Monday, February 29, 2016

Classical CD Release: The Divine Art Recording Group presents Diana Boyle -The Mozart Sonatas (April 8 2016)

From a media release:

The Divine Art Recording Group
Diana Boyle, piano
The Mozart Sonatas (April 8, 2016)

Divine Art Recordings is delighted to announce this upcoming release - a full selection of the Piano Sonatas  by W A Mozart, performed on this 2-CD set by Diana Boyle, whose interpretations even of these well known works will speak anew to listeners. Diana has been deeply studying and meditating on these works in her remote secluded piece of paradise, to gain the fullest and most subtle understanding of every note.  The result is a performance of great delicacy, lightness and flair which has never been before created.

Diana Boyle is an English pianist who has lived and worked in the solitude of a Portuguese hilltop for many years. This secluded and magical location has created in her an inner peace and tranquillity, and the time to think deeply about her music, which shows through to wonderful effect in her interpretations of baroque and classical works. She strokes the keys with intense control, hardly ever using pedal, to create a sound which is warm and rich, never tense or agitated, and her fast passages are light and bright.

This double album (at mid-price) features eight of the Sonatas and in each case offers a wonderful performance which will be essential regular listening for even the most hardened of Mozart fans. We expect the critical response to be as positive (if not even better) than her previous two discs of music by Bach.

Mozart: Piano Sonatas
(Divine Art dda 21227 – 2CD)
Diana Boyle (piano)
Piano Sonata in C major, K. 279
Piano Sonata in B flat major, K. 281
Piano Sonata in E flat major, K. 282
Piano Sonata in G major, K. 283
Piano Sonata in C major, K. 330
Piano Sonata in C minor, K. 457
Piano Sonata in F major, K. 533
Piano Sonata in B flat major, K. 570

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Jazz Release: Laura Perlman - Precious Moments (Mile High Records - January 15, 2016)

From a media release:

Jazz Release:
Laura Perlman - Precious Moments
(Mile High Records - January 15, 2016)

Buy the CD on Amazon

As Michael Doherty writes: "I love how Laura Perlman takes her vocals from intimate, sexy, vulnerable places to these great heights of confidence and joy."

The recording is a triumph for Perlman, who studied voice, piano and film scoring at Berklee College of Music.  Although she dreamed of singing jazz, practicality led her to music editing for the movies. She made it big in that world, with credits on films like "Thelma and Louise," "Driving Miss Daisy," and "A League of Their Own."

In 2002, everything changed when Laura was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer.  After beating cancer, she returned to her first love, singing.

A decade later, a new diagnosis changed her life again. A rare blood disease required a bone marrow transplant.  The experience crystallized the importance of focusing on her musical dreams.

“When you battle for your life, your dreams become crystal clear,” Perlman says. “You realize how precious time really is.”

Her biggest dream, to sing on a jazz album, was the destiny of this new life.

Then Laura found a new ally in her quest: Fate.

Her brother, David, and Mark Sherman, a record producer, Juilliard Jazz professor, and DownBeat Critics Poll honored vibraphonist, were friends as kids in New York City.

David contacted Mark.

When Sherman heard her story, and then heard her demo recording, he decided that it was time for the debut, long overdue, to happen.

He reached out to some of the top jazz musicians in Los Angeles, and arranged all of the tracks save two, which GRAMMY® award winning pianist and arranger Bill Cunliffe, contributed. Bill brought in the wonderful bassist Chris Colangelo. Mark Sherman played vibraphone, and reached out to drum legend Joe LaBarbera to round out the quartet backing Laura.

“The biggest pleasant surprise was Laura herself,” Sherman reflects. “As I listen to the playback, I hear Laura crying out the lyrics of these classic standards that she selected. The passion reflects her fight for life itself in the most beautiful way.”

The resulting album are truly a few of Laura’s favorite things, precious moments that are the explosive joyous love of life that will entertain and inspire us for generations to come. Time may not be on our side, but a lull in its relentless drive has given both Laura, and the world, a moment to appreciate her musical gift to the world.

To support cancer research, add “Smile.” to the front of and pick your favorite charity. Amazon will donate .5% of the proceeds of the sale of the album!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Ocean by H10 Hotels opens the Ocean Casa del Mar - ​its fourth hotel in Cuba

From a media release:

Ocean by H10 Hotels opens the Ocean Casa del Mar, 
​its fourth hotel in Cuba

Check It Out

Mexico, February 25th 2016. Ocean by H10 Hotels has opened the five-star Ocean Casa del Mar, a newly-built resort with an ideal beachfront location. It stands in Cayo Santa María, the largest of the Villa Clara Keys located in the north of Cuba. The 800-room resort has direct access to a stunning beach that runs for almost 1 kilometre along the coast. “This five-star resort offers a wide range of services, including its large pools, extensive selection of cuisine, a 24-hour All-Inclusive service and a full program of entertainment for both adults and children, with the sole objective to guarantee our costumers satisfaction” pointed Oscar Serrano, Vice President Sales & Marketing for Ocean by H10 Hotels.
The five-star resort stands on the beachfront in Cayo Santa María, in the north of Cuba.
Cayo Santa María is an increasingly popular tourist destination in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Buena Vista Bay, a natural paradise with stunning white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters. This island also hosts a large diversity of endemic plants and animal species.

Decorated with an elegant, modern design that reflects the natural environment, this complex is arranged around two large swimming pools and offers beautiful views of the sea and the surrounding landscape as well.

Casa del Mar - deluxe ocean view suite
The Ocean Casa del Mar has 800 bright, spacious rooms. All of them have a balcony or terrace and are equipped with all the services you need for the most pleasant stay: LCD television with international channels, coffee machine, minibar, safe box, air conditioning, ceiling fan and fully-equipped bathroom.

​The newly-build five-star Resort, offers Deluxe Rooms, Privilege Rooms, spectacular Suites and the Privilege Suites that include lounge, toilet, fully-equipped bathroom with Hydro-massage Bath, shower and each one with a magnificent view.

Ocean Casa del Mar - Blue Moon Restaurant
Dining options:
The Ocean Casa del Mar has several restaurants and bars. Its eight restaurants, six of which are à la carte, serve different types of cuisine: international, Italian, Asian, Mediterranean, Cuban and fish and seafood. They include El Ranchón Playa Concha Restaurant, near the beach, El Cocotal Restaurant, with themed evenings, and the Blue Moon Restaurant for over-18s, the ideal place for a romantic meal.

The resort has ten bars spread around the complex, one of them, Mike’s Coffee, serves speciality teas, coffees and homemade cakes. Three of these bars have spectacular settings: two in the pool and one on the beach.

Ocean Casa del Mar - Suite lounge
Special services:
“The Ocean Casa del Mar always committed with its clients comfort, offers Ocean’s Privilege Service, for those in search of an extra touch of exclusivity, with always the best rooms, great views and special services” says Oscar Serrano, Vice President Sales & Marketing for Ocean by H10 Hotels. The Privilege Rooms includes a free hour of Wi-Fi per room during the stay, a table reserved in restaurants and exclusive amenities. Guests can also enjoy the Privilege Lounge, which serves premium brand wines and spirits and à la carte breakfasts and evening meals.

Ocean Casa del Mar - pool
The resort is designed to ensure a great and sound rest or a great time adventure on your spare time.Children amusement is also one of our priorities; this is why we have children’s pool and paddling pool, a games area and the Daisy Club entertainment program. For adults, the Ocean Casa del Mar offers a full program of sports and other activities organized by its team of entertainers, the Blue Team. The Ocean Casa del Mar also include services like theatre, fitness centre, Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, an internet corner and free outdoor parking.

The opening of the Ocean Casa del Mar gives the chain a total of four resorts and 2000+ rooms in Cuba. Ocean by H10 Hotels already has two hotels in Varadero, the Ocean Vista Azul (opened in December 2015) and the Ocean Varadero El Patriarca, and another one in the capital, the H10 Habana Panorama. All four resorts belong to the Gaviota Group and are managed by H10 Hotels.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Ancient Korean Music Today: Jeong Ga Ak Hoe New York City Debut March 16 2016

From a media release:

Live@365: A Global Music Series
Breaking Beauty, Finding Balance: Jeong Ga Ak Hoe Redefines Korean Tradition While Seeking the Whole
New York City Debut March 16 2016 at 7:00pm 

Buy Tickets

In Korea, artists and philosophers have long strived to find connection and oneness with the natural world. Part of that quest happens via music, as performers and listeners tune in to the sound of the voice, of gut, bamboo, and metal, and discover balance amid nature’s ebb and flow.

This goal of jowha, or harmony and balance, informs every part of the youthful, tradition-bending ensemble Jeong Ga Ak Hoe. With a gentle sense of drama, with an ongoing curiosity about how ancient melodies can move modern listeners, the group transforms song forms like pansori and the sounds of traditional instruments like the gayageum (zither) into new works that seek the golden mean between past and present, change and stasis. Ritual resonates with newly composed work for traditional instruments in vibrant interpretations of treasured Korean concepts.

“Our music is based on the concept of jowha,” explains Jiae Lee, gayageum player in the ensemble. “We think that the best condition of jowha is constantly reacting to each other, like nature, which is always changing and flowing, not standing still. We are trying to seek harmony in ensemble playing, in reacting to each other’s sound and music.”

This interplay will come to New York on March 16, 2016, at 7 pm, the ensemble’s NYC debut, as part of Live@365: A Global Music Series, presented by the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and curated by Isabel Soffer/Live Sounds. The Graduate Center opens its doors to the public each semester, providing opportunities to engage with leading thinkers, writers, scholars, and performers.

Jeong Ga Ak Hoe has developed an approach that differs greatly from other new ensembles working with Korean traditions. The group draws on a powerful theatricality matched with a slow, thoughtful process of creating arrangements.

“We focus on good traditional voices because we know voices are the most powerful and important sources to express our emotions. Then we add instrumental accompaniment, trying to find the natural sound and place for each part,” Lee says. “After that, we try to connect to some social values and messages, to communicate with contemporary audiences through traditional music,” often considered old and irrelevant by young Koreans.

By teasing out the timbral delights, the key moments in song styles, the ensemble harnesses an intensity that balances the softer, more contemplative elements of Korean tradition. “‘Alio,’ which we are looking forward to sharing with our New York audience, is one of the most powerful songs of our repertoire,” notes Lee.  “We have tendency to think that voice has to be soft like bel canto, and that the soft voice is beautiful, but the pansori-style timbre in ‘Alio’ is very tough and strong. It expresses sorrow and extends our aesthetics, breaking the absolute standard of beauty through Korean voices.”

About Live@365:
Live@365 is presented by the Graduate Center of the City University of New York to showcase diverse artistic voices from around the globe. Curated by Isabel Soffer/Live Sounds, all Live@365 shows take place at the Graduate Center’s Elebash Recital Hall, an intimate 180-seat space designed with classical recital-hall design and superb, state-of-art sound. Tickets are free to CUNY students.

Live@365 is funded with generous gifts from the Baisley Powell Elebash Fund and the Ford Foundation’s Good Neighbor Committee.

The Graduate Center is located at 365 5th Avenue, between West 34 and West 35th Street. The venue is a short walk from the 6 train at the 33rd Street stop, the B / D / F / M or PATH train at the 34 Street Herald Square stop or the 1 / 2 / 3 trains at 34 Street Penn Station.

Tickets for all Live@365 shows can be purchased by visiting us online at, by calling Showclix at 1-888-71-TICKETS (1-888-718-4253 FREE) or in person (if available), from 6 pm until showtime on the day of the show at the venue. Tickets to all shows are $25 or $20 for Graduate Center members, faculty, and staff. CUNY students may reserve free tickets by calling 212-817-8215. Discount tickets for non-CUNY students may be purchased in person at the event, when available.

For more information about shows, questions about the venue, and to learn more about the entire Live@365 season, please visit us on the web at

Minimalism Live: Soundstreams presents ELECTRIC COUNTERPOINT March 19 2016 in Toronto

From a media release:

Soundstreams presents 
Part of the Ear Candy series

March 19, 2016 at 8:00 pm, The Theatre Centre- Toronto

Get up close and personal with minimalism’s past and present: 
three works by Steve Reich plus new works by five Toronto artists.

Get Tickets

Toronto – Soundstreams presents the second and final concert in our 2015/16 Ear Candy series dedicated to big ideas in small venues. Electric Counterpoint at The Theatre Centre on March 19 plays fast and loose with minimalism, the musical movement that has inspired artists from Radiohead to DJ Spooky. Taking flight from our 80th birthday concert for Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Steve Reich in April, this concert is an intimate journey through some of Reich’s masterworks and current influences featuring local artists Matt Smith, Brandon Valdivia, Germaine Liu, Dan Morphy, and SlowPitch Sound.

“The first time I heard It’s Gonna Rain was during a grade 9 music class,” says Kyle Brenders, Ear Candy curator and Soundstreams Artistic Associate. “It was quite startling for a small town saxophone player but it unleashed a curiosity that sticks with me today. Each of the musicians on this show connects deeply to the pulse of minimalism, and we’re going to have some MTV Unplugged-style fun to get you connected too.”

A fitting start to the evening is the opportunity to experience Steve Reich’s first major work, It’s Gonna Rain. Created by manipulating a recording of a Pentecostal preacher in San Francisco’s Union Square, Reich says the piece’s phasing came about by chance as he was fiddling with two identical tape loops that became out of synch with each other. Reich’s seminal Electric Counterpoint has been recorded by such luminaries as Pat Metheny and Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood. Consisting of three movements, “Fast,” “Slow,” and “Fast,” the piece is written for electric guitar and tape (the tape part, recorded by Metheny, consisting of two electric bass guitars and ten electric guitars). Matt Smith, long-time collaborator and current Owen Pallett band member, shares his take for this performance.

The exuberant Nagoya Marimbas, called “four and a half minutes-worth of hyperactive—and melodically rich—rhythmic patterns” by Gramophone, has been recorded and played by some of the world’s most famous marimbists. Dan Morphy (TorQ Percussion Quartet) and Brandon Valdivia (Above Top Secret) tackle this popular duet. Woven in and around the Reich pieces will be new minimalism-inspired electronic works by Ear Candy resident DJ SlowPitch Sound, percussionist Germaine Liu (Picastro), Matt Smith aka Prince Nifty, and Brandon Valdivia aka Mas Aya.

Staged in the intimate Incubator space of The Theatre Centre, Queen West’s live arts hub, in collaboration with curator Kyle Brenders and lighting designer Patrick Lavender (It Comes in Waves, bluemouth inc and Necessary Angel Theatre Company), Electric Counterpoint gets you up close and personal with minimalism’s past and present, absorbing the passion and physicality that makes this music great.

Ear Candy is supported by NOW Magazine and Sovereign State.

Electric Counterpoint
March 19, 2016 at 8:00 pm
The Theatre Centre Incubator, 1115 Queen St West

Germaine Liu, percussion
Dan Morphy, percussion
Matt Smith aka ‘Prince Nifty,’ guitar and electronics
SlowPitch Sound, J Brandon Valdivia aka ‘Mas Aya,’ percussion and electronics
In collaboration with curator Kyle Brenders and lighting designer Patrick Lavender.

Steve Reich, Electric Counterpoint
Steve Reich, Nagoya Marimbas
Steve Reich, It’s Gonna Rain
New works by SlowPitch Sound, Mas Aya, Prince Nifty, and Germaine Liu

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door, and are available at

Okavango African Orchestra CD release concert February 27 2016 in Toronto

From a media release:

Batuki Music Society is proud to present 
the Okavango African Orchestra CD release concert
at the Ada Slaight Hall, Daniel's Spectrum
Saturday February 27 2016 at 9:00 PM

Okavango African Orchestra - 12 instruments, 10 languages, 7 countries…one special concert.

Get Tickets

TORONTO - Okavango African Orchestra features a cast of nine accomplished African-born musicians who now live in Toronto and Montreal: Daniel Nebiat (krar, vocals-Eritrea), Tichaona Maredza (marimba, nyunga-nyunga, hosho, vocals-Zimbabwe), Donne Roberts (guitar, vocals-Madagascar), Kooshin (kaban, vocals-Somalia), Ebenezer Agyekum (bass-Ghana), Sadio Sissokho (kora, tama, djembe, vocals-Senegal), Nicolas Simbananiye (vocals-Burundi), Aron Nitunga (guitar, vocals-Burundi) and Kofi Ackah (percussion-Ghana). The concert will also feature dancer/choreographer Mabinty Sylla (Guinea).

The orchestra takes its name from the Okavango Delta, a basin in the Kalahari Desert in Botswana, where many different animal species come together to feed and find water. Predators and prey are forced to coexist and share the meager resources because of the harsh environment around them. Similarly, Okavango: An African Orchestra brings together the traditional music and instruments of several major African cultures that historically have had little or no interaction. The musicians of Okavango have created a common meeting place for these disparate cultures, and a new musical language that harmonizes their different tuning systems, rhythms, and timbres. The musicians and instruments of Okavango represent a continuum of traditions and cultures from time immemorial to the present day. The multicultural spirit of modern-day Canada bridges ancient African solitudes.

Over the autumn and winter, Okavango African Orchestra revisited the site of its triumphant debut, the Canadian Broadcasting Centre where it conquered a full house at Glenn Gould Studio the previous year during Black History month. Its members, returning and new, hunkered down at CBC’s ‘Studio 211’ for the recording of the group’s debut album of ten original songs due for release on February 27th, 2016.

Okavango African Orchestra looks ahead on its continuing journey to an “Africa without borders… before the borders were created”.

Advance Tickets available at these locations:

  • African Drum & Art Craft, 618 Dundas St. W.
  • Soundscapes, 572 College St.
  • New Bilan Restaurant, 183 Dundas St. W.

For info:

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

From their 2013 debut:

dance Immersion Presents Footsteps Across Canada Feb 26 & 27 2016 in Toronto

From a media release:

dance Immersion Presents
Footsteps Across Canada

Friday February 26, 2016 - 8PM
Saturday February 27, 2016 - 1PM & 8PM
Harbourfront Centre Theatre 
213 Queens Quay W - Toronto, ON

Get Tickets

TORONTO - dance Immersion's 2016 Showcase Presentation is a celebration of the human spirit and diverse Canadian expressions executed by six dynamic choreographers from across the country.

This explosive mix of works takes place during African History Month and features Esie Mensah (Ontario), Mikhail Morris (Ontario), Rodney Diverlus (Alberta), Rhodnie Désir (Quebec), Mafa Makhubalo (Ontario), Liliona Quarmyne (Nova Scotia).

These artists each represent a unique voice within this country’s dance ecology, and will grace the stage with dance manifestations, influenced by both their past and present journey, ranging in style’s from African to Dancehall, from Contemporary to Jazz and more.

Audiences will embark on a total dance experience reflecting and celebrating the human spirit across Canada.

dance Immersion is a not-for-profit organization recognized for its steady engagement in producing, promoting and showcasing dancers and dances of the African Diaspora. The organization was founded in 1994 by Vivine Scarlett and was established to address the need for additional presentation, skill development, and networking opportunities for dance artists of African descent.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Art/Travel - Travel Italy: Ten Must See Art Treasures of the Emilia Romagna

With material from media releases:

Art/Travel - Travel Italy
Ten Must See Art Treasures of the Emilia Romagna

Discover more about the Emilia Romagna

The Emilia Romagna is a region in northern Italy that lies between the River Po to its north and the Apennine Mountains (to its south). It is one of the most fertile and productive regions of Italy, thanks to the mitigating effect of the Adriatic Sea on the coastal climate.

Parma, Emilia Romagna
This is the land of Verdi’s novels and Giovanni Pascoli’s poetry, as well as Fellini’s unmistakable cinema - a director who became a legend through his many masterpieces that come to life in this, his native region. In Emilia Romagna, the old architecture blends into green hills. The landscape offers everything from beaches to thermal springs; salt lagoons to hills covered in fruit orchards and other crops.

Emilia Romagna sits on the border with the third-smallest country in Europe, the Republic of San Marino. The provinces of the region are: Bologna (the region's capital), Ferrara, Forli-Cesena, Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Ravenna, Reggio Emilia, and Rimini.

Ten Must See Art Treasures
There are far too many art treasures to enumerate them all here - this is just a list to start off your explorations of this region that is rich in both natural and manmade beauty.

I. The Basilica della Beata Vergine della Ghiara (left) features glorious vaulted ceilings adorned with the work of Franceso Paccioni, located in Reggio Emilia, a village with narrow streets and public squares where the locals gather.

II. In Parma, the Teatro Farnese is a must see - an architectural wonder that belongs to the grounds of the rather austere Palazzo Pilotta. The Teatro is made all of wood and festooned with ornamental sculptures - be sure to allow a good chunk of time to take it all in.

III. In Piacenza, dahlings, you must view the gorgeous Tondo by Botticelli, on view at the Civic Museum of the Palazzo Farnese – and while you are at it, check out the Farnese's Horses, two large bronze equestrian statues you'll find in the central Piazza Grande.

IV. In Modena, you will swoon over the Romanesque architecture of the Duomo, Torre Ghirlandina and Piazza Grande, on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Bologna - Piazza Maggiore
V. There is so much to see in Bologna, but you must make time to hunt down the stunning Lamentation over the Death of Christ by Niccolo dell'Arca – a mesmerizing scream frozen in stone dating from the late 15th century in the sanctuary of the Santa Maria della Vita Church (near the Piazza Maggiore).

VI. In Ferrara, the Palazzo dei Diamante is a stunning piece of late 15th century architecture. Built in 1493 by Biagio Rossetti, the marble exterior is embellished with diamond shaped studs - no less than 8,500 of them.

VII. In Ravenna the spectactular mosaics make the interior of the Basilica of San Vitale shimmer and glow. It's definitely worth oohing and aahing over one of the most important surviving examples of early Christian/Byzantine mosaic art housed in a cathedral that dates back to the 6th century.

VIII. Faenza is renowned for a ceramic industry that took root in the city during the Renaissance. The Museo Internazionale della Ceramische houses a large collection of enchanting pieces both historical and contemporary - the largest ceramic collection in the world.

Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Ravenna by vvoe
IX. In Forli Cesena, the  Malatestiana Library, also known as the Malatesta Novello Library is a UNESCO World Heritage Site – with an architectural style typical of the Mediterranean. Laid out like a basilica, it features three naves divided into rows with 10 decorated and embellished columns each. It was the first European library that was owned by the municipality and open to the public. Open in 1454, it is the last ancient library that dates from before the invention of the printing press.

X. In Rimini – where the 14th century was a golden era of artistic production – you'll find an art school founded by Giotti and displays of his work and that of his students in several locations throughout town, including the crucifix in the Malatesta temple.

The Art of Cuisine
The region is known for its bold and refined cuisine, from those of the countryside of Emilia to those of the Romagna coast, via the lagoon of the Comacchio Valleys, with its famous eels.

Discovering a region means tasting the results of its traditions, from the typical Erbazzone, a quiche with spinach, or the pisarei e faso, small dumplings with beans made in the area of Piacenza, to the tortelloni, agnolotti and all types of homemade pasta enhanced by their delicious fillings, herbs and flavors.

Parma - Palazzo Ducal
And how can you visit Bologna without trying its mortadella, perhaps inside rolled or folded piadina bread? The unquestioned king of Parma, yet well-known and enjoyed all over the world, is of course Parma Ham (Prosciutto di Parma) that, together with the wonderful Grana and legendary Parmigiano cheeses, are the pride of this land's gourmet traditions.

As in all Italian regions, good wine in Emilia Romagna is a given: Gutturnio, produced in the hills of Piacenza,Trebbiano, Lambrusco, Barbera, Sauvignon and Sangiovese.

Visit the Museum of Prosciutto di Parma
Yes! A museum dedicated to the fragrant, flavourful ham.
Langhirano - c/o ex Foro Boario - Via Bocchialini, 7
Telephone: +39 0521 355009
FAX: +39 0521 355821
INFOLINE: +39 0521 864324

More To Do!
Many who love the combination of sun, sea and entertainment choose the Romagna Riviera. It possesses the longest beach in Europe, and is where visitors flock to enjoy its sport offerings and leisure facilities. Towns such as Rimini, Riccione and Cattolica have loads of attractions and facilities emphasizing relaxation and fun.

Modena - Palazzo Ducal
There are not one but two Ferrari Museums located in Modena and Maranello.

Further from the coast, the beautiful landscape of the Apennines, for instance, makes the region ideal for horseback riding or trekking in the area between Parma and Piacenza. Make a visit to the splendid parks and wonderful nature reserves for your nature fix.

The hinterland features several wellness spas like Salsomaggiore and Bagno di Romagna, due to its many types of water springs, as well as modern facilities and technology.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Only in Toronto: The Artists' Newsstand Celebrates 50 Years of the Bloor Subway Line February 25 2016

 From a media release:

Thursday, February 25, 2016
Artists' Newsstand Open till April 30, 2016

TORONTO - To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Bloor-Danforth subway line, The Artists’ Newsstand at Chester Station will host a Birthday Party on Thursday, February 25 from 4pm to 7pm featuring live performances, music and complimentary cake, balloons and prizes. The previously dormant Gateway newsstand was re-imagined in May 2015 as an artists’ hub to benefit both commuters and artists.

The festivities kick off at 4pm with a historical character performance about the subway construction by award-winning theatre artist Moe Angelos. At 6:30pm, burlesque artist Dainty Box will present a fun, family-friendly performance to the music of The Supremes. In between, a DJ will be playing the hit songs of 1966, including These Boots are Made for Walking, Good Lovin’ and Monday Monday.

The Artists’ Newsstand is a multidisciplinary arts space showcasing the talent of local artists, writers and performers inside the Chester subway station (street level). The unique arts collective run by volunteers revitalizes the traditional newsstand with new purpose for performances, installations and arts merchandise, while still providing customary items (drinks and snacks) in a kiosk that was vacant for six years. Created by performance artist Jess Dobkin, the year-long project ends April 30, 2016.

“In a sense, the whole project is a performance. It’s not just a monetary exchange but a creative exchange: the customer becomes the audience,” explains Dobkin. “It also shows that art is not just an activity that someone might go to do on a Saturday afternoon. It is woven into our lives.”

Upcoming performances and exhibitions at The Artists’ Newsstand include:

  • Thursday, March 3: AGO’s First Thursday. This monthly after-hours art party will create a classic newsstand at the AGO and transform The Artists’ Newsstand to look like the AGO.
  • Wednesday, March 23: Deaf Expressions, a performance cabaret celebrating the richness of the Deaf community (ASL interpreted).
  • The Artists’ Newsstand is open weekdays from 3pm to 7pm, with extended and weekend hours for special events. For the latest schedule, visit

The Artists’ Newsstand
Thursday, February 25, 2016, 4pm to 7pm
Chester Subway Station, 22 Chester Avenue (at Danforth)

Social Media: FB/ArtistsNewsstand • @ChesterNewsies • Insta/ChesterNewsies

New Orleans Mardi Gras Funk: Cha Wa Announces Debut Full-Length Release Funk 'N' Feathers April 1 2016 & Live Dates

From a media release:


Buy the CD

Mardi Gras Indian funk band Cha Wa will release their debut album, Funk 'n' Feathers, on April 1, 2016, after years of explosive, thunderous live performances all over the Crescent City. The new recording is a red-hot combination of two of New Orleans’ quintessential trademarks, Mardi Gras Indians and street level funk music. Funk 'n' Feathers combines deep funk, percussive polyrhythms, and a mix of singing and Mardi Gras Indian chanting that fuse into an intoxicating, hypnotic blend of culture that could only come out of the Crescent City. Cha Wa will celebrate the album with a hometown show on release day and performances at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in April. “Cha Wa” is a slang phrase used by every Mardi Gras Indian tribe, meaning “We’re comin’ for ya” - and this band is definitely comin’ for ya!

Funk 'n' Feathers is a direct descendant of the seminal Mardi Gras Indian-related funk recordings of the 1970s by the Wild Magnolias (backed by The Meters), the Wild Tchoupitoulas, The Neville Brothers, and Dr. John. But this time there is a contemporary twist - the production of Ben Ellman (who has also produced his own band, Galactic, as well as Trombone Shorty and others) and the mixing and mastering of San Francisco’s super-hip engineer Count (DJ Shadow, Radiohead, Lyrics Born, etc.). As a result, Cha Wa's version of Dr. John's “All On A Mardi Gras Day” is a wild recreation of the original. The song takes you straight to the street corners of Uptown New Orleans, instilling the energy of seeing the Indians dancing in their traditional feathered suits, but it also embraces a production style, which is cutting-edge. Another classic, “Jock-A-Mo” (the original version of the song which later became a hit, and has been covered by many artists, as ‘Iko Iko’) is also made over by infusing it with the band’s upbeat brand of funk and the fresh production approach. Davell Crawford, the grandson of the song’s writer, and Irving Banister Sr., the man who played guitar on the original version in 1953 - and the father of Cha Wa’s lead Indian Irving “Honey” Banister, provide deep New Orleans roots to the recording.

The two leaders of Cha Wa, singer/percussionist Honey Banister and drummer Joe Gelini, have been involved with the Mardi Gras Indians for years. Honey Banister, Big Chief of the Creole Wild West tribe, combines both the Mardi Gras Indian tradition and the history of New Orleans rhythm and blues. He was also a featured performer in the HBO series Treme. Gelini moved to New Orleans after graduating from the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. Joe saw the Mardi Gras Indians emerging on Mardi Gras day to march down Dryades Street and, he says, “I was hooked.  It's a spiritual thing.  It's more than the music.” Spy Boy J'Wan Boudreaux combines the lyrics and style of his grandfather, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux of the Golden Eagles, one of the most respected Mardi Gras Indians and one of the greatest Indian singers ever, with a 21st century take on this music.  Other contributors to the album include John Fohl on guitar (Dr. John), Stephen Malinowski on organ (Ana Popovich), Yoshitaka “Z2” Tsuji on piano (Kermit Ruffins), and Haruka Kikuchi on trombone. Another well-known Mardi Gras Indian, Norwood “Geechie” Johnson of the Wild Magnolias, added bass drum and backing vocals. Special guests include producer Ben Ellman on alto saxophone and Colin Lake on lap steel guitar.

Cha Wa brilliantly finds the right balance between Mardi Gras Indian tradition and an edgier dose of  the street funk which also originated in New Orleans. The band has gained critical praise not only from their hometown publications Offbeat, The Times-Picayune, Advocate, Where Y’At, and Gambit Weekly, but also through national tastemakers including Rolling Stone, NPR Music, and Dan Rather Reports.  The music is spontaneous and spiritual at the same, and no two shows are ever the same. “I think we've reached that point where we can feel the direction of the music intuitively and we just go with it,” says Gelini. “It’s like having that heavy Indian sound with modern recording and modern production and using it all together. It's classic and contemporary at the same time.”  On Funk 'n' Feathers, Cha Wa has made a modern album featuring great energy and enthusiasm, but one which also draws from the deep well of New Orleans culture. The result? Cha Wa is coming for ya!

February 27- Universal Studios Orlando - Orlando, FL
March 5- Howlin' Wolf - New Orleans, LA
March 31- Lafayette's - Memphis, TN
April 1- Blue Nile [Album Release Show] - New Orleans, LA
April 7- French Quarter Fest - New Orleans, LA
April 10 - d.b.a - New Orleans, LA
April 21 - Ogden Museum of Southern Art - New Orleans, LA
April 23 - New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival - New Orleans, LA
April 30 - French Broad River Festival - Asheville, NC
June 4 - Michael Arnone’s Crawfish Festival - Augusta, NJ

All on a Mardi Gras Day

Friday, February 12, 2016

Balkan/Romani - Eva Salina sings Šaban Bajramović on Lema Lema (Vogiton Records - February 11, 2016)

From a media release:

Eva Salina sings Šaban Bajramović
Lema Lema (Vogiton Records - February 11, 2016)

"Salina grew up into a modern interpreter of Balkan styles. Her new album pays tribute to a late musician whose story is shrouded in mystery and urban legend." -NPR's Weekend Edition

Buy it on CD Baby

ŠABAN BAJRAMOVIĆ was king. Throughout the 1960s and 70s, he recorded music that resonated so deeply with Yugoslavian audiences that it’s still heard today at backyard parties in the Bronx, or even as far away as Australia. A larger-than-life legend of Serbian music, Bajramović operated so far outside of the music industry that it’s a wonder he could become such a star. Yet his music resonates even today, not least in the ears of a young American who fell down the rabbit hole of Balkan song. Renowned vocalist EVA SALINA grew up immersed in Balkan singing, and began her travels to the Balkans for study at the remarkable young age of 12. Growing up in the tradition, she had the good fortune to study directly with famed mentors from across the Balkans. Professionally, Eva cut her teeth in New York’s Balkan diaspora, and was welcomed into Roma communities there, amongst whom the songs of Šaban Bajramović are still in demand. After years of dancing and singing songs at weddings, circumcisions, and late nights around banquet tables, Eva took on the daunting project of recording the first tribute album to Šaban Bajramović: LEMA LEMA, set for release February 11, 2016 on Vogiton Records. The result is an electric, subversive, gonzo take on the great Romani singer by a continent-spanning band of master musicians. It’s all tied together by Eva’s voice, at once hall-shaking and sensual, the perfect blend of vocal emotions.

In the spirit of Bajramović himself, this is no traditionalist rehash of his songs. Instead, Eva draws from New York’s wildly diverse global and jazz music scenes, inviting artists from bands like Slavic Soul Party!, Kultur Shock, and The Klezmatics. This eclectic lineup includes, among others, Eva’s longtime musical partner, Banat Romani accordionist PETER STAN, Jewish music icon FRANK LONDON, jazz-metal guitarist BRANDON SEABROOK, Indian percussionist DEEP SINGH, and multi-instrumentalists RON CASWELL and PATRICK FARRELL. Engineered and mixed by Grammy-winning engineer DANNY BLUME, and mastered by multi-Grammy winning engineer SCOTT HULL, one of the key ingredients of this album came from the birthplace of the songs themselves. Traveling to the village of Pavlovac, Serbia on the special invite of famed Romani trumpeter EKREM MAMUTOVIĆ, Eva brought the inimitable sounds of Serbian Balkan brass bands from some of the best players in the region into the swirling blend of New York global roots music that she’d created.

LEMA LEMA is an album that’s both reverent and deeply subversive. Singing entirely in the Romani language, a rare feat for an American artist, Eva Salina kept all the pronouns in the song lyrics the same, combining a potent feminine voice with Bajramović’s gritty, male perspective. This kind of gender subversion is not unheard of in Romani culture, but it’s a hallmark of Eva’s feminist vision of the music. Immersed all her life in Balkan music, yet living an ocean away, Eva had an ongoing fight against the perception in the US that she was an outsider to the music. Traveling in the Balkans, however, she was embraced by the Romani musical community–itself made up of centuries of outsiders–and she was given unprecedented access to the traditions. Music has always been a gateway between cultures, and with the album LEMA LEMA, Eva Salina shows that a singular vision can change the way we see an artist’s legacy.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Latin Alternative Music: RUIDO Fest Returns to Chicago July 8 to 10 2016 - Early Bird Tix on Sale February 12

From a media release:

The First 3 Day Multi-Stage Outdoor Latin Alternative Music Festival in U.S. is Returning For The Second Year to Chicago, Illinois on 
July 8, 9 & 10 2016

• A Limited Supply of Discounted Early Bird Tickets Are Being Released On Friday, February 12th at 10 AM (CST) Available while supplies last
To buy Tickets Click Here

"It was only the festival's first year, but its strong vision, distinctive lineup, and solid organization made it instantly memorable, and I can't wait for it to return." (Noyse/Vice)

"Ruido is truly the first of its kind: a three-day outdoor festival in the U.S. showcasing the best in Latin alternative that recognizes veteran acts like but also digs deeper by featuring new and experimental artists.. It's the festival that Chicago absolutely deserves." (Remezcla)

"Ruido Fest is not only a name of a musical event, it's also a promise on its way to be one of the most established events in its genre. (LBE)

Chicago, IL - February 10, 2016.-  After the successful debut of RUIDO Fest last year, the first 3 day multi-stage outdoor music festival in U.S. showcasing a variety of great Latin Alternative music acts from all over the continent and Spain, announced its return for the second year in Chicago on July 8, 9 & 10 at the Addams/Medill Park.

Once again, Riot Fest Presents, Rock Sin Anestesia, Metronome, and Star Events, partnered to present RUIDO Fest in Chicago, a city with a more diverse Latino population than any other American city. A limited supply of discounted Valentine's presale tickets are being released on Friday, February 12th at 10AM.  They will be available while supplies last. 3-Day GA & 3-Day VIP tickets will be offered, and will continue to be for sale at 'full price' after the presale is over.

"The confirmed artist roster will be announced in March," commented Eduardo Calvillo from Rock Sin Anestesia, "and it will bring unexpected great surprises to the festival, from well-established international to up-and-coming bands. We are very confident that fans will be delighted."

More than 25,000 people gathered last year for the first edition of RUIDO Fest to witness history with an excellent artist roster of over 50 acts, including Café Tacvba, Zoé, Molotov, Ozomatli and Kinky among other, and that together represent the wide variety of Latin music culture today. To purchase tickets and for more info visit

For upcoming announcements, Like us on Facebook - Follow us on Twitter - View on Instagram - 

Addams/Medil Park - 1301 W. 14th St.   Chicago, Illinois 60608

RUIDO FEST is Co-presented by: Riot Fest Presents, Rock Sin Anestesia, Star Events and Metronome  

Hotel Picks
There's no camping in Chitown, but you can find a range of accommodations nearby (and downtown a mere train ride away) from budget priced to upscale:

Chinatown Hotel
Address: 214 W 22nd Pl, Chicago, IL 60616, United States
Phone:+1 312-225-8888
It's 1 star and the price reflects the amenities - still, it's clean and cheap. Located in Chicago’s Chinatown, this no-frills budget hotel is set in a 4-story redbrick building that's a 3-minute walk to the El train.

Chicago Marriott at Medical District/UIC
Address: 625 S Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60607, United States
Phone:+1 312-491-1234
This upscale 3-star hotel offers a chic bistro and sleek modern furnishings - worth it if you want to pamper yourself after a day dancing in the sun. Within the West Loop, this upscale property is and 2.3 miles the Willis Tower and 4.5 miles from the John Hancock Center.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Solo Bass Release: Moppa Elliott's 'Still, Up In The Air' & Live Date February 16 2016 in Brooklyn

From a media release:

Hot Cup Records Releases Still, Up In the Air
Debut Solo Album by Bassist Moppa Elliott
Elliott Celebrates in Concert
Tuesday, February 16 at Shapeshifter Lab, Brooklyn, NY

Hot Cup Records is proud to release Still, Up in the Air, the first solo album by bassist Moppa Elliott. The album was recorded on February 16, 2015 at St. Stephen's Pro Cathedral in Wilkes-Barre, PA, a space that has served as the venue for several other Hot Cup releases.  Primarily known as the leader of the ensemble, Mostly Other People Do the Killing, Elliott demonstrates both his mastery of the double-bass and his personal approach to solo improvisation.  The recording will be released on February 12, 2016 and Moppa celebrates with a concert on February 16 at Shapeshifter Lab in a concert that includes MOPDtK and solo sets by Moppa.

There is a long and storied history of solo bass recordings and Still, Up in the Air adds something new.  While the influence of Barre Phillips, Malachi Favors, Dave Holland, and Barry Guy cannot be ignored, the music on this recording is an attempt by Elliott to improvise in a way that eschews the typical conventions of linear, developmental forms favored by many other players. Elliott cites authors such as David Foster Wallace and Milorad Pavic as influences on his non-linear approach, as both create books that prevent the reader from progressing sequentially from page to page.  Elliott's performances on Still, Up In the Air jump from idea to idea rapidly in order to simulate a similar effect.  Elliott also drew inspiration from the 20th century's Cubist painters to create disjunctive forms that shift in perspective without assembling a unified whole.

Elliott's approach to the double-bass in a solo context incorporates not only all of the standard pizzicato and arco techniques of traditional bass playing, but also explores his own wide vocabulary of extended techniques including several new approaches to polyphony.  The variety of articulations used, both arco and pizzicato, enable him to cover a vast range of sonic space in a single improvisation.  All of the music was recorded live and the album includes a single edit, splicing together "Sequence Six" and "Sequence Twelve" into a single track.  Each piece draws on Elliott's experience performing in a wide variety of contexts including jazz, solo recitals, orchestral playing, and improvised music.  This recording offers the listener both an opportunity to hear Elliott's unique and personalized language of solo improvisation as well as another side of his well-established musical personality.

Moppa Elliott is best known as the composer, bassist, and bandleader for the widely heralded band "Mostly Other People Do the Killing."  The ensemble recently won the El Intruso Critics' Poll in the "Best Band to Hear Live" category and released Mauch Chunk, their eighth studio album.  In 2014, MOPDtK released Blue, a note-for-note recreation of Miles Davis' masterpiece Kind of Blue.  In addition to performing, Elliott runs the Hot Cup Records label and teaches music at St. Mary's High School in Manhasset, NY.

Moppa Elliott plays a late 19th century Bohemian bass and uses a CODA Bow carbon fiber bow. The recording was made using Ron Stabinsky's CAD Equitek E110 stereo microphones and the "Realist" pickup by David Gage.

Sequence Three, the first track

Indie Jazz with a Twist: Jim Wellman Album Release: Dawn To Dusk - Feb 29 2016

Indie Jazz with a Twist:
Jim Wellman
First MP3 Release: Probably Good - Jan 18, 2016
2nd MP3 Release : EP For The First Time - Feb 8, 2016
Album Release: Dawn To Dusk - Feb 29, 2016

From East Sussex, England, comes an album of what can only be called conscious funk, disco and RnB. You'll get your science lessons along with a dash of post-modern sociology to a funky groove in this imaginative concept album from Brand New Heavies founding member Jim Wellman.

Jim Wellman was set to retire from the music biz by the fall of 2014. But, his planned retirement instead became a comeback as a solo artist, inspired in particular by the mainstream media's propaganda on the situation in the Ukraine. According to Wellman's bio,

"The album is social commentary, but viewed through perspectives of human psychological evolution, and analysis of mass communication and propaganda. The core of the work is the understanding that Man lives in a world of amazing technological development, but is still encumbered with medieval forms of government by representatives who serve mainly the interests of the elite."

Sonically, the release is a perfect wave of good old school RnB and funk. Probably Good - the first single - has a great groove in a classic 1970s RnB style. As with the other tracks on the release, the lyrics are a pleasant surprise - quirky and clever.

Found a good girl
But he was entirely expendable

and the chorus:

Love can change it
Faith won't heal it
Truth's induced it
The law's infused it

The video (below) is equally post-modern quirky, with those naked Bond girl silhouettes and a geeky Wellman playing sax on the beach. Lucy is about... Lucy - that Lucy, our earliest forebear, the ancient female skeleton of the hominin species Australopithecus afarensis found in Ethiopia. Really. The lyrics trace the history of man. Change is diversity... he sings in Lewontin Campbell - the title a reference to two of the pioneers of cognitive biology.

The instrumentation - all by Wellman himself - is nicely fat and spot on in its execution; a full band with groovy keyboards, liquid guitar licks and a horn section along with both male and female vocals to take us through the intriguing concept album.

Tyranny comes with a happy song... 

Happy song is a standout, a duet between Jim and a female voice that trips along merrily to its dark message. Premature Truth is a slow and sexy musing on the nature of ideas. It includes a spoken word section.

It may not grab your emotions, but your intellect and your dancing shoes will be inspired by this clever yet accessible release.

Jim Wellman (All instruments) / Guest vocals: Judy La Rose Vocal on Lucy Only; Tara from - All other female vocals Terron from studiopros All lead male vocals except Cynical Century and Premature truth vocals by Jim Wellman

Track listing:
1 - Lucy
2 - Lewontin Campbell
3 - Probably Good
4 - Premature Truth
5 - Feedback Loop
6 - Night Of The Meme
7 - Red Or Blue
8 - Happy Song
9 - For The First Time
10 - Cynical Century
11 - Let The People Rule Ya