Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Luxurious Beijing: Cours Et Pavillons

With material from a release:

Luxurious Beijing: Cours Et Pavillons
Old and new in perfect harmony, 21st-century boutique hotel in ancient hutong

You can get a taste of the splendor of China's past in a stunning 21st century renovation in Cours Et Pavillons. The exquisite boutique hotel just opened in 2015 in a meticulously renovated mansion in the old part of Beijing.
Cours Et Pavillons, main lobby
A traditional hutong (laneway) mansion is built around a garden courtyard, as is Cours Et Pavillons. The renovation is a true marriage of authentic Chinese culture and contemporary style, creating seven courtyard residences.Giving visitors a glimpse of ancient China, Cours et Pavillons is brimming with character and wrapped up with exceptional service. With just seven rooms across two traditional courtyards, the hotel has a truly exclusive ambience.
Cours Et Pavillons, superior room
Step through the gates and into a peaceful, private world. The grounds are temple-like, and the interiors dotted with antiques from the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Expect everything from carved wooden furniture and traditional wall prints to designer décor and Jacuzzis in some suites. When it's time for dinner, there is a fine dining French restaurant on site where you can enjoy contemporary gastronomy in time-honoured surroundings. Round-the-clock butler service and attentive personnel provide upscale service.
Cours Et Pavillons, deluxe room
Wei Ja Hu Tong (also seen as Weija Hutong) is one of the older, traditional style lanes in Beijing, and it's an area that has seen its fortunes rise and fall over the decades. Nowadays, it's an up and coming area of the city, with the Zhangzizhong Lu subway stop on the No. 5 line nearby.
Cours Et Pavillons, restaurant
Close to Beijing's cultural gems, yet tucked away from the hustle and bustle, Cours et Pavillons is ideally positioned. Visit The Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square for a glimpse into China’s past. Or travel to The Great Wall for the day to see this world-famous monument up close. A little closer to home, the hutong are the perfect place to experience Chinese communities first-hand.
Cours Et Pavillons, superior room
The Rooms
Cours Et Pavillons, open kitchen
Push back the door and you’ll find a beautiful blend of old and new. Wei Jia was once a cluster of hutong houses. Today, the traditional architecture has been infused with 21st-century style – from sumptuous beds to luxury bathroom products. Xi Guan takes the contemporary touches up a notch, with décor from Italian designers. To celebrate local culture and old customs, the hotel will bring incense to light your room.

The Food
At Cours et Pavillons, contemporary gastronomy is served in time-honoured surroundings. In Wei Jia Courtyard, chefs make use of fresh, seasonal ingredients and draw on classical French influences in an imaginative menu. It's haute cuisine steeped in local culture, served up for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and afternoon tea, which comes highly recommended.

Cours Et Pavillons  
Address: 26 Wei Jia Hu Tong, Dongcheng Qu, Beijing Shi, China, 100007 北京东城区魏家胡同26号
Phone: +86 10 6406 9838 / 1-866-500-49

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

AGO to host first Canadian solo exhibition of modernist pioneer Florine Stettheimer in 2017

From a media release:

AGO to host first Canadian solo exhibition devoted to modernist pioneer Florine Stettheimer in 2017
Exhibition rediscovers a star of the 20th century modern art movement

TORONTO — Painter, poet, designer and feminist are only a few of the words that describe the multifaceted early 20th-century artist Florine Stettheimer (1871-1944). A singular figure in modern art in the United States, Stettheimer is critically revered but remains largely unknown to a wider public. Florine Stettheimer: Painting Poetry, organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), and the Jewish Museum, New York, will introduce Stettheimer’s extraordinary work to Canadian audiences for the first time when it opens in Toronto on Oct. 21, 2017.

Florine Stettheimer (American, 1871-1944). Heat, 1919. Oil on canvas, 50 x 36 1/2 in. (127.0 x 92.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum,

Showcasing over 50 paintings and drawings, in addition to ballet and opera costume and set designs, the exhibition offers a timely reconsideration of this important artist, placing her centrally in the modern dialogue between high and mass culture. Her paintings challenged New York’s artistic elite, fueled the vanguard of her time, and continue to influence contemporary artists working today.

Florine Stettheimer is organized by Georgiana Uhlyarik, Associate Curator, Canadian Art, AGO, and Stephen Brown, Neubauer Family Foundation Associate Curator, The Jewish Museum.

The Cathedrals of Broadway
by Florine Stettheimer
“This exhibition reveals Florine Stettheimer as an uncompromising artist whose unique perspective broadens our understanding of what it means to be modern in the early decades of the last century,” says Georgiana Uhlyarik. “With her inventive compositions and daring use of materials, she defied conventions and insisted on her very own, singularly articulated artistic vision, complete with personal references, affirming Stettheimer as one of the boldest and most imaginative artists of her time.” Stephen Brown adds, “The time is ripe for a reappraisal of Stettheimer’s artistic achievement and her distinctive role in modern art.”

The Cathedrals of Broadway by Florine Stettheimer, 1929, oil on canvas, 60.1 x 50.1 in. (152.7 x 127.3 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art. In the center, New York City mayor Jimmy Walker throwing the first pitch of the baseball season.

Stettheimer was born in Rochester, New York, and studied at the Art Students League in Manhattan and then in Europe, where she encountered two profound influences: the Symbolist painters and poets, and, on the eve of World War I, the Ballets Russes. Returning to New York in 1914, she began hosting an exclusive salon with her sisters Carrie and Ettie and their mother Rosetta, attracting a who’s-who of modern artists including Marcel Duchamp, Alfred Stieglitz, Carl Van Vechten, Georgia O’Keeffe, Francis Picabia and many others.

The Cathedrals of Fifth Avenue
by Florine Stettheimer
Stettheimer was a sharp observer of New York life, capturing its frivolity and infectious energy in her vibrant canvases. She painted family portraits and events, her circle’s gatherings, and the urban and social landscape of Manhattan, in an astonishing series of works that mingle figures, fragmentary scenes, text, and passages of high-key color in shadowless tableaus. The exhibition features a number of striking self-portraits, including A Model, c. 1915, thought to be one of the first full-length nude self-portraits by a woman artist. Although Stettheimer's works appear at first playful and full of wonder, her body of work—which covers four decades—reveals a dedicated and exceptional artist who astutely commented on the rapidly transforming American culture.

The Cathedrals of Fifth Avenue by Florine Stettheimer, 1931, oil on canvas, 60 x 50 in. (152.4 x 127 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art

During her lifetime many critics praised Stettheimer and she was included in important group exhibitions in the United States and Europe. Stettheimer turned down every opportunity for public solo shows after 1916, chosing to premiere her paintings with the Society of Independent Artists or at her salon. Marcel Duchamp organized her posthumous retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in 1946, after which her sister Ettie began to place Stettheimer’s paintings in major public collections across the United States. Stettheimer’s first biography was published in 1963; and since then she has developed a following among artists, including Andy Warhol who called her “his favourite artist.” When Florine Stettheimer: Painting Poetry opens at the Jewish Museum in May 2017, it will mark the first major exhibition of her work in New York in more than 20 years.

The Cathedrals of Wall Street
by Florine Stettheimer
The exhibition is accompanied by a 168-page catalogue by Stephen Brown and Georgiana Uhlyarik. The book, published by The Jewish Museum, Art Gallery of Ontario, and Yale University Press, arrives at shopAGO in fall 2017.

The Cathedrals of Wall Street by Florine Stettheimer, 1939, oil on canvas, 60 x 50 in. (152.4 x 127 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art

Florine Stettheimer: Painting Poetry is included in the price of general admission and is free to AGO members. More information on the benefits of AGO membership can be found at

Lead supporter: Terra Foundation for American Art

With a collection of more than 90,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. From the vast body of Group of Seven and signature Canadian works to the African art gallery, from the cutting-edge contemporary art to Peter Paul Rubens’s masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, the AGO offers an incredible art experience with each visit. Visit to learn more.

Oct. 22, 2016 – Jan. 29, 2017: Mystical Landscapes
April 22 – July 30, 2017: Georgia O’Keeffe
Sept. 30, 2017 – Jan. 7, 2018:  Guillermo del Toro: At Home With Monsters
March 2018 – May 2018: Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors

Friday, November 25, 2016

A marriage of coffee & art: LA MARZOCCO Presents in Toronto “ORIGIN” Fine Art Photography from Tanzania by JAKOB DE BOER From 24th November to December 1st 2016

From a media release:

A marriage of coffee & art:
Presents in Toronto Exhibit 
Fine Art Photography from Tanzania by
From 24th November to December 1st 2016 at
Bau-Xi Photo, Toronto 

La Marzocco, the Florentine world leader in professional espresso coffee machines, is organizing its latest edition of OUT OF THE BOX, from 24th November to December 1st 2016 at Bau-Xi Photo, Toronto.

TORONTO - At OUT OF THE BOX, the international community of the specialty coffee sector will encounter, through seminars and workshops, parallel cultural expressions as well, from visual arts to music.
Mother and Child - Jakob de Boer
ORIGIN, an exhibit with photos by renowned Canadian Photographer, JAKOB DE BOER, will be running 24th November to December 1st 2016 at Bau-Xi Photo, Toronto. De Boer, a Canadian artist, spent time last Spring at the SONGWA plantation, the seat of a non-profit endeavour in which La Marzocco participates. The Florentine company, for several years, has promoted the agricultural activity, education and socio-professional integration of the small African community, whose livelihoods depend on the cultivation of coffee. Coffee is the most commonly traded resource in the world, following oil, and it represents a primary source of income for those populations who reside along the equatorial belt.

Through JAKOB DE BOER’s artistic photos, the daily lives of the small community are revealed, where women are the protagonists in the cultivation and harvest. Influenced by artists such as Caravaggio and Vermeer, the photographer’s images narrate stories, invoke emotions and capture details that reveal the singularity and beauty of the setting, emphasizing the close relationship between man and nature.
Watering - Jakob de Boer

• Each of the 16 photos on display have been printed manually rather than digitally by prestigious Parisian studios.
• Black and white, exalted by silver tones, renders the African landscape and local personas especially evocative.

Songwa Planation, Tanzania by Jakob de Boer
Large photos, comparable to paintings from the Dutch school, where nature is celebrated by the play of light skillfully captured by the eye of the photographer, the eye not only being witness to, but a companion on a journey into the activities of the SONGWA plantation.

LA MARZOCCO exclusively presents:  
“ORIGIN”  Fine  Art Photography by JAKOB DE BOER     
From: 24th November to
December 1st, 2016 at Bau-Xi Photo, Toronto 
324 DUNDAS ST WEST 416 977 0400

*A percentage of the proceeds for the sale of the photos, now and into the future, will be donated to benefit the community in the immediate vicinity of the plantation.

London Out of the Box 2016:

CD Review: Electra Day - Quiet Hours (Independent - August 4, 2016)

CD Review:
Electra Day - Quiet Hours
(Independent - August 4, 2016)

Buy the CD

For lovers of folk music, this solo effort by Electra Day will please with poetic lyrics and a sense of musical invention. The Quiet Hours project is actually intended as a two-CD release, with the second part planned for 2017.

Electra Day is a traveler of the world who began writing songs more than a decade ago. An English lit grad, she began her travels right after university and they've taken her from the United States to Berlin to the Mohave Desert of southern California, the Gulf Islands off the coast of British Columbia, the High Sierra Desert of northern New Mexico and then to the Midwest of the US in Fairfield IA. The songs on this CD are informed by all of those experiences.

Electra has an expressive voice and it's her vocals, combined with a strong rhythmic pulse, that carries you through the tunes. Big Sky is a classic folk song that is brought to life by her open vocal approach, one that is emotive and vulnerable.

Musically, while it doesn't stray far from traditional folk canons stylistically, there are global influences peppered among the songs. In Falcon's Gaze, there are elements of Indian and Middle Eastern tonalities in the guitar, coupled with a minimalist approach suited to her whispery vocals. Not Against It Or For has a plaintive kind of melody set to poetic lyrics.

the music of the evening
starts a soft and low parade
fresh wind blowing stronger
brings the scent of coming rain
not against it or for
merge just a little bit more

There's a lot of melodic variation between the songs. The lyrics are universal and mystical in nature, told from a personal point of view. Ferry Song is a strong track, a standout with its compelling story about roaming with the musical flavour of a sea shanty. The words often tell a story, as in Endlessly Rocking and Old Blind Couple. Endlessly Rocking is another strong track with a bit of a rock swing to it and a nod to "Bobby" Dylan.

I was born to some people
who were afraid of most things
I found my truth
in the bird's flapping wings
I went out of the cradle
endlessly rocking, 
endlessly rocking
and rolling along
a child went out, on her own.

Romance of the Stars offers a bit of a riff on the American song book with jazzy chord progressions. It's an interesting collection of songs from an accomplished folk performer.

Tracklisting: 1. Big Sky, 2. Falcon's Gaze, 3. Romance of the Stars, 4. Not Against It Or For, 5. From Boulder to Oblivia, 6. Ferry Song, 7. Endlessly Rocking, 8. October Nights, 9. Old Blind Couple


CD Review: Charity Ekeke - She (Independent - October 7, 2016)

With material from a media release:

CD Review:
Charity Ekeke - She
(Independent - October 7, 2016)

Check it out on Soundcloud

Having been a late starter in the world of music myself, I was interested to hear this CD from Nigerian-American singer songwriter Charity Ekeke.

As a child growing up in her native Nigeria, whenever Charity got money as a gift, she'd save it up to buy songbooks that included such popsters of the 1960s and 70s as The Beatles, immy Reeves, Nat King Cole, Cliff Richards, The Everly Brothers and Tom Jones. You can hear those influences in classic pop song structures and melodies.

The lyrics talk about issues affecting the people of the world today, in particular, women. Those words are combined with lush, multi-layered arrangements highlighted by retro hooks in the power pop vein. Don't Call Them is a sympathetic portrait of teenage mothers and sex workers, all wrapped up in a guitar driven pop-rock groove.

Charity's voice is a rich, warm alto, and really shines on dancey tracks like If The Roles Were Reversed, where the tone wraps around rhythm guitar and a syncopated rhythm section. It showcases her unique vocal style. Ditto She Bears, a track that spotlights her voice in a rhythmic setting. Talk To Me is a standout track, a song that asks its listener to stop texting and talk in a catchy dancehall-ish rhythm. Then there's a curiosity like These Times, a song with lyrics that extol the use of birth control pills. You Belong has a nice pop swing and a fluid guitar line that trips along. Vocally, she has a strong high end, not always as rich in the lower register.

My quibble is largely with the production end. It's a given that the vocalist and various instruments are playing in different rooms, sometimes on different occasions. But -- it's not supposed to sound like that. On a few of the tracks, there were moments when the vocals felt like they were almost singing a different song.
Charity Ekeke

Now based in the U.S., She is a labour of love that has been a long time coming, with a two decade hiatus in her musical career when the kids came first.

Website:, @ItsRealCharity, FB: charityekekemusic, Instagram: ItsRealCharity

1 - If the Roles Were Reversed
2 - Don't Call Them
3 - All I Know
4 - He Takes All My Breath Away
5 - Talk to Me
6 - Bloodline
7 - These Times
8 - You Belong
9 - Look At Me Now
10 - I'll Catch You If You Fall
11 - She Bears

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A Christmas CD with a Difference: A Colorful Christmas

From a media release:

A Christmas CD with a Difference:
A Colorful Christmas

Buy the CD

A Colorful Christmas is a collection of Christmas songs, original and covers, in multiple genres by a diverse group of inspiring artists with different backgrounds breaking away from the suffocating categorization of the music industry. Includes internationally known bluesman Charlie Sayles, Tony Fazio, Scott Taylor, Richard Schletty, Greg Phillips, Subsidiarity, Braver Noise, Ken Wenzel, Andre Van Haren,  Jet and Chris Watling, Jane Kraemer and others.  Over a dozen originals and 7 traditional covers. Ranging from the festive to the devotional.

The video for Reindeer Romp N Roll has been accepted for screening at the Cinematic Arts Film Festival, Los Angeles this December (see below).

• Digital download for sale now on the Fetal Records Store. Includes supplement Christmas Everyday by Scott Taylor which is not on the Physical CD or the digital purchase from other distributers.

• Blues and R&B bundle includes supplement Christmas Everyday by Scott Taylor which is not on the Physical CD. Buy it here.

Track Listing:
Jolly Old St. Nick Feat Scott Taylor
O Come Emmanuel Feat Scott Taylor
A Christmas Blues by Charlie Sayles
Homeless Christmas by Subsidiarity
Christmas Spirit by Scott Taylor
It’s not the Present by Charlie Sayles
Blessed to See Christmas by Scott Taylor
The Christmas Way by Charlie Sayles
The First Noel Feat Scott Taylor

New Video - Builder of the House: Look At The Man

From a media release:

New Video
Builder of the House: Look At The Man
Off the bands forthcoming LP, Ornaments, which will be released early 2017

Indie folk pop duo Builder of the House premiered their new video on pro-LGBTQ site NewNowNext who noted "As the country gets ready for another Republican presidency, a song about an gender outlaw seems all the more rebellious."

Utilizing various strains of folk music Builder of the House welcome their listeners in from the cold digital world to enjoy a warm potpourri of all-embracing indie pop.

In 2011 Rob Cimitile moved to Portland, ME to recuperate from a rough breakup. There he reignited a relationship with his Martin guitar and began experimenting with his baritone voice which he left dormant for over three years, dismissing it when it failed to complement the grunge music he loved as a teen. But now, after soaking in some serious life experience and obtaining a Master’s degree in music composition, its warm tone felt just right when applied to a more diverse musical palate.

Earlier this year the band headed to Acadia Recording Company to work with engineer Todd Hutchisen on their first full length album, Ornaments. The detailed arrangements and production nuances were overseen by Cimitile who is prone to sweat the details in every aspect of the release. It is indeed a wonder such laid-back music comes from a self-described “obsessive brain” but the band’s productivity is a testament to their unwavering resolve. Ornaments already has a stellar music video to complement its release in “Look at the Man” which draws attention to gender identity issues while conjuring up the kindred vibes of Feist, Timber Timbre, Lumineers & Fleet Foxes.

Release Date Early 2017
via sonaBLAST! Records

NU MUSES 2017 Luxurious Fine Art Nude Calendar Now Available

From a media release:

NU MUSES 2017 Luxurious Fine Art Nude Calendar Now Available
24 Fine Art Prints from Celebrated Photographer David Bellemere Available In Three Limited Edition NU MUSES 2017 Calendar Packages
“What spirit is so empty and blind, that it cannot recognize the fact that the foot is more noble than the shoe, and skin more beautiful than the garment” -Michelangelo

Buy the collections
Check them out at Art Basel, Miami - December 1-4, 2016

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – November 22nd, 2016 – NU MUSES, the luxurious 2017 fine art nude calendar, is now available to purchase in three unique limited edition collectors packages. Drawing inspiration from the Pirelli calendar of the 1970s, NU MUSES is set to celebrate the forgotten art of the classic nude and capture the elegance and romance of the female form.

The NU MUSES limited edition art piece is a sublime collectable calendar, featuring nude photographs of 12 of the world’s most stunning models, captured by famed photographer David Bellemere.

The 12 NU MUSES featured in the calendar were discovered through an extensive seven-week worldwide model search resulting in an exotic shoot in the Dominican Republic at the exclusive Casa Kimball. This exotic Caribbean location provided a stunning landscape to create timeless images that are immediately captivating, with an innocence and purity that can only be found in nature.

The NU MUSES calendar is a timeless fine art piece. Throughout history, nudity was recognized as the highest form of art, but over time has lost its classic art form. NU MUSES showcases nudity as inspirational and a sign of strength, where women as well as men feel comfortable and empowered viewing the female body.

“This process has been eye opening for everyone on the team. Whenever you aim to redefine something, especially nude art, you are sure to discover passion and pain unfold as you reveal your vision. Step by step we have seen each element of our project fall into place and concluding the calendar portion has been extremely rewarding. Our vision is now in print, we can’t wait to share what we have created and discovered with the world.” – Steve Shaw, publisher

NU MUSES not only transcends time and gender, but it is a global art piece.  The project showcases breathtaking women who represent beauty from around the world; Alejandra Guilmant (Mexico), Anna Wolf (United States), Ariela Oliveira (Brazil), Ebonee Davis (United States), Isabella Boemeke (Brazil), Janine Tugonon (Philippines), Jessica Clements (United States), Keilani Asmus (Holland/Indonesia), Nidhi Sunil (India), Rachel Cook (United States), Sabina Karlsson (Sweden), and Vika Levina (Russia).

The collection of 24 images and calendar sets will be unveiled and celebrated at Art Basel Miami, this upcoming December. There are three different calendar tiers for purchase on, all numbered and signed by David Bellemere:

Tier 1) NU MUSES Deluxe Luxury Edition - $20,000
Edition of 20 (no. 1-20)

A collection of 24 archival fine art photographs presented in a leather and linen handcrafted box, floating on a sculptural Lucite stand that echoes the undulating curves of the female body. Each volume is signed and numbered by the photographer with certificate of authenticity.
  • Paper size 24 x 24, 
  • Box size 26 x 26 x 3, stand height 3 feet
  • Printed on 100% Cotton Rag, fine art satin paper
  • Edition stamped, numbered and signed
  • Includes invitation to exclusive launch event Dec 2, during Art Basel, Miami. 

Tier 2) NU MUSES Premium Edition box set/Calendar - $10,000
Edition of 100 (no. 1-100)

A collection of 24 archival fine art photographs presented in a handcrafted, specially designed, hardback linen folio. Each volume is signed and numbered by photographer with certificate of authenticity.
  • Paper size 20 x 24, 
  • Folio size 25 x 21 x 3 ¼
  • Printed on 100% Cotton Rag, fine art satin paper
  • Edition stamped, numbered and signed 
Tier 3) NU MUSES Collector’s Edition box set/Calendar - $1,000
Edition of 1000 (no. 1-1000)

A collection of 12 archival fine art photographs presented in a handmade, specially designed, hardback linen folio, with certificate of authenticity.
  • Paper and print size 12 x16 
  • Folio size 16 ¾  x 12 ¾  x 2
  • Printed on 100% Cotton Rag, fine art satin paper
  • Edition stamped and numbered with certificate of authenticity.

• On all orders please allow 2-4 weeks for delivery. For more information on purchase, the muses, and the overall project process and background visit

About Steve Shaw
Steve Shaw has a background in celebrity & fashion photography, shooting for Elle, Vogue, and British Esquire. In 2011, British-born Steve Shaw conceived and launched treats! Magazine as a European-inspired, multi-media brand merging high fashion, and sensuality as the ultimate lifestyle luxury publishing body. In the summer of 2016, Steve began the NU MUSES project redefining the modern view of nudity to the historic vision of nudity as classic beauty, art, and inspiration. Steve focuses on celebrating the beauty of women as nature made them, which can be seen throughout his work. Steve Shaw continues to make his mark in fashion, art, business, and Hollywood.
About David Bellemere
David Bellemere was born and raised in Paris, France. He discovered photography during his high school years, which led him to study visual arts after his Baccalaureate. While in college, David caught the eye of various French magazines that commissioned him in his early 20s.  Over the next few years he traveled throughout Asia regarding his time there as the most influential in his photographic style to this day. David is a master of using natural light to bring out an exquisite form and beauty in his subjects. Bellemere’s work has appeared in magazines such as Italian Marie Claire, French Playboy, Vogue Paris and Vogue UK; his client list includes Hermés (eau des merveilles), Zadig & Voltaire and Charles Jourdan. Bellemere is also the main photographer for Victoria’s Secret.

Social Media:
Facebook: @numuses
Instagram: @numuses
Twitter: @nu_muses
Snapchat: numuses
Hashtag: #NUMUSE


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Plaza of the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg Opened

From a media release:

Plaza of the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg Opened

Visit the Plaza
Discover What's On at the Concert Hall

Toronto November 2016 – Before the first concerts take place in Hamburg’s newest landmark and concert hall on 11 and 12 January, the Plaza of the Elbphilharmonie marked its opening with a ceremony. The Plaza is a public observation deck situated between the former warehouse and the new glass structure. On 31 October, the keys to the building were handed over to the City of Hamburg by construction company Hochtief, thus officially ending the construction phase.
Elphilharmonie Hamburg overlooking the harbour

The opening of the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg will take place on 11 and 12 January 2017. But Hamburg already gained a new attraction today: the Elbphilharmonie Plaza. The observation deck of the concert hall, which follows a public square concept, is located at a height of 37 metres between the historical brick warehouse foundation and the new glass structure. Visitors reach the deck via an 80-metre-long escalator which leads to a large panorama window. From there, the path follows a second smaller escalator and spaciously designed stairs to the Plaza itself. An exterior walkway around the building offers fantastic views of the city and the harbour. The interior features the entrances to the concert halls, the hotel lobby, various restaurants and the Elbphilharmonie gift shop.

Hamburg’s First Mayor Olaf Scholz: »With the Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg has gained an impressive structure whose architecture has already become an integral part of the city’s skyline. The architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron and the construction company Hochtief have created something unique in the Elbphilharmonie. Ticket presales are evidence of how excited Hamburg and its guests are about the new concert hall. Initial impressions of the trial concerts in the Grand Hall are overwhelming.«
Escalator to the Elbphilharmonie Plaza

The Plaza: a place for encounters

As of Saturday, 5 November 2016, the Plaza is also be open to the public. As the visitor capacity is limited, admission will be regulated by the issue of tickets. For spontaneous visitors, these are available free of charge on the day of their visit; reservations for a fixed admission time can be made (subject to availability) at as well as in the Elbphilharmonie visitor centre (€2 reservation fee per visitor).

From 11 and 12 January 2017: festivals for anyone and everyone

The official launch of the Elbphilharmonie will be marked by the ceremonial opening concerts on 11 and 12 January, which will feature the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra and its inaugural performance as the orchestra in residence. Additionally, the Recital Hall will be opened on 12 January with a concert by Ensemble Resonanz, the ensemble in residence of the Recital Hall.
View from the Elbphilharmonie Plaza by C. Michael Zapf

On the following day, the Philharmonic State Orchestra Hamburg will be giving its first performance in the Elbphilharmonie. What is more, as part of the opening festivities, the programme features guest performances by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, pianist Mitsuko Uchida, jazz pianist Brad Mehldau, legendary band Einstürzende Neubauten and other attractive concerts. The next festival highlight is already scheduled for February: from 9 to 28 February, Lux aeterna features sounds and works dealing with the theme of spirituality and transcendence. With the Salām Syria festival from 16 to 18 March, the Elbphilharmonie will pay homage to the musical tradition of one of the most oppressed countries in the world. Concerts by, among others, internationally renowned Syrian clarinettist and composer Kinan Azmeh and a joint concert by NDR and Syrian Big Band will please the ear. Additional festivals focusing on themes including Island, New York, the transatlantic culture zone between Africa, Europe and the United States, minimal music and the symphonic works of Ludwig van Beethoven round off the programme of the inaugural season.

• More information:

Anyone who does not wish to wait for the official opening of the hall in January can now, thanks to Google Street View, take a virtual expedition through the Elbphilharmonie and explore, among other things, the new concert hall there.
Elbphilharmonie Plaza

About the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg
With the opening of the Elbphilharmonie on 11 and 12 January 2017, Hamburg is continuing to pursue its path as a city of music, once again demonstrating that in Hamburg, the future is made up of contrasts. In the HafenCity Hamburg, Europe’s biggest inner-city urban development project, situated between the historic Speicherstadt warehouse district – a UNESCO World Heritage site – and the port, the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg will be a new attraction for everyone living in Hamburg and their guests. The spectacular new landmark houses three concert halls offering a varied programme of music, a large music education area, a hotel, a range of places to eat and drink, and the Plaza – a 360° public viewing platform with breathtaking views over the whole city from a height of 37 metres above ground level – and which opens on 4 November 2016.

The Elbphilharmonie Hamburg was designed by the Swiss firm of architects Herzog & de Meuron: its dazzling new structure rises up to a height of 110 metres above the former Kaispeicher A, a historic warehouse that was previously used for storing tea, tobacco and cocoa. With its unique architecture, the new concert hall represents diverse, maritime flair of Hamburg – a city that is built on tradition and modernity and continues to successfully reshape its future with courage, creativity, innovation and cosmopolitanism. It symbolises the city’s ruggedness and beauty, these ubiquitous contrasts that are so characteristic of Hamburg’s appeal.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Jazz/Avant Garde/ArtRock - Name Your Price for Cuneiform Records: The Albums of 2016

From our friends at Cuneiform Records:

#Jazz CD
Cuneiform Records: The Albums of 2016

• It is now available to stream or download at a price of YOUR OWN choosing via Cuneiform's Bandcamp page

While 2016 was notable as the nadir of American politics, marked by a level of discourse that dredged the gutter, 2016 was an especially bright year for high-quality music in the genres of both jazz and rock at Cuneiform. To commemorate and celebrate it, Cuneiform Records presents a sampler album, Cuneiform Records: The Albums of 2016.

We invite you to listen to Cuneiform Records: The Albums of 2016 and explore the wide spectrum of music we recently released over the year. Each track by each artist is unique; we invite you to sample all. And then, if you've not already done so, we hope that you'll listen to full albums by the artists who most appeal to you.

This 15 song compilation album, Cuneiform Records: The Albums of 2016, features over 80 minutes of simply great and utterly creative music made by musicians from around the globe; selected from albums that Cuneiform Records released in 2016.

We released a total of 15 albums in 2016, by some of the most highly esteemed musicians on the planet, established icons of avant and contemporary musics like Wadada Leo Smith, Sao Paulo Underground (led by Rob Mazurek), The Claudia Quintet (led by John Hollenbeck), Richard Pinhas w/ Masami Akita (Merzbow) & Yoshida Tatsuya, Thumbscrew (Mary Halvorson/Michael Formanek/Tomas Fujiwara), Rez Abbasi (w/ Junction), Gary Lucas (w/ Fleischerei) – as well as fast-rising-stars like Bent Knee, Empirical, Naima, I.P.A. and Ergo. These artists came from around the world: the USA, the UK (England), Europe (France, Italy, Spain), Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden), Japan, and South America (Brazil). And as usual, Cuneiform’s releases were in a wide range of cutting-edge, progressive styles that emerged from the genres of both jazz (avant-jazz, post-jazz, jazz/rock and fusion, improv, creative music) and rock (post-rock, indie-rock, ambient, soundscapes, avant-progressive, experimental rock/noise). The majority of 2016's releases were jazz-related, and this year, two of our artists appeared prominently on the covers of leading American jazz publicans: DownBeat honored Wadada Leo Smith as a "National Treasure" on its November 2016 cover, and Jazziz celebrated Rez Abbasi on its July 2016 cover.  2016 was also notable for the high calibre of our rock albums; we released music by several top-notch bands who astounded the international rock music press, won new fans worldwide, and packed concerts. Our 2016 rock albums included Bent Knee (Say So), Deus Ex Machina (Devoto) and Richard Pinhas (Process & Reality w/ Masami Akita/Merzbow and Yoshida Tatsuya and Mu w/ Barry Cleveland).

A sampling of the sampler:

1. São Paulo Underground - Olhaluai [from Cantos Invisíveis] 05:21
2. Richard Pinhas / Tatsuya Yoshida / Masami Akita [Merzbow] - TVJ 33 (Core Track) (excerpt) [from Process and Reality] 05:55
3. Wadada Leo Smith - New Orleans: The National Culture Park USA 1718 (excerpt) [from America’s National Parks] 12:12
4. I.P.A. - Sir William [from I Just Did Say Something] 05:46
5. Ergo - That never came [from 'As subtle as tomorrow'] 05:49
6. The Claudia Quintet - JFK Beagle [from Super Petite] 03:28
7. Bent Knee - Leak Water [from Say So] 04:41
8. Naima - Bye [from Bye] 04:56
9. The Ed Palermo Big Band - Dirty White Bucks [from One Child Left Behind] 04:39
10. Gary Lucas' Fleischerei [featuring Sarah Stiles] - The Broken Record [from Music from Max Fleischer's Cartoons] 03:07
11. Empirical - The Two-Edged Sword [from Connection] 02:32
12. Thumbscrew: Mary Halvorson, Michael Formanek, Tomas Fujiwara - Sampsonian Rhythms [from Convallaria] 04:03
13. Rez Abbasi & Junction - Self-Brewing [from Behind the Vibration] 06:20
14. Richard Pinhas & Barry Cleveland (feat. Michael Manring & Celso Alberti) - Zen/Unzen (excerpt) [from Mu] 08:06
15. Deus Ex Machina - Figli [from Devoto] 06:59

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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Ivorian reggae legend Tiken Jah Fakoly in New York November 23rd 2016

From a media release:

Ivorian reggae legend; 
Tiken Jah Fakoly in New York November 23rd 2016
at the Gramercy Theatre

Buy tickets
Buy the CD

Tiken is a messianic son of Africa standing out as the spokesman for millions of young African people, joining the lineage of  Peter Tosh and Bob Marley, "the voice for those without voices.“  As the giant of African Reggae, “Racines” is the natural evolution of a man paying homage to the Reggae Greats. 
Tiken Jah Fakoly by C. Youri
Racines is a tribute to the Reggae classics that Tiken carried with him since his childhood, the ones his big brother used to play on his turntable in his village, close to Odienné in northern Côte d’Ivoire.

Jamaica and Africa are eternally linked together by their music, history, and people, and this album helps continue that link.

The album features 11 covers from Bob Marley to Burning Spear, from Peter Tosh to Buju Banton, along with many guest stars including U-Roy, Max Romeo, Jah9 and Ken Boothe.

Recorded at the Tuff Gong Studio in Kingston for the riddims with Sly & Robbie, Mikey Chun, Robbie Lyn.

Ticket Price(s): $20 - $40
Gramercy Theatre
127 East 23rd Street
New York, NY
Doors open 7pm

New York Premiere: Theater, Poetry, Jazz, Hip Hop and more in 'Party People' - Ticket Special to December 11 2016

From a media release:

New York Premiere
By UNIVERSES: Steven Sapp, Mildred Ruiz-Sapp, William Ruiz aka Ninja
Composed by UNIVERSES with Broken Chord
Choreography by Millicent Johnnie
Developed and Directed by Liesl Tommy
Now playing thru December 11, 2016 at The Public Theater, New York City


UNIVERSES, the award-winning ensemble known for their fusion of theater, poetry, jazz, hip-hop, politics, down home blues and Spanish boleros, makes their Public Theater premiere with an explosive new work about the complicated legacies of the original Black Panther Party and the Young Lords Org/Party. Developed and Directed by Liesl Tommy (Eclipsed, The Urban Retreat).

UNIVERSES created PARTY PEOPLE based on dozens of interviews with members of these ground-breaking, society-changing groups. PARTY PEOPLE imagines a present-day reunion at an art opening curated by two young counter culturalists; but the curators themselves have complex relationships with the Party members, who fought injustice and provided free food and medical care for their communities—often at the expense of the people who loved them most. Old wounds and generational divides collide in this astonishing, multi-media theatrical event about the price of being a revolutionary, and what it means for those who come after.

Breaking the bounds of the expected, the members of UNIVERSES (Steven Sapp, Mildred Ruiz-Sapp and William Ruiz aka Ninja) and Liesl Tommy —invite audiences of every age, color and creed to join them as they continue to revolutionize American theater and explore the fight to bring power to the people, and the people to power.

Featuring Oberon K.A. Adjepong (Blue); Michael Elich (Marcus, FBI Agent); Gizel Jiménez (Clara); Ramona Keller (Amira); Christopher Livingston (Malik); Jesse J. Perez (Tito); Sophia Ramos (Maruca); Robynn Rodriguez (Donna, Fina); Horace V. Rogers (Solias); William Ruiz a.k.a. Ninja (Jimmy “Primo”); Mildred Ruiz-Sapp (Helita); and Steven Sapp (Omar).

Tickets $30 (reg. $60) with code PPL30
The Public Theater Box Office at 425 Lafayette Street, NYC

There are two easy ways to purchase tickets:

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

EP Release: "Explicit Thoughts" from Tampa rock project Human Darts (Independent - October 25, 2016)

EP Release:
"Explicit Thoughts" from 
Tampa rock project Human Darts
(Independent - October 25, 2016)

Buy the CD

The Human Darts are a kind of moving target. They released an album in the late 1970s as a group of three friends who recorded the album and then simply went their separate ways. Even without a tour, the album went on to become a punk underground hit.

From that point, The Human Darts became a group with shifting members and who sometimes played under different names -- with that classic punk drive as their signature sound. Dart bands in various forms toured the country from the Midwest to California and back. One of the original producers/writers who goes by Mr. Zelk tracked down the son of an original member in Shane Close and original guitarist John Arduser, who he found hitting wiffle balls over his house in St. Pete's, Florida. Adding other simpatico players to fill out the roster, the revamped 2016 version has released the EP Explicit Thoughts.

The songs are lit up by the genuine punk energy that the band has still got after all these years. Stitches has a grungey rockabilly groove with neo absurdist lyrics that are more spoken than sung and some cool sounding guitar work. They do a cover of Hey Good Lookin' where the old country staple gets a punky makeover with growly vocals and a sincere delivery that gives it a post-modern edge. It's nimble guitar work and a jangly barroom piano riff that make this old country staple worth a listen

Zombie Man Chant is a highlight of the release. Here, the vocals sound perfect against the cheesy organ and relentless, churning rhythm section, and the energy is perfectly in synch with the delivery. It's a kind of hyperkinetic post-surf rock. Tell My Sister is a song with a retro riff, featuring angry guitars and a nice complexity to the structure. The vocals sometimes have a flat quality; they're at their best in a growly mode or in harmony.

Now that the recording's done, once again the members separated as the record headed to various points around the globe including Japan where the original songs found a lot of fans and were played by local bands.


Finnish Art Rocker Marko von Konow - New Single 'Cosmic'

Single release:
Marko von Konow: Cosmic (release date Oct 14, 2016)
Album: Lieder
Release date: Jan 13, 2017

Finnish artist Marko von Konow is a classically trained musician and visualist, with both talents on display in his latest single, Cosmic. It's the first single off his upcoming release, Lieder, set for January 2017.

Marko has a sincere tenor that complements a song with a philosohpical bent. The come together in a pop arrangement that has its roots in 90s New Wave classics like Depeche Mode and other synth pop greats. There's an orchestral flair, with shades of glam rock in the mix. Vocals are delivered with cabaret-style theatrical flair and lyrics that cover the highs and lows of short, intimate encounters -- the quintessential hook ups of modern life. It's an approach that creates atmospheric music with a driving beat.

The video takes an artistic approach in black and white, an artistic approach that emphasizes the song's melancholic mood rather tan a specific story line. The solo act is a new phase for Marko von Konow, who divides his time between the cold, arctic light of Helsinki, Finland, and the blazing sun of Alentejo, Portugal.

Marko von Konow, vocals, keyboards and programming; Timo Vikkula, Guitars; Tommi Pietiläinen, Guitars; Jari kääriäinen, Keyboards; Paco Halonen, Bass guitar; Ville Särmä, Drums

Instagram: vonkonowartist

Christmas CD Review: Abigail Winzer: Rejoice (Independent: October 11th 2016)

CD Review:
Abigail Winzer: Rejoice
(Independent: October 11th, 2016)

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If you're in the market for a Christmas album, you'll want to check out Abigail Winzer's debut release, "Rejoice". At 16 years old, Abigail has a beautifully clear soprano that is suited for the timeless repertoire of carols.

Abigail sang in a church choir and trained at the Boston Conservatory at the age of 15. Her voice is complemented by unexpected arrangements that feature the duduk, Irish harp and other imaginative instrumentation such s Irish Whistle, soprano, alto and tenor recorder consort and lute as played by Celtic musician James Spalink.Award winning producer Michael Crittenden is reponsible for the atmospheric arrangements. Crittendon has worked with the likes Todd Rundgren, The Doobie Brothers, Hootie & the Blowfish, John McVey & Peter Frampton among others, and here he plays a variety of instruments including piano and acoustic guitar.International sacred music sensation, Arsen Petrosyan, is a master of the Armenian Duduk, which has a distinctive tone that works well with Abigail's voice.

With all that talent, it's no surprise that some of the highlights come from the purely instrumental arrangements - going from the passages like God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and the extended opening of Silent Night - the duduk has a lovely, mournful quality that resonates through those passages.

This is not a period re-creation, nor an ultra-modern reinvention of the style; the arrangements are expansive and atmospheric. Neither is this a sing-along Christmas CD, but rather a stylistic interpretation of the material. O Come O Come Emmanuel is a highlight, where the voice and instruments are given equal weight and the combination adds depth to the song.
Abigail Winzer

Abigail's voice has a sweet edge to it that suits the Celtic vocal style, in full evidence on her nicely folky treatment of The First Noel. O Come All Ye Faithful is perhaps the most traditional of the arrangements, with the vocals in the spotlight.

Personnel: Abigail Winzer, Lead Vocals.  Michael Crittenden, Piano, Acoustic Guitar, Korg m3 Synthesizer, Yamaha P250, Hammond B3 Organ, Tubular Bells, Tamborine, Sleigh Bells, Celeste.  James Spalink, Irish Harp, Irish Whistle, Soprano-Alto-Tenor Recorder, Lute.  Brian Morrill, Cymbal Rolls.  Arsen Petrosyan, Duduk.

At such an youthful age, we can hope to hear much more of Ms Winzer in the years to come. Here's her cover of Burning House to give you a taste.