Saturday, June 28, 2014

Call for Submissions: Interactive Haiku - NFB and ARTE commission 12 one-minute works (Deadline August 19 2014)

From a media release:

NFB and ARTE commission 12 one-minute works
Call for Submissions
Got an idea for an innovative short interactive project?

• The call for projects is open until August 19, 2014, at noon (Eastern Standard Time). 

• Winners will be announced this fall
• Applicants can register online at

Toronto –
The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) and ARTE are issuing an international call for submissions for short online interactive experiences, in a new collaboration called Interactive Haiku.

Memes, Vines and Buzzfeed are all formatted for the digital age, where users tend to consume things quickly.

Yet brief experiences aren’t synonymous with an absence of quality or depth: the short format of haiku poetry offers a perfect example. Interactive Haiku aims to bring the brevity and richness of the haiku to the online realm, through projects that explore the possibilities of the short interactive format.

To help guide applicants, organizers have offered these 10 rules:

1. The experience should be 60 seconds long.
2. It should inspire us to see the world we live in differently.
3. Only one interactive concept should be used.
4. It should employ a full browser design with common “NFB/ARTE” header.
5. No navigation menu should be used.
6. Project must include sound.
7. It should be understandable and accessible to an international audience.
8. Project creators must own or have released all rights.
9. Must be computer, tablet and mobile friendly (iOS, Android and Windows).
10. And because there’s always an exception to the rule: break one of the creative rules 1 through 7
and explain why.

Twelve proposals will be selected. Applicants can register online at
The call for projects is open until August 19, 2014, at noon (Eastern Standard Time). Winners will be announced this fall.

Proposals will be selected by an international jury consisting of Caspar Sonnen, founder and curator, IDFA DocLab; Héctor Ayuso, founder and programmer, OFFF Festival; David Carzon, bi-media editor-in-chief, Telerama; Ciel Hunter, creative director, the Creators Project; Jonathan Harris, artist and computer scientist; Marie-Pier Gauthier, head of production at the NFB’s Digital Studio; and Alexander Knetig, web commissioning editor at ARTE. William Uricchio, professor of Comparative Media Studies and Principal Investigator of the MIT Open Documentary Lab and the MIT Game Lab, will serve as jury president.

EP Release: The Soles - Anonodos Kathodos (May 20, 2014)

From a media release:

The Soles - Anonodos Kathodos EP (May 20, 2014)
Written by The Soles
Produced by Marc Merilainen
Din Yalonen - Vocals, lyrics; Adam Gomori - Guitar; Marc Merilainen - Bass, guitar, beats

Buy the EP

'I’ve long bemoaned that few current bands say anything about surrounding sociopolitical issues. Broken Ghost makes old punks say "yea!” plus Ghost is a catchy ditty with a hooky chorus. Bravo!' THE BIG TAKEOVER, USA
‘The Soles are a little bit of everything, The Ep (Broken Ghost) is a pleasant listen as lead singer Din has a pretty distinctive voice.’ LA BEAT, ALBERTA
‘Since forming in 2001, Toronto-based trio The Soles has been earning praise from fans, critics, and fellow musicians.’ ALAN CROSS’ EXPLOREMUSIC.COM

(TORONTO) With hundreds of live shows under their belt, from Seattle to Ottawa, The Soles are steadily making a name for themselves. They just released a new CD - Anonodos Kathodos (May 20, 2014) - and the lead single, Rebel Force Radio.

In 2008 the Soles released their first official full length record You Burst into Fire Again, the single Sky (In The Name Of You), received years of steady play on a network of radio stations across the USA.

After years of slugging it out, playing in hometown Toronto and touring in Eastern Canada, the band got its first break showcasing in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, shortly after that, they played their first big international show at the Northwest Folklife Festival in Seattle, USA. Since then the band has been gaining traction with more notable bookings, including: 4 consecutive shows at the Grace Hartman Amphitheatre in Sudbury late June 2013 for the FinnFun 2013 festival as well as their first festival headline spot at Music for the Masses, Thunder Bay - at The Foundry venue.

In 2011, The Soles released their second effort the Broken Ghost EP with was played heavily on College radio stations across Canada and charted in the top-30 on five of them. The Soles are currently recording a new full-length album to be released by the Heading North label and have already secured notable gigs across Canada for their 2014 summer tour. The Soles are a great live band, passionate about a good performance and they are the kind of band where people say “You have to see them live.”

• 2014 summer tour dates including: The Foundry – Thunder Bay, July 25 & Loplop Lounge – Sault St Marie July 26
• Headlined Music for the Masses festival in Thunder Bay at The Foundry venue (Sept 20 2013)
• Appeared at Finnfun2013 festival in Sudbury ON (June 27 – July 1 2013) Selected to play 3 shows at FinnThunder 2012 Festival (July 27 – 29 2012) in Thunder Bay Ontario
• Song Broken Ghost - ‘Feature Track of the Day’ at April 7 2001 – Alan Cross’ website
• Broken Ghost EP released Feb 16 2011 generating radio play on Canadian university stations across the country; Charted in the Top-30 on five stations
• Recipient of FACTOR Showcase grant for Northwest Folklife Festival performance, 2010
• Performed two The Soles songs at 2010 Winter Olympics Vancouver (‘Ontario Pavilion’ venue)
• Solid US National radio play from 2008 to present on Undercurrents Network (50 plus stations).
• Hundreds of performances including tour dates across Canada and in the US

• Bird on a Ladder (single), 2013 – Digital only
• All The Destroyed Songs (Remixes, Rarities & Unreleased), 2012 – Digital only
• Broken Ghost (Ep), 2011
• You Burst Into Fire Again, 2008

Porch View Dances Returns to Toronto's Seaton Village July 16 -20 2014

From a media release:

Kaeja d'Dance Announces Choreographers for
JULY 16-20, 2014
Seaton Village - Toronto

• Performances run Wed-Sat at 7pm, Sun at 4pm
• Audiences will be led to four different dwellings (starting location 92 London St), culminating in a celebratory Flock Landing finale in Vermont Square Park.

Toronto, June 26, 2014 -
Kaeja d'Dance is pleased to announce the choreographers for the return of the award-winning Porch View Dances (PVD) dance project, conceived by Karen Kaeja and developed with Allen Kaeja. Peter Chin, Lauren Cook, Allen Kaeja, Karen Kaeja, Louis Laberge-Côté and Brandy Leary are all creating works for Porch View Dances which runs July 16-20 in Seaton Village in downtown Toronto.

An artistic and community initiative that shares the stories of everyday families' lives through dance on the porches and in the gardens of their own homes, Porch View Dance's inaugural 2012 presentation was named Best Site Specific Work by the Globe and Mail, and was bestowed the I love dance/J'aime la danse Community Award by the Canadian Dance Assembly.

Four award-winning choreographers - Peter Chin, Lauren Cook, Allen Kaeja and Louis Laberge-Côté (who this week just won the 2014 Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Choreography) - are partnering with four families (most of whom have never danced or performed in public before) residing in Seaton Village (West Annex) to create dance works that will animate the neighbourhood. (One of the four families participating in Porch View Dances is that of celebrated playwright Judith Thompson, recipient of two Governor General's Literary Awards, Officer in the Order of Canada and Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal recipient.)

The evening begins at 7pm (except 4pm on Sunday, July 20) and continues through the neighbourhood, stopping at the four families' houses and ending at Vermont Square Park/St. Alban's Boys and Girls Club. Brandy Leary choreographs the vignette, 'pop up' dances along the route.

A unique and inclusive endeavour, Porch View Dances garners audiences of 300+ per evening, and turns the area's front porches, streets, alleyways and park into a stage, culminating in Karen Kaeja's celebratory, all-inclusive Flock Landing finale where members of the audience are invited to become active participants.
Engaging real people, in real time, in real spaces, Porch View Dances celebrates diversity, enhances community spirit and bridges the gap between youth, the elderly, and their communities - offering a vital model for future partnerships between public space and the arts.

"There is community outreach - and then there is Porch View Dances [Š] the poster child of how to do everything right." - Paula Citron, The Globe and Mail, 2012

"Rarely has such ordinary public property been so wonderfully converted to artistic use. City sidewalks became seats for kids to watch, back alleys were opened up and became cultural corridors, and the local neighbourhood park was transformed into a performing arts centre. The boundary between what was public and what was private, what was ordinary and what was special, was danced into a beautiful blur." - Adam Vaughan, Former City Councillor, 2012

And Kaeja d'Dance has launched its first crowd-funding campaign to help with Porch with Projexity - a new local crowd-sourcing platform that focuses on improving our urban environments. Previous successful projects from Projexity have been a new public patio for the shipping container market at Scadding Court Community Centre and information kiosks for the Artscape Wychwood Barns. Kaeja d'Dance's Projexity campaign can be found at: . All contributions are welcome and there is an exciting range of benefits and perks for investments over $10.

Kaeja d'Dance gratefully acknowledges the supporters of PVD: TD Bank Group, The Rotary Club of Toronto, Havergal College, The Department of Canadian Heritage, and our continued support from the Bulmash-Seigel Fund, the Canada Council for the Arts, The Ontario Arts Council, and the Toronto Arts Council.

Kaeja d'Dance presents Porch View Dances
conceived by Karen Kaeja and developed with Allen Kaeja
choreographed by Peter Chin, Lauren Cook, Allen Kaeja, Louis Laberge-Côté, Karen Kaeja and Brandy Leary
July 16-20, 2014 - Performances run Wed-Sat at 7pm, Sun at 4pm
Audiences will be led to four different dwellings (starting location 92 London St), culminating in a celebratory Flock Landing finale in Vermont Square Park. PAY-WHAT-YOU-CAN.  Info:

Summer Organ Concert Series July 1 to August 5 2014 at the Riverside Church New York City

From a media release:


every Tuesday, July 1 to August 5, 2014 from 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. in the Church’s majestic Nave, 91 Claremont Ave. (bet. 120th & 122nd Sts.), Morningside Heights

July 1, 2014
Check the Calendar for other dates

Concert Series Highlight to Include Live Organ Improvisation Accompaniment to 1926 Silent Film Comedy Classic, The General

NEW YORK CITY - Spotlighting one of the largest and most acclaimed organs in the world and continuing a decades old tradition of summer concerts featuring outstanding organists, The Riverside Church is presenting its Annual Summer Organ Series—featuring six concerts throughout the summer—every Tuesday, July 1 to August 5 from 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. in the Church’s majestic Nave, 91 Claremont Ave. (bet. 120th & 122nd Sts.), Morningside Heights.

Pulling out all the stops, the concert series will feature performances by talented organists playing a mixed repertoire ranging from traditional music to orchestral transcriptions on the Church’s 206-rank Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ, the second largest instrument in New York City, with over 12,000 pipes.  A highlight of the series will be a live organ improvisation accompaniment to the 1926 silent film comedy classic, The General, starring Buster Keaton.  The full schedule follows:

· July 1 – Gordon Turk, Auditorium Organist, Ocean Grove, NJ. A program of American composers in honor of the July 4th holiday includes works by Francis Hopkinson, Philip Phile, Charles Ives, Horatio Parker, Hugh McAmis and McNeil Robinson.

· July 8 – Joyce Jones, International Concert Organist, Waco, TX.  A legendary American virtuoso plays works by Bach, Van Hulse, Dupré and Boulnois.

· July 15 – Christopher Creaghan, Associate Organist, The Riverside Church, NYC.  Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussorgsky.

· July 22 – Robert McCormick, Director of Music and Organist, St. Paul’s Parish, K Street, Washington D.C. Renowned organist and improviser plays Elgar’s monumental Sonata in G, improvisation on submitted themes.

· July 29 – Jelani Eddington, Concert Organist, Racine, WI. A special concert of live organ improvisation accompanying the 1926 silent film comedy classic, The General, starring Buster Keaton.

· August 5 – Christopher Johnson, Director of Music, The Riverside Church, NYC. Works by Saint-Saëns, Whitlock, Borodin, Cocker. With “Terra Voce:” Elizabeth Brightbill (flute) and Andrew Caggert (cello).

Prior to each concert at 6:30 p.m., audiences will also have the chance to enjoy an incredible recital performed on one of the most famous carillons in the world—the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial Carillon.  The carillon’s centerpiece, the Bourdon Bell—weighing 20 tons—is the world’s largest and heaviest tuned bell ever cast. Its smallest bell weighs ten pounds.  Featuring 74 bells in total, in terms of physical size and weight (over 100 tons), the Riverside carillon has never been surpassed.

Tickets are available at the door and are $20 for adults and $15 for senior citizens/students.  For additional information the public can call 212-870-6722 or email

7:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M.


Directions: To get to The Riverside Church by subway take the 1 to 116th St. and walk to 91 Claremont Ave. (bet. 120th & 122nd St.) one block west of Broadway.

Afrofest July 5 & 6 2014 in Toronto

From a media release:

July 5 & 6, 2014
Woodbine Park - Toronto

This is what you have been waiting for. This is the list of all artist who are going to be performing during this year's Afrofest at Woodbine Park on July 5 and 6.

Petit Pays – Cameroon
Petit-Pays born Adolphe Claude Moundi in Douala, Cameroon in 1967 is a Cameroonian  musician. He had sold over 50,000 cassettes by 1966. He is also known as OMEGA, Rabba  Rabbi, Turbo and famously Avocat defenseur des femmes (advocate for women). He is one of  the most celebrated Cameroonian musicians of the late 1980s and 1990s. His music has  evolved over the years adapting to contemporary African genres. He mixes native  Cameroonian makossa with soukous, zouk, and salsa, leading to the portmanteau label  of makozouk for some of his music. He launched his first album Haoussa in 1987, after  working with makossa producers. In Haoussa, he says his father is Haoussa and mother is  Douala. His band, known as Petit Pays et Les Sans Visa, with several band members moving on to start their own solo careers over the 1990s and 2000s.

He is the self crowned king of Makossa. In one of his songs, "Le Jour de ma Mort" (The Day I Die) from the album Class FM and other songs, he compares himself to Fela Kuti of Nigeria, Alpha Blondy of Côte d'Ivoire, Salif Keita of Mali and Youssou N'dour of Senegal. He always gives credit to legends like Francis Bebey, Eboa Lotin and Manu Dibango

Asiko Afrobeat Ensemble (Nigeria)
From the countryside of Ogidi Nigeria via New York City, Foly Kolade's Asiko Afrobeat  Ensemble brings new and energized Afrobeat to the Toronto live dance music scene.

Asiko (ä•se•ko´) in Yoruba means time, an appointed moment, connoting fate, e.g.  "Your time has come." Asiko group was formed in 2003 by the multi-talented singer,  designer and percussionist Foly Kolade. Originally from Ogidi, Nigeria, Asiko Afrobeat  Ensemble is the musical expression of a diverse group of musicians and influences.  Known for its high-voltage blend of Rock, Funk, Jazz and West African rhythms, Asiko's  powerful lyrics speak truth to power in the spirit of the late Fela Kuti. "Uniquely blends pumping polyrhythms that inspire manic dancing and lyrics that make you think."

Ruth Mathiang (Sudan)
Ruth Mathiang Ruth Mathiang has quickly become one of the rising stars of African music in  Toronto. She comes from a musical family, where both her parents were musicians  in their youth. She started her musical career in Kenya performing at social  functions and local clubs. Mathiang honed her singing and composing skills by  performing with local musicians and adopting various styles from traditional music,  gospel, Afropop and hip-hop.

She recorded her first album “My Cry Peace” in Prince Edward Island, depicting her difficult life growing up in war-ravaged Southern Sudan. The CD is also a celebration of her faith and resilience as it has a gospel sound. Her second release “Butterfly” is a more refined recording, which draws from influences such as hip-hop, reggae, afrobeat and gospel. Since coming to Toronto she has established herself as one of the best female vocalist, has performed at several festivals such as Harbourfront Centre’s Hot & Spicy Festival, Afrofest, Bana y’Afrique, as well as numerous venues in the city. Mathiang also donates her time performing for non-profit agencies that especially work in Africa in sectors such as human rights, women and children issues, primary health care and community development.

Madagascar Slim (Madagascar)
Randriamananjara Radofa Besata Jean Longin (born October 31, 1956 in  Antananarivo, Madagascar) is a Canadian-Malagasy folk and blues guitarist, who  records and performs under the stage name Madagascar Slim. He is a member of  the folk music band Tri-Continental and the world music group African Guitar Summit,  as well as a solo artist and a regular collaborator with blues singer Ndidi.He moved to  Canada in 1979 to study English and accounting at Seneca College, pursuing music  with the folk group La Ridaine while studying. He has cited Jimi Hendrix and B. B.  King as the two primary influences on his choice to become a guitarist.

He is a three time Juno Award winner, having won World Music Album of the Year in 2000 for his solo album Omnisource and in 2005 with African Guitar Summit.

Resolutionaries Marimba Band (Zimbabwe)
The Resolutionaries Marimba band is a hot new blend of hybrid Zimbabwean music  that has set dance floors ablaze and is hailed for bringing people together. Marimba  is a traditional Zimbabwean instrument that combines sweet melodies with African  rhythms. The Resolutionaries Marimba Music is a mix of age-old African tunes,  Modern innovations and TransAtlantic "livasporic" inspiration.

The band leader, Chaka Chikodzi is a Zimbabwean-Canadian sculptor, musician,  and community arts organizer. The Resolutionaries project is a product of Chaka's local arts' organization, Africville Dandaro Centre, where he runs art and music workshops for youth.

Amara Kante (Guinea)
Professional percussionist playing traditional rhythms and instruments from Guinea,  Mali, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Senegal:  Djembe, dununs, bara, talking drum and  krin.” Of Malinké origin, Amara Kante started playing percussions at the age of seven.  His  talent was exceptional especially for one so young, that he was invited to perform with  the KOTEBA group and the Ballets Africains de Guinée, touring throughout Africa,  the United States and Europe. His extensive professional experience has attracted  famous international artists such as Mory Kante and Peter Gabriel.

In 1998, he made one of his dreams come true when he set up the KAWAFOLI school  of Manding percussions in Marseille, France where he taught the djembe, dunun and  krin.

Beyond Sound (Multinational – Diaspora)

Beyond Sound Empijah  a new generation of drummers is a collective of young artists who have grown up in various Toronto based dance and drum organizations; Ballet Creole, COBA, and Ngoma Drum and Dance Ensemble. These groups share a common goal to learn, maintain, present and share African and Caribbean Cultures.  Beyond Sound Empijah brings a unique mixture of the past to the present and is dedicated to educate youth through drum and dance. This collaboration of drummers studied this art form and trained in the rhythms of drums providing them with the solid foundation that is needed when instilling a passion for musicality and performance.

Our Motto is Youth Who Engage Youth!


Urimosho Umurisho rhythm or Burundi Drumming is a traditional African music and  dance ensemble.  The Umurisho drumming show from Burundi is a highly  respected African art form, with intoxicating rhythms and intricate stick-  handling techniques. The group has won several awards and has performed at  numerous major events and festivals in North America and Europe.

X-Maleya (Cameroon)
The musical universe of the group is as diverse as the backgrounds of its members. Cameroonian Roger and Augustus, Métis American father and mother Franco-Cameroonian for Haïs. It is therefore logical that the Bassa, French and English can be found in the album. Everyone has their common key. He met a few years ago on the banks of the school, the two "blacks" are involved in the song. Roger Bassa language and Augustus in French. As for the "white" group, or Haïssama Hated to his friends, he takes the cap songwriter. Latest addition to the group, Hated never leaves his guitar. Fans will discover the album during his promotion for concerts and performances organized this year. The members of X-Maleya group heard enough this refrain during the release of their first album. For their new jewelry, young artists prefer that their audience is fixed on the quality of their music, not their youth and lack of experience it brings. Roger, Auguste and Haïssama offer an eponymous album, X-Maleya with "many fewer errors than in the first," says Roger, to reassure skeptics possible. Innovations appear as artists, in terms of technology, even if they do not drain flowers speaking of maturity, as they admit, "many things are yet to perfect." Young musicians want to get rid of this label singers hip-hop, and highlight their professional side. However, they do not stray too specific to their age rhythms. In this album, fans will find hip-hop, but also an ancient rhythm called "Makoma" updated for the occasion, in order to reconcile the youth and experience. X-Maleya reassuring. They tried to do better than the first album. "Each of us brought sensitivity and tried to do something good," said Augustus.

Samba Mapangala (Congo/Kenya)
Samba Mapangala was born in Matadi, in the region known as Bas-Congo. In the early 1970s he moved to Kinshasha for secondary education. His vocal talents were recognized early and he worked in various Kinshasa bands like Bariza, Super Tukina, Super Bella Bella, and Saka Saka. Samba travelled east with other musicians in 1975. In Kampala, Uganda in 1976, they made their mark as Les Kinois (The Kinshasans). With Samba as lead singer, Les Kinois relocated to Nairobi, Kenya in 1977 and took the music scene by storm. Samba formed his own band, the legendary Orchestra Virunga, in 1981. Virunga, named after a volcanic mountain range in central Africa, proved to be one of East Africa's most popular groups, Their music is an innovative mix of the best rumba and soukous from Congo, with the earthier Kenyan style. Samba  composes and sings in both Lingala and Kiswahili. His astounding voice has been described as melting in the ears. Virunga as a whole also get high praise; "The telepathy that runs between the bass, drums and rhythmic guitar players of this outfit is jaw-dropping…" (Ian Anderson, Folk Roots). 

Virunga's first recording was the LPIt's Disco Time with Samba Mapangala (1982). Samba Mapangala and Virunga went to UK in April 1991 and played 23 concerts, not surprisingly causing a terrific buzz. After celebrated journeys through Africa, Europe and North America,Virunga last toured in 1997. Samba thensettled with his family in Washington D.C. Samba Mapangala made a triumphant return with his CD Ujumbe(The Message).

Samba's albums to date includeVirunga Volcano (1990), Evasion (1983),Feet on Fire (1991), Karibu Kenya(1995) recorded in Paris with Les Quatres Etoiles and other veteran musicians, Vunja Mifupa (1997) released on cassette in East Africa as Confusion and in 2001,Ujumbe. Virunga Roots Volume 1, featuring songs from the Orchestra Virunga archive, was released in 2005.In 2000 Samba's presence at the Kenyan Jamhuri celebrations in London was one of the major highlights. His music is timeless, sounding as fresh after the 100th hearing it as it did the 1st. The lyrics, often containing advice or social commentary, are charming and interesting, the melodies  delightful, energetic and exuberant.

Samba's latest album is Song and Dance (2006) on virungarecords featuring Bopoland other great members of Orchestra Virunga. They promoted the album and other great hits during a very energetic UK tour in March 2006. Samba was in Kenya for a major event, Ecofest, on 4th June 2006 alongside other well-known Kenyan musicians.

Jazz CD Release: JC Sanford's Views From the Inside (May 20, 2014) and the Jazz Orchestra Renaissance

From a media release:

JC Sanford's Views From the Inside
A landmark recording of the new jazz orchestra renaissance, marks the emergence of a brilliant bandleader and composer

Buy the CD

One of the most exciting aspects of the current jazz scene is the resurgence of the jazz orchestra -- ensembles that make use of expanded size in order to explore bold instrumental sonorities, unexpected musical colors and arresting sonic textures while joyously mixing and matching musical genres. Critical buzz is all well and good in calling attention to these new big bands, but the solid proof of a vital musical renaissance must come in the form of compelling recorded works. Enter JC Sanford's Views >From the Inside (to be released May 20th on Whirlwind Recordings), an album bursting with ambition and invention that confirms that the promise of the new has actually come to fruition.

Composer, arranger, conductor and trombonist, Sanford employs the resources of fifteen outstanding players (including such celebrated contemporary stylists as trumpeter Taylor Haskins, vibraphonist Tom Beckham and percussionist Satoshi Takeishi) in an ensemble that draws on such unconventional jazz band instrumentation as French horn, accordion, tuba, English horn, oboe, bassoon, violin and cello. Utilizing the diversity of his orchestra, Sanford is able to create sparkling music that references the jazz tradition while also ingeniously incorporating classical, pop and world music sources. His mode of operation could be called selective expansion. "In order to get a wider variety of sound, I needed both more and less in the orchestra," Sanford says. "I may avoid having full horn sections as in a traditional big band, but I use musicians like Ben Kono, Chris Bacas, Dan Willis and Kenny Berger who play multiple instruments, thus giving the band a wide variety of colors."

Calling on creative capital gained from his studies with the legendary arrangers Bob Brookmeyer and Jim McNeely, Sanford makes pointed use of traditional swing conventions, yet just as frequently turns them on their head, tweaking these same conventions by employing daring compositional gambits that endow each performance with freshness and vision.  "I'm always trying to turn that corner that isn't expected," Sanford says, "I was trained in the conventions of swing and big band arranging and I love that idiom, but I don't want to stay in that zone. I'm aiming to avoid the predictable, to find different colors and textures."

Yet for all its inventiveness, Views From the Inside is also an album stocked with notable melody and inviting performances.  Sanford, inspired by such diverse influences as Richard Strauss, Charles Ives, Stevie Wonder and Billy Joel, makes certain that a sure sense of song and expressive drama is never lost amongst the intriguing tonal colors and surprising harmonic and rhythmic structures. "Views From the Inside," "Robins In Snow" (written as part of a new score for the 1925 silent film, Ben-Hur, and featuring the bandleader on trombone) "Brownieland" (spotlighting the accordionist Jacob Garchick), "Sunset Park, Sunset Park" and "Sky. Good. " are each marked by lyricism, shifting moods and a touch of mystery, while "Your Word Alone", "An Attempt At Serenity," "Verrazano Bikeride" and "2nd & 7th" brim with exceptionally cohesive ensemble work and forcefully expressive improvisations, while consistently maintaining strong melodic interest.

Five of the album's twelve tracks are "Brooklyn Vignettes," originally composed as a suite for the American Music Center, pieces that reflect the varied character of the New York borough in which Sanford composed the album and where he currently makes his home. Three compact pieces feature duets between Taylor Haskins and the innovative percussionist Satoshi Takeishi, whom Sanford credits with much of the album's distinctive flavor. "When I give improvisers space, it's their space," Sanford says, "But everyone has to ask the same questions: 'Why am I doing what I'm doing? Does the music demand my contribution?' In the end, you have to allow the music to tell you where to go."

Sanford studied at the University of Northern Iowa and the New England Conservatory where he earned a D.M.A. in Jazz Studies. After relocating to New York, he became involved with the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop under the direction of Manny Albam and Jim McNeely. Currently, in addition to leading his own orchestra, Sanford conducts the twice-Grammy-nominated John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble, the Alice Coltrane Orchestra featuring Ravi Coltrane and Jack DeJohnette, the Joel Harrison 19, and the Alan Ferber Nonet With Strings.

Sanford also curates the influential Size Matters series at the Tea Lounge in Brooklyn, which has presented close to 60 big bands over the past four years. Among the jazz and classical artists who have performed Sanford's compositions and arrangements are John Abercrombie, Dave Liebman, Lew Soloff, Andrew Russo and the Swedish Wind Ensemble. Sanford collaborated with composer David Schumacher in the Schumacher/Sanford Sound Assembly jazz orchestra, and is also a founding member (with Darcy James Argue and Joseph Phillips) of the composer's federation, Pulse.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Eclectic New Music: The Awakening Orchestra - Volume I This Is Not The Answer (Innova Recordings May 27 2014)

From a media release:

The Awakening Orchestra - Volume I This Is Not the Answer
(Innova Recordings - May 27, 2014)

What was the question?
Composers: Kyle Saulnier, Samuel Barber, Johannes Brahms, Helen Deutsch / Bronislau Kaper, Howard Dietz / Arthur Schwartz, Alan Sparhawk / Low, Brian Wilson / Tony Asher, Thom Yorke / Radiohead
Performers: Kyle Saulnier, The Awakening Orchestra

Sample & buy the CD here

Based in the Bronx, New York and originally from Nova Scotia, Kyle Saulnier's original compositions cross genres and boundaries of time and space.

Although it’s right there in the name, it’s not entirely clear whether composer/leader Kyle Saulnier’s Awakening Orchestra is in fact an orchestra, a big band or something entirely and wildly different. Encompassing broad swaths of musical style in both original and recontextualized and re-imagined compositions, the Awakening Orchestra delves deep into traditions from classical to jazz to indie rock on their debut album, volume I: this is not the answer.

this is not the answer - the maestro kyle saulnier speaks
this is not the answer - the maestro speaks from Awakening Orchestra on Vimeo.

Interspersing original work - like the intricate, four-part, title-track symphony - with often radical interpretations of work by Samuel Barber, Radiohead, Johannes Brahms and Low, volume I: this is not the answer crafts a powerful mix of written and improvised material. Throughout, individual expressions of virtuosity blend seamlessly with Kyle Saulnier’s ever-shifting orchestral textures, and the Awakening Orchestra’s eight years of performing experience come through in the nuanced yet strongly-defined ensemble concept that threads through the record.

Excerpt from the overture:

CD Release: Ancient Sufi Invocations & Forgotten Songs from Aleppo (Electric Cowbell Records - June 24, 2014)

From a media release:

Last Chants: How a Rock Drummer Became the First to Record the Sounds of Syria's Nearly Lost Spiritual Traditions
Ancient Sufi Invocations & Forgotten Songs from Aleppo
(Electric Cowbell Records - June 24, 2014)

Pre-order/buy it here

It all began with a bad cell phone connection. Musician and all-around creative instigator Jason Hamacher was about to drive into a tunnel near the DC zoo, when a friend and fellow musician called and said he had to check out “Serbian chant” for a new project the two were involved with.

Hamacher heard “Syrian chant.” Then he lost the call. “My mind ran in a thousand different directions in 45 seconds!” Hamacher recalls.

That improbable inspiration launched a journey that took the hardcore drummer and photographer on a years-long quest to find and record some of the world’s oldest yet least known liturgical music, in a country that eventually devolved into civil war. Email shots-in-the-dark, ancient Christian chant, secretive Sufi orders: They all led to Sacred Voices of Syria, a series of recordings of rare traditions from one of the cradles of human culture.

Haunting and undeniably spiritual, NAWA: Ancient Sufi Invocations & Forgotten Songs From Aleppo (Lost Origins/Electric Cowbell; updated release: June 17, 2014) is the first volume from the Sacred Voices of Syria and offers a glimpse into a past that has nearly been erased.

“Back in 2005, a couple of friends and I were trying to reinvent ourselves as musicians.” Hamacher recalls. “What we were trying to do was come up with a type of music, or a musical idea, that would bridge gaps.”

As unlikely as it may sound, being a drummer in the Washington DC punk community was the perfect training to become a guerilla documentarian. A pastor’s son, Hamacher made a name for himself in the Washington DC punk scene playing drums in Frodus, Battery, Decahedron and currently Regents. He was molded by the ethics of bands like Minor Threat and Fugazi that valued community, creativity, and social justice over drinking, smoking, drugs, and casual encounters.

Hamacher's musical tastes evolved far beyond rock by digging through record stores the world over hunting for obscure music and interesting album art. At the same time, touring gave him ample time for reading and a random book bought at an airport while on tour set the stage for his later fascination and commitment to Syrian traditions.

“I’d purchased this book on a whim called From the Holy Mountain by writer William Dalrymple,” Hamacher recalls, “which retraced the journey of a Byzantine monk through the Levant.” In the book, Dalrymple encounters the oldest existing Christian chant in a church in Syria, and Hamacher was dying to hear what that sounded like. He decided to get in touch with Dalrymple, thinking surely the author would be able to turn him on to recordings of this ancient music.

He found an email address of someone who could pass on a message to Dalrymple, and didn’t expect to hear back. Surprisingly, the author got back to him a short time later, only to inform him that there were no recordings available. But he left him with a cryptic clue: go to the world’s oldest city, Aleppo, Syria, and give the cab driver these directions.

This hint nagged at Hamacher’s imagination, and dovetailed with another recent adventure. Taking off from a European tour, he had traveled around the Near East taking photographs. During his sojourn in Turkey and the Tur Abdin, he had found himself having lunch with a Syrian Orthodox Archbishop in a 1,700 yr-old monastery. Rather than act on flying into Syria and leaving his fate in the hands of a cab driver, Hamacher attempted to contact the Archbishop with the idea of getting a copy of the music from him.

“I found an email address,, and sent my idea. I got an email back 2 days later from the Syrian Orthodox Archbishop of the United States, inviting me to come and sit with him to discuss the project.” Nervous, Hamacher did, and then asked for a recording of the liturgical chants from Urfa. The Archbishop regretfully informed him that none existed. “I thought to myself, you guys have been doing this for 1800 years and you don’t have a recording yet?” That’s when he decided that if he was going to hear a recording of World's oldest Christian chants, he was going to have to make the darn thing himself.

MUSIC IS SACRED (WAJD: Music, Politics, & Ecstasy - Teaser 2) from Salam Films on Vimeo.

So he started making even more calls, following clue after clue on a huge global detective hunt that seems straight out of a novel. It all lined up, and in 2006 Hamacher made his first trip to Syria to see, hear, and interact with the community that practiced the ancient chant traditions.

On his last trip in 2010, Hamacher had another revelation: “I didn’t record any Islamic chanting!” he laughs. Most of his time had been spent with Syria's Christian and Jewish communities, and now Hamacher felt it was time to delve into Islam. He reached out to contacts from his 2008 trip to Syria and quickly discovered that a violinist friend was the great grandson of the Sheik of a revered Aleppo Sufi order. The violinist made a few calls, and before he knew it Jason was getting out of a car in Aleppo in front of his favorite mosque to record a group of guys who were getting together to practice the older Sufi chant traditions in a 500 year old house a few doors down. He was the first Westerner to witness this very private gathering, and the last to record this group before they were scattered to the four winds by civil war.

Hamacher is on a mission now, bringing his encounters and experiences to as wide an audience as he can. His efforts led to the 2008 documentary Old Soul which won the 2008 International Documentary Challenge; a book of his Syrian photography entitled, Aleppo, Syria: Witness to an Ancient Legacy; articles for VICE! and the Washington Post; and lectures on Syrian culture. And the biggest project: Hamacher started a record label, Lost Origin Sound Series, releasing a multi-volume series, Sacred Voices of Syria. So far, 4 LP and CD volumes of Sufi, Armenian, Chaldean, and Syriac chant are in the works, as well as the original album of ancient Christian chanting to be released on Smithsonian Folkways.

Yet he’s staying true to his punk roots, holding listening parties at record stores and planning a national speaking tour to bring this lost world to new audiences.

Hamacher hopes others will share his awe of the recordings: “Recording the Nawa album was a moving experience. I returned home with a new perspective on Islam and a deeper connection to Syria. I spent many sleepless nights rocking my then four-month-old daughter to sleep listening and chanting along with the guys of Nawa.”

Ancient Sufi Invocations & Forgotten Songs from Aleppo - Trailer from Lost Origin Productions on Vimeo.

New Release: Dark Hard Chocolate a collection of erotica by Kwame Stephens

With material froma  media release:

Dark Hard Chocolate
a collection of erotica
by Kwame Stephens

Buy the book here

Toronto is the setting for this collection of short fiction erotica from Toronto-based, Ghanaian born author and playwright Kwame Stephens.

The stories look at the black gay experience in Canada seen through the lens of an immigrant, from the teen kicked out of the house to a veteran of the activist days reliving memories down Yonge Street. The erotica is graphic and covers a smorgasbord of gay sex from the first mind blowing encounters to a Rascal Black Vibrating Ass toy and everything in between.

Kwame's writing is straightforward and readable, unencumbered by excessive description or flowery detail. What he has is a nice sense of observation about this specific slice of the gay experience in Toronto and its night life, from the first flowering of sexual identity to the loneliness of older single men. HIV abuse, love, relationships and more are examined and as immigrants, many of the characters struggle with the dichotomy of a conservative homeland and values and the liberalism of their adopted homeland.

The book gets its title from the last story in the 10 story collection. In 2010, Kwame wrote and produced a stage play called "man 2 man". The tag line for the play was "Damien and Emmanuel's love story". The play followed the challenges two black men faced in negotiating love. The story began with the characters meeting in a church and ended with them marrying.

The play was staged to sold out audiences in 2010, 2011 and 2012. "After that success," Kwame says, "I began wondering what to do next. I wrote the last story "dark hard chocolate" starting where the play left off at the wedding until the characters returned from their honeymoon."

"In my early days as a writer 25 years ago, I enjoyed writing short stories. I decided to write 9 more stories to complete the collection. As I wrote and researched these stories, I noticed an absence of stories about black/African/Canadian gay/bi/inquired men.  Dark hard chocolate fills that void.

The cover models (Travis Julius and Ade Johnson) for the book are local men who read the collection and agreed to model for the cover

Dark Hard Chocolate is digitally at Hard copies will be available for sale at Glad Day Bookshop in Toronto on time for Pride (June 20 - 30 2014).

Monday, June 16, 2014

Jazz/Classical/World Music: CREATIVE MUSIC STUDIO Archive Selections, Vol. 1 (Innova Recordings - April 29, 2014)

With material from a media release:

Archive Selections, Vol. 1
(Innova Recordings - April 29, 2014)

Sample & buy it here

This three-CD set is a compilation of the work of the Creative Music Foundation, a group of like-minded musicians and composers based out of Creative Music Studio in Woodstock, New York.

The three CDs include Small Ensembles, Orchestral Music and World Music and come from over 400 hours of music that form the archives of CMS. Alongside a core of founding artists, many of the world's most innovative musicians came to the studio as Guiding Artists.

The history and details are below - the music is an eclectic collection of jazz/new music/world music with the kind of organic groove you'd expect from a bunch of musicians communing.

Most fans of jazz and improvised music from the 1970s and on know of the various musical collectives that formed in a number of cities. Groups like Chicago's AACM, the Black Artists Group in St. Louis and the loft scene in New York City were centers of fervent creativity for the music. This CD set concentrates on an equally influential axis of musical experimentation based at the Creative Music Studio in Woodstock, New York. The vision for CMS is best described as creating collective synergy, having musicians from separate regions and backgrounds live and work together as they find common ground and develop a personal musical vocabulary.  The Guiding Artists who participated in CMS ranged from artists rooted in jazz, such as Charles Brackeen and Oliver Lake, to artists coming at improvisation from the classical side, such as pianists Ursula Oppens and Fred Rziewski. "Any person in today's music scene knows that rock, classical, folk and jazz are all yesterday's titles," declared Creative Music Foundation co-founder Ornette Coleman. "I feel that the music world is getting closer to being a singular expression, one with endless musical stories of mankind."

In addition to Ornette, CMS was founded in 1971 by Karl Berger and Ingrid vFuller, John Cage and Gil Evans. By the time it closed its 45-acre physical campus in 1984, the Studio had brought in nearly all of the leading lights of the creative music world as Guiding Artists. Musicians like Turkey?s Ismet Siral and Brazil's Nana Vasconcelos came to CMS and added into the mix the musical traditions of their countries, helping to create the ?elements common to all music? described in the Studio's philosophy.  Central to the growth of what became world music was trumpeter Don Cherry, a frequent presence at CMS. Five Guiding Artists - George Lewis, John Zorn, Charlie Haden, Cecil Taylor and John Cage- went on to become recipients of MacArthur Fellowships. While some musicians participated only in brief workshops and others came and lived at CMS for years, thousands of CMS participants were influenced by its spirit of freedom, exploration and collaboration.

After the CMS campus closed, Karl and Ingrid stayed in Woodstock and have continued to play concerts and conduct workshops, including Karl's recent work with a newly constituted Improvisers Orchestra. For over a decade, the couple took the concepts they developed at CMS all over the world, exposing musicians from Africa and India to Asia and South America to the insights gained at CMS.

During the CMS years, the Studio had recorded well over four hundred hours of performances and workshops, a rich archive that CMS has been digitizing and re-mastering. The Creative Music Foundation has partnered with Columbia University's Library to preserve the CMS Archive for posterity. CMS is giving Columbia the full archive of recorded tapes, along with memorabilia and photographs from CMS. You are holding the first of the several CD sets of this exciting project. According to Berger, "We believe these compilations will present a vivid picture of CMS in very listenable CDs, selected for their outstanding artistic excellence, in the free-wheeling spirit of the Creative Music Studio. We have hand-picked each piece of this compilation for its musical vibrancy, historical interest and intersection with the other artists."

This CD box set contains interviews with the artists who made the recordings (or people close to them.) These interviews, conducted as part of the CMS Oral History Project, aim to gather directly from CMS Guiding Artists and participants their anecdotes and insights from their time at CMS. Conducted in partnership with Columbia University and WKCR-FM (NYC), these oral histories fill a void in the historical retelling of this important and fertile time in music and education, and are continued in more detail at:

The Creative Music Studio was fertile ground for education and music-making. Musicians from all over the world have credited CMS as some of the most exciting, innovative and important experiences they have had, not only as musicians, but also as people. The stories are endless but unfortunately the lives of the storytellers are not. In fact, some of CMS?s greatest storytellers, such as Don Cherry or John Cage, have died, and with them their tales about CMS and its impact on their musical careers and lives.  The Creative Music Foundation aims to conduct 10 interviews annually as part of its Oral History Project, with transcripts as well as audio/video recordings eventually available on its website.


Ed Blackwell/Charles Brackeen

Ed Blackwell's drumming, shaped by his New Orleans background, was the backbone of Ornette Coleman's revolutionary advances in jazz. Here he is paired with Charles Brackeen, a sax player from Oklahoma who was active until the mid-2000s. Their duet conversations dart and weave in a playful and masterful way.

David Izenson, Karl Berger, Ingrid Sertso
Like Blackwell, bass player Izenson was an Ornette Coleman sideman and a CMS Guiding Artist before his untimely death at age 47 in 1979. His work here with Berger and Sertso creates an airy feel, fed by Sertso's poetic vocals. (Karl Berger & Ingrid Sertso pictured above)

Ursula Oppens/Frederic Rzewski
CMS was a big tent that attracted classically-trained musicians like Oppens and Rzewski, whose careers in experimental classical music have included crossover collaborations with jazz musicians such as Anthony Davis and Anthony Braxton. Oppens (pictured right) had a more intimate connection to jazz through her personal relationship with the late sax player Julius Hemphill, also a brilliant musician and a CMS Guiding Artist.

James Emery/Leroy Jenkins
In their duet tracks, guitarist Emery and violin player Jenkins create a fascinating variety of textures and moods. Along with Billy Bang, Jenkins revived the use of the violin in jazz, taking it far beyond where players like Stuff Smith and Joe Venuti had left it. Jenkins invited Emery to New York in 1973 and they were soon active in CMS.

Oliver Lake
Lake, an alto sax player with a career that has seen collaborations with a broad array of other artists, was a CMS Guiding Artist from 1975 to 1984. The tracks here show the range of Lake's skills as a player, with his piercing tone, and as a composer who can move successfully in any number of directions and still hold the listener?s interest. (pictured below)

Olu Dara
Like his fellow Guiding Artists, trumpeter Olu Dara credits CMS with being a seminal part of his development. Dara started in the free jazz tradition but branched out in the late 90s into a style that incorporates blues, funk, rock and reggae. He is in top form on the tracks presented here, his playing at times dominating the group and at times reacting to it. It is also a rare opportunity to hear Dara working with a large ensemble and playing harmonica.

Roscoe Mitchell
Like Oliver Lake, Roscoe Mitchell is a senior statesman of jazz with a career as equally varied and full of exploration. Mitchell taught composition at CMS, inspiring a new generation of composers. His piece here moves between moods and instrumentation with a master's touch.

Ismet Siral
Siral was a jazz innovator in his native Turkey, participating in some of the earliest jazz groups there in 1953. While on vacation in New York with Don Cherry in 1978, he and Cherry visited CMS and Siral became a fixture at the Studio for two years. The tracks presented here show Siral's ability to blend improvisation and traditional Turkish forms.

Nana Vasconcelos
Vasconcelos brought from Brazil his skills as a percussionist and player of the berimbau, a highly expressive Brazilian instrument heard on one of these tracks. The other track showcases the call and response pattern heard in Brazilian vocal music and in many jazz compositions.

Foday Musa Suso
Suso, a kora player born in Gambia and based in Ghana, formed the Mandingo Griot Society in the late 70s along with drummer Hamid Drake, percussionist Adam Rudolph and bass player John Marsh, all artists associated with CMS, all with flexible musical boundaries. Foday is a direct descendent of Jali Madi Wlen Suso, the griot who invented the kora over four centuries ago.

Dusk Dances Celebrates 20 Years August 4 to 10 2014 in Toronto

From a media release

August 4 to 10, 2014
at Winthrow Park (Toronto)

Dusk Dances, Toronto’s inescapable summer dance festival, is celebrating its 20th anniversary season. Dusk Dances Festival returns to Toronto’s Withrow Park from August 4-10, 2014 presenting six exciting dance pieces which are sure to exhilarate and fascinate audiences.

Featuring the artistry of internationally acclaimed dancers and choreographers, the 2014 season will be as entertaining and innovating as any season we've ever presented.

Hosted by the incomparable Dan Watson, this year's program features new and remounted works from Canadian artists with an immense breadth of experience:

- Sylvie Bouchard - BoucharDanse (Toronto) with “La vie”.The terrains of our lives vary from rivers, to meadows, to mountains, but the pounding of our own heart is something we should always remember to trust.

- Peter Chin - Tribal Crackling Wind (Toronto) with “Through the Mask”. A classical mask dancer from Central Java and Cambodia meet in their dance regalia, perform their traditional dances of power and fierceness.

- Julia Aplin (Toronto) with “Inner City Sirens, Part II”. Reigning World Champions in the sport of pairs synchronized swimming for petite pools!

- Milan Gervais - Human Playground (Montreal) with “Platoon”. They are four, in flight. Four women following a common path. Inspired by trajectories of bird flight and platoons of cyclists, this 10 minute female quartet is made to be experienced in an outdoor urban setting.

- Sis Robin Hibbert - COBA (Toronto) with “Doun Doun Dance”. A playful tribute to Guinea’s spirited Ku-Ku rhythm and the high-octane stick-drum dance traditionally performed by women from the Forest Region, Ku-Ku is played to mark the end of the harvest.

- Kate Franklin and Meredith Thompson (Toronto) with “Incandescent”. Inspired by the lyrics of Leonard Cohen's Anthem, that involves five professional dancers and a large cast of movers of all ages and dance experience.

Dusk Dances is an outdoor dance festival that brings high quality contemporary and traditional dance to public parks. As dusk descends, a theatrical host leads the audience - which invariably includes children, dog walkers and local residents - to eclectic dance pieces that unfold in different areas of the park. Choreographers from various backgrounds are invited to create a 10-minute dance piece inspired by the park’s natural environment. Audiences are invited on a pay-what-you-can basis to an innovative site-specific festival, which is not only an artistic event but a social and cultural one as well.

BE ENCHANTED! - DUSK DANCES 2014, Festival Director Sylvie Bouchard
August 4-10 - Withrow Park (South of Danforth between Logan and Carlaw)

Performances nightly at 7:00 PM & Additional Thursday and Sunday Matinées at 2pm
* Incandescent and Through the Mask will not be performed on the 2 matinée performances
Admission is PAY-WHAT-YOU-CAN - $10 suggested minimum donation

Mairéad Filgate in La vie (choreographer Sylvie Bouchard, BoucharDanse) by John Lauener


New Single by Nadjiwan: Broken Treaty Blues (June 17, 2014)

From a media release:

‘Broken Treaty Blues’ – the new single by NADJIWAN
June 17th, 2014

Available as a free download

The latest release by multiple award-nominated artist Marc Meriläinen a.k.a.NADJIWAN was written & recorded at Marc’s home studio in Toronto’s west end neighbourhood on Roncesvalles.

Marc’s last release ‘Idle No More’ came out March 2013 and although he had been planning to record & release more material that year, it just never materialized due to Marc’s busy schedule. Over the past year Marc has worked on various projects including composition for theatre and film as well as producing 2 records. Additionally Marc has been working with musicians in his ‘hood’ producing and recording demos at his home studio.

‘Broken Treaty Blues’ was written and recorded in a day with Marc performing all of the instruments. “I needed to do this an exercise – I needed to keep ‘in shape’
musically”, indicates Marc.

Keep an ear open fort the ‘B-side’ of this single coming out later this summer as well as in 2015 it’s the 20th anniversary of ‘Brother’ the first NADJIWAN release. A special event and tour is currently being planned with special guests covering songs from that record.

Meriläinen Music - Check us out on Facebook

Kyoto University of Art and Design (KUAD) releases digital English edition of URYU June 13, 2014

From a media release:

On architecture, photography & more:
Kyoto University of Art and Design (KUAD)
releases digital English edition of URYU
June 13, 2014

Buy the magazine

Kyoto, June 13, 2014:
Kyoto University of Art and Design (KUAD) released the digital English edition of its university magazine “URYU” worldwide on June 13, 2014.

The English edition of “URYU” features translated articles of “URYU TSUSHIN,” the Japanese edition issued three times a year. This university magazine functions as active learning opportunities for university students who learn editorial skills, photography and editorial design under the guidance by its professor Keiichi Kadosaki, a renowned editor in Japan, and Mr. Yusuke Mimasu, a highly regarded young designer.

The first English edition is the translation of two feature articles of “URYU TSUSHIN” Vol. 61 issued on April 3, 2014.

The first article focuses on Professor Shigeru Ban, who will receive the 2014 Pritzker Architecture Prize, “the Nobel Prize of Architecture,” at the ceremony scheduled on June 13, 2014, at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. It reveals Ban’s three faces: a world renowned architect, a supporter of disaster-stricken areas, and an educator in the university.

The other article focuses on Mr. Shimpei Mito, a graduate photographer who recently draws wide attention for his street style shots of models off the runway at Fashion Weeks around the world.

The editorial team is now working on the Japanese edition Vol. 62 featuring Professor Miwa Yanagi, one of Japan’s leading contemporary artists, who is scheduled to work on many art projects including the Yokohama Triennale from August 1, 2014, PARASOPHIA - Kyoto International Festival of Contemporary Culture from March 7, 2015, Performing Arts Projects in the U.S. and in Japan, among others. This article will also be published in the next English edition.

The English edition “URYU” volume 1 is now on sale from Amazon Kindle Store for $2.99 in the U.S. (, £1.83 in U.K. (, AUD$3.20 in Australia (, CDN$3.27 in Canada (, EUR 2,26 in Germany (, among others.

URYU - Kyoto University of Art and Design Magazine

* English edition of “URYU TSUSHIN (Vol. 61),” the Japanese edition of Kyoto University of Art and Design Magazine issued on April 3, 2014.
Publisher: Kyoto University of Art and Design
Address: 2-116 Uryuyama Kitashirakawa, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8271, Japan

Danish Design: Eyewear from Orgreen Optics

From a release:

Danish Design: Eyewear from Orgreen Optics

I was brought up on Danish contemporary furniture so I was interested when a notice showed up in my email last week from Orgreen Optics of Denmark about their SS ´14 collection.

From Orgreen:

All frames are made of titanium, a precious metal in a superb quality designed to last. Colours are exquisitely composed in an array of opposites, including industrial hues fused with high-brow tones. Designed and developed in Denmark, each frame is handcrafted in Japan, and strives to be timeless and seasonless, but not without history.

Stylists: if you have any shoots coming up where sunglasses/glasses would be interesting for your styling. Please note that we deliver day to day with UPS. 

Best from sunny Copenhagen :-)

(and no, sadly, I didn't get a free pair... :( )

About Ørgreen Optics: Premium designer eyewear in high-end materials, known for its signature style and innovative colour combinations. Founded in Copenhagen in 1997, our aim is to design strong and timeless frames for quality-conscious individuals all over the world.
The Ørgreen trademark is our prescription eyewear and sunglasses, made in titanium and beta-titanium: precious metals in a superb quality designed to last. Our collections are designed and developed in Denmark and made by hand in Japan, known and respected for high standards and irrefutable quality. Individually crafted with more than 100 processes, each frame can take up to six months to achieve its penchant for perfection.

Our colours are developed in-house and skilfully carried out at some of the world’s leading colour labs in Japan, with a colouring process that consists of more than 15 individual steps. The different hues - more than 400 - are exquisitely composed in an array of opposites, from strong to fragile, intense to tranquil, raw to refined, sweet to serious and audacious to understated.

Ørgreen Optics is Danish design at its best. The values and standards set in the fifties and sixties by internationally acclaimed designers such as Arne Jacobsen and Louis Poulsen - innovation, quality, minimalism, and clean lines - are found in all our frames - yet with an Ørgreen twist, consisting of unique details and subtle touches, inspired by street culture, extreme sports and classic cars.

The Ørgreen aesthetic is playful, dynamic and sometimes provocative, but never arrogant. It is about tugging at traditions, daring to challenge them, and setting a new agenda. Rather than build on fleeting trends, our unique style and lines are recognizable and will always remain consistent through our designs, which are timeless and seasonless, but never without history.

With retailers in more than 40 countries world wide, Ørgreen still keeps close to the city where it all started 17 years ago: The company HQ is thus situated in an historic building in the heart of Copenhagen.

Junefest Recognizing & Celebrating Deaf-Blind Awareness Month June 18 2014 in Toronto

From a media release:

JuneFest - an annual awareness festival recognizing and celebrating Deaf-Blind Awareness Month in Ontario. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014
12:00 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Mel Lastman Square (Toronto)
5100 Yonge Street at North York Centre subway

RCH and CHKC are proud to present the 12th annual JuneFest, an awareness festival that recognizes and celebrates June as Deaf-Blind Awareness Month in Ontario.  This year’s event is on Wednesday, June 18, 2014 at Mel Lastman Square in Toronto.

Starting at 12:00 p.m., there will be information booths hosted by various organizations and agencies to raise awareness about the dual disability of deaf-blindness, the latest technology and devices, and the services and resources that are available.  Many deaf-blind consumers will also be in attendance.

The public, local business community and media are invited to attend JuneFest with friends, families and colleagues to learn about deaf-blindness while enjoying music, a charity barbeque, games and activities, free samples and more.

Over 200 students in grades four through eight from across the Greater Toronto Area will participate in JuneFest for the second year in a row.  Youth-oriented programs and games will provide them with opportunities to read Braille, learn other alternate forms of communication and interact with people who are deaf-blind.  They will also enjoy performances by local pop-punk sensations Crash! Radio, which is fronted by award-winning singer-songwriter Ivy James, recently named Best Young Songwriter by the Toronto Independent Music Awards.


Deaf-blindness is a disability in which an individual has a substantial degree of loss of both sight and hearing, the combination of which results in significant difficulties in accessing information and in pursuing educational, vocational, recreational and social goals. Deaf-blindness is a unique and separate disability from deafness or blindness. An individual with the combined losses of hearing and vision require specialized services including adapted communication methods.

A variety of different types of music throughout the day will be available for everyone to enjoy. Music will be provided by As You Like It DJ Entertainment & Event Planning and include:

Crash! Radio plays catchy pop-rock music with a punk twist. The band is fronted by award-winning singer-songwriter Ivy James and features Aidan Robson and Brad Dekker on guitar, Derek Osborne on bass and Ben Lee on drums.

Maracatu Baque Bamba is an upbeat Afro Brazilian percussion group that specializes in performing and teaching the spirited cultural tradition celebrated as Maracatu de Baque Virado. Through its lively rhythmic synergy the troupe channels the raw force of the drums to create a dynamic percussive sound. Facebook
ASL Storytelling    

Storytelling in American Sign Language
by Christopher Welsh. Chris trained with National Theatre of the Deaf in Chester, Connecticut and also studied improvisation at Second City in Toronto. He performed at Canada Clown Carnival, Winnipeg International Storytelling and Shakespeare Living Willow Theatre in Wales, U.K. Christopher was the first Deaf comedian to perform before a hearing audience at Yuk-Yuks in Toronto. He has also performed with the Show of Hands Theatre Company.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Latin Alternative Music Conference (LAMC) 2014: Free Music, Annual Showcase & More July 8-12 in New York City

From a media release:

The Line-Up For The
Annual LAMC Showcase at The Gramercy Theatre On Friday July 11th 2014 

Featuring AJ Davila, Esteman, A Band Of Bitches,
The Wookies, Diana Fuentes and Los Macuanos

• Check out the rest of the Latin Alternative Music Conference at the link

This summer, thousands of entrepreneurs, musicians, DJs, journalists, marketers, managers, filmmakers, programmers and all kinds of music lovers will gather in New York City from July 8-12th for the 15th annual Latin Alternative Music Conference (LAMC).

Today, La Banda Elastica announced the line-up for the annual LAMC showcase at the Gramercy Theatre, which will feature AJ Davila, Esteman, A Band Of Bitches, The Wookies, Diana Fuentes and Los Macuanos on Friday July 11th. See below for more detailed info on each artist.

The LAMC also offers free concerts at parks from Brooklyn to Harlem, plus intimate private showcases at iconic venues around the city and numerous industry panels with special guests.

On Wednesday, July 9th at Central Park SummerStage, the LAMC will present a line-up of hip-hop heavyweights featuring Beatnuts, Ana Tijoux, Bodega Bamz and DJ Tony Touch. The LAMC will close on Saturday July 12th with another show at Summerstage, featuring Babasónicos, Juana Molina and La Santa Cecilia.

Also on Wednesday July 9th is the annual ‘Indie Showcase’ at the Mercury Lounge, which features up-and-coming acts from across the Americas, including Santé Les Amis, Danay Suarez, Los Crema Paraiso, Me Llamo (Sebastián), Caloncho and El Mató Un Policía Motorizado

On Thursday July 10th, the LAMC will once again return to Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park for a free show featuring Illya Kuryaki & the Valderramas, ChocQuibTown and RVSB.

More info on the artists performing at the LAMC showcase at the Gramercy Theater:

A Band of Bitches (Mexico)
Nominated in 2013 for a Latin Grammy for “Best New Artist,” A Band of Bitches are a mysterious, rambunctious, mask-wearing, party-friendly band that have rocked major festivals including Vive Latino, SXSW, Neon Desert and more.

AJ Davila (Puerto Rico)
Widely known as the frontman for the popular garage rock band Davila 666,  AJ Davila’s debut solo album Terror Amor features collaborations with Cole Alexander (Black Lips) and Sergio Rotman (Los Fabulosos Cadillacs), and has received glowing reviews at Spin, Vice, NPR and more.

Diana Fuentes (Cuba)
Diana Fuentes became the second Cuban to join Sony Music Latin, second only to Celia Cruz. Often collaborating with her husband, Eduardo Cabra (aka Visitante of Calle 13), Diana Fuente’s music combines Afro-Cuban rhythms, pop, electronica, folk and bolero.

Esteman (Colombia)
Esteman is the name of a captivating audio/visual project out of Colombia that combines pop, disco, indie rock, and hypnotic choreography, and has collaborated with Andrea Echeverri (Aterciopelados), Natalia Lafourcade and Carla Morrison.

Los Macuanos (Mexico)
Combining elements of dark avant-garde electronic music with upbeat traditional Norteño instrumentation, Los Macuanos are a trio of DJs from Tijuana whose sound echoes a once hedonistic lifestyle, taking cues from the rave era of the late 90s, revisited with introspection and nuance.

The Wookies (Mexico)
The Wookies (who dress the part, wearing Chewbacca masks as they take to the DJ booth) is a band out of Mexico making waves in the electronic/techno music scene both at home and abroad, having rocked crowds alongside The Chemical Brothers, Die Antwoord, Steve Aoki and many others.

CD Release & Live Dates Summer 2014: Kuenta i Tambú Turn Curaçao Tradition into a Wild, Sweaty Dance Floor with Tambutronic, their US Debut

From a media release:

Bumping History: Kuenta i Tambú Turn Curaçao Tradition into a Wild, Sweaty Dance Floor with Tambutronic, their US Debut

Live in New York City:
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Tradition is a tricky beast. There are those who would leave it as a dusty, living museum exhibit. Then there are others who see further, into the possibility of tradition, a line that runs through history all the way to the present. They’re the ones who respect the past but aren’t going to be hidebound by it, who make it a very vital part of now. People like KiT, who’ve transformed the old tambú music of Curaçao into the 21st-century phenomenon of Tambutronic (Jiga Musica).

Then meets now via hard kicks and hooky synths, the gritty good times that spawned bass music’s tropical, global offshoots, from baile funk to moombahton. Taking up the sounds that evolved in Dutch clubs and mashing them effortlessly with the group’s percussive, evocative Caribbean roots, KiT proves how easily traditional grooves can move in new, unexpected ways.

Though as fresh as M.I.A. or Major Lazer, KiT’s music began long ago and far away. On Curaçao, an island in the Caribbean close to the coast of Venezuela, history remains very much alive. Originally home to the Arawak Indians, it was conquered by the Spanish in 1499 then became Dutch in 1634. But in many ways it’s almost an outpost of Africa, a first stop for slave ships on their journey to South America, and the influence of another continent is still powerful. For centuries, the people have celebrated with drums and singing, styles like seú, muzik di zumbi (music of the spirits), and above all, tambú.

When Roël Calister, a Curaçao-born percussionist who moved to the Netherlands, began his career, it was with the traditional music of his homeland, everything he’d learned as he grew up. The band he founded in 2005, KiT, played and sang acoustically. It even infused the material he composed. But in 2010 a sea change happened, following a change in band membership.

“Like a lot of people, we were listening to hip-hop, to dance music,” Calister recalls. “We started experimenting with beats and electronics to give our music the feel that fascinated us in European electronic music, music we really loved. We released an EP and the style we call Tambutronic was born.” Since then KiT have evolved and refined their music. They’ve introduced Tambutronic music to several continents, including prestigious gigs at Kennedy Center and Lincoln Center, and added a new singer, Diamanta, to make them into a five-piece. And, Calister says, “We knew it was time to make a proper album.”

For all its contemporary sound, though, the music of KiT is very solidly based in tradition.

“On ‘La Señora' you hear a very old style of singing from Curaçao. We’ve added bleeps and synths to give a modern contrast to that,” Calister observes. “We wanted to bring it all into the 21st century.”

“But I also wanted to give glimpses of where it all came from. ‘Zunta Zunta’ is untouched, that’s how the music often still sounds. It’s a work song from the west side of the island. The last track, ‘Bool’ is traditional tambú with solo percussion on top.”

And they can jump from the tradition right onto the dance floor without missing a beat. Tambutronic is the music of celebration, all the sweat and joy of Carnival on a disc. And nowhere is that more apparent than on the opening, ”Lightswitch,“ packed with muscle and percussive punch.

“We added Carnival drums to that,” Calister says with a smile. “Caribbean street drums to give that feel. And then we made it modern.” That updating extends to ”Maria Ta Jora,“ where the band took a sample from an old seú song and constructed something completely new around it. The past dancing side by side with the present.

And Tambutronic has proved to be very popular in Curaçao, where KiT have scored several major hits.

“The people there are very proud that we took the step to give the old music a new look,” Calister says. “We stay true to the roots but we also give the island its own voice in the modern world.” Older folk, familiar with the tradition, hear that in the music while youngsters who’ve grown up on American hip-hop, R & B and the global flavor of dance music, hear their own world reflected at them. And that’s an important way to keeping the past alive and strong.

Live, KiT are a non-stop Carnival, a riot of beats and rhythms that take the audience deep into the Caribbean. Above all, though, it’s obvious that the musicians enjoying playing the music and the live percussion thunders through the air.

“We have fun,” says Calister, “and that’s the key.”

Tambutronic: where Curaçao’s past dances with its future and takes on the world.

Following the release of Tambutronic, Kuenta I Tambú will be touring the US in June and July 2014. Want to know more? Check out the album at iTunes, their website, Facebook page or follow KiT on Twitter.

Following the release of Tambutronic, Kuenta i Tambú will be touring the US in June and July 2014.