine $49 (regular $87)
Orch/Front Mezz $89 (regular $137)

NEW YORK CITY - MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL is a new musical with book by Berry Gordy, directed by Charles Randolph-Wright featuring hits from the legendary Motown catalogue! Coming to Broadway Spring 2013!


The music of Motown changed the world with its power to unite people of all different backgrounds, and the Motown sound was formed—in large part—thanks to the influence of gospel music. To pay tribute to the record label's roots, MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL is delighted to offer tickets to one lucky choir that embodies the spirit of Motown!

MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL is the real story of the one-of-a-kind sound that hit the airwaves in 1959 and changed our culture forever. This exhilarating show charts Motown Founder Berry Gordy's incredible journey from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, and so many more.

Featuring all the classics you love, MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL tells the story behind the hits as Diana, Smokey, Berry and the whole Motown family fight against the odds to create the soundtrack that changed America. Motown shattered barriers, shaped our lives and made us all move to the same beat. Now, it finally comes to Broadway in the season's most anticipated world-premiere event, MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL... Get ready, 'cause here it comes.


• Follow us on Twitter @MotownMusical
• Subscribe to the MotownTheMusical channel on Youtube

CD Release As An Act of Defiance: Northern Mali Guitar Legend Baba Salah Plays for a Silenced People

From a media release:

CD Release As An Act of Defiance: Northern Mali Guitar Legend Baba Salah Plays for a Silenced People
Dangay - The North (Studio Mali - February 2013)

Malian guitarist Baba Salah comes from the city of Gao, a remote trading hub nestled on the banks of the Niger river, situated at the edge of the Sahara desert. Ethnic Songhai, Tuareg, Fulani and Arabs - among other peoples - all call the city home and as the capital of one of West Africa’s most powerful former empires, it is arguably Mali’s most cosmopolitan city.

Almost every facet of Gao is the product of a continuous melding of cultures, and its music is no exception. The dusty hustle that defines its markets by day is recast every night anew as the complex rhythms and shifting tempos of its local musicians. In surrounding villages, life is set to a soundtrack of traditional storytellers who gather to sing the rich histories of a proud people.

Honoring the glorious past, however, only goes so far in facing present challenges, and these days, life in Gao is consumed by an uncertain future. Amid political paralysis in the country’s south, northern Mali is being torn apart by the worst examples of ethnic chauvinism and religious extremism. Lives and livelihoods hang in the balance, and hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes. Militant Islamist groups are implementing a harsh and destructive version of religious law, going so far as to take the unthinkable measure of banning music.

It is within this context that we can begin to understand why this album, by this artist, is so important.

Baba Salah’s Dangay (Studio Mali; February, 2013) is not just the first major international release by one of Mali’s most accomplished musicians, it is an act of defiance against the very forces of intolerance that seek to destroy Mali.

Baba’s music has always been rooted in the desert, informed by the Songhai blues of his forefathers and inspired by the pulsating takamba rhythms that used to echo through Gao’s neighborhoods. He began playing music on a makeshift guitar at age nine and  was later accepted into the prestigious National Institute for the Arts (l’INA) in the capital city of Bamako. It was there that Baba’s raw genius had the chance to incubate, developing compositional brilliance and acquiring breathtaking technical skill.

Though he boasts a diploma from l’INA, Baba gained his first real credentials within the hyper competitive Bamako music scene in 1995 when he was tapped to play guitar for one of Mali’s preeminent divas, the internationally acclaimed Oumou Sangare. Touring worldwide was a formative experience for Baba, providing him the opportunity to collaborate with a wide array of artists and exposing him to countless musical styles.

By the time Baba launched his solo career, he had already made a habit of stealing the spotlight from headlining acts. Though he cemented his status as a local guitar legend over a decade ago, Dangay is the first release to capture the ferocious pentatonic riffs and careening guitar solos that have led many to call Baba Salah “the Jimi Hendrix of Africa.”

It would be a mistake, however, to conclude that Baba Salah’s first international release is outward-looking and in search of a crossover appeal. In fact, Dangay is just the opposite, as it yearns to be an album of introspection and a blueprint for rising above the greed and ignorance that hold Mali, its people and its culture hostage.

Northern Mali is more vast, various, unrelenting, complex and terrifyingly beautiful than anything anyone could ever write about it, but with each song on Dangay, Baba offers a glimpse into the fierce urgency that grips the region.

The title track, Dangay (“the north” in Baba’s native Songhai), is an ode to the people of northern Mali that evokes the acoustic stylings of fellow Songhai great Ali Farka Toure. “Even at the cost of our lives, we need to join hands and fight,” Baba sings. He pleads for “the Almighty and all people of goodwill” to help. “Mali is indivisible,” he continues, “One people, one goal, and one faith. People of the north of Mali, do not think we have forgotten you. We will soon free you from your captors.”

Other tracks engage a range of social issues. On the blistering Ay Derey (I Am Lost), for example, Baba sings of someone who has lost their job and feels as if their life is over, but the narrator reminds him that even in hard times, one must be patient and not give up. Zankay (Children) and Ize Foutou (Juvenile Delinquents) address the challenges facing Mali’s youth, and Karaw (Heartfelt Cry) is sung from the perspective of a farmer who is struggling to make ends meet due to climate change and desertification. Babani Koné, a star on the local music scene, lends her powerful vocals to Solei de Ma Vie (Sunshine of my life), a love song about overcoming issues of class and societal pressure in order to be with the one you love, while Cheri (My Love) touches upon similar themes.

If there is one track on Dangay that captures the spirit of Gao, however, it is Amidinine (My Friend), a song in which Baba Salah, an ethnic Songhai, sings about friendship among people in Tamashek, the language of the ethnic Tuareg. The track channels the music made famous by Tuareg groups like Tinariwen while showcasing Baba’s trademark sound of endlessly dizzying  electric guitar.

To that end, Dangay, by Baba Salah, is an act of solidarity with a people whose greatest gift to the world is music they make. Though the people of northern Mali cannot listen to this album, its message cannot be silenced. As Malians tend to say, “they will hear it.”

Silvana Kane: New Music Video for 'Cruces'

From a release:

Silvana Kane
New Music Video for "Cruces"
from the album La Jardinera

La Jardinera, the solo debut from Silvana Kane, best known as the vocalist with acclaimed, Juno nominated, Global Pop ensemble Pacifika, is the singer's most personal effort to date. Comprised predominantly of cover songs by her favorite Latin American singers and composers—including Chabuca Granda, Mercedes Sosa and Violeta Parra—Kane has transformed songs of revolt and love into an exquisite collection of stunning ballads.

Born in Lima, Peru, Kane's father moved the family to Canada when she was seven. She learned English and picked up on both her parents' musical training, studying violin and piano with great fervor. Returning to Peru at 9, she headed off to Milwaukee at 11, and Vancouver at 14, where she rooted down and dove into her major passion.

'I come from a very musical family,' she says. 'My mom has always sung and played guitar, and my dad was very well-versed in classical music. My grandfather was always listening to local music and lots of salsa, while my grandmother loved Merengue—she thought it was the best exercise. I grew up listening to a lot of the music from the highlands as well but it didn't catch me in the same rhythmical sense as Afro-Peruvian music did.'

Influenced equally by the sounds of Brazil, Argentina and Chile, Kane's broad palate opened her young mind in many directions. Yet there was one musician who stood out: Peruvian singer and composer Chabuca Granda, a famous singer-songwriter who eloquently blended Afro-Peruvian rhythms with Criollo waltzes, something unheard of in the middle of the twentieth century. Due to long-standing racism, Afro music in Peru was considered 'low art.' Granda helped changed that perception.

'Her writing wasn't flowery, and the way she sang was really unique,' Kane, whose cover of Granda's 'Cardo o ceniza' kicks off the album, says. 'She sang in this throaty, low register. Her writing was pure poetry. I was really happy that she was Peruvian. 'Cardo o ceniza' is a beautiful and sensual song that explores the idea of two lovers finally having the chance to be together, wondering what that encounter will be like. It was written by Chabuca Granda about a love affair Violeta Parra told her about.'

After extensive travels throughout Europe and a stint living in Toronto, Kane finally found herself back in Vancouver, where she reconnected with former high-school band-mate Adam Popowitz, and Pacifika was born. A few years later Toby Peter joined them, agreeing to the duo's one requirement: their music had to have a 'positive vibe.' Given the accolades garnered from their two Six Degrees' albums, Asuncion and Supermagique, the trio has had no problem accomplishing their mission.

And yet Vancouver is a city made for lullabies, as Kane notes, as it rains so much and there's reflective time available. Featuring Popowitz on guitar and banjo, Peter on stand-up and electric bass, and Malcolm Aiken on trumpet, this minimalist beauty of an album is named after a famous song by folklorist and ethnomusicologist Violeta Parra, which Kane covers gorgeously as well.

'La Jardinera means 'the gardener' in feminine,' she says. 'It's a song about a woman who is healing from a love affair by tending to her garden. I find this inspiring because I believe that by caring for the earth we nurture ourselves and our world. The songs all deal with nature and hope; that's the focus of the entire record.'

Kane honors another of her musical heroes, Argentine legend Mercedes Sosa. She grew up listening to 'Todo Cambia,' 'a song about accepting life's changes and recognizing that what is carried deep within stays with us. It is a song about being an immigrant, refugee or misplaced person, and being open to that change but carrying within the never-changing love for the motherland.'

The concepts of homeland and family are important to Kane, who also takes on Sosa's 'Duerme Negrito,' which grew from a request by a director making a film about the children of immigrant farm workers in America. The song is a lullaby sung to a child while his mother is out working in the fields.

As for her own family, one of the two songs Kane wrote herself, 'Vida Llena,' honors her grandmother. 'She was the biggest influence in my life growing up. She taught me that while life may not always be easy, it can still be full and rewarding.'

Now passing on her musical love, Kane enjoys playing thumb piano with her daughter; they have a matching set. The global-seeking Pacifika scours Latin America, Africa and France in their musical quest. While she has many instruments at the ready, it is the hypnotic and playful qualities of the thumb piano that pulls at her heart. 'It's a happy instrument,' she says, 'like a music box, which you just open, wind, and let play.'

'I really wanted the opportunity to embark on something of my own. I'm at a point in my life in which I feel capable of amassing my ideas. With Pacifika being somewhat percussive and bombastic on stage, i wanted to make a very quiet record. I wanted to leave a sonic memento for my family. It was a very soothing and peaceful record to make.'

Wulu Wulu: Beloved Nigerian Singer-Songwriter Bongos Ikwue’s First U.S. Release

From a media release:

Recently released:
The African Folk Soul of Bongos Ikwue: Beloved Nigerian Singer-Songwriter’s First U.S. Release
Wulu Wulu (Bik Recordings - Jan 27 2013)

The 1970’s were an extremely fertile era for music. In America, progressive soul and funk broke new ground while London spawned the punk rock scene and Kingston, Jamaica gave the world roots reggae. In Nigeria, an extraordinarily diverse and dynamic cultural scene yielded not only Fela’s Afrobeat and juju’s peak with Sunny Ade and Ebenezer Obey but also myriad rock and funk groups such as BLO and The Funkees.

One of the most popular singers on the Nigeria scene at that time was Bongos Ikwue, whose personalized style of African folk and American soul music made him completely unique; he drew on traditional music, highlife, reggae, Congolese styles, Afrobeat and American soul, country, funk, jazz and rock. He could be viewed as an African Bill Withers—an intimate, earthy singer-songwriter who delivers home truths with soulful, unpretentious vocals. Somehow, Bongos blended those wildly diverse musical elements in a completely organic way and did so successfully for decades, blazing a trail for African singer-songwriters at a time when the very concept of “singer-songwriter” was a novelty in the African music universe (since then such artists as Vusi Mahlesela, Rokia Traore, Richard Bona, and most recently Michael Kiwanuka have validated that concept).On February 13, 2013, Bongos Ikwue celebrates more than forty years as a recording artist with WULU WULU  his first release outside Nigeria, which  has marked his resurgence and finds him delivering—at age 70 no less!—possibly the finest recording of his career. For his many long-time Nigerian fans, this will be cause for celebration. For international audiences it may well be a revelation.

“I never retired,” says Bongos and then replies enigmatically when asked why he chose to record a new album at this point in his career. “There comes a time, there comes a time and there comes a time. I create whatever comes my way. I am proud and knowledgeable about my roots and gave sufficient time to writing songs for the people.”

WULU WULU  opens with “Kongo Soldier”, which presents a wry reminiscence of the influx of Nigerian soldiers returning from peace-keeping duty in the Congo into Bongos’ hometown of Otukpo, delivered by Bongos’ rich baritone over a funky, Afro-Caribbean groove graced by a soaring violin solo. There follows the joyous neo-highlife groove of “Abangbo”, highlighted by a kinetic percussion breakdown, the loping South African township jive of “Wulu Wulu”, which features Bongos and his daughter echoing each other’s vocals, one in Idoma and one in English, and the mellow acoustic guitar-led “Mustapha and Christopher”, a reflection on conflicts fueled by religious differences that sounds like it could be the work of any number of America folk singers, save for the subject matter which relates to the recent violence between Muslims and Christians in Northern Nigeria. And that’s just the first four songs! Clearly Bongos Ikwue is an artist who cannot be contained in any stylistic box. Indeed he shatters the common conceptions of what an African artist could or should be. He’s as much influenced by Sam Cooke and Brook Benton as the Idoma traditional music he grew up with.

“I was born different (from other artists),” Bongos notes. “There should be no reason to play like anyone ."

WULU WULU  is the fruition of Bongos’ work with his new band, Double X, so named to suggest the intersecting elements in his music, traditional and contemporary, local and international. It contains a mix of material, re-makes of older songs from his eleven best-selling albums as well as brand-new songs. Recorded in both Nigeria and the United States, where one of his daughters attended college, the album delivers a country pop song one minute, classic reggae the next and his patented, lilting, lyrical Afro-Caribbean groove after that, all rendered with impeccable musicianship.

The Nightclub Show with Uptown Style: Apollo Club Harlem Feb 22 & 23 2013

From a release:

Apollo Club Harlem
Friday, February 22 at 8:30p.m.
Saturday, February 23 at 8:30p.m.

HARLEM (NEW YORK CITY) Harlem was home to New York’s hottest clubs in the 30’s and 40’s, where the music of Billie, Ella, Dinah, Sarah, Duke and Dizzy became legend. Sultry, sexy crooners, dazzling dancers, and swingin’ big bands served-up a potent mix of high-class hi-jinks and entertainment. Now the glamour, electricity and elegance of the Harlem Club environment is back in an all-new, nightclub-style show, staged as only the world-famous Apollo Theater could do it.

Maurice Hines, host, director/choreographer
David Berger, music director
Dee Dee Bridgewater, featured vocalist
Cécile McLorin Salvant, vocalist
Dormeshia, Storyboard P, & The Manzari Brothers, featured dancers
Chorus of Hot Steppers
16-piece Big Band
Daryl Waters, conductor
Emilio Sosa, costumes
Burke Wilmore, lighting & set

Host Maurice Hines will have you fingers snapping throughout as a stunning roster of top contemporary talent takes to the stage. Three-time Grammy Award-winning vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater flaunts her flawless technique and Tony-Award winning theatricality.

Rising-star Cécile McLorin Salvant offers sumptuous and sensual vocal interpretations from the great American songbook. Dormeshia, the greatest female tap dancer alive, spits out complex rhythms a mile a minute. Storyboard P, a 21st century reincarnation of the notorious Snakehips, displays untapped genius in a dance style that is pure poetry in motion.

David Berger, an internationally renowned expert on the music of Duke Ellington and the Swing Era, provides the show’s musical direction, and accomplished conductor Daryl Waters leads a 16-piece Jazz orchestra through an exhilarating barrage of hits including Fine and Mellow, One O’Clock Jump, Drop Me Off in Harlem and Paper Moon. Broadway veteran Emilio Sosa and master designer Burke Wilmore make the evening shimmer and shine with gorgeous costumes and exquisite lighting. Orchestra-level, nightclub seating features table-service, dancing and drinks.

• Complimentary Pre-show Cavicchioli Cocktail in the Mezzanines
• Jazz age attire is encouraged!

Apollo Club Harlem is supported by the Reginald Van Lee Fund for New Works and the Ford Foundation Fund for Global Programs
Orchestra-Level Nightclub Seating (includes table service, cash bar, pre-show and dancing onstage after) $100, Premium Front Orchestra $125
Lower Mezzanine: (includes complimentary pre-show Cavicchioli cocktail) $55, $65
Upper Mezzanine: (includes complimentary pre-show Cavicchioli cocktail) $45, $55

In person at the Apollo Theater Box Office
By phone call Ticketmaster  (800) 745-3000
Online at

Civil Rights 50 Years Later: 651 ARTS Presents Roundtable '63 Feb 22 2013 in Brooklyn

From a release:

651 ARTS presents: Roundtable ‘63
Friday, February 22, 2013 at 7:30 PM
Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts
One University Plaza
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Phone:  (718) 488-1624

Tickets available at this link

Roundtable ‘63 is an inter-generational modern day civil rights round table dialogue re-examining the relevance of the moral, social, political, educational and human rights issues of 1963 versus 2013. Utilizing a staged reading of the critically acclaimed Off-Broadway play “James Baldwin A Soul On Fire” which bears witness to the lesser-known secret meeting between James Baldwin and Robert F. Kennedy in New York City circa 1963.

This unique blend of reader’s theatre and activism serves as a tool to ignite an in-depth conversation with a cornucopia of new and seasoned civil rights architects and contemporary cultural activists exploring viable pro-active solutions to the question: “ Where Were We Then (1963) and Where Are We Now (2013)?

Roundtable participants include Nana Camille Yarbrough, Artist/Activist, The Ancestor House; David Leeming, Baldwin’s Biographer and Former Secretary; Shani Jamila, Director, Human Rights Urban Justice Center and more! Curated by Charles Reese

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Peggy Baker Dance Projects Presents Stereophonic Feb 27 to Mar 3 2013

From a media release:

Peggy Baker Dance Projects presents
Choreography by Peggy Baker
Featuring 3 world premieres and 2 landmark solos
Wednesday, February 27 - Sunday, March 3, 2013

Ticket info

Toronto - Peggy Baker Dance Projects proudly presents Stereophonic, a mixed bill of five multi-dimensional contemporary dance works choreographed by legendary dance artist Peggy Baker, including three world premieres, and re-interpretations of two landmark solos. This stunning evening features acclaimed pianist John Kameel Farah and a company of exquisite dancers - Peggy Baker, Sarah Fregeau, Benjamin Kamino, Sean Ling, Sahara Morimoto, Andrea Nann - and runs Wednesday, February 27 -- Sunday, March 3 at the Betty Oliphant Theatre.

The centrepiece of Stereophonic is the world premiere of Split Screen Stereophonic wherein Baker stretches her already highly-acknowledged artistry. For the first time in her career, she choreographs duets that explore intimate male-female relationships, investigating the chemistry of the personal and private worlds between men and women.  For Split Screen Stereophonic, she examines these worlds from the women's perspectives; but she turns it up a notch by placing two couples simultaneously on a stage cut into right and left halves. These duets juxtapose striking variations and parallels in the relationships. Both women are caught up in a constant negotiation with their partners, veering unstably from intense connection to breakdown and collapse. With a spectacular 40-year career that included two decades of creating and performing solos, this is a major step in Baker's evolution as a choreographer, as she tackles a timeless theme in collaboration with the extraordinary artists of her ensemble.

Choreography: Peggy Baker. Dancers: Sarah Fregeau, Benjamin Kamino, Sean Ling, Sahara Morimoto. Music: Knuckleduster (Robert Lippok, Debashis Sinha). Costumes: Jennifer Dallas. Lighting: Marc Parent. Set: Larry Hahn.

Also premiering is Aleatoric Solo No. 1. This work for dancer Sahara Morimoto is a spin-off of Baker's 12 dancer/12 hour event created for Nuit Blanche 2010, Aleatoria. The word 'aleatoric' means 'randomly' and describes the chance procedure employed for this collaboration between Baker and Morimoto. Drawing from the ten works from Baker's repertoire that Morimoto has danced, brief sequences of movement were sampled to create an original distillation that embodies Morimoto's history in Baker's work. Each performance pairs Morimoto with improvising musician John Kameel Farah.

Choreography: Peggy Baker. Dancer: Sahara Morimoto. Improvising Musician: John Kameel Farah. Costume: Jennifer Dallas. Lighting: Marc Parent.

The final premiere on the program will be a new solo, choreographed and performed by Baker herself - an examination of the ironies, frustrations, and emptiness of absence and loss.

Choreography: Peggy Baker. Dancer: Peggy Baker. Lighting: Marc Parent.

Rounding out the program are two landmark solos by Baker interpreted by others: Encoded Revision (1996) performed by Benjamin Kamino and In a Landscape (1995), performed by Andrea Nann. Musician John Kameel Farah performs in both works.

Encoded Revision: The creation of this work was based on the literary form of the palimpsest: a document written on several times, with remnants of earlier, imperfectly erased writing still visible. Buried inside of Encoded Revision, and serving as the original document for the musical palimpsest, is an account of the tragic death of composer Michael J. Baker's great grandfather in a train accident on the Canadian prairies in 1898. Three generations later, the story existed only vaguely in the family's oral history until it was recovered more completely through the composer's research. In every available account - newspaper articles, CPR telegrams and North West Mounted police reports - this intriguing bit of information surfaces: "A tramp, who was stealing a ride, was slightly injured, and started walking east after he had his breakfast."

Choreography: Peggy Baker. Dancer: Benjamin Kamino. Original Music: Michael J. Baker. Piano: John Kameel Farah. Costume: Caroline O'Brien. Lighting: Marc Parent

In a Landscape: A shamanistic meditation on instinct, ritual and transformation, In a Landscape requires the pianist to approach each sound with precision and delicacy, and calls on the dancer to align herself with the constancy, and the flux, of nature's cycles.

Choreography: Peggy Baker. Dancer: Andrea Nann. Music: John Cage (In a Landscape, 1948). Piano: John Kameel Farah. Lighting: Marc Parent.

Peggy Baker is one of the most outstanding and influential dance artists of her generation. A founding member (1974, and later Artistic Director) of Toronto's Dancemakers, she toured internationally throught the 1980s with Lar Lubovitch's company before joining Mikhail Baryshnikov and Mark Morris as an inaugural member of the Whte Oak Dance Project. She subsequently forged important creative relationships with choreographers Paul-André Fortier (Montreal), James Kudelka (Toronto) and Doug Varone (New York). Her solo debut was made in 1990, and she established her ensemble in 2010. Baker is the recipient of the 2006 Premier's Award for Excellence in the Arts, an honorary doctorate from the University of Calgary, and five Dora Mavor Moore Awards. She is a member of the Order of Ontario and the Order of Canada, and is the recipient of the 2009 Governor General's Performing Arts Award for lifetime achievement in dance. In 2010, she was awarded the Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in the Performing Arts, and received a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. She has been the  artist-in-residence at Canada's National Ballet School since 1992.

Peggy Baker Dance Projects presents Stereophonic
A stunning mixed program of three premieres and reinterpretations of two landmark works
Choreography by Peggy Baker
Dancers: Peggy Baker, Sarah Fregeau, Benjamin Kamino, Sean Ling, Sahara Morimoto, Andrea Nann.
Piano: John Kameel Farah.

Wednesday, February 27 - Sunday, March 3, 2013
Betty Oliphant Theatre, 404 Jarvis Street, Toronto
Performances: Wed-Sat at 8:30pm, Sun matinee at 4pm

General Admission Wed-Sun: $30 ($25 Students/Seniors/CADA);
Premium Tickets: $75 available for Sunday March 3 (includes show and Meet-the-Artists Reception after);
PAY-WHAT-YOU-CAN: Thursday, February 28 (door sales only).

Box Office: 1-888-838-3006 OR online at

In a Landscape in rehearsal:

Toronto Film Premiere: Tower Opens at the Royal Feb 22 2013

From a release:

directed by Kazik Radwanski
opens February 22, 2013
at the Royal Theatre, Toronto

**World Premiere, Locarno Film Festival 2012  |  **North American Premiere, TIFF 2012
"One of the year's most jarring and accomplished debuts" - Mark Peranson, editor of Cinema Scope

Tickets are available online now
• A limited number of same day tickets will be available at the door starting 30min before each screening. $11

Already well-known at the Festival for his signature short films, Toronto filmmaker Kazik Radwanski makes his feature debut with this off-kilter and slyly funny character study about a thirty-something loner who tries to keep the world at arm’s length. Developed in part through improvisation, TOWER is an intriguing and candid character study of a Torontonian who's stuck in a rut, and seems quite comfortable there.

Derek (Bogart), a thirty-four-year-old man who lives in his parents' basement, is a puzzling specimen to say the least. He has no career per se, though he is an aspiring computer animator and works construction part-time for his uncle. Solitary but not friendless, he ventures out alone to clubs in the evenings looking to connect with women. He's both impulsive and cautious, and much of the time he appears slightly perplexed, intently chewing on his thoughts. Derek is not socially awkward; he's socially peculiar. He suddenly finds himself in uncertain territory when he falls into an intimate relationship with a woman he meets (Fairbairn).

One of the most appealing aspects of TOWER is the way Radwanski frames his subject, in what has become his defining style: tight, unflinching close-ups and a total absence of long shots, creating an atmosphere that is intense and intimate. Fascinating and slyly funny, TOWER establishes Radwanski's uncanny and incisive human portraiture and his finely honed approach on a larger canvas.

Director: Kazik Radwanski
Starring: Derek Bogart, Nicole Fairbairn,
Details: 78 min. 2012 Canada

Batuki Music Presents Lorraine Klaasen's Tribute to Miriam Makeba February 23, 2013 in Toronto

From a media release:

Batuki Music Presents
Lorraine Klaasen's Tribute to Miriam Makeba
February 23, 2013 in Toronto

She'll also be in Hamilton on February 22

Batuki Music Society celebrates Black History Month with a “Tribute to Miriam Makeba” featuring Lorraine Klaasen at Ada Slaight Hall, Daniels Spectrum located at 585 Dundas St. E. Toronto on Saturday February 23, 2013.

Lorraine Klaasen, performer extraordinaire, is the daughter of legendary South African Jazz singer Tandi Klaasen, one of Nelson Mandela’s favorite singers and an indisputable South African legend. Lorraine is one of the few South African artists who have preserved the classic sound of Township music, which continues to be the most distinctive sound to come out of South Africa.

Born and raised in Soweto, South Africa, Lorraine Klaasen was influenced by South Africa’s musical giants of the 1950’s and 1960’s, such as Miriam Makeba, Dolly Rathebe, Dorothy Masuka, Sophie Mgcina and Busi Mhlongo who frequented her mother’s home. Lorraine’s musical career started at an early age in the 1970’s when she would accompany her mother to live performances all over Southern Africa including the neighboring states of Mozambique and Swaziland. It wasn’t long after that she branched out on her own and got into musical theater, which took her across Europe and eventually ended up in Montreal, Canada where she has been living for over two decades. A singer, songwriter, dancer and choreographer, Lorraine Klaasen sings in several languages including Zulu, Sotho, Xhosa, Lingala, English, and French.

Lorraine Klaasen has embraced the rich musical cultures of Quebec, Africa, Haiti and the Caribbean whose musicians she has collaborated with on her successful tours of Europe, North America and the Caribbean. In the late 1980’s and throughout the 1990’s, Lorraine recorded several albums which included the popular songs titled “Bayasilandela” and "Kudala ndikulindile”.  In February 2008, Lorraine released the album Africa Calling on the Justin Time label working with South African record producer Mongezi Chris Ntaka, and featuring bassist Bakhiti Khumalo (who performed on Paul Simon's landmark album, Graceland).

Her latest CD, released in September 2012, A Tribute To Miriam Makeba is a fitting acknowledgment to the legendary songstress, who remains the most important female vocalist to emerge out of South Africa. Hailed as the Empress of African Song and Mama Africa, she helped bring African music to a global audience in the '60s. In a fitting homage, Lorraine Klaasen and her band do Auntie Miriam justice with energetic and heartfelt renditions of South African classic and traditional folk songs, including those that Miriam Makeba brought to the masses like Pata Pata, The Click Song and Jolinkomo, as well as Lorraine's own compositions inspired by the lady herself.

Lorraine Klaasen will be performing with the musicians featured on her latest CD, A Tribute to Miriam Makeba: guitarist Assane Seck, bassist Sebastian Andrew Whiteman and percussionist Moise Yawo Matey.

“Tribute to Miriam Makeba” featuring Lorraine Klaasen
Saturday February 23, 2013
Ada Slaight Hall, Daniels Spectrum, 585 Dundas St. E. Toronto
Entry 8 PM / Show 9 PM
Tickets: $20 advance / $25 door

Info or advance tickets online at:
Or available at these locations:  
Nharo 543 Danforth Ave.
Soundscapes 572 College St.
African Drum & Art Crafts 618 Dundas St. W.

Batuki Music Society gratefully acknowledges the support of Canadian Heritage.

A Call for Collaborators: My City Stories

From a release:

A Call for Collaborators:
My City Stories

Mycitystories is a multi-platform community project that explores the emotional and physical landscape of our cities. Mycitystories questions how, in this hybrid age of globalization, we perceive our relationship with the city we call 'home'. How does a city's life, architecture and history impact its inhabitants and global community.

You have the opportunity to engage and tap into the untold stories that each one of us carry.

What is your story?

Your story might be about :
• Everyday life,
• A memory or an experience in your neighbourhood,
your favourite city festivals, art and culture,
• Architecture and Gardens,
• History and landmarks,
• City awareness
• City based concerns; growth, population, city planning

or anything else you want to share

Current collaborators hail from Edmonton, Mumbai, Melbourne (Australia) and beyond.

You can get involved by starting with this link is conceived and created by Faisal Anwar

Faisal Anwar
Interactive Artist / Producer, research artist,,

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Winterfolk XI Blues & Roots Festival Feb 14-17 2013 in Toronto

From a media release:

The Delta Chelsea Hotel, 33 Gerrard St W  Toronto, ON / 416-595-1975
Over 100 Artists on 4 Stages for 3 Days of Roots and Blues

• Most Concerts Free with Some Ticketed Events
Check the website for details

 TORONTO – The Winterfolk Blues & Roots Festival returns once again to  Toronto’s DELTA CHELSEA HOTEL for the upcoming ELEVENTH ANNUAL WINTERFOLK FESTIVAL which will take place from FEB 14-17, 2013. Some of the finest folk, roots, world and blues artists will perform at the Delta Chelsea’s Monarchs Pub, Market Garden Stage and various other stages all within the hotel.

All stages are indoors, under one roof, featuring quiet listening rooms.Winterfolk is a Free Festival with some paid stages.Come for Winterfolk – Stay for the Annual Folk Alliance Conference Immediately Following in the same venue.

Toronto’s Winterfolk X festival will present a fun, jam-packed, free, all-ages, mid-winter, weatherproof urban blues and roots festival. The new venue proved to be a huge success last year and will continue to present all kinds of fresh opportunities. The Delta’s management and staff are thoroughly supportive and excited about the recent collaboration. The hotel’s involvement in Toronto’s music scene is ever-growing and they have regular music events scheduled every night of the week in Monarchs Pub, so many in the music community are already familiar with the great vibe happening there.

The Winterfolk XI Blues & Roots Festival is thrilled to announce several feature showcases this year including one with SONNY OCHS (sister of ‘60s legend Phil Ochs). Sonny pays tribute to her late great brother along with Jon Brooks, Eve Goldberg, Noah Zacharin, D'Arcy Wickham, Brian Gladstone, David Newland, David Essig, Tony Quarrington and Sebastian Agnello all singing their favourite Phil Ochs tunes. Setting the mood beforehand will be folk duo Sue & Dwight performing the Winterfolk edition of their “Where Have All The Folk Songs Gone?” musical revue, from 1-2 p.m. The full 1– 4 p.m. showcase to be held in the hotel’s Mount Batten Room on the second floor, is one of the few ticketed events at the festival.

Another feature of this year’s festival is the ARTSCAN CIRCLE BENEFIT hosted by Carol Teal and David Joyce who have long been involved in the organization which sends teams of musicians and artists to remote Canadian Indigenous communities to link creative artists with Indigenous youth at risk. They will be joined by Wendell Ferguson, Eve Goldberg, D'Arcy Wickham.

Two very new features include the debut performance of the men of THE FABULOUS WHITELEY clan, and a live recording event with emerging Peterborough singer-songwriter GRAINNE.

Ken, Chris, Ben, Dan & Jesse Whiteley will gather on Friday, February 15th, for a special performance never before seen on any stage. The fellas are sure to wow audiences while utilizing banjo, piano, mandolin, bass and more, to achieve a testosterone-laden extravaganza of sound

Grainne’s Winterfolk set will be a live, off-the-floor recording session – another first for the festival – and will be backed by well-established roots artists including Gladstone (producer for the album), who will be on guitar and banjo for a few tunes. Added to the mix will be Juno award-winning guitarist Tony Quarrington on six-string and mandolin as well as Beverly Kreller (of award-winning HOTCHA! fame), who will provide percussion and backup vocals.

PLUS Community Stages: Benefit for ArtsCan Circle, Songwriters Unite, Best of the Freetimes Cafe, Best of Brian Gladstone’s Open Stage, Best of Whistle Radio’s Nite Out, Pete Otis & Songtown Presents, Moonshine Café Presents, SPEAK Music Presents, Seneca College Independent Music Program, Honouring Our Own and more!


Winterfolk was formed to entertain, educate, enlighten, engage and encourage the community about various folk music styles including roots, blues, folk and more. Founded by Festival Director Brian Gladstone, it is run as a division of The Association of Artists for a Better World, a registered non-profit organization in the Province of Ontario, Canada. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Emilie Autumn's Fight Like A Girl Tour Hits Toronto & NYC in February 2013

From a media release:

Emilie Autumn wants you to Fight Like A Girl with her on her North American Tour
at Toronto's Mod Club February 17, 2013
at New York City's Gramercy Theatre on February 22 2013

Check out the rest of the tour here

Beautiful, bizarre and brazen sonic seductress and violinist extraordinaire, Emilie Autumn wants you to fight alongside her on this winter's "Fight Like A Girl" tour.

Each show promises to be an unforgettable adventure, and is never the same way twice.  Not a rock show, but a rock opera with a real story to tell, the "Fight Like A Girl" tour will undoubtedly be Emilie Autumn's most memorable run yet.  Whether you're one of her affectionately dummber "Plague Rats" or amongst the uninitiated, this is a lavish and powerfully entertaining spectacle that is not to be missed. 

Beyond her dramatic vocal performance which masterfully fluctuates from operatic to filthy industrial and back again (she's notorious for performing Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody as a nightly encore), she elegantly strikes that effervescent balance between sex, violence, and English literature.  Part Broadway, part mad tea party, there's nothing remotely like it anywhere...

It's more brutal, bloody, and beautiful, "affirms the ringleader with a playful grin.  There's more girl-on-girl action and glitter.  The corsets are even tighter.  It's become Victorian Croughing Tiger, Hidden Dragon.  It's a roller coaster ride.  You're going to feel like you've stepped into a dark Disneyland, and you aren't going to want to leave.

21st Century Flamenco: La Otra Orilla Feb 15 & 16 2013 in Toronto

From a media release:

DanceWorks presents La Otra Orilla in
part of Harbourfront Centre's NextSteps
Choreographed by Myriam Allard
February 15 & 16 2013

Toronto -
DanceWorks, Toronto's longest-running contemporary dance series, DanceWorks, proudly presents the Toronto premiere of HomoBLABLAtus from Montreal's acclaimed La Otra Orilla, part of Harbourfront Centre's NextSteps, running February 15-16, 2013 at Enwave Theatre.

After spending years in Andalusia, dancer/choreographer Myriam Allard and singer/director Hedi "El Moro" Graja, founded La Otra Orilla in 2006. Their unique approach reshapes the timeless and universal art of flamenco for the 21st century with a truly trans-disciplinary vision of the art form - tapping into its roots while anchoring it firmly in the present.

The company's new creation, HomoBLABLAtus, is a work for three dancers and two actor-musicians - and a new "discovery" by La Otra Orilla: a subgenus of the homo species that abhors silence and has adopted a form of communication known as blah-blah-teria.

HomoBLABLAtus examines the possibilities and modes of artistic expression and questions the relationship between emptiness and excess in a world brimming with symbols. It questions what is too little and what is too much while sending us searching for unexplored spaces.

La Otra Orilla's DanceWorks debut, El 12, received a Dora Mavor Moore Award nomination for Outstanding Dance Production in 2010.

Paula Citron of the Globe and Mail says of La Otra Orilla: "Flamenco on the wild side. Montreal dancer and choreographer Myriam Allard and French singer Hedi (El Moro) Graja leave audiences stunned by the ferocity of their performances. La Otra Orilla means 'the other side' (of the Guadalquivir River), and refers to the raw, edgy flamenco in the tabernas across from the more refined Seville."

About El12, Montreal's La Presse (Aline Apostolska) notes: "Myriam Allard is a magnificent flamenco dancer - energetic, magnetic, respectful of formal purism and completely free in reinterpreting tradition with her resolutely contemporary vision." And of a previous work (Denominacion de Origen Descontrolado): "We are left totally stunned, jolted by the magnetic energy that heats up the stage and theatreŠ We realize that these are magical moments, which won't be repeated anytime soon. La Otra Orilla is a name to remember, run to see them!"

HomoBLABLAtus is a co-production with Danse Danse and La Place des Arts (Montréal, Québec, Canada). La Otra Orilla has also received the support of the Segal Centre, Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Quebec, Canada Council for the Arts and Conseil des Arts de Montréal.

Images (2nd & 3rd):
- Myriam Allard
- Myriam Allard and Aurélie Brunelle

DanceWorks presents La Otra Orilla (Montreal) in HomoBLABLAtus
part of Harbourfront Centre's NextSteps
Choreographer: Myriam Allard
Director: Hedi Graja
Performers: Myriam Allard (dancer) and Hedi "El Moro" Graja (singer), Aurélie Brunelle (dancer),
Miguel Medina (percussionist); special collaboration Antonio Arrebola (dancer)
Composer: Caroline Planté & José Sanchez
Video: Genevieve Allard
Lights: Laurent Routhier/Projet Blanc
Costumes: Susana Vera
Friday, February 15 to Saturday, February 16, 2013, 8PM
Harbourfront Centre's Enwave Theatre, 207 Queens Quay West
Tickets: $19.50-$34, including applicable taxes & services charges
Harbourfront Centre Box Office: 416-973-4000 OR online at