Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Art City: Medellín, Colombia - Rebirth of the City of Eternal Spring

Art City: Medellín, Colombia
Rebirth of the City of Eternal Spring

From "the Most Dangerous City in the World" to a transformed urban area with artistic ambitions, Medellín, Colombia well and truly lives up to its moniker as the City of Eternal Spring. The "Most Dangerous City" title came with a Time Magazine cover in March of 1988 - in 2013 Medellín was named the most innovative city in the world in the Wall Street Journal's City of the Year Contest. It's a remarkable transformation in only 25 years.
Medellin from above by Allmhurach (2016)
In the bad old days, between drug cartels and the violence generated by the left-wing FARC and opposing paramilitary forces, Medellín was definitely off the list of usual tourist stops. Nowadays, business is thriving and the arts are the city's latest growth area, attracting the attention of dealers and collectors from around the globe. The city has a cosmopolitan vibe and a hot night life scene, with a contemporary culture that blends its South American and European roots.

You'll still find remnants of the old days here, from the heavy police presence that keeps the peace to a reminder that has been deliberately left in place in the Plaza de San Antonioas as a "homage to the barbarians". There, you'll find two bronze bird sculptures by Fernando Botero - one beautifully intact and the other a twisted fragment that was destroyed by a bomb in 1995 (allegedly planted by FARC) that killed 23 people attending a concert. The artist left the damaged version and added the new bird in 2000 as a monument to peace.

While not exclusively, you'll also find many artistic pieces that examine themes brought up by the shared memories of violent times - often called the "aesthetics of violence" - in works dating from the decade between 1995 and 2005. Many of the younger artists, however, go in different directions.

Medellín is the capital of Antioquia department in Colombia, surrounded by mountain peaks that dwarf the city's skyscrapers in a narrow valley that encompasses the Medellín River. There are many ways to experience culture in Medellín, from libraries, galleries and museums to beautiful parks and public spaces where many events are held.

Getting Around
The Medellín River runs parallel to the Metro system, an extensive public transportation network which includes Metro Cable, a cable car service that takes you up the hillsides. Metro Cable is your key to the cheapest of sightseeing, offering spectacular vistas of the valley city and its surroundings.

Botero Plaza, adjacent to the Museum of Antioquia 
Arts Institutions

Museo de Arte Moderno de Medellín (MAMM)
Housed in a former steel factory, the Museum of Modern Art features a permanent display of prominent Colombian artists, among many other works. While you're there, you can explore the renovated Ciudad del Rio neighbourhood.

Museo de Antioquia
The Museo houses a nice collection of Colombian artists, including local artists and many Botero sculptures and works. You'll also find contemporary art works from around the world.

Fundación Universitaria Bellas Artes
The Universitaria is a natural centre for the arts and you'll find many performances, exhibits and events hosted in its campus.

San Ignacio Church
El Castillo Museo y Jardines
Set on verdant, landscaped grounds perfect for picnicking, this Euorpean style castle was built by a wealthy industrialist for his German wife. Nowadays, you'll find exhibits from the early 20th century, paintings, books and other artifacts of the time.

Contemporary galleries with a vibrant young arts scene - you'll want to check these out when you're looking for the city's current crop of artists:

Green Medellín
Along with the arts, the city has become known for its eco-friendly ventures - and it's a big part of why the WSJ gave Medellín the nod in 2013. Here are a few ways to check out the green scene.
  • Parque de los Pies Descalzos (Barefoot Park), including water fountains, gardens, bamboo and more in a zen-inspired design. (Address: Cra. 58 #42-125, Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia - Phone: +57 4 3806977)
  • The eco-árbol - located on the avenida del Río, this hi-tech tree-like structure purifies 22,000 cubic metres of air every hour by removing carbon dioxide and traffic toxins. Built by a company called ConTreeBute. 
  • The Orquideorama, a marvellous wooden meshwork of modular “flower-tree” structures located in the Medellín Botanical Gardens that expands organically.
  • The Parque Regional Ecoturístico Arví is part eco-nature preserve and part Pre-Hispanic archeological site. It's located in the northeast part of the city, on the eastern slopes of Aburrá Valley, covering 16,000 hectares and 54 miles of trails to hike and explore.
Hot Tip:
Metro Cable at Santo Domingo Savio station
As a longstanding centre for the textile industry, Medellín also boasts a burgeoning fashion scene. You'll want to check out El Poblado’s Vía Primavera (also called Carrera 37,) an open-air space for independent designers – particularly known for shoes, leatherware and accessories. Look for the sophisticated summery pieces of local designer Camilo Álvarez in city boutiques.


Art Hotel
Where better to explore Medellín's artistic offerings than from the Art Hotel itself? It is located on a lovely treed street about 3 km from the Medellín Museum of Modern Art and 10 km from the Parque Explora science center with an "industrial-chic" design aesthetic. Amenities include a spa and trendy cocktail bar.
Address: Cra. 41 #9-31, Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia
Phone:+57 4 3697900

Parque Regional Ecoturístico Arví
Charlee Hotel
This is a superior boutique hotel property when you have the budget to treat yourself. It features a stunning modern decor in a convenient location across from a park, just 2 km from the Medellín Museum of Modern Art. Rooms feature original art works, unique furnishing, including chandeliers and many have balconies that face the Parque Lieras. You can check out the quirky luggage-art installation on the walls as you relax in the lounge and you'll want to dress up for the rooftop cocktail bar and enjoy the view of the park and the twinkling city lights. If you really want to splurge, order a private chef and in-room massage.
Address: Cl. 9a #37-16, Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia
Phone:+57 4 4444968

Film: Alexander Sokurov’s FRANCOFONIA Opens in Toronto on April 8th 2016

From a media release:

From the master director of FAUST, RUSSIAN ARK,  MOLOCH and MOTHER AND SON

Alexander Sokurov’s
A Eulogy for Europe
Opens in Toronto on Friday, April 8th 2016 at TIFF Bell Lightbox

Ticket info

TORONTO - Films We Like is pleased to announce that Alexander Sokurov’s FRANCOFONIA will open in Toronto on Friday, April 8th at TIFF Bell Lightbox.

Against the backdrop of the Louvre Museum’s history and artworks, Sokurov applies his unique personal vision onto staged re-enactments and archives for a fascinating portrait of real-life characters Jacques Jaujard and Count Franziskus Wolff-Metternich.  Enemies who became collaborators, Jaujard and Wolff-Metternich’s alliance would be the driving force behind the preservation of museum treasures during the Nazi occupation of France.

In its exploration of the Louvre Museum as a living example of civilization, FRANCOFONIA is a stunning and urgently relevant meditation on the essential relationship between art, culture, and history; what art tells us about ourselves even in the midst of one of the bloodiest conflicts the world has ever seen.

Throughout his vast filmography – documentary, fiction and others somewhere in between – Alexander Sokurov has demonstrated that a museum is much more than a place to preserve art. Museums are the veritable DNA of a civilization, the living organ of the city where the heart of a nation beats. With FRANCOFONIA, he explores a historical chapter that we might know, but whose description does not take into account all the lines that run through it.

Founded by award-winning documentary filmmaker Ron Mann (Grass, Comic Book Confidential, Altman) Films We Like is a boutique distributor of documentary, independent and international films in Canada. Recent releases include Force Majeure, Finding Vivian Maier, and the Academy Award-winner Ida.

Running time:  87 minutes
German, French, Russian with English subtitles

CD Release: Fantahun Shewankochew & Ethio-Zema April 2 2016 in Toronto

From a media release:

Fantahun Shewankochew & Ethio-Zema CD Release Concert 
Alliance Francaise de Toronto Theatre (AFT)
April 2, 2016

Tix Available online

TORONTO - Fantahun Shewankochew releases his new album titled Adera (An Undertaking), at the Alliance Francaise de Toronto Theatre, 24 Spadina Rd. on Saturday April 2nd, 2016 at 9:00 pm.

Fantahun Shewankochew has crafted an album that harkens back to the golden era of Ethiopian music. Adera is a rediscovery of Ethio-jazz, traditional and popular Ethiopian music with a modern twist.

Fantahun Shewankochew is an accomplished krar player, vocalist, composer and arranger, inspired by the late Tilahun Gessesse to pursue a musical career. From his early years working in the Ethiopian National Theatre until his arrival in Canada in 2011, Fantahun has performed in many countries around the world and released a number of recordings. He is well experienced in traditional and popular music genres from Ethiopia. Ethiopian music uses an essential modal system (pentatonic scale), which is called "qenet." There are four main modes of qenet: tezeta, bati, ambassel and anchihoy. He is now based in Toronto where he has performed at the Harbourfront Centre, Alliance Francaise de Toronto, CBC's Glen Gould Studio, the Music Gallery, Lula Lounge, Gladstone Hotel and the Luminato Festival.

The Ethio-Zema ensemble is truly impressive as it composes of talented musicians and artists based in Toronto. The lineup features vocalist Fantahun Shewankochew on acoustic krar, Daniel Barnes on drums, Tom Juhas on guitar, Simeon Abbott on piano, Liam Smith on bass guitar, John Maclean on saxophone, Steve Dyte on trumpet and Paul Tarusov on trombone.

Fantahun Shewankochew & Ethio-Zema CD Release Concert 
Alliance Francaise de Toronto Theatre (AFT), 24 Spadina Rd. 
Doors open at 8 PM / Show at 9 PM
Tickets $25 advance / $30 at the door

Advance Ticket Locations:

  • Soundscapes, 518 College St. W.
  • Hirut Café, 2050 Danforth Ave.

Fantahun Shewankochew thanks the Ontario Arts Council for their support.

Film News: California Pictures Inks Deal for Rude Buay … the Unstoppable and Who Shot the Sheriff?

From a media release:

Hong Kong: California Pictures inks two picture deal 
for International rights to Rude Buay … the Unstoppable and Who Shot the Sheriff?

HONG KONG: California Pictures recently announced that they have acquired International sales and distribution rights to A L I Pictures’ John A. Andrews’ upcoming big screen projects: Rude Buay … the Unstoppable and Who Shot the Sheriff?

Rude Buay … the Unstoppable is a secret agent, fast paced, suspense thriller, described as the epitome of a Black James Bond, meeting Traffic, Jason Bourne and Charlie’s Angels – gone bad.

Set in Jamaica, Miami and Colombia: a greed driven fiasco baits this international agent who’s every man’s idol and every woman’s fantasy, back to his roots – Jamaica. There his past like a plague haunts him. Caught in the web of deception, deceit and inequities of all kinds, Rude Buay is forced to use his street style of justice in order to combat the tyranny of a vicious Drug Cartel.

Who Shot the Sheriff? set in Jamaica and Miami is a musical driven mystery crime drama. This mysterious saga can be compared to The Harder They Come, Hustle and Flow with elements of “The Verdict and Witness. Protagonist Wesley Haynes, a potential rising star launches out into the deep to find fame and fortune. Battling the waves of adversity, he finds himself trapped in the tidal waves of bigotry and hypocrisy masterminded by the infamous Sheriff.

According to Andrews, the brain child behind these “gritty and twisted“ novels and who also adapted them to screenplay: “Since the character John Shaft emerged, we’ve not encountered a black character with such longevity, international flavor and pizazz as the Rude Buay character.”

“On the other hand, Who Shot the Sheriff? comes sautéed in cultural music and uncanny twists: depicting a Jamaican artist trapped inside the claws of the corrupt Sheriff John Brown.”

Back to back production of the pics could start as early as this Fall in Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic.

Both of these upcoming pics have already been previewed at the recent Berlin Film Market and were presented at the Hong Kong International Film and TV Market, March 14 – 17, 2016.

Steven Istock, CEO of California Pictures will co-produce the duo with John Andrews from A L I Pictures. Istock was one of the top new business producers in the U.S. for both Meryll Lynch and Bank of America. California Pictures has also produced and distributed “A warrior’s Heart” and “Scavengers” plus distributed and sold many motion pictures worldwide.

A L I Pictures LLC is a New York based film production and creative marketing company, specializing in making movies with a difference.

California Pictures was originally founded in 1944 by Howard Hughes and Academy Award winner Preston Sturges. The two joined forces and created an independent production company which allowed California Pictures to welcome the rise of independent producers during the late 1940's.

California Pictures was reincorporated in 2008 by Steven Istock and is based at Paramount Pictures Studios in Hollywood, California. The company is focused on creating great movies and television content with dynamic characters, strong and personally identifiable themes and powerful journeys for a worldwide audience.

The company also advises various companies and producers on financial architecture. This involves structuring debt and equity finance, examining production and project budgets, cash flow, casting selections, packaging, resource allocation and distributor interest in all stages of production and distribution.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Travel South Korea: Dokdo & Ulleung-do - Korea's Easternmost Islands

From a media release:

Travel South Korea
Dokdo & Ulleung-do, Korea's Easternmost Islands
A National Geopark

Find airlines & flights

Land and cuisine are inextricably entwined and a hand's on exploration of both is highly recommended when you visit Dokdo and Ulleung-do, the easternmost islands in Korea. Be sure to arrive dressed for an active visit since the best vistas are to be found by walking and climbing the islands' many peaks. You'll come across remnants of the region's past along the way.

Located in the East Sea, Ulleung-do Island and Dokdo are known for an impressive natural environment that combines mountains, forest and sea. Created by volcanic eruptions with a unique geographical landscape, the islands offer an abundance of picturesque spots to explore. In the center of Ulleung-do Island stands the majestic mountain known as the Seonginbong Peak, where its highest point offers a bird’s eye view of the entire island. Visitors may also choose to enjoy a cruise on the deep blue waters of East Sea with oddly formed rocks and strangely shaped stones surrounding you.

It takes about 1 hour 30 minutes by boat to get from Ulleung-do Island to Dokdo, where you can get a glimpse of the most beautiful first sunrise of Korea. Dokdo holds a special place in the hearts of Koreans as they hold pride in defending Korea’s easternmost reached territory.

Haengnam Coastal Walking Path (Jeodong)
Jukdo is a small island adjacent to Ulleung-do Island, and it is considered the largest island among the others in the region. The island takes its name from the strong presence of bamboo as juk refers to bamboo in Korean. In order to get the bird's eye view of Jukdo Island, visitors will have to first climb a spiral stairs consisting of 364 steps. After making your way up the stairs, an observatory deck offering a panoramic view of the neighboring Ulleung-do Island with facilities including log benches, two rest shelters, camping ground, picnic sites and restaurants offering local dishes.

From the observatory deck you can also view the cliffs to the of Northeast of Ulleung-do Island, Gwaneum-do Island and the Samseonam Rocks. More often than not, tourists visit Jukdo Island on their way back to the Ulleung-do Island, the ‘main island’ by taking a ferry service leaving from Dodonghang Port. The cruise service only operates during the summer peak season (from Dodong Port to Juk-do Port). It takes about 20 minutes from Dodong Passenger's Port for a one-way trip to Jukdo Island.
☞ Address: Jeodong-ri, Ulleung-eup, Ulleung-gun, Gyeongsangbuk-do
☞ Directions: Take a passenger cruise from Dodonghang Port to Juk-do Island
☞ Fees: Passenger Cruise (Round-trip) 15,000 won / Jukdo Island Admission 2,000 won

Naesujeon Sunrise Observatory
The Naesujeon Sunrise Observatory offers an expansive view where you can see most of Ulleung-do Island. It takes about 15-min to get to the Observatory from the harbor by following the narrow inclined pathway. Aside from the plentiful camellia flowers and rowan plants (also known as mountain ash) that fill the tunnel along the pathway, lights have also been installed for visitors who flock to catch a glimpse of sunrise and the local fishermen at work.
☞ Address: Jeodong-ri, Ulleung-eup, Ulleung-gun, Gyeongsangbuk-do
☞ Directions: From Dodonghang Port, walk about 200m to Dodong Bus Stop → Take a bus bound for Cheonbu-Jeodong and get off at Naesujeon Bus Stop → Walk for about 1km to arrive at Sunrise Observatory

Bongnae Waterfall
You'll thrill to the stunning view of Bongnae Waterfalls, a three-tier waterfall with a height of about 30m. While the abundant volume of water flows down majestically throughout the year, the water also serves as a main source of drinking water for local residents in the south. A therapeutic walk in the Redwood forest located within the Bongnae Waterfall can be chilly as the natural breeze is colder than an air conditioner. Ulleung-do Island’s nostalgic traditional shingle-roofed houses of first settlers’ can also be found nearby, functioning as rest shelters for visiting tourists.
☞ Address: Jeodong-ri, Ulleung-eup, Ulleung-gun, Gyeongsangbuk-do
☞ Directions: From Dodonghang Port, walk about 200m to Dodong Bus Stop → Take a bus bound for Dodong-Bongnae Waterfall and get off at Bongnae Waterfall Bus Stop → Walk for about 850m to get to Bongnae Waterfall

Taehahyangmok Tourist Monorail
Gawk at the vistas of mountains, forests and sea in style in the Taehahyangmok Tourist Monorail. It takes only about 6 minutes to arrive at the top of the observatory deck, or a distance of about 304m. During the peak cuttlefish fishing operation, you'll see the bright lights from the fishing boats at night along the Ungpo Coast and in front of Daepunggam Aromatic Tree Inhabitants.
☞ Address: Taeha-ri, Seo-myeon, Ulleung-gun, Gyeongsangbuk-do
☞ Directions: From Dodonghang Port, walk about 200m to Dodong Bus Stop → Take a bus bound for Jeodong-Cheonbu and get off at Taeha-ri Bus Stop → Walk for about 350m to arrive at Taehahyangmok Tourist Monorail
☞ Operating hours:  09:00–17:30 (Ticket box closes at 16:30)
☞ Fees: Round-trip 4,000 won

Elephant Rock (Gongam)
Elephant Rock (Gongam)
The Elephant Rock, Gwaneumssang Cave and Samseonam Rocks are the top 3 picturesque sites of Ulleung-do Island. The name 'Elephant Rock' originates from its resemblance of an elephant drinking water with its trunk. There is a hole at the back of the elephant trunk, which has a diameter of approximately 10 meters wide that boats can even pass through. It's not only the shape of the rock but the surface texture that resembles the skin of an elephant.
☞ Address: Hyeonpo-ri, Buk-myeon, Ulleung-gun, Gyeongsangbuk-do
☞ Directions: From Dodonghang Port, walk about 200m to Dodong Bus Stop → Take a bus bound for Jeodong-Cheonbu and get off at Pyeong-ri Bus Stop → Walk for about 750m to arrive at the Elephant Rock

Nari Basin
The northern part of Seonginbong Peak was created by caldera, crater formed during volcanic eruptions or subsequent collapse. It is the only flatland in Ulleung-do Island. Located north east of Nari Basin is Nari Village, and located south west is Albong Peak Village where no people are residing at present. There is one traditional shingled-roof house of the first settlers, as well as four tumakjips (houses built by stacking up wood and soil) preserved as cultural assets in the Nari Basin.
☞ Address: Na-ri, Buk-myeon, Ulleung-gun, Gyeongsangbuk-do
☞ Directions: From Dodonghang Port, walk about 200m to Dodong Bus Stop → Take a bus bound for Jeodong-Cheonbu and get off at Cheonbu Bus Stop → From Cheonbu Bus Stop, transfer to a bus bound for Cheonbu-Nari Basin and get off at Nari Basin Bus Stop

Haengnam Coastal Walking Path (Jeodong)
On the left of Dodonghang Port, you can enjoy the beauty of nature by walking along the coastal walking pathway that follows the coast, natural caves and valleys. The trail is about 1km and when you make a right turn at the end of the trail, another pathway towards the Dodong Lighthouse is revealed. Go up to the lighthouse and you can see Jeodong Port and the famous Chotdae Bawi Rock statue, which can be reached by a separate coastal walking path from the Jeodong Port. Keep walking from Jeodong Naesujeon Sunrise Observatory to the north of Seokpo Village as it is an old road that is densely filled with trees for an intriguing experience of sightseeing through the island.
☞ Address: Dodong-ri, Ulleung-eup, Ulleung-gun, Gyeongsangbuk-do
☞ Directions: Walking distance from Dodonghang Port

Here are some regional favourites to try out when you're there, made with ingredients that combine the bounty of the land and sea.

Barnacle Noodle Soup & Rice with Sea Mussels
Barnacle Noodle Soup
Made with barnacles that grow on coastal rocks, the barnacle noodle soup is one of the must-eats on Ulleung-do Island. Barnacle pieces as big as the size of a thumb, as well as wild edible greens are added, creating a delicious and fresh scent of the ocean with every savory mouthful of this dish.

Rice with Sea Mussels
On Ulleung-do Island, mussels are often cooked and complemented with rice. Seaweed is added with some spicy soy sauce and the dish is eaten by mixing ingredients together like a bibimbap. Unlike mussels caught closer to the mainland, those caught in Ulleung-do Island are the size of an adult's hand. For a true blue local taste, the dish is typically eaten with side dishes like wild aster, dried laver, fatsia shoots, and other wild edible greens found on the island.

Ulleung-do Island Beef & Cold Raw Squid
Ulleung-do Island Beef
A wide assortment of medicinal herbs can also found on Ulleung-do Island and the cows that were fed with medicinal herbs are thus known for its great quality and a unique herbal flavor. You may enjoy the taste of fresh meat - even unseasoned - when it is roasted over hot coals. The most delicious way to eat it is to cook the meat till slightly burnt, place a piece of it and wrap it together with fresh and pickled vegetables.

Cold Raw Squid
Squid  is one of the local delicacies on Ulleung-do Island and there are many dishes made with it. One of the mosst popular dishes is ojingeo mulhoe (cold raw squid) and it delivers a fresh, sweet and spicy sensation in a single bite. The cold broth adds a refreshing zest, mixed along with vegetables and sauce that enhances the other flavors. It also serves as a great side dish for cocktails.

Dodko Island & Seodo Island
Dokdo Island, Korea’s First Sunrise Spot
Dokdo Island is comprised of two main islands: Dongdo, or East Island and Seodo, or West Island, as well as numerous smaller rock formations. The clear blue sea and the surrounding natural environment create a spectacular landscape.

Dongdo is located in the southeast part of Dokdo Island, rising 98.6m above sea level. It includes a manned lighthouse  and the Dongdo wharfs, where you'll see major storage areas where marine products are kept fresh. It's also where the facilities for the coastguard are located. The large wharf has the capacity to allow the passage of the large ferries (over the 500-ton class) which transport a boatload of tourists through the area every day - weather permitting.

Tthe rugged terrains of Seodo are used by fishermen only in cases of emergency. The area is also home to Gajaebawi Rock, Dongnimmunbawi Rock, Chotdaebawi Rock, Eolgulbawi Rock and many other uniquely shaped rocky islands to enjoy on a boating tour.

Designated as Natural Monument No. 336, access to Dokdo Island had been restricted according to the Article 33 of the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act.

Passengers entering Dokdo Island (Dongdo) from Ulleung-do Island via ferry can only stay for a maximum of 30 minutes on the island. Furthermore, there is always the possibility that the transit may not be possible due to harsh weather or other unforeseen circumstances. Nonetheless, visitors can still enjoy the beautiful nautical view from the deck that offers a full view of Dokdo Island and its surroundings. Please also note that the ferry does not operate during the winter season.
☞ Address: Dokdo-ri, Ulleung-eup, Ulleung-gun, Gyeongsangbuk-do
☞ Directions: From Dodonghang Port, take a ship bound for Dokdo Island. (Total travel time: about 4 hours; round-trip including time of stay on the island)
☞ Fees: Passenger Ship 50,000 won (varies according to shipping company)
☞ Website: (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)

David Occhipinti Debuts Art Song Project April 23 2016 in Toronto

From a media release:

David Occhipinti Debuts Art Song Project 
As Part Of The TD Discovery Series Special Projects
April 23 2016

TORONTO - Multiple JUNO nominee, composer and guitarist David Occhipinti debuts his long-awaited project, Art Song on Sunday, April 24 at Alliance Francaise, as part of the TD Discovery Series Special Projects.

Developed over the past three years, Art Song features vocalists from the jazz and classical worlds performing songs in a chamber music setting. This unique celebration of art song will incorporate added elements of improvisation with instrumentation that includes guitar, violin, viola, bass, clarinet, bassoon, marimba, vibraphone and harp.

"This Art Song project has allowed me to take some wonderful text by T.S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas and Emily Carr and compose some new music for voice," states Occhipinti. "It is also my first time composing for harp. I'm hoping it will be an elegant musical experience for audiences and a rare chance to hear my music in a beautiful performance space."

Occhipinti has released five CDs as a leader that features his unique voice as a composer and as a guitarist. Three of his projects, Bristles (2014), Forty Revolutions (2007) and Duologue (2003) were nominated for JUNOs. Noted guitarist Jim Hall, whom he studied with during the mid-1990s, has described Occhipinti's writing as unique and his playing completely original and stunning.

Joining Occhipinti on stage will be: Michael Davidson (vibraphone), Aline Homzy (violin), Jeff LaRochelle (clarinet), Soren Nissen (bass) and Sheba Thibadeau (bassoon). Special guests include Erica Goodman (harp) and Beverley Johnston (marimba). Featured vocalists for this performance will be Robin Dann, Alexandra Hetherington, Charlotte Mundy and The Cookie Choir.

The TD Discovery Series is a year-long initiative of music and educational performances created by Toronto Downtown Jazz, producers of the Toronto Jazz Festival, and supported by TD Bank Group. Designed to encourage the creation, development and presentation of unique, new programming, the TD Discovery Series showcases some of Toronto's finest local jazz talent.

David Occhipinti's Art Song Project

Alliance Francaise - 24 Spadina Road
Sunday, April 24, 2016 - 3 p.m.
Tickets: $12 - $20 at the door

A taste of David's previous work:

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Jazz: Nonesuch Releases Two New Recordings from Pat Metheny on May 6, 2016

From a release:

Nonesuch Releases Two New Recordings from Pat Metheny on May 6, 2016:
The Unity Sessions and Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny

The Unity Sessions features Grammy Award-winning Unity Group-Metheny with saxophonist Chris Potter, drummer Antonio Sanchez, bassist Ben Williams, and multi-instrumentalist Giulio Carmassi
Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny joins longtime Pat Metheny Group trumpeter's trio with his mentor

• Pre-order both albums from the Pat Metheny Store
Check out tour dates in the US, Asia & Europe through July 2016

Nonesuch Records releases a pair of new albums from guitarist, composer, and bandleader Pat Metheny on May 6, 2016. Metheny is well-known as a musical collaborator, and both records feature friends and colleagues with whom he has worked for years. The Unity Sessions is taken from a filmed performance with Pat Metheny Unity Group that was recently released on DVD; the set comprises 13 songs by Metheny, one he co-wrote with Ornette Coleman, and one well known standard by Ray Noble. And Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny joins the guitarist with a trio led by longtime Pat Metheny Group trumpeter Cuong Vu. It comprises five tunes written by Vu plus one by Metheny and one by Andrew D'Angelo. Pre-orders of The Unity Sessions and Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny are available now at iTunes and, each with an instant download of a track from its album ("This Belongs to You" and "Let's Get Back," respectively).

In 2013, for the first time since 1980, Metheny recorded with a band that highlighted tenor saxophone. The resulting Unity Band, which went on to win him his 20th Grammy Award, featured Chris Potter on sax and bass clarinet, longtime collaborator Antonio Sanchez on drums, and Ben Williams on bass. Metheny then took that same ensemble into new territory with the addition of his Orchestrion and a focus on more through-composed material and christened the ensemble Pat Metheny Unity Group. The Group's first record, Kin (__), was released by Nonesuch in 2014 and was named the best jazz album of the year in the DownBeat Readers Poll Awards. The Group went on a world tour of more than 150 cities; at the end, they hunkered down in a small Manhattan theater to film new performances of music from the original Unity Band, the expansive Kin(__), and touchstones from the entirety of Metheny's music catalog. The results were released on DVD last year as The Unity Sessions, and now Nonesuch releases the album of the same name.

The Cuong Vu Trio includes Stomu Takeishi on bass and Ted Poor on drums. Metheny says of his record with the Trio, "This project is something that Cuong and I have talked about doing for years. For as much as I loved what Cuong has brought to my bands along the way, I always wondered what it would be like to join his group for a project, to see what I might be able to offer those guys. Cuong came up with a great set of tunes for the project, and we all met in NYC for a few days and recorded this music quite quickly and spontaneously."

Vu, who first heard a cassette of Metheny's Travels as a teenager and credits it for leading him into a career in music, adds: "Pat came to the session and killed it, taking us to different territories. We (the Trio) assimilated his sound into ours and made music that still felt uniquely ours." The trumpeter has played with a wide range of artists, including Laurie Anderson, David Bowie, Dave Douglas, Myra Melford, Cibo Matto, and Mitchell Froom. Vu, a graduate of New England Conservatory, began his career leading various groups while touring extensively throughout the world. As a leader, he has released eight recordings, each making critics' lists of the 10 best recordings of their respective years. His awards and honors include two Grammys (with Pat Metheny Group). He is currently an associate professor in jazz studies at the University of Washington.

Over the course of more than three decades, guitarist Pat Metheny has set himself apart from the jazz mainstream, expanding and blurring boundaries and musical styles. His record-setting body of work includes 20 Grammy Awards in 12 separate categories; a series of influential trio recordings; award-winning solo albums; scores for hit Hollywood motion pictures; and collaborations and duets with major artists like Ornette Coleman, Steve Reich, Charlie Haden, Brad Mehldau, and many others. His band the Pat Metheny Group, founded in 1977, is the only ensemble in history to win Grammys for seven consecutive releases.

Pat Metheny U.S. Tour Dates
Wednesday & Thursday, April 20 & 21: Infinity Hall, Norfolk, CT
Friday, April 22: Musikfest Café, Bethlehem, PA
Saturday, April 23: Exit Zero Jazz Festival, Cape May, NJ
Sunday, April 24: The Newton Theatre, Newton, NJ
*All dates with Ron Carter

EstroGenius Spring 2016 Short Play Program March 26 & 27

From a media release:

Manhattan Theatre Source:
EstroGenius Spring 2016
Short Play Program
Saturday March 26th @ 3pm & 8pm
Sunday March 27th @ 2pm & 8pm

• Discount code ESTRO2016 

NEW YORK CITY - Manhattan Theatre Source’s EstroGenius Festival, an annual celebration of female voices, is one of New York City’s largest women’s arts festivals. Estrogenius Spring 2016 has been taking place this month and there's still time to catch the final weekend of short plays.

The longest running series in the EstroGenius Festival, the showcase of Short Plays is second to none, featuring a wide variety of performances from a collection of established and some of the newest up-and-coming talent in New York City.

This year the Short Plays are specific requests to playwrights by our trusted and talented producer Deb Long. If you've attended before, you may recognize some of your favorite playwrights from years’ past and find some new favorites for the future!

Talented and trusted producer, Deb Long, has assembled a program of 6 short plays that will make you laugh and cry and thoroughly enjoy yourself.

  • Guess Who's Coming to Brunch?
  • Heart of Stone
  • Hijab
  • La Proposition
  • Tough Love
  • Waffles

East 4th Street Theater
83 East 4th Street, between Bowery and Second Avenue - East Village
New York, NY 10008
6 Train to Astor or Bleecker Streets, D or F Train to Second Avenue

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Improvisational Jazz: Free Concerts at Harvard U April 7 & 8 2016 feat. Wadada Leo Smith & Others

From a media release:

Creative Music Convergences:
Improvisation, Creativity Highlight Fromm Players Concerts
April 7 & 8, 2016 at Harvard University

Two evenings of concerts by composer/performers including Wadada Leo Smith, Vijay Iyer, Steve Lehman Octet, Tyshawn Sorey Double Trio, more

Buy the CD A cosmic rhythm with every stroke on Amazon

Wadada Leo Smith by Scott Groller
CAMBRIDGE, MA: On Thursday, April 7 and Friday, April 8, the Fromm Concerts at Harvard assemble some of the finest musicians in creative music for a series of free concerts, "Creative Music Convergences," in John Knowles Paine Concert Hall on the Harvard University campus.

The Thursday lineup features 7:30 pm performances by Wadada Leo Smith and Vijay Iyer (whose album A cosmic rhythm with every stroke releases March 25) and Nicole Mitchell with Tomeka Reid and Mike Reed. At 9:00pm Okkyung Lee and the Steve Lehman Octet take the stage.

On Friday at 7:30 pm, hear Craig Taborn and Wadada Leo Smith with Ikue Mori. The 9:00 show features Courtney Bryan and the Tyshawn Sorey Double Trio.

"These are musicians who just go up there and create," says Franklin D. and Florence Rosenblatt Professor of the Arts Vijay Iyer, who curated the 2016 Fromm concerts. "Every night is different, every time is different, and each has its own integrity and power. Improvisation really builds something. It's not contra to composition; it's another way of putting music together."

The musicians in this year's Fromm concerts span generations, geography, and style. What they share is that they are part of the creative music community.

Vijay Iyer by Jimmy Katz
"What we call creative music, experimental music that involves improvisation, has an astonishingly diverse range of expression," says Iyer. "Tyshawn Sorey plays the Village Vanguard but studied with Stockhausen; Steve Lehman is one of the transforming figures of 21st century jazz; Ikue Mori plays solo cello with a rock band [the legendary DNA], Craig Taborn is the most admired keyboardist of my generation.

"They're all here," says Iyer, "because they're innovative and unique."

All four concerts are free and open to the public. No tickets are required; first come, first seated. Free parking is available at the Broadway Garage, corner of Felton and Broadway Streets in Cambridge (a five minute walk from Paine Hall). Paine Hall is located directly behind the Science Center at 3 Oxford Street; the Hall is wheelchair accessible.  | 617-495-2791  |

12th Vienna Blues Spring Festival March 20 - April 30 2016

From a media release:

12th Vienna Blues Spring Festival
March 20 - April 30, 2016

Check out the program

Going to be in or around Vienna over the next six weeks or so? You're probably thinking "opera" - but Vienna has the blues too, with the world’s longest-running blues festival coming up. Hundreds of musicians fill various venues across Vienna with all variations of the genre during Vienna Blues Spring from 20 March to 30 April.

There’s classic Delta and Chicago blues, rock and soul blues, as well as boogie, interpreted by international stars and the best of the Viennese scene.

The opening gala will be held on 20 March at the Theater Akzent, with the Mojo Blues Band taking over the reins for “A Soulful Journey from New Orleans to Chicago”.

Most of the concerts are held at the Reigen. They include Louisiana Bluesman Larry Garner (pictured; Mar 22), the Rob Togoni Trio (Mar 25), Natascha Flamisch (April 1) and local blues giant Norbert Schneider (April 8) who is honoring Vienna Blues Spring with his presence once again. Conny Lush (April 13) and Ian Siegal are traveling over from Great Britain, with the latter joining up to perform with American Jimbo Mathus (April 25). Ryan McGarvey, born in the US state of New Mexico, plays great guitar and is currently winning massive acclaim (April 30).

Larry Garner - photo by Dietmar Hoscher
Martin Pyrker and Joachim Palden are inviting guests to a “Boogie Night on 2 Bösendorfers” at the Radio Kulturhaus: Sabine Pyrker provides the rhythms, Betty Semper the vocals, with Tom Müller on the saxophone (April 27).

Other gigs will be held at the House of Music where Hermann Posch and guests will play.  He is a poster child of the domestic scene, whose slide play on the guitar is considered excellent.

This is how the blues feeling is created in the midst of springtime in Vienna.

While you're there...

House of Music (Haus der Musik)
The Sound Museum
Seilerstätte 30 , 1010 Wien
+43 1 513 48 50 -
Haus der Musik is an interactive sound museum which provides a new approach to music on a playful as well as scientific level. For the last 15 year the aim has been to provide knowledge and understanding as well as open-mindedness and enthusiasm when dealing with music. Since its opening in 2000, Haus der Musik has welcomed over 2,7 million visitors.

Schönbrunn Palace by Arian Weger
Hotel Picks:

Hotel Viktoria
Address: Eduard-Klein-Gasse 9, 1130 Wien, Austria
Phone:+43 1 8771150
This well-reviewed 3-star hotel is in a convenient location close to the venues and a mere 3-minute walk from Hietzing U-bahn station. The family-run hotel is also 11 minutes on foot from Tiergarten Schönbrunn (zoo) and 1 km from Schloss Schönbrunn (castle).

Parkhotel Schönbrunn 
Address: Hietzinger Hauptstraße 10-16, 1130 Wien, Austria
Phone:+43 1 87804
If you're in the mood and have the budget for a treat, this 4-star hotel boasts charmingly ornate architecture and a palatial ambience. Just a 10-minute walk from the 18th-century Schönbrunn Palace, the hotel dates from 1907 and is only 6 km from the Vienna State Opera and 10 km from St. Stephen’s Cathedral.

Sydney Ellis is the special guest vocalist for opening night

Toronto City Council Limits Afrofest to One Day - UPDATE: Decision Reversed

Power to the People!
Afrofest Update:
Two Day Festival Back for July 9-10 2016

TORONTO (March 24, 2016) After an online campaign gained steam (see the original story below) and created a huge buzz in favour of the 27-year old festival, Toronto City Hall has reversed its decision and given Afrofest a two-day permit for Woodbine Park after all.

As reported in the CBC, the festival's fans took to the web en masse to protest the unfair treatment of the festival. Here's my take on this:
  1. Afrofest uses the same sound company that the other big festivals at Woodbine use - same techs, same equipment. It's hard to see how they could be so out of line with everyone else.
  2. I'd like to know how many complaints were lodged against the other festivals at Woodbine. Were they all entirely complaint-free? Why is this the only festival that seems to have this issue with the city?
I'll also note that, just after City Hall moved to limit Afrofest to one day, there was a big splashy announcement of Bestival - a rock festival taking place at Woodbine Park in early September and headlining The Cure, surely guaranteed to be a peaceful, quiet affair...

As the CBC story notes, part of the outrage - mine included - was the condescending tone taken by Coun. Mary-Margaret McMahon who suggested publicly that the organizers needed to "behave". What kind of language is that?? And what sort of tone is that to take with any of your constituents - let alone one that has been contributing to community life for so long and obviously enjoys widespread support? These are citizens she's talking about; the people who elect these officials.

Meetings apparently went all the way to Mayor John Tory. Afrofest is set for July 9-10 and is expected to bring 120,000 people to Woodbine Park throughout the weekend.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Alt-Rock: The Soles New Release: Sand In The Sun Release Party April 8 2016 in Toronto

From a media release:

The Soles
New Release: Sand In The Sun
Release Party April 8 2016 
The Cadillac Lounge - Toronto

Buy the Album Sand In The Sun

TORONTO - Local Toronto rockers The Soles release their much anticipated new record titled ‘Sand In The Sun’ Friday April 8th at the Cadillac Lounge, 1296 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario.

‘Sand In The Sun’ has been in the works for the last 2 years. Band members Din, Adam Gomori, Austin Gembora & Trevor Friday wanted to get the songs & sound right. Working alongside longtime collaborators Ron Skinner & Marc Merilainen (Nadjiwan) the efforts from this talented combo has finally been realized. The Soles have worked tirelessly making this project a reality. The band defies pigeonholing with their eclectic sound & vision.

The Soles perform at the Cadillac Lounge Friday April 8th along with opening acts The Train Electric and Thunderfunk. Documentary filmmaker Sheldon Norton will be debuting the video ‘RFR’ featuring The Soles. The first act starts at 9PM!

Here’s what others are already saying about The Soles – ‘Sand In The Sun’:

With melodic sensibility, driven by strong grooves and earnest lyrics, The Soles are back! And harkening to the golden age of Can-Rock with hints of early Age of Electric, cementing a fine slab of Alterna-rock to the masses. STEVE KRAUS 6o, CKLU 96.7FM

Find myself singing the Soles’ new track ‘Who You Really Are’. Waiting impatiently for the EP to drop, we need more Soles. CAROL BARRETT, CIUT 89.9FM

Catch The Soles live this Spring/Summer:

  • April 8, 2016 - Toronto ON, Cadillac Lounge - Sand In The Sun CD Release Party 
  • July 2, 2016 - Sudbury ON, Speakeasy
  • July 3, 2016 - Owen Sound ON, TD Harbour Nights Concert Series
  • July 29, 2016 - Paris ON, Skylight Festival
  • July 30, 2016 - Windsor ON, Phog Lounge 
  • More dates to be announced soon!

Check out the album:

Nollywood & More: News from Composer Rotem Hecht March 2016

Nollywood & More:
News from Composer Rotem Hecht
March 2016

MIAMI - Rotem Hecht is a composer, arranger, music producer, sound editor and more - he's involved with anything to do with creating music, sound design composition and recording. You can find out more about his background in an earlier post.

He's got an extensive portfolio of work in TV, film and the video gaming industry you can check out here and he's got a couple of new projects he's told me about.

“Beyond Blood" - A new feature movie from the Nollywood machine (aka the Nigerian movie industry). The movie was produced and direct by  Greg Odutayo and has been playing in Nigerian theatres for about two months. Rotem wrote the original score for the movie and trailer.

“Live for the moment and discover the world with Trafalgar" - Rotem composed the original music for this short promotional video for Trafalgar Travel.

See kids? You really can get a job writing music.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Small World Music Presents: The 14th Annual Asian Music Series April 2 to May 29 2016 in Toronto

From a media release:

Small World Music Presents:

– Embracing The Scope of Music From Across The Asian Cultural Landscape
 + ANNOUNCING The Small World Music EXPLORERS Program
– New Initiative is Adventurous Concertgoers’ Dream Ticket

TORONTO – FRIDAY, MARCH 4TH, 2016 – From April 2nd - May 29th 2016, Small World Music proudly presents The 14th Annual Asian Music Series, which celebrates Asian and South Asian Heritage Month.

Supported by TD Bank, the series engages communities around the GTA to celebrate their heritage. Partnering with the finest presenters across the region, from Koerner Hall to the Aga Khan Museum, Roy Thomson Hall to the Markham Theatre, the program will showcase the finest sounds on the best stages.

Highlights this year include a strong female presence, with two of the most significant artists in South Asian music – Deutsche Grammophon recording artist Anoushka Shankar and Abida Parveen – performing, as well as Indo-Canadian star Kiran Ahluwalia, pipa maestro Wu Man and singer Ramneek Singh, among many others. Also announced is the new Small World Music EXPLORERS Program, which is a way for audiences to access the entire Asian Music Series through the Small World ticket hub. Concertgoers will benefit from Small World’s unique position at the heart of the global music scene, working hand in hand in with communities and venue partners.

Stay tuned at Small World Music

A global music tastemaker for two decades, Small World showcases the best Asian Music in the GTA, and along with presenting partners, they gather the finest artists to appear on Toronto’s premier stages.

This year, audiences can also discover new sounds through Small World Music EXPLORERS Program, an enterprising, cross-promotional initiative for purchasing hot tickets in the city.

All roads lead to Small World Music with the easy, online, one-stop-shop box office for live music appreciators who know what they like, but are also open to new, exciting musical experiences. Small World is the main intersection where curated content of various bundle packages – which will also include other items, such as restaurant coupons, or local business vouchers – are offered at a discounted price.

Wu Man
Asian Music Series at a Glance: 

Wednesday, April 6 – Anoushka Shankar (India) – Koerner Hall
Thursday, April 7 – Tsumugu (Japan) – Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre
Saturday, April 9 – Wu Man & Shanghai Quartet (China) – Markham Theatre
Thursday, April 28 – Kiran Ahluwalia (India / Canada) – Markham Theatre
Friday, April 29 – Shuujat Khan / Ramneek Singh (India / Canada) – Aga Khan Museum
Saturday, May 7 – Globtrotter - Adham Shaikh (Canada) – Round
Friday, May 13 – Tabla Workshop TBA (India) – Small World Music Centre
Sunday, May 15 – Abida Parveen (Pakistan) – Roy Thomson Hall
Friday, May 20 – Avatar (Canada /India) – Small World Music Centre
Saturday, May 28 – Telematic Asia (Canada / China) – Small World Music Centre
Sunday, May 29 – Mekaal & Haniya (Pakistan / Canada) – Lula Lounge

Travel Industry News: The MTS Globe Group expands into Mexico, Croatia and United Arab Emirates

From a media release:

Travel Industry News:
The MTS Globe Group expands into Mexico, Croatia and United Arab Emirates

MTS Cape Verde
Mallorca (España) March 4 2016 - The MTS Globe Group, a leading Destination Management and Hotel Trading company in Europe, announces the opening of 3 new offices in Mexico, Croatia and United Arab Emirates (UAE). The MTS Globe Group currently operates out of 65 destination offices in 15 countries.

According to Rembert Euling, CEO of the MTS Globe Group, the opening of offices in these 3 new destinations fits perfectly into the group's growth and expansion plan which is based on creating sustainable and innovative relationships with its partners, clients and suppliers.

Bernd Kienle, General Manager for Mexico & Caribbean and responsible for the office in Cancun, points out that the main focus is on Cancun and the Riviera Maya. “This is a perfect sun and beach destination to integrate into our business model, using our full range of products and services: transfers, rental cars, accommodation, excursions and tour guide services” says Kienle.

MTS Croatia
“Furthermore, Cancun and the Riviera Maya have the biggest volume of European tourists in Mexico: 1.25 million. This is a major plus, as we have had a solid presence in the European source markets for decades” Bernd Kienle adds.

To help with the opening of the office in Dubai, UAE, the MTS Globe Group has partnered with Desert Gate. With CEO Samir Tabbah leading the company, Desert Gate has proven that they are a very experienced team who understand the needs of the group's clients and the challenges they face.

Samir Tabbah explains, “UAE is an excellent destination with great connections, so many of our clients were already selling it with other suppliers. It was important for us that we could also deliver this destination.”

“Despite being a new partner for many hotels, the hoteliers understood immediately the MTS Globe Group potential and many offered exclusive launch deals. The group's network has not disappointed and sales volumes have grown every day” says Tabbah.

MTS Mexico
From the new Croatian office, Managing Director Stanko Ljubic highlights that Croatia has emerged as a primary choice for many holidaymakers: “Given the ever increasing popularity of Croatia, plus demand from our clients, it was a perfect choice for expanding our portfolio”.

Ljubic adds. “Our experienced team involved in this project have, for many years, worked with some of the largest tour- operators throughout Europe and are very excited and proud to be part of the MTS Globe Group.We have worked tirelessly to ensure a successful launch of the Croatian product”.

About the MTS Globe Group: 
MTS Globe is the biggest privately owned incoming company in Europe. Since its foundation in 1968, MTS Globe has built up a strong market presence in 24 source markets in Europe and North America. It serves over 4 million clients with 35 million overnights per year in 12,000 hotels.250 customers have chosen MTS Globe as their preferred destination partner. Its core business is to support tour operators offering customized high-quality destination services which are then packaged and marketed by MTS Globe customers.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Free MP3 Download: Tokira (Single) by Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate

From a media release:

Free MP3 Download:
Tokira (Single)
by Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate

Here's the Link

Joe Driscoll has gained fame over the last decade for his unique blend of folk, funk and hip-hop. Sekou Kouyate, from Guinea, is one of the most innovative and virtuosic players of the kora, the 21-stringed West African harp. When these two seemingly disparate artistic forces are combined, an incendiary musical reaction takes place. They first first met in 2010 at a festival in Marseille, France and their explosive combustibility was evident in their jaw-dropping live shows and energizing debut album, Faya, which was released by Cumbancha Discovery in 2014. Performing as a quartet, backed by drums and bass, Joe & Sekou have performed at hundreds of festivals and venues across Europe, North America and Africa, earning ecstatic reviews whenever they set foot on stage.

Set for release by Cumbancha on May 13, 2016, Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate’s electrifying second album, Monistic Theory, derives its title from the concept that reality is a unified whole and that all existing things can be ascribed to or described by a single concept or system. It's an apt philosophy for this boundary-crossing collaboration, one that brings together two musicians from vastly different backgrounds in search of the commonalities that are uniquely revealed by artistic expression.

The UK daily The Guardian recently raved, "African, funk and rap influences combine in an energetic performance. They have developed into a tight, attacking unit, in which the virtuoso kora work is integrated into sturdy playing from the band. Exuberant virtuosic fusion.” Songlines Magazine calls the group, "A boundary-trampling high-octane hybrid in which the lightning fast electrified licks of Kouyate are matched by the explosive energy of Driscoll's rapid fire rhyming.”

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

World Jazz: Avataar Releases Debut CD 'Petals' - Party March 30 2016 in Toronto

From a media release:

CD Release Party March 30 2016
Lula Lounge - Toronto

Buy the CD

TORONTO - Led by JUNO-nominated saxophonist, vocalist and composer Sundar Viswanathan, AVATAAR will celebrate the release of their long-awaited debut CD, Petal, with an exciting performance at Lula Lounge on Wednesday, March 30, as part of the TD Discovery Series Special Projects.

AVATAAR incorporates hard bop, jazz, Indian classical music, Brazilian lyricism, electronica, Javanese gamelan and contemporary improvisation, revealing a more meditative and philosophical side of Viswanathan's work. An adventurous departure after 20 years of performing and composing Indo-jazz, Viswanathan's new sound combines ancient and modern musical sounds, cleverly layered and cinematic in scope, with an underlying and driving jazz sensibility.

"My explorations of spiritual philosophies including Hinduism, Taoism, Buddhism, mystic Christianity, Kabbalah and even New Age thinking also greatly influenced the path of the band,"states Viswanthan. "Petal reveals a side of me that hasn't been mined in previous projects and is my first foray into including lyrics on my compositions. The musicians in the band have also been a big influence in the direction of the music, and contribute greatly to the 'new' sound that will be evident at the CD release."

Viswanathan will be joined by Felicity Williams on vocals, Michael Occhipinti on guitar, Justin Gray on bass, Ravi Naimpally on tabla, Max Senitt on drums and guest artists pianist Robi Botos and Indian classical singer Samidha Joglekar.

The TD Discovery Series is a series of music and educational performances created by Toronto Downtown Jazz, producers of the Toronto Jazz Festival, and supported by TD Bank Group. Designed to encourage the creation, development and presentation of unique new programming, the TD Discovery Series showcases some of Toronto's finest local jazz talent.

Sundar Viswanathan's AVATAAR
Petal CD release at Lula Lounge - 1585 Dundas Street West
Wednesday, March 30, 2016 - 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $20 adv / $25 door

Check out the CD: