Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Journey Charts The Remarkable Musical Voyage Of Saxophone Bebop Legend Charles McPherson (Capri Records Feb 17 2015)

From a media release:

The Journey Charts The Remarkable Musical Voyage Of Saxophone Bebop Legend Charles McPherson

• CD to be released February 17, 2015 on Capri Records
Pre-order on iTunes


"Bebop, sharp and driving." - Nate Chinen, The New York Times

"Alto saxophonist/composer Charles McPherson has been playing masterful bop and its extensions for several decades." -Michael G. Nastos, AllMusic


One of the last authentic practitioners of bebop saxophone, Charles McPherson remains at the top of his game. On his new album The Journey, McPherson demonstrates all the vigor, inventiveness, technical dexterity and expressive warmth that drew attention to this brilliant alto stylist during his formative associations with Charles Mingus, Barry Harris, Pat Martino and Art Farmer. The vitality, wit and sheer power of his playing on The Journey belie the fact that McPherson has been in the public eye since the early 1960s. His lyrical and virile improvising throughout the recording asserts that the career upswing that began for McPherson when he added passionate alto statements to the soundtrack of Clint Eastwood's 1998 Charlie Parker bio-pic, Bird, followed by the excellent all-star albums that came in the film's wake, remains in motion. Working with a Denver-based contingent of estimable musicians including saxophonist Keith Oxman, pianist Chip Stephens, bassist Ken Walker and drummer Todd Reid, McPherson demonstrates his laudable command of the bebop idiom, transforming original tunes, songbook standards and bop classics into fresh, invigorating fare.

The origins of The Journey can be traced to a fortuitous meeting that occurred at a musical clinic, featuring McPherson among others, at the Denver, Colorado jazz club Dazzle. There he met the saxophonist and high school instructor, Keith Oxman. Musical encounters with Oxman and local musicians Stephens, Walker and Reid, were so successful that the veteran saxophonist encouraged a recording to document the obvious connection that the five musicians had so quickly established. The April and May 2014 sessions produced a strikingly comfortable blend of standards ("Spring Is Here," "I Should Care"), McPherson originals ("Manhattan Nocturne," "The Journey," "Bud Like"), work from both Oxman and Stephens, and a shout out to McPherson's deepest influence, Charlie Parker ("Au Privave").



Thoroughly comfortable with the intricacies of bebop, Oxman and each of the rhythm team display élan as confident soloists, as an indivisible unit, and as a rock-solid foundation for McPherson.  The star altoist - as fluent as ever on brisk bop performances and lyrically pointed on ballads (hear his lovely duet with Stephens on "I Should Care," a standard favored by Parker) - sounds as robust and bursting with ideas as his devotees, drawn to the authenticity and communicative power of McPherson's characteristic playing, have come to expect.

The presence of another saxophonist adds harmonic and tonal color to the ensemble and further stimulates McPherson's creative juices. Oxman's own "Tami's Tune" is a feature for the tenor saxophonist on which McPherson graciously absents himself, better to train the spotlight on this fine improviser. As McPherson states, "Keith is extremely creative and in possession of a really good technique. But most importantly he has spirituality in his playing, and a depth of feeling that is rare. He should definitely be heard more!" As should McPherson, who, as The Journey clearly exhibits, remains in peak form as he continues his lifelong musical voyage.

http://caprirecords.com/
http://www.charlesmcpherson.com/

The master at a club date early in 2014:

Upcoming Release: CommonUnion59 - Heartbeat Serenade (Independent: February 11, 2015)

Alt-Country/Folk/Pop - Upcoming Release:
CommonUnion59 - Heartbeat Serenade
(Independent: February 11, 2015)


• To be available from their website & on CDBaby

If there's one thing I love, it's sweet harmonies and track #1 on Heartbeat Serenade - It's Alright - begins with the intertwined voices of Steve McKenzie and Laura Malasig in a song with twangy alt-country hooks.

It's one aspect of a kind of dual nature to this upcoming release, the third full-length album by San Francisco based CommonUnion59, with Steve McKenzie on vocals, guitar and banjo)and Laura Malasig on vocals, piano and glockenspiel. Other musicians on the album include Kevin Hayes (drums, percussion) and Jake Leckie (bass). It's coming out on February 11 2015.

In that alt-country mode their lyrics cover the usual romance/Americana beat straight up in country storytelling style - no post-modern irony allowed. There are some clever flashes,

It's a long way back to the stars
From where we are


(from From Where We Are)

The album comes after a year or so of playing and writing songs and comes as a follow up to 2012's well-received Magnolia Waltz.

There is some fine melodic guitar work and strong vocals from Laura with just the right inflection. She turns wistful and thoughtful on tracks like The River Song - the emotional content strong enough to hold interest on a minimmalist tracks like this with its spare, slidey guitar and soft drum beat. American Dream has a nice bounce to it and Little White House - a story about the hard times - has a lovely mournful string line.



The title track Heartbeat Serenade switches vocalists and vibes to a pop/folky genre with an occasional dash of retro Brit-pop feel. Today is an aimiable pop waltz. Catch The Wind and Not Dead Inside combine the two streams with Laura's strong voice in piano pop ballad mode; the latter song with a sad edge despite the optimism of the title.

It's an agreeable collection lit up by the vocals. Look for them to be on the road in support of the new release.

Tracklisting: 1. It's Alright, 2. American Dream, 3. The River Song, 4. From Where We Are, 5. Little White House, 6. Heartbeat Serenade 7. Today 8. Catch The Wind 9. Not Dead Inside 10. This Universe

Websites: www.cu59.com, www.twitter.com/commonunion59, www.facebook.com

A taste from their last CD, Magnolia Waltz

Violinist Jennifer Koh Performs Final Installment Of Bach And Beyond At 92nd Street Y NYC On January 31 2015

From a media release:

VIOLINIST JENNIFER KOH PERFORMS THE FINAL INSTALLMENT
OF HER BACH AND BEYOND SOLO VIOLIN PROJECT
AT 92ND STREET Y ON JANUARY 31 2015

Tickets


Program to include the world premiere of a new work commissioned from John Harbison
Bach’s Sonatas Nos. 2 and 3 and Berio’s Sequenza VIII also to be performed


NEW YORK, NY—Violinist Jennifer Koh returns to 92nd Street Y to perform Bach and Beyond Part 3, the last program of her three-part recital series exploring the history of solo violin repertoire by pairing Bach’s Six Sonatas and Partitas with modern-day works and new commissions. Ms. Koh debuted Bach and Beyond in 2009 to commemorate the 325th anniversary of Bach’s birth. At this recital, Ms. Koh gives the world premiere of a new Bach-inspired work by American composer John Harbison in their first collaboration together. Mr. Harbison’s work, titled For Violin Alone, was co-commissioned by 92nd Street Y, Cal Performances, and the University Musical Society for the Bach and Beyond project. The program will also include Luciano Berio’s Sequenza VIII and Bach’s Sonatas No. 2 in A minor and No. 3 in C major.

The recital takes place at 92nd Street Y’s Kaufmann Concert Hall on Saturday, January 31 at 8 p.m. Tickets priced from $35 to $57 are available online at 92y.org, by phone at (212) 415-5500, or in person at the box office.

Ms. Koh has presented a new installment of her Bach and Beyond series at 92nd Street Y every two years in January since 2011. The Bach and Beyond Part 2 program included Bach’s Sonata No. 1 and Partita No. 1, Bartók’s Sonata for solo violin, and a partita commissioned by Phil Kline titled Dead Reckoning. The first recital in the series featured Bach’s Partitas Nos. 2 and 3 and works by Carter, Saariaho, Ysaÿe, and Salonen with a video commission by filmmaker and video artist Tal Rosner. During the 2014-15 season, in addition to the recital at 92nd Street Y, she performs Part 3 at Strathmore Hall in North Bethesda, for the University Musical Society in Ann Arbor, at Millersville University of Pennsylvania, for Music On Main in Vancouver, for Cal Performances at UC Berkeley, at the Athanaeum Music & Arts Library in La Jolla, and at Oberlin College.

Ms. Koh says, “I have come to understand Bach’s complete works for solo violin as a musical journal of his life and development as an artist. While Bach and Beyond Parts 1 and 2 explored the themes of birth and transcendence, Bach and Beyond Part 3 explores the idea of development by highlighting Bach’s evolution of the fugal form. Bach’s second and third sonatas contain fugues in which he expands upon the fugue in the first sonata in both size and motif. This form reaches it summit point in the C-major fugue, Bach’s largest movement in all his works for solo violin, and a testament of the architectural possibilities of the fugal form. I also wanted to bring attention to the ‘theme’ of Bach and Beyond by pairing these Bach Sonatas with music that had very literal connections to works by Bach that were part of Bach and Beyond Parts 1 and 2. Both Berio’s Sequenza VIII and Harbison’s For Violin Alone are based on Bach’s Partita form: Sequenza VIII is based on Bach’s Chaconne from Partita No. 2 and For Violin Alone consists of six dance movements with an Epilogue to close the work.”

Ms. Koh’s Bach and Beyond series is being released on three CDs by the Cedille label. The second recording of the series, to be released in February 2015, includes Bach’s Sonata No. 1 and Partita No. 1, Bartók’s Sonata for solo violin, and the world-premiere recording of Kaija Saariaho’s Frises for solo violin and electronics. The first Bach and Beyond recording, released in October 2012, includes Bach’s second and third Partitas, Ms. Saariaho’s Nocturne for Violin, Ysaÿe’s Sonata No. 2, and the world-premiere recording of Missy Mazzoli’s Dissolve, O My Heart, and was named one of the Best Classical Music Recordings of 2012 by The New York Times.

At the 92Y in 2012:

Nightwood Theatre Presents: HER2 January 13 to February 1 2015 in Toronto

From a media release:

HER2
By Maja Ardal
Directed by Kim Blackwell


World premiere

January 13-February 1, 2015
Tues-Sat at 8:00 pm, Sat/Sun at 2:00 pm
Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander St


TORONTO - An all-star cast features in a probing, heart-wrenching examination of the uneasy relationship between medical science and the human spirit.

Seven women with one thing in common—a highly aggressive form of breast cancer—are recruited for a clinical trial of a new drug. While the researcher measures its progress in terms of blood counts and tumour sizes, the subjects of her experiment, struggle to deal with the renewed dread that paradoxically accompanies this sudden glimmer of hope in their lives. As the group under goes the treatment they bond together into a community characterized not by medical statistics but by their human qualities of courage, humour, and wisdom.

TICKETS:
Single tickets are on sale now! Click HERE to buy tickets

Playwright Maja Ardal talks about the piece

Canadian Premiere: Sharr White's psychological thriller The Other Place January. 18 to February 8, 2015 in Toronto

From a media release:

Canadian Stage announces casting for the Canadian premiere of Sharr White’s psychological thriller The Other Place
Daniel Brooks directs with a brilliant ensemble cast at the Bluma Appel Theatre Jan. 18 to Feb. 8, 2015

Tickets

Toronto, ON –
Canadian Stage presents the Canadian premiere of The Other Place, a darkly comedic and emotional thriller by Sharr White, nominated for outstanding new off-Broadway play by the 2010-11 Outer Critics Circle Awards. Helmed by award-winning director Daniel Brooks (RACE), The Other Place is brought to life by a talented ensemble cast featuring, Joe Cobden (Tarragon Theatre’s An Enemy of the People), Tamsin Kelsey (Pietá at Summerworks), Haley McGee (Helen Lawrence) and Jim Mezon (Red) – on stage at the Bluma Appel Theatre (27 Front St. E) from Jan. 18 to Feb. 8, 2015.

“A wonderfully unorthodox American playwright, Sharr White's newest play deals with a subject that concerns us to an ever-increasing degree: mental incapacitation and the loss of autonomy over one’s own life,” said Matthew Jocelyn, artistic and general director at Canadian Stage. “With director Daniel Brooks and the support of a superbly gifted Canadian ensemble bringing the complexities of this brilliantly troubling and unexpectedly humorous play to the stage, I cannot wait to share this chilling, emotional journey with audiences.”

Juliana Smithton (Kelsey) is a successful neurologist whose life seems to be falling apart around her. Her husband (Mezon) has filed for divorce, her daughter (McGee) has eloped with a much older man (Cobden), and her own health is declining. But in this brilliantly troubling and unexpectedly humorous play, nothing is as it seems. Piece by piece, a mystery unfolds as fact blurs with fiction, the past collides with the present and the elusive truth about Juliana begins to surface.

Brooks last captivated audiences at Canadian Stage directing David Mamet’s RACE in 2013. In The Other Place he leads a talented cast of Canadian performers, which includes Kelsey’s much anticipated return to the stage. As teacher at Toronto’s prestigious Rosedale Heights School of the Arts, Kelsey was last seen on stage at Summerworks 2012 in Pietá, in a performance NOW Magazine called “staggering” that won her the festival’s coveted Spotlight Award.

During the run of The Other Place, Canadian Stage will host a range of ancillary programming designed to engage audiences in the themes of the play and foster conversations about art and theatre. On Jan. 23, playwright Sharr White will participate in a pre-show conversation with the audience. Additional pre-show chats, with guests to be announced, are scheduled for Jan. 30 and Feb. 6, with post-show talkbacks scheduled for the 1 p.m. matinees on Jan. 28 and Feb. 4, and after the 8 p.m. evening performances on Jan. 29 and Feb. 5. Canadian Stage also provides a special preview performance for Educators on Jan. 20 (registration required) that includes educational tools and guides. More information can be found at canadianstage.com/online/education.

The Other Place will be on stage at Canadian Stage’s Bluma Appel Theatre (27 Front St. E) from Jan. 18 to Feb. 8. Performances run Tuesday through Saturday at 8 p.m., with Sunday, Saturday and Wednesday matinees at 1 p.m. and Friday evenings at 7 p.m. The performance is expected to run approximately 90 minutes with no intermission, but is subject to change. Tickets from $30 to $99 are available online, by phone at 416.368.3110 or in person at the box office. For details visit canadianstage.com.

Website: canadianstage.com
Twitter: @CanadianStage; #csOtherPlace

Shows and Tickets:
2014.15 Subscriptions are still on sale with 4-show packages starting from $114 and 6-show packages starting from $168. Subscriptions and tickets may be purchased by phone at 416.368.3110 or in-person at the Canadian Stage Box Office: Bluma Appel Theatre (27 Front Street East) or Berkeley Street Theatre (26 Berkeley Street). Full details on the productions, casting and subscription packages are available online at canadianstage.com

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Saxophonist/Composer Rudresh Mahanthappa Previews Upcoming CD Bird Calls Saturday, January 10 2015 at Winter Jazzfest - New York City

From a media release:

Saxophonist/Composer Rudresh Mahanthappa Previews Upcoming CD Bird Calls
Saturday, January 10 2015 at Winter Jazzfest - New York City
10:00 p.m. at Minetta Lane Theatre, 18-22 Minetta Lane, NYC

Bird Calls examines the influence of Charlie Parker through a 21st century jazz lens
The CD is out February 10, 2015 on ACT
Check out more about the Winter Jazz Festival


“To observe that Mahanthappa fused the incantatory phrase-making and exotic scales of Indian music with the free-wheeling improvisational spirit of American jazz would be an understatement. He's so thoroughly immersed in both worlds that he conjured up a startlingly original merger of the two.” “• Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune

“An itchy, ambitious, often molten mosaic of styles and cultures.” ⎯ Britt Robson, JazzTimes


Saxophonist and composer Rudresh Mahanthappa previews his new Charlie Parker-inspired CD Bird Calls on January 10 as part of the Winter Jazzfest Saturday Marathon. He performs at 10:00 p.m. at Minetta Lane Theatre, 18-22 Minetta Lane, NYC with pianist Matt Mitchell, drummer Rudy Royston and 20-year-old trumpet prodigy Adam O’Farrill, each of whom appears on Bird Calls, and bassist Chris Tordini. Festival day passes are $35 and two-day passes are $55. For more information, go to http://www.winterjazzfest.com/marathon2

Through a series of critically acclaimed releases over the past decade, Rudresh Mahanthappa has explored the music of his South Indian heritage and translated it through the vocabulary of his own distinctive approach to modern jazz. On his latest release Bird Calls, available February 10, 2015 on ACT, Mahanthappa trains his anthropological imagination on an equally important cultural influence: the music of Charlie Parker. With a stellar quintet of forward-thinking musicians, which includes some long-time collaborators as well as trumpeter Adam O’Farrill, Mahanthappa offers an inspired examination of Bird’s foundational influence and how it manifests itself in a decidedly 21st-century context.

“It’s easy to say that Bird influenced modern music without dissecting that notion,” Mahanthappa says. “If I had any agenda for this album, it was to really demonstrate that. This music says, “˜Yes, Bird’s influence is absolutely indelible, and here’s why.’ This is music that is all directly inspired by Charlie Parker, but it sounds as modern as anything today.” The album is also a passion project for Mahanthappa, who counts Parker as one of his earliest and most enduring inspirations, saying, “Bird has always been a huge influence on me.”

Though it pays homage to one of jazz’s Founding Fathers and arrives at the outset of Charlie Parker’s 95th birthday year, Bird Calls is not a tribute album in the traditional sense. There isn’t a single Parker composition to be found on the album, which consists entirely of new music penned by Mahanthappa for the occasion. But Bird’s DNA is strongly present in every one of these pieces, each of which takes a particular Parker melody or solo as its source of inspiration. Each is then wholly reimagined and recontextualized by Mahanthappa and his quintet which, in addition to O’Farrill (son of pianist and Afro Latin Jazz Alliance founder Arturo O’Farrill), features pianist Matt Mitchell (Dave Douglas, Tim Berne), bassist François Moutin (Jean-Michel Pilc, Martial Solal), and drummer Rudy Royston (Bill Frisell, Dave Douglas).

Take the most obvious example, “Talin is Thinking,” whose title is both a play on “Parker’s Mood” and a loving dedication to Mahanthappa’s two-year-old son. The familiar melody of “Parker’s Mood” is essentially intact, but it is transformed into a more somber, serpentine piece by the removal of Bird’s syncopated rhythmic approach. Less immediately recognizable but similar in approach is “Chillin’,” which asks the instrumentalists to navigate melodies derived from Parker’s “Relaxin’ at Camarillo” both in the written material and in their solos.



“Bird’s solos and heads were very advanced harmonically and rhythmically,” Mahanthappa says. “They’re as cutting edge as anything today, and I always feel like we take that for granted as jazz musicians. We know the melody to “˜Donna Lee’ and we know these classic solos like we know “˜Mary Had a Little Lamb,’ but what if we were to dig deeper? If you take an excerpt of one of his solos in isolation, it’s like 21st-century classical music, with a really modern way of thinking about rhythm and melody and harmony.”

“On the DL,” for example, dissects the melody of Parker’s classic “Donna Lee” and builds an entirely new melody on that foundation. The piece is marked by Mahanthappa’s intricate melodicism and vigorous, shape-shifting rhythmic approach; he and O’Farrill weave their lines together in a spirit that wouldn’t feel unfamiliar to Dizzy and Bird, even if the material itself would certainly sound startling to 1940s ears. Mahanthappa describes the even more breakneck “Both Hands” as “Bird’s melody from “˜Dexterity,’ but with all the rests removed,” and it’s every bit as electrifying as that description implies.

Like countless other pieces before it, “Sure Why Not?” sets an original melody against the harmony of Parker’s “Confirmation,” then disguises its source further by slowing the usually brisk tempo to a tart ballad. “Maybe Later” focuses on Parker’s rhythmic originality, changing the notes to the saxophonist’s famed solo from “Now’s the Time” while keeping the rhythm intact. “Gopuram,” with its Indian raga feel, takes its name from the tower at the entrance of Hindu temples as a play on “Steeplechase” (after prayer, Hindus often circle the temple several times, akin to the circular route of the titular race). The album closes with “Man, Thanks for Coming,” loosely based on “Anthropology.” The CD is punctuated by a series of miniatures called “Bird Calls,” solo, duo and group introductions that allow for more open explorations of the compositions’ thematic material.

Charlie Parker was a key influence for Mahanthappa from the time a junior high music teacher handed him the Parker album Archetypes along with a copy of Jamey Aebersold’s well-known collection of transcriptions, the Charlie Parker Omnibook. “I was blown away,” he recalls. “I couldn’t believe the way he was playing, gorgeous with so much charisma and flying all over the horn. I think hearing Charlie Parker was what planted the first seeds of wanting to do this for the rest of my life. It was very powerful.”

Poring over the transcription book, which listed catalogue numbers for the compositions but not album titles, the young altoist noticed that nearly half of them were accompanied by the label Savoy 2201. Not long after, while searching the bins at a local chain record store, he spotted a copy of the collection Bird: Master Takes ““ and there, on the spine, was the magic number: Savoy 2201. He describes the moment as “like finding the Holy Grail.”

Despite the stunning array of influences that have impacted his playing since that time, Parker has always remained an overweening inspiration. “If I ever feel uninspired or down I can always go back to Charlie Parker,” he says. “That always makes me feel invigorated and joyful about playing jazz and playing the saxophone. I always say that what I play still sounds like Bird, just a little bit displaced. It’s coming from the same language and the same foundations. I feel like I’ve always been playing Bird.”

Hailed by the New York Times as possessing “a roving intellect and a bladelike articulation,” Rudresh Mahanthappa has been awarded a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, and commissions from the Rockefeller Foundation MAP Fund, Chamber Music America and the American Composers Forum. He’s also been named alto saxophonist of the year multiple times in DownBeat’s International Critics Poll and by the Jazz Journalists Association. His projects include the multi-cultural hybrids Gamak and Samdhi; the cross-generational alto summit Apex featuring Bunky Green; trios MSG and Mauger; the quintet Dual Identity co-led with fellow altoist Steve Lehman; and Raw Materials, his long-running duo project with pianist Vijay Iyer. Mahanthappa also continues to partner with Pakistani-American guitarist Rez Abbasi and innovative percussionist Dan Weiss in the Indo-Pak Coalition, while giants in both jazz and South Indian music have recognized his success: he was enlisted by Jack DeJohnette for the legendary drummer’s most recent working group, while a collaboration with the renowned Carnatic saxophonist Kadri Gopalnath resulted in Mahanthappa’s critically-acclaimed 2008 CD Kinsmen (Pi).

www.rudreshm.com

Recently Released: Argentina's Panda Elliott - Forastera (Independent)

From a media release:

Recently Released:
Argentina's Panda Elliott - Forastera (Independent)

Buy it now and name your price


Panda Elliot is 3 in 1: woman, band and producer. A fresh new face in the music scene, she recently launched her second album “Forastera”. She is a restless, young Argentine artist who participated in numerous bands across the world (Venezuela, UK, Argentina) before starting her own project in 2011. Composer and guitarist, she consolidated her solo career with “Es mi nombre”, her first album.

After a successful 2014 in which she performed at SXSW, Forastera now reveals a more confident Elliot, well established in her own developing style. A personal evolution from her previous recordings is evident. Elliot perfectly balances her urge to create danceable beats and rhythms with her passion for rock music.

“Forastera” shows a more confident Panda Elliot, well established in her own style. A personal evolution with clear goals: lots of dancing, sensuality and rock & roll. Together with producer Gustavo Montemurro (Ruben Rada, Jaime Roos) and celebrity guests Hugo Fattoruso and Facundo Guevara, “Forastera” is a project full of flavor!

After the eclectic single “Ligerita”, she released “Guerrero”, a rockin’ feminine song that forces you to move your head. “Avanzo” is the hit; “Velocirraptor”, the fun; “Marmol”, the sensibility; and the rest is there to discover and enjoy.

Alt/Indie Rock Recently Released: The Torn Images - Reviver (Independent - November 19, 2014)

Recently Released: The Torn Images - Reviver
(Independent - November 19, 2014)

Buy the CD


Alt/indie rock with a splash of neo-grunge - The Torn Images offer an interesting collection of songs on his latest full-length release, Reviver. Torn Images is the altar ego of Briand Arabaca (vocals/guitar) and he's joined on the release by other artists from his native Orange County, California, including Jonathan O’Brien - bass/guitar/keyboard/percussion (the producer in this project, member of indie rock band Workfriend), Andy Hernandez - guitar (audio monitor/engineer of LA indie rockers Grouplove; past: work with Young The Giant) and Tyler De Young - drums. The album was recorded in August 2014.

Stylistically, the album covers a range of modern rock influences with a retro edge to it. I do hear Blur, Nirvana, and Muse but the vocals owe more than a nod of recognition to the late Layne Staley (Alice in Chains). It works well when it's emotive but risks becoming mannered at times. Musically it's fuzzy guitars, heavy on the rhythm and focusing on the edgy vocal style. Much of it is taken from the harder edge of grunge/rock rather than the pop side of things.

This release is a continuation of The Torn Images' solo career after hooking up with producer Jonathan O'Brien (who recently won the OC Music Awards 2014 "Best Producer") and avant-garde drummer Tyler De Young last year. The combination works well together; De Young's inventive drumming adds texture and a fresh energy to the rock mode. Lyrically, the songs cover a kind of poetic take on real life.

Out of Control (Into the Void) is a stand-out track with its punky, drum driven energy. De Young adds a rhythmic complexity that elevates the music. The release features an interesting production aesthetic - a kind of dry sound that suits the music. Life on a Standstill takes a softer approach with harp-like guitar chords and rat a tat snare drum in a syncopated rhythm that works nicely in contrast with a quavering vocal line. It's evocative.



Tracks like Aimless Breath and Blind Fascination are melodic while still retaining that rock edge. Lost love gets The Torn Images treatment in the song, Never Be The Same Again - less angsty than poetic, letting the throbbing guitar do the emoting. The mood is more trippy on The Elusive Vagabond with a nicely insistent drum line underneath the melody.

With the internet, the world of music is expanding all the time; Reviver is a reminder that with talented musicians you can still get a lot of good mileage out of guitar, drums and voice.

Tracklisting:
1. The Drifting
2. Mantle of Disguise
3. Out of Control (Into The Void)
4. Nearly Lost You
5. Life On A Standstill
6. Aimless Breath
7. Blind Fascination
8. Never Be The Same Again
9. The Elusive Vagabond
10. World of Meaning

Websites:
http://thetornimages.com
https://www.facebook.com/thetornimages
https://twitter.com/TheTornImages
http://artistecard.com/TheTornImages

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Nacional Records Celebrates Grammy Nomination for Ana Tijoux

From a media release:

Nacional Records Celebrates Grammy Nomination for Ana Tijoux

Ana Tijoux Nominated for 'Vengo'
'Vengo' Recently Nominated for a Latin Grammy
Ana Tijoux Recently Won "Record of the Year" Latin Grammy for a Collaboration with Jorge Drexler


Buy the album

LOS ANGELES - Leading independent label Nacional Records is proud to announce a Grammy nomination for Ana Tijoux’s ‘Vengo’ for 'Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album.’

‘Vengo’ debuted #1 on iTunes and has earned strong praise at Newsweek, NPR, Billboard, Spin, Rolling Stone, NY Times and many more outlets around the world.

‘Vengo’ is the follow-up to Ana Tijoux's Grammy and Latin Grammy nominated album 'La Bala,' which was widely celebrated by critics as one of the best albums of the year. The buzz around Ana Tijoux has been steadily building since her Grammy nominated debut ‘1977’ was featured in ‘Breaking Bad,’ ABC’s ‘Dancing With the Stars' and EA Sports’ FIFA video game.  Tijoux is fresh off a Latin Grammy win for a collaboration with Jorge Drexler.

“Tijoux is an artist with the promise to cross borders and genres.” - Billboard

“An arresting and self-possessed performer, an MC with impeccable command and flow,whether she’s urging her now-global audience to speak out against injustice and oppression or riding a languorous, acid-jazz groove…” – Washington Post

Named one of the top indie labels in the U.S. by Billboard, Nacional Records is home to rock, hip-hop and electronic music from across the Americas and around the block.

Ana Tijoux - Somos Sur (Feat. Shadia Mansour)

Christmas at the Riverside Church Harlem NYC - Candlelight Carol Festival December 21 2014

From a media release:

Candlelight Carol Festival
The Riverside Church, an Interdenominational, International and Interracial Congregation
490 Riverside Drive (between 120th & 122nd Streets)
Sunday, December 21 2014
Two Services: 3:30 p.m. & 6:30 p.m.


Prelude Music:
Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial Carillon, 2:30 p.m. and 5:50 p.m.
Handbells, 3:00 p.m. & 6:00 p.m.
Harp & Organ, 3:25 p.m. & 6:25 p.m.

Tickets - ($25 Adults/$15 Seniors/$10 Students/ Children 14 & Under)
• For more information, call (212) 870-6784.

The Candlelight Carol Festival, one of the long-standing Christmas traditions at The Riverside Church, celebrates the beauty of the season through song.  This service of music of light combines carillon, organ, harp, and all of the choirs of The Riverside Church and culminates in a ritual sharing of candlelight illuminating the Nave. Music will include traditional songs and selections by composers Lee Hoiby, Amanda Singer, John Rutter and Francis Poulenc.

The Festival will also include a rainbow of Christmas music as five choirs—The Riverside Choir, Soloists, and Instrumentalists, The Riverside Chamber Singers, The Riverside Inspirational Choir, The Riverside Ringers and The Riverside Children’s Choir—come together for the program.

The Offering - Lee Hoiby
Away in the Manger - Amanda Singer
What Sweeter Music - John Rutter
O Magnum Mysterium  - Francis Poulenc

From the 2011 Christmas Candlelight Carol Festival:

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Queens Calling a celebration of eight diverse female choreographers February 6 to 7 2015 at Harbourfront Toronto


From a media release:

dance Immersion proudly presents

Queens Calling
a celebration of eight diverse female choreographers
Friday February 6 to Saturday February 7, 2015
at Harbourfront Toronto


TORONTO - Queens Calling is a celebration of sisterhood, kinship and womanhood from eight dynamic and diverse female choreographers from across Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. This powerful performance is part of TD Bank’s Then and Now Series for Black History Month and runs February 6 & 7, 2015 at Harbourfront Centre Theatre (formerly Enwave Theatre).

Queens Calling is dedicated to the 219 girls tragically abducted from a boarding school in Chibok, Nigeria. It features an inter-generational cast of female choreographers who will captivate and transport audiences with their electrifying work, bringing positive energy to the challenges that still exist for women around the world. Eight acclaimed diverse choreographers grace the stage with works that range in style from Contemporary African and Lindy Hop to Modern and Caribbean.

A taste of Zab Maboungou



Audiences will be taken on an emotional and searingly honest journey by eight outstanding dance artists. Our goal is to celebrate women and bring positive energy to the challenges that still exist for women around the world. Eight acclaimed choreographers - Alesandra Seutin (UK), Charmaine Headley (Toronto), Ghislaine Doté (Montreal), Jasmyn Fyffe (Toronto), Michèle Moss (Calgary), Paulette Brockington (USA), Sharon Harvey (Toronto), Zab Maboungou (Montreal) - will grace the stage with works that include Contemporary African, Lindy Hop, Modern, Caribbean and more. Audiences will embark on an emotional and honest journey with vibrant expressions that celebrate the power of sisterhood, kinship, and womanhood.

A taste of Jasmyn Fyffe

A Toronto Holiday Tradition: Theatre Columbus Presents The Dog & The Angel December 11 to 30 2014

From a media release:

The Dog & The Angel by Martha Ross,
presented by Theatre Columbus
December 11 - 30, 2014
Showtime 7:30pm
Evergreen Brick Works - Toronto

 
The tradition of outdoor theatre returns this season with The Dog & the Angel by Martha Ross, writer of the Multi Dora Award-nominated The Story. Featuring: Leah Cherniak, Paul Rainville, Michael Rinaldi, Courtenay Stevens, Jennifer Villaverde & Connie Wang

Tickets & Show Schedule
Directions & Shuttle Schedule


A play about one family’s annual holiday party run amok; the dog is in a coma, the christmas tree angel is missing and the litigious neighbours threaten to crash the party. Featuring an all star cast, six local choirs and George, the golden doodle.

Written by Martha Ross
Directed by Jennifer Brewin
Music Direction by John Millard

THE TRADITION
Each year, Theatre Columbus produces an outdoor processional plays at Toronto’s Evergreen Brick Works during the December holidays.

These winter shows explore the role of myths and fables in modern life. Our themes are light and darkness, loneliness and community. We visit old traditions and aim to create news ones, inspired by and about contemporary life. Winter theatre is a combination of cross-country skiing, tobogganing, the sleigh ride, and a hockey game. It is about moving and being together; we march into the darkness and generate light.

Theatre Columbus introduced outdoor winter theatre to Toronto in 2011, at the Evergreen Brick Works. Jennifer had directed, written or produced 12 such shows at the Caravan and for Peter Hinton’s inaugural season at the NAC. Our first show in Toronto was Martha Ross’s The Story, which premiered at the Caravan. It drew strong audiences and garnered great reviews and six Dora nominations, including one award for directing. The Brick Works invited us to present winter shows for the next four years. They provide rehearsal, construction and performance space, as well as limited advertising, and a home-base for the winter show.

THE EXPERIENCE

•Show begins at 7:30pm
•Running time is one hour
•Audiences travel 1km over uneven terrain
•Hot chocolate for sale before the show
•Plenty of bon fires throughout the show
•Heated washrooms are on site
Important Tips!

•Dress warmly, no kidding!
•Wear suitable boots for wet and cold
•Thick socks!
•A good hat that covers the ears
•In the event of rain, the show will be performed indoors

VIDEO: A short story about Theatre Columbus' winter theatre tradition at Toronto's Evergreen Brick Works. Filmed during a performance of Haley McGee's play, "Weather the Weather" in December 2013

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Tix on Sale Now: Sony Centre For The Performing Arts presents the Return of Louise Lecavalier May 29 & 30 2015

From a media release:

Sony Centre For The Performing Arts presents
the Triumphant Return of
Louise Lecavalier in
SO BLUE
After a sold-out run at last summer’s Luminato Festival
Tickets On Sale Now!
Two Performances Only May 29 & 30, 2015


“Lecavalier is arguably Canada’s foremost female contemporary dancer. Now she shows herself to be a formidable choreographer as well.”  Montreal Gazette

TORONTO - The Sony Centre For The Performing Arts is proud to present the return of SO BLUE, choreographed and performed by Louise Lecavalier, joined by Frédéric Tavernini after a highly acclaimed and sold-out run at the Fleck Dance Theatre last summer.

Physically, Louise Lecavalier is an arresting composite of David Bowie and Tilda Swinton, and in the world of contemporary dance, she is as iconic as both. The Montréal native began her career at 18 with Le Groupe Nouvelle Aire, where she met choreographer Édouard Lock. With Lecavalier as his main muse, Lock created La La La Human Steps. Many of the troupe’s seminal works— including Human Sex, New Demons and 2—were defined by her remarkable power and presence. Lecavalier also figured prominently in Lock’s collaborations with Frank Zappa and, fittingly, Bowie with whom she performed a duet at a benefit for the London Institute of Contemporary Art.

SO BLUE, first presented in Düsseldorf in late 2012, marks her volcanic emergence as a choreographer.

The first 30-minutes of SO BLUE features Lecavalier in a perilous solo with a vibrant, swirling soundtrack composed by Turkish-born Montrealer Mercan Dede. Joined by Frédéric Tavernini for the second half, their raw, shared energy reaches dizzying heights.

“An intoxicating marriage of performance brilliance, ritual and feverish musical push . . .  by the end of it we are all in a transcendent state together.  There are few performers who can take an audience on this kind of journey – Lecavalier has proved over and over again, and she does once more with So Blue, that she is one of them.” The Dance Current

Lecavalier joined La La La Human Steps in 1981 to perform in Oranges becoming and remaining the face of the company until 1999. In 1985, Lecavalier was the first Canadian artist to win a Bessie (Dance and Performance) Award in New York.  In 1999, Lecavalier was the first recipient of the Jean A. Chalmers Award, as well as the inaugural Prix de la danse in Montreal in 2011.

In March 2014 Lecavalier’s company, Fou Glorieux, was awarded the 29th Grand Prix du Conseil des arts de Montréal, recognizing the achievement of Lecavalier as an ambassadress for Montreal’s artistic vitality, as well as for her legendary contribution to contemporary dance.

Lecavalier was also awarded the highest distinction in the realm of performing arts in Canada as one of 2014’s winners of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards, and was praised as “one of this country’s most admired and respected contemporary dancers, who continues to dazzle the public and expand the boundaries of her art.”

Sony Centre For The Performing Arts presents
SO BLUE

Choreography by Louise Lecavalier
Performed by Louise Lecavalier and Frédéric Tavernini
May 29 & 30, 2015 @ 8pm
BLUMA APPEL THEATRE
St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, 27 Front Street East
All Tickets $75 (Ticket prices do not include service and delivery fees)
Tickets can be can be purchased in person at the Sony Centre Box Office,
1 Front Street East, over the phone at 1-855-872-SONY (7669) or online at www.sonycentre.ca

Kaki King: New Record & Groundbreaking Multimedia Performance - January 9 2015 in New York City

From a media release:

Kaki King Presents Landmark New Work, "The Neck is a Bridge to the Body"

ACCLAIMED GUITARIST/COMPOSER TEAMS WITH GLOWING PICTURES FOR INNOVATIVE MULTI-MEDIA PERFORMANCE

Everybody Glows: B-Sides & Rarities
Short Stuff Records - November 4, 2014

Highline Ballroom, New York City
January 9, 2015

Buy the album
Get concert tickets

Kaki King’s groundbreaking new work, The Neck Is A Bridge To The Body, sees the renowned guitarist/composer joining forces with visual performance pioneers Glowing Pictures to construct an innovative multi-media production in which The Guitar itself takes centerstage. The Neck Is A Bridge To The Body debuted at Brooklyn’s BRIC House Ballroom in March 2014, and will tour extensively in 2015. An album featuring the music from the show will also be released in 2015.

The Neck Is A Bridge To The Body lays bare The Guitar’s inner life and protean power, its incalculable possibility and perpetual presence in our deepest unconscious. The hour-long production places the focus directly on The Guitar itself, the Instrument serving as an ontological tabula rasa in a creation myth unlike any other ever presented.

King and Glowing Pictures – known for their work with such artists as Animal Collective, David Byrne & Brian Eno, Beastie Boys, and TV On The Radio – have reconceived The Guitar as a screen for a remarkable range of new digital projections. Luminous visions of genesis and death, unexpected textures and skins, are cast onto a Ovation Adamas 1581-KK Kaki King Signature 6-String Acoustic guitar customized specifically for this production. The Guitar gradually evolves, taking on a living, breathing existence of its own, complete with friends, family, and complex skeletal, muscular and nervous systems. Provocative and moving, surprising and beautiful, The Neck Is A Bridge To The Body is Kaki King at her visionary best, as ever deconstructing and redefining the role of solo instrumental artist though virtuoso technique, outsized imagination, and boundless humanity.

“The Guitar is a shapeshifter,” King says, “something that plays all types of music and really fills all kinds of roles. It’s not always the six-string guitar that we all know and love. I’ve been playing guitar for more than 30 years. It’s who I am and if anything, this project has made me even more familiar with it.”



In other news, Kaki recently released Everybody Glows: B-sides & Rarities, out November 4, featuring a collection of outtakes, demos, covers, live versions and never before heard recordings culled from scratched demo CDs, long forgotten hard drives, and the fuzzier corners of her memory. The collection reveals the evolution of her songwriting while offering a glimpse of a young guitarist doing daring things on her instrument before she grasped the significance of any of it. The album comes with a track-by-track explanation of each song, along with liner notes written by her biggest supporter and fan: her father.

Hailed by Rolling Stone as “a genre unto herself,” Kaki King is a true iconoclast, a musician/artist whose singular body of work stands tall amongst the easily formatted.  The past decade has seen the Brooklyn-based guitarist/composer record six extraordinarily diverse and distinctive LPs (the most recent being 2012’s Glow), perform with such icons as Foo Fighters, Timbaland, and The Mountain Goats, contribute to a variety of film and TV soundtracks (spanning Golden Globe-nominated work on Sean Penn’s Into The Wild to scoring – and appearing in as guitar-playing hand double – the acclaimed 2007 drama, August Rush), and play to an increasingly fervent fan following on innumerable world tours.

An astonishingly active artist, King has maintained a diverse and busy schedule lately. In addition to The Neck Is A Bridge To The Body, she has been performing nationally accompanied by NYC-based string quartet ETHEL, and performed a Carnegie Hall premiere of a classical piece commissioned by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang.

Latin Contemporary Dance: Vanguardia Dance Festival December 5-6 2014 in Toronto

From a media release:

Vanguardia Dance Projects
Vanguardia Dance Festival 2014
December 5-6, 2014
Harbourfront Centre, Toronto

Get your tickets


Vanguardia Dance Festival 2014, “A View on Latin America,” showcases 9 contemporary dance artists/companies representing different Latin American countries, living in Canada. Co-directed and Curated by Norma Araiza and Olga Barrios.

Program A – December 5
Mateo Galindo (Colombia)
Arsenio Andrade (Cuba)
Mariana Mangevil Alvarez (Mexico)
John Henry Gerena (Colombia)
Alejandro Roncería (Colombia) – Guest Artist

Program B – December 6
Diana López (Mexico)
Victoria Mata (Venezuela)
José Carret(Cuba)
Sur Theatre (Argentina)
Alejandro Roncería (Colombia)- Guest Artist.

Arsenio Andrade / KasheDance
Congo Laye

An invocation and tribute to his ancestors and mother Africa. Congo Laye is a dance work in three parts, with music by Conjunto Folklorico Cutumba. Choreographed using contemporary Afro-Cuban dance techniques, it draws on the African-Cuban Yoruba heritage, drawing on the sensuality and raw primal power of both males and females.

John Henry Gerena
Bermejo

War and violence are present in the everyday world, but despite the desperation, suffering and hopelessness people are still dancing and enjoying life. Bermejo is an abstraction of that: the blood-drenched Earth, the colour of violence nuanced by the will of the people to be happy, and the continued fight for life.

Victoria Mata
Memory Lane

Memory Lane is based on a real-life interpretation of the dancer’s embodiment of cultural memory and migration from South America to Canada. The movement vocabulary is inspired by the lasting sensations of home and the negotiations we undergo to keep cultural memory alive in our day-to-day as culturally hyphenated Canadians.

Diana Lopez Soto
Esencia Humana (Human Essence)

An exploration of dance and performance as a means to connect with inner spirit. In the process, studying forces that complete our human essence. Entities such as desire, anger, loss, passion, envy and others that, although beautiful and necessary, can overcome our conscious and subconscious mind, making spirit blind to its life purpose. This piece focuses on Desire.

Sur Theatre
Diaspora

A commemoration of Argentina’s ‘disappeared.’ During the 1970s in Argentina, the military carried out brutal tortures and thousands of students and dissidents disappeared. To this day, mothers of the Disappeared walk the Plaza de Mayo carrying pictures of their dead in silent protest. This piece uses an empty picture frame as a symbol of those who were made to vanish, while the tango lyrics express the pain and solitude of exile for those who survived.

Mateo Galindo Flores
Vanishing Point

Vanishing Point is a meditation on the things that separate us from world events, and from participating in meaningful discussion. It contemplates the effect of perspective on the dissemination and representation of information, ultimately asking what intervenes or obscures as we try to frame an accurate understanding of what is happening in our world. It is an open invitation for the audience to shape their experience of the performance – to act not only as passive witnesses but creative partners whose perspectives play a vital role in the evolution of the work

Mariana Mangevil Alvarez
Cosmología Azteca

Inspired by the Aztec culture and religion found in the ancient stone codex. This piece represents four deities who are associated to the cardinal points and the seasonal changes. Retracing the footsteps and space formations from pre-Hispanic dances, this dance explores and combines these rhythms with neoclassical and contemporary styles for a touch of a modern perspective. The music and dancers will take us to the pre-Hispanic era and revive our ancestors.

Jose Carret
Evasion sin Limite (Escape without limits)

Relate the search for a way out. Human beings, searching throughout the space for new beginnings, for new hopes, for a better future.

Alejandro Ronceria
My Hundred Years of Solitude

My Hundred Years of Solitude explores history, identity, and the ties that bind land and people. What does it mean to be displaced and how do we interpret it? Is it a state of transition or a permanent space we inhabit? How does it shape a body, a culture? What does it mean to survive, to adapt and is there a process of transformation?

Performer: Mariana Mangevil Alvarez
Artistic Direction: Diana Lopez Soto
Costume: Diana Lopez Soto
Music: 'Waltz' from The Godfather; Nino Rota


Rosy from Diana Lopez Soto on Vimeo.

Off Broadway: Our Lady of Kibeho Now Extended Through December 14, 2014!


From a release:

Off Broadway:
Our Lady of Kibeho
Now Extended Through December 14, 2014!

by Katori Hall; directed by Michael Greif

Buy tickets

 
DO YOU BELIEVE?

In 1981, a village girl in Rwanda claims to see the Virgin Mary. Ostracized by her schoolmates and labeled disturbed, everyone refuses to believe, until the impossible starts happening again and again. Skepticism gives way to fear, faith, and fate, causing upheaval in the school community and beyond. Based on real events, Our Lady of Kibeho is the second production of Olivier Award-winning playwright Katori Hall’s Residency at Signature. (Image: Nneka Okafor in Our Lady of Kibeho. Photo by Joan Marcus.)

Running Time: 2 hours 30 minutes, with one intermission
Our Lady of Kibeho contains use of a strobe light as well as smoke, fog, and haze effects
Tickets: 212-244-7529
Signature Theatre Company
The Pershing Square Signature Center
480 West 42nd Street
New York, NY 10036

OUR LADY OF KIBEHO Trailer from Signature Theatre on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Nile Project Collective: Aswan CD & U.S. Tour Through Spring 2015

From a media release:

Loving Listening, Subtle Flow: The Nile Project Meshes the River’s Many Sounds, Calls for New River-Based Conversation

• Tour begins January 15, 2015 in Gainesville, FLA, including
• March 19, 2015 New York, NY, Rubenstein Atrium - Lincoln Center,
• March 20, 2104 New York, NY, Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts - Pace University with LiveSounds
For additional dates, check their website


“Music is a language,” exclaims Ethiopian sax player and Nile Project musician Jorga Mesfin, “and in the Nile Project, the conversation is about love.” The love of craft, of place, of the river that connects eleven countries and millions of people.

The passion and affection spring forth via one of the tightest cross-cultural collaborations in history. Forged over weeks of carefully calibrated workshops and participatory composition, the Nile Project Collective members hail from all along the great river, from its sources beyond Lake Victoria to its delta in Egypt.

They have learned each others’ traditions well enough to create substantive music together, work that goes far deeper than mere meet-and-greet jam sessions. An ensemble of a dozen musicians will tour the US in January-May 2015.

To craft this music, Egyptian and Ethiopian artists have mastered each others’ wildly different modal systems. A Burundian bassist has become the foundation within head-spinning Ugandan rhythms. Instruments that parted ways millennia before are reunited and pushed into new tunings, new places. Love songs and lullabies have crossed geography and language barriers to forge new songs and new, close friendships.

Creating together, with the role of lead and soloist rotating among the players, the Collective has crafted emotionally stirring, musically complex pieces that weave together over the course of a concert into one long and shifting composition. This work serves as a rallying point to draw more and more people from more and more places into a meaningful conversation, where love and art intertwine with politics, history, ecology, and commerce.

Yet it all starts with sound, and with listening. “In the end, it is all about learning to listen,” reflects Egyptian singer and Nile Project musician Dina El Wedidi. “I think that is what we all took away from this, whether it is the participants or the audience. Listening is the basis for understanding.”



The Nile Project 2015 US Touring Ensemble

Mohamed Abo Zekry:
Despite his tender years, this oud player has a stunning command of his instrument, as well as an open ear for other forms, skills that got him a recent album deal with Harmonia Mundi.

Alsarah: Based in Brooklyn, this soulful Sudanese singer and ethnomusicologist’s songs have won high praise from roots-music tastemakers like Songlines Magazine.

Michael Bazibu: A member of Uganda’s leading traditional music and dance company, Ndere, for the past 17 years, Bazibu plays several traditional Ugandan stringed and percussion instruments with virtuosic grace.

Hani Bedair: When the biggest stars in the Middle East need daff (hand drum) or riq (traditional tambourine), they call Bedair, whose percussion skills have also earned him a teaching position at several respected Cairo institutions.

Nader El Shaer: Born in the culturally rich town of Port Said, Egypt, El Shaer taught himself accordion and ney, only to fall in love with the tones of the kawala (end-blown cane flute) and its role in Arabic classical music.

Dina El Wedidi: With experience that spans Arabic classical music, edgy theater, and street protest, this young singer has most recently worked with Brazilian heavyweight Gilbert Gil on her debut album.

Meklit Hadero (select appearances only): Co-founder of the Nile Project, this American-based Ethiopian singer frequently digs deep into soul and hip hop, but never loses sight of her roots.

Jorga Mesfin: This self-taught sax player meshes jazz with Ethiopia’s wealth of musical forms and ideas, both as a respected band leader and favorite sideman for greats like Mulatu Astatke.

Kasiva Mutua: Kenyan percussionist and singer Mutua may have learned drumming from her grandmother, but has developed her own knack for powerful Afropop beats. Her expressive playing can tell a story on its own, or keep a band perfectly in the pocket.

Sophie Nzayisenga: The first female master of the Rwandan traditional zither (inanga), Nzayisenga learned at her internationally acclaimed father’s knee before setting out to make the instrument her own.

Dawit Seyoum: Known for his flexibility, Seyoum rocks both the krar and the bass krar, the six-string powerhouse harps at the heart of much of Ethiopia’s music.

Steven Sogo: Burundi’s leading bassist, this multilingual multi-instrumentalist can play anything with strings, including the umiduri, Burundi’s answer to the birembau. Add to that Sogo’s wonderful voice, and it’s easy to see why he was named a World Bank musical ambassador.

Selamnesh Zemane: Hailing from a long line of unique culture bearers in Northern Ethiopia, this young singer has brought her traditions to collaborations with indie darlings like Debo Band and The Ex.

The ensemble flows from a larger collective of musicians—most of whom are young and work across genres—that in turn arose from a long, thoughtful recruitment and collaboration process. The Nile Project strived to include musicians from many different cultural communities along the Nile, while finding a compelling combination of instruments and voice to support and balance one another.

Over the course of two gatherings and a major, five-country African tour, the collective has gained an increasing sense of how to craft joint works, guided by their own interests and by the Collective’s leaders: Nile Project Musical Director Miles Jay, a contrabassist and composer who spent much of the last decade living and working with prominent artists across the Middle East and Africa; and Nile Project executive director Mina Girgis, an Egyptian ethnomusicologist and curator who specializes in creating innovative musical experiences. The exchange of know-how has had significant impact on the participants—bassist Steven Sogo enthuses about his newfound love for Ethiopian modes—and has molded a sound as broad and powerful as the Nile itself.

“The set is a continuous flow, like the river,” explains Jay. “We craft creative transitions from one piece to the next, inspired by the Nile’s soundscapes. So, we end a song and the percussionist continues the pulse, even through the applause. Or all the strings at the end of the song go into a drone, and then we introduce a melody to modulate to the next key.”

Evoking the Nile is not enough, however. Many trans-national music projects stop at the stage, when top performers break out their best for an audience. For The Nile Project, live performance is merely one stop on a long, compelling journey. “Music is the gateway that lets us envision the Nile Basin, its people, its challenges,” explains Girgis. “Yet the concert experience is just the beginning.”

The Nile Project uses music to spark cultural curiosity and engage audiences—particularly university and student audiences—encouraging them to feel connected to the river and to explore new approaches to its large-scale problems. In an evolving series of interlocking programs that spring from the musical experience, the project aims to inspire, educate and empower young people worldwide to become Nile Citizens. These growing circles of participants will contribute to Nile sustainability through their music, leadership, and innovative ideas.

For this reason, nearly every stop on the U.S. tour will be accompanied by a series of workshops and symposia involving the Nile Project participant musicians, complemented by the faculty resources and student interest of each campus. From water issues to women’s roles, from musical discovery to the image of the Nile through history, a wide range of topics tackle the river’s complexity and aim to draw students into active roles. These activities expand the circle of conversation begun by the musicians, to encompass entire academic communities.

The exchange on stage and the long interweaving of voices and ideas that preceded it, however, sets the tone for other interactions, dedicated to matters beyond music. “No matter what topic we’re addressing, the music shows something that we can aspire to,” notes Nile Project Musical Director Miles Jay. “It shows it in subtle terms.”

Select Nile Project Workshop Topics

The Nile Project will offer a variety of workshop themes during its 2015 US Tour, including those below. These programs will serve as catalysts for longer-term engagement with students and faculty beyond the tour ensemble’s musical performances.

1. Musical Collaboration & Water Cooperation
2. Imagining the Nile
3. The Nile & African Identity
4. Civic Engagement and Water Resource Management
5. School Matinee: K-12 student outreach
6. The Role of Musicians in Social Movements
7. Women of the Nile: An Untapped Resource
8. Finding Opportunities in Challenges: Crowdsourcing Solutions for an Environmentally Sustainable Nile Basin
9. Music Master Classes

Single Release: Alice Sungurov - "Broke My Heart" (HitPlay Records - Oct 1, 2014)

Single Release: Alice Sungurov - "Broke My Heart"
(HitPlay Records - Oct 1, 2014)

Check out all her music


The latest single from New York based singer/songwriter Alice Sungurov is called Broke My Heart, a pop song with a nice rhythmic complexity and some tasty melodic changes to complement her strong voice - strong and sweet at the same time. The chorus rocks out and the track lights up with an impressive drummer who switches convincingly from rock bombast to thoughtful intricacy on the bridges.

My beef with most contemporary pop - my most common beef - is that they take a great voice and add cheesy technology instead of real music to back it up. That's not the case here, and although Alice is just 16 and a sophomore at high school, hers is a voice she's come to honestly, as the saying goes. Alice was diagnosed at age four with Auditory Processing Disorder. Her mother founded a specialized arts school for children using creativity to enhance learning and life skills. Alice flourished and became involved in the arts and music from a very young age.



She garnered the interest of HitPlay Records and her work is being internationally released by them using Red Music, A Subsidiary of Sony Music. So Blind, the first single for the label released earlier this year, is an upbeat pop tune that takes full advantage of her agile voice .

The lyrics are clever - not designed to be deep but enough to pique the ear all the same. Musically, I'd say the same; it avoids predictability in an era of sameness. The track was produced by label owner and president Phil Garland.

Born in Jersey, now based in NYC (where else?) she's pursuing her career while serving as class president at her high school.

Websites:
http://www.alicesungurov.com/
https://www.facebook.com/AliceSungurov
@sungurovalice

Glenfiddich Issues Call for Canadian Artists to Enter Competition for the Coveted 2015 Glenfiddich Artists in Residence Prize

From a media release:

Glenfiddich
Issues Call for Canadian Artists to Enter Competition for the Coveted
2015 Glenfiddich Artists in Residence Prize

• To apply and for more information, applicants are asked to visit www.glenfiddich.com/ca/artistsinresidence


Toronto, November 26, 2014 –
Glenfiddich is issuing a “Call to Artists” currently living and creating art in Canada to enter the internationally renowned competition for the prestigious 2015 Glenfiddich Artists in Residence Prize. The Canadian “Call to Artists” opens today, Wednesday November 26, 2014 and closes midnight eastern time, Friday January 30, 2015.

The Canadian winner will be one of a small and distinguished group around the world to be awarded the art community’s coveted prize to live and work at the Glenfiddich Distillery in Dufftown, Scotland. It’s only fitting that the world’s most awarded single malt Scotch whisky honours distinction. The three-month residency valued at $20,000 per artist represents the Glenfiddich commitment to the pioneering spirit of the arts and the communities it serves. While living in crofts (traditional small Scottish farm houses), artists are encouraged to find inspiration from the unique setting in the Scottish Highlands. The experience provides an opportunity unlike any other for artists to work in an international community, share in a dialogue with other artists and foster cross-disciplinary ideas.

Now in its 14th year internationally and 10th in Canada, the Glenfiddich Artists in Residence Prize attracts close to 200 submissions across Canada from the visual arts. The prize covers the cost of travel, living expenses and materials throughout the residency. From the submissions, five jury members choose eight finalists and ultimately one winner. To apply and for more information, applicants are asked to visit www.glenfiddich.com/ca/artistsinresidence

The distinguished jury for the selection of the Canadian Glenfiddich Artists in Residence Prize includes, Dr. Sara Diamond, president of OCAD University, Gaetane Verna, director of The Power Plant, Adelina Vlas, associate curator of contemporary art at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), Julian Sleath, programming manager of special events, economic development & culture at the City of Toronto, and the Canadian 2008 Glenfiddich Artists in Residence Prize recipient, Dave Dyment.

Andy Fairgrieve, curator, Glenfiddich Artists in Residence Prize underscores that, “The program’s ethos is about encouraging people to take inspiration from their experience living at the distillery, whether that be the pioneering heritage of Glenfiddich, the surrounding environment, or the daily life of the distillery and local community, and to be as pioneering as possible – a mission our artists live and breathe during their three-month residency.”

The Glenfiddich Artists in Residence Prize has sponsored over 100 artists globally since its inception in 2002. The artistic team of Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovsky, were awarded the 2014 Canadian Glenfiddich Artists in Residence Prize for their collaborative work that takes an innovative sculptural approach to still life. During the three-month residency the collaborative team ran a community sculpting and casting workshop based around coinage, while producing photography, video, and a range of sculptures made from copper, foil and custom oak veneer.

The past Canadian Glenfiddich Artists in Residence Prize winners include: Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovsky (2014), Daniel Barrow (2013), Jillian McDonald (2012), Helen Cho (2011), Damian Moppett (2010), Arabella Campbell (2009), Dave Dyment (2008), Jonathon Kaiser (2007), Annie Pootoogook (2006) and Myfanwy Macleod (2005).



2014 Global Artists in Residence Prize recipients from left to right: Rhonda Weppler, Canada; Tania Candaini, Mexico; Hugh Hayden, United States; Hu Zi, China; Chetnaa Verma, India; Trevor Mahovsky, Canada; Han Wonsuk, Korea; Isadora Correa, Chile; Suso 33, Spain; Joyce Ho, Taiwan

Listen & Shop: New Single from 1700 Monkey Ninjas & Ed Purchla Online Shop


Listen & Shop:
New Single from 1700 Monkey Ninjas &
Ed Purchla Online Shop

Check out the single
Check out the clothes


If you'd like some eye popping designs to go with your techno, then we've got you covered in this one post.

The song is amarrikuh (flaccid penises & assault rifles) a not-so-subtle attack on America's gun culture. It cleverly mixes spoken word snippets with an array of noise effects. It's quite effective at getting the message across with superlative editing especially at the end to reinforce the idea.

He manages to mix a little political satire into a heavy message... and you can dance to it too.

On the sartorial side, you can now get your basic leggings and skirts with Ed Purchla's (aka 1700MN alter ego) arresting graphic designs at his online store. He's also a digital abstract artist and you will certainly never go unnoticed in one of his pieces - perfect for clubbing or just making your mark in the everyday world.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Highlights from the African Diaspora International Film Festival New York City November 28 to December 14 2014

From a media release:

Highlights from the African Diaspora International Film Festival New York City
November 28 to December 14, 2014

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Various locations in Manhattan, NYC including  The Thalia Cinema at Symphony Space, Quad Cinema, The Cowin Center and Chapel at Teachers College, Columbia University and the Riverside Theater.

NEW YORK CITY - The African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF) is proud of its 22-year history of firsts in presenting, interpreting and educating about films from throughout the world that depict the lives of people from Africa and the African Diaspora. The festival features world and US premieres, recent popular titles, classic movies, foreign and independent releases. Post-screening question-and-answer sessions and panel discussions that include filmmakers, critics, academics, and audiences present the most current discourse on filmmaking in Africa and the African Diaspora.

The festival begins every year on the last Friday of the month of November during the Thanksgiving weekend and runs for eighteen days. ADIFF 22nd anniversary will be celebrated from Friday, November 28 through Sunday, December 14, 2014.

Highlights:

ADIFF NY 2014 presents: Gloria Rolando - An Afro-Cuban Filmmaker

Gloria Rolando was born in Cuba  where she developed a career in making films about the Afro-Cuban experience. Her films span across 35 years at the ICAIC, the Cuban national film institute.

Gloria Rolando is currently on a national tour in the USA and is getting great acclaim for her work everywhere. Gloria will be in NY for ADIFF from NOV. 28 to NOV. 30 to present 5 of her films films as part of ADIFF's special program BLACKS IN LATIN AMERICA sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture.

Come join us Nov. 28 to Nov. 30 and meet this exceptional filmmaker!
Films to screen in New York are:
Her classic Oggun: An Eternal Presence (Oggun: Presencia Eternal)
Her trilogy: 1912, Breaking the Silence: Part 1, 2 & 3  (1912: Voces para un Silencio)
Her most recent work: Reshipment (Re-embarque)

SCREENINGS
1912, Breaking the Silence: Part 1, 2 & 3 (1912: Voces para un Siliencio)
NY Premiere
Part 1: Chap 1 & 2: Sat, Nov. 29 @ 6PM - The Chapel
Part 2: Chap 3 + Q&A: Sat, Nov 29 @ 8PM - The Chapel


1912, Breaking the Silence is a project dedicated to the history of the Party of the Independents of Color (PIC), a political party established in Cuba in 1908 to represents the interest of  Afro-Cubans.

This three parts documentary seeks to cover some antecedents in the history of Afro-Cubans' struggle for self-determination, a necessary recapitulation which goes step by step down the path of resistance taken by the Black movement in Cuba since colonial times, the struggle for independence and the situation of Black Cubans once the island of Cuba achieved its independence in 1902. References are made to significant, Black leaders in Cuba from the nineteenth century, such as Juan Gualberto Gomez and Martin Morua Delgado, Antonio Maceo and Quintin Banderas.

Through the voices, opinions, and commentaries of historians and Cuban cultural icons accompanied by images of documents, photos, and clippings from the press of that era, two main issues are explored : 1) what did the Afro-Cubans do before the founding of the PIC? 2) Was the creation of a political party to represents Afro-Cubans necessary?

Directed by Gloria V. Rolando Casamayor, 45, 58, 56 minutes, Cuba, documentary, Spanish with English subt.
1912: Breaking the Silence, Chapter 1



Oggun: An Eternal Presence  (Oggun: Presencia Eterna) + Q&A
Fri, Nov. 28 @ 4PM - The Chapel


Gloria Rolando relates the patakin or mythical story of Oggun, the tireless warrior who, enamored of his mother, decided as punishment to imprison himself in the mountains. Only Ochun, goddess of love, succeeded in captivating him when she let fall a few drops of honey on the lips of the god of metal, war, progress, and civilization. Oggun is the first effort of the team later to be known as Images of the Caribbean, now chartered as an independent video group. Directed by Gloria Rolando, 1992, Cuba, Documentary, Spanish, 52 min, Spanish, English subtitles

Reshipment (Re-embarque) + Q&A and cocktail after the screening
NY Premiere
AN EVENING WITH GLORIA ROLANDO
Sun, Nov. 30 @ 6M - The Chapel


This is a documentary on Haitians immigrants in Cuba who were sent back in the beginning of the last century when the sugar market crashed and they became unwanted. Directed by Gloria Rolando, 2014, Cuba/Haiti, Documentary, 58 min, Spanish, English subt.

Abayomi Interviews AfroCubana Filmmaker Gloria Rolando



Bound: Africans vs. African-AmericansNY PREMIERE
Fri, Dec. 12 @ 7PM - The Chapel
GALA SCREENING


African vs African Americans is a hard-hitting documentary that addresses the little known tension that exists between Africans and African Americans. The film opens with personal testimonials that expose this rift then walks us through the corridors of African colonialism and African American enslavement, laying bare their effects and how these have divided and bound Africans and African Americans.

Directed by Peres Owino, 2014, 90 min., United States, documentary, English.
Conversation with director Peres Owino & Catered Reception



ADIFF NY 2014 CENTERPIECE
Between Friends
NY Premiere


Launching of the SOUTH AFRICA: 20 YEARS OF DEMOCRACY program presented in collaboration with the South African Department of Arts and Culture, the NFVF and the Kwazulu-Natal Film Commission.

VIP RECEPTION: Tue, Dec. 2  @ 6PM - Riverside Theater
CENTERPIECE SCREENING: Tue, Dec. 2  @ 7:30PM - Riverside Theater

Keynote speaker: Dr. Molefi Kete Asante
Professor in the Department of African American Studies at Temple University, founder of the PhD program in African-American Studies, and President of the Molefi Kete Asante Institute for Afrocentric Studies.

Between Friends
After 7 years, college friends reunite at an up-market game lodge in South Africa. Long buried secrets shared by old friends are eventually exposed, causing tensions to arise in current relationships. A stylish, funny tale of the new South Africa. Stars Thapelo Mokoena, Lihle Dhlomo, Mandisa Nduna, Dunisani Mbebe, Amanda Du Pont, Siyabonga Twala and Morne Du toit.

Directed by Zuko Nodada, 2014, 93 min, South Africa, Romantic comedy, English, Zulu with English subt.
Q&A after the screening.

ADIFF 2014 OPENING NIGHT:
Friday, November 28, 2014
SUPREMACY
7:30PM @ Symphony Space


Joe Anderson (Across the Universe) and Danny Glover star in Supremacy, a racially charged psychological thriller. Supremacy follows a high-ranking white supremacist (Anderson) who murders a cop and hides out with his accomplice by taking a black family hostage. Glover plays the patriarch of the house, an ex-con who must rely on his wits and understanding of the supremacist’s racist mind to keep his family safe.

Supremacy, which made its world premiere in June 2014 at the LA Film Festival, also stars Dawn Olivieri, Derek Luke, Evan Ross, Lela Rochon, Robin Bobeau, and Anson Mount. Based on real events, Supremacy is a shocking, complex, real-life horror story.

(Deadline.com) (USA, 2014, 97 min, Deon Taylor, dir., Drama)