Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Hotel Bergs Contemporary 5-Star Luxury in Historic Riga Latvia - 2X2-Night Deal

With material from a release:

Hotel Bergs
Contemporary 5-Star Luxury in Historic Riga, Latvia
2X2-Night Baltic Capitals Deal

Find out more

Contemporary chic in the center of Riga - Hotel Bergs is a smart, five-star haven in the charming historical quarter known as the Bergs Bazaar.
Bergs Hotel, Riga
Hotel Bergs is a designer boutique hotel nestled behind a 19th century brick façade, featuring 38 spacious guest suites, the famous Bergs restaurant offering haute cuisine inspired by local fare as well as a fitness and wellness center, elegant meeting lounges and a penthouse event space with great city views.
Hotel Bergs, Riga - suite
Art Nouveau design combines black-and-white colour tones with leather furniture and oak floors, while paintings by Latvian old masters merge with African traditional textiles and woodcarvings. Paintings by Ilmârs Blumbergs adorn the guest room walls and he also created the striking fountain in the courtyard.

Restaurant Bergs
Restaurant Bergs
Restaurant Bergs, decorated in a contemporary style, has been thoughtfully designed to provide guests with a calm and intimate retreat in the business centre of one of the most exciting areas of the city. The modern interior is accented with vibrant colours and design elements. With a glassed-in veranda and summer terrace, you'll enjoy the view of the hotel courtyard and fountain. Restaurant Bergs is under the leadership of chef Nauris Jakusko, providing our guests with exquisite cuisine and distinguished service. The restaurant menu offers artful presentation of outstanding dishes to feast your eyes as well as stomach.

Spa Bergs
Visit the Spa for a Latvian tradition, featuring:
  • Classic Swedish massage
  • Facial
  • Foot massage
  • Neck massage
  • Oil massage
  • Reflexology
Nearby in Riga 
The hotel is located in the historic centre of Riga, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Just a few blocks away, you can discover Riga’s old town and the stunning art nouveau district, visit Riga′s Central Market, the largest open-air market in Europe, or enjoy a spectacular night at the opera.
Bergs Bazaar
Enjoy some retail therapy in Bergs Bazaar pedestrian shopping area, at your doorstep. The stylish Bergs Bazaar, an historical pedestrian village-like enclave originally constructed between 1887–1900, is one of Riga’s premier shopping and dining destinations. Explore small boutiques offering both local and international items, dine at one of the popular restaurants or cafes — both casual and up-market, or simply stroll about stopping to rest on one of the many benches.

Entrances from Elizabetes, Dzirnavu and Marijas iela, between K. Barona iela and Marijas iela near Vērmanes Park.
Hotel Bergs, Riga - lobby
Rumene Manor
At Hotel Bergs’ countryside residence, Rumene Manor, guests can enjoy the idyllic Latvian countryside in a refined setting. Rumene Manor is a meticulously restored 19th century Baltic-German estate which is ideally suited for weddings, executive retreats, private dinners and overnights stays just over an hour’s drive outside of Riga.   Experience traditional Latvian SPA rituals in the sauna house on the estate’s private lake.

Add Tallinn, Estonia to your itinerary for a 4-night deal
Baltic Capitals with Small Luxury Hotels, Riga & Tallinn

Enjoy the Baltic capitals, Riga & Tallinn with Small Luxury Hotels Hotel Bergs Riga & Hotel Telegraaf Tallinn. It's a wonderful offer to experience Baltic Capitals in style.

Hotel Bergs, Riga - entrance
At Hotel Bergs, Rigas:
• Two night's luxurious accommodation in a Studio Suite;
• Room upgrade to the next room category at check-in (up to availability);
• Welcome greeting in your suite upon arrival;
• Daily a la carte breakfast in Bergs Restaurant;
• Complimentary three-course lunch for two in Bergs Restaurant (incl.soft drinks);
• Private airport transfer upon arrival or departure.

At Hotel Telegraaf Tallinn
Once the exchange station for the Estonian Telegraph Company, this carefully restored 19th century building now houses a luxurious 86 room first class hotel with the exclusive restaurant “Tchaikovsky – A Symphony of Russian Cuisine”, a Spa with award-winning Elemis products and the Old Town’s only hotel with underground parking, located just steps away from Tallinn’s heart – Town Hall Square.
Tchaikovsky Restaurant, Hotel Telegraaf, Tallinn
• Two night's luxurious accommodation in a Superior Double room;
• Full daily breakfast in Tchaikovsky Restaurant;
• VIP treatment in your room upon arrival;
• Private airport transfer upon arrival or departure;
• Unlimited usage of Elemis SPA facilities (swimming pool, saunas & jacuzzi);
• 48-hours Tallinn Card for two persons – free entrance and discounts to nearly 100 tourist attractions in Tallinn (including Official Tallinn City Tour, KUMU Art Museum and many more).

• Two-hotel package price for 2 guests, 4 nights: €840.

• Rates include all taxes. Certain black-out dates my apply.
• Confirmed bookings are final. The confirmed rate will be fully charged in case of a cancellation.
• For reservations please call +371 67770900 or e-mail:

Hotel Bergs
83/85 Elizabetes Street,
Bergs Bazaar, Riga
LV-1050, Latvia

Friday, April 14, 2017

Coming soon: Jay Clark Band - Cocked & Loaded (April 30, 2017)

Coming soon:
Jay Clark Band - Cocked & Loaded
(April 30, 2017)

Buy the Single

Jay Clark comes from Ohio but you might be forgiven for assuming he's from south of the Mason-Dixon line after hearing this recording of southern fried rock.

The sound is familiar, but he takes the time and skill to perfect it and perform it with sincerity. It's guitar-driven, but the instrumentation is varied and textured, including a rich Hammond B3 and fiddle on some tracks. Jay's got just the right vocals for this kind of music - melodic, with a nice range, and a whisky roughened edge that gives it power and expression.

Overall, the album's mood ranges from party country rock to a more metallic sound, back to a new country vibe. Lyrically, the songs cover the girls, guns, and boozin' with the boys territory that you'd expect. But that's not to say there's no imagination to be found, or occasional flashes of wry humour. From Another Love Song,

I don't wanna write another love song
Cause what we got might not last that long

It's Southern-infused party rock just in time for summer. Jay began writing his own material inspired by a brother's budding acting career. He made the savvy move of creating and posting a few videos to Facebook that got a lot of positive feedback.

After about 20 videos, he was looking to take the next step, and eventually decided to head to Nashville, where he'd be able to hire the best session musicians. That's just what he did when recording a series of demos that ended up as a 5-song EP he called Never Too Late.

That material, reworked - along with five new songs recorded at Beaird Music in Nashville earlier this year - became the nucleus of Cocked & Loaded, his debut LP.

Drums: Tommy Harden; Bass: Eli Beaird / Mike Brignardello; Electric: Jeff King; Piano: Steve Nathan; Acoustic: John Willis / Larry Beaird; Vocals: Tania Hancheroff; Vocals: Adam Cunningham

1Get Wild
2 Hell or High Water
3 Leave It All Behind
4 Won't Be Pushed Around
5 The River
6 Freight Train
7 Another Love Song
8 Cocked & Loaded
9 Whatcha Doin' To Me
10 Shakedown


The River is the first single in advance of the album's release, a track with a driving country rock heart aided by Adam Cunningham on vocals.

Recently released: Shawna Virago - Heaven Sent Delinquent (Shawna Virage / Tranimal Records, Jan 1 2017)

Recently released:
Shawna Virago - Heaven Sent Delinquent
(Shawna Virage / Tranimal Records, Jan 1 2017)

Available on vinyl, CD, download
•  Stream it on SoundCloud

Come whisper
In my ear

(From Bright Green Ideas)

Clever, sharply observed lyrics and a sincere musical appreciation for the expressive flavours of Americana raise this recent release by Shawna Virago well above the herd of singer songwriters recording today.

Virago is a pioneer; she has been performing as an out transwoman since the early 1990’s and it hasn't gone unnoticed. Her music has been profiled in many publications, including Bitch, the Advocate and Curve magazines and on left-of-the-dial radio.

You honestly don't actually have to know any of that to enjoy the folk/punk sound of the San Francisco based artist. Shawna uses the intimate acoustic sound and storyteller's perch of Americana to get the message across, using the sounds of country, bluegrass, and rockabilly in imaginative ways. It works well with her poetically insightful and observant lyrics. From the Ballad of Miss Suzy Texas,

She remembers the liquor stores they robbed together
Ya life was perfect then...

The mood is gritty and real in songs like Last Nights Sugar, a plaintive ballad about people who slide into the casinos and hook up in cheap motels. There's often a dry sense of humour at work. From Burnout,

The girls wore black,
Like they was Sylvia Plath
But I bet they never
Even read her

Virago describes the songs in a media release. “These are the stories of my generation – a generation of transgender people who came out long before the internet, before transgender celebrities and reality TV stars… before anybody gave a shit about us.”

Virago composed original music for choreographer Sean Dorsey’s acclaimed dance theater work Uncovered: The Diary Project, about pioneering transman Lou Sullivan. Along with her musical career, Virago is a published writer and she has been featured in documentary works on PBS and NPR.

Shewired named Shawna as one of the nation’s “Top 25 Hot Femmes.” The Advocate named Virago’s song Objectified as one of the nation’s top transgender anthems. In addition to her own work, Virago is also the Artistic Director of the San Francisco Transgender Film Festival.

Twitter: @ShawnaVirago

The first single is Gender Armageddon

Recently released: Sara Ontaneda - Entre Espacios y Colores (Independent, March 20 2017)

Recently released:
Sara Ontaneda - Entre Espacios y Colores
(Independent, March 20, 2017)

Buy the CD

Entre Espacios y Colores is the first full-length release for the artist who divides her time - and touring schedule - between New York City and Ecuador.

The vibe on the tracks is easy, with a loose groove you'd put into anything from contemporary to Latin jazz. Sarah's voice is clear with a sweet edge, fluid over the octaves and in and out of the rhythm.

The arrangements use lush keyboard sounds along with horns and a standard guitar plus rhythm section. Aprovechar (Sencillo) begins with a spare acoustic guitar and rhythm section, adding a horn line to the texture along with judicious keyboards.

The melodies and harmonies defy easy categorization. Sara has developed an imaginative sound that showcases her clear, expressive voice in a series of lush arrangements. Darling has a laid back swing.

Darling you and I can have our fun
But I gotta let you know
I got some scars...

Her voice trips lightly around the lines and rhythms. She's an accomplished singer, but the technique never feels indulgent or embellished for its own sake. It adds a layer of expression with an effortless kind of sound.

Waiting Outside is another upbeat, straight-up jazz track with an insistent syncopation.  Sara's first album is bilingual with tracks in English and others in Spanish, reflecting Sara's multi-cultural life in New York City.

Sara performs in many different cities of the US and Ecuador, including festivals like SXSW 2016 in Austin, TX, Outside of the Box 2016 (Boston), the South Florida Folk Festival and the Marte y Jupiter EP Ecuador Tour" where she played in 4 cities: Guayaquil, Piñas, Quito, and Cuenca.

She's a graduate of Berklee College of Music where she majored in Contemporary Writing and Production. Sara graduated with honors and received scholarship awards for her efforts. She released her first single inn August 2014. "Pero Hoy",  under the CVRA LVDORVM (Ecuador) label is still played frequently on Ecuadorian radio.

If you are looking for a jazz singer with a different vibe than the usual, with a Latin flavour - or just an accomplished vocalist with a fluid style, this is an interesting collection of t;racks to discover.

Music and Lyrics by Sara Ontaneda; Sara Ontaneda - Guitar/Vocals/Synths; Alejandro Zorrilla - bass; Fabio Rojas - drums' David Manuhutu - keys; Santiago Bosch - keys; Alto Sax - Yoo Sun Nam; Tenor Sax -  Samuel Batista; Trumpet - Dustin Beardsley; Violin - Kiho Yutaka

1. Chico Bien
2. Aprovechar
3. My City
4. A Pensar
5. Darling
6. Huecos
7. Waiting Outside
8. Park Drive
9. Guíame


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

New Single: Monica da Silva - Soldado de Amor

From a media release:

New Single:
Monica da Silva - Soldado de Amor

Download the track on iTunes

Socialite Fiasco Music is pleased to announce the release of “Soldado de Amor” (Soldier of Love) by Brazilian American singer songwriter Monica da Silva.

In it, Monica's sweet, languid vocals dance around thick Brazilian rhythms.  The track was inspired by the vintage “marchinhas” (marches) and popular samba songs of Brazilian Carnival, and features the haunting vocals that da Silva is known for.

Soldado de Amor was released on March 31st, 2017. The song is now being featured on the BBC Drama “THE REPLACEMENT”, and will soon be included on da Silva’s new album, a follow up to her debut album “Brasilissima”.

"Soldado de Amor", which da Silva co-wrote with her brother Bruce Driscoll (Freedom Fry, Blondfire), was produced by Bruce Driscoll, along with longtime collaborator Chad Alger (Complicated Animals).

Da Silva’s music has been featured on The World Cup, TED, Ibiza Beats, and Putumayo World Music’s “Brazilian Beat”. She also writes and releases music with guitarist and producer Chad Alger, as the Indie duo Complicated Animals.

Written by Monica da Silva and Bruce Driscoll (Freedom Fry)
Vocals: Monica da Silva, Bruce Driscoll
Guitar: Bruce Driscoll
Drums & Percussion: Chad Alger (Complicated Animals)
Mixed by Chad Alger, Bruce Driscoll
Mastered by Yoad Nevo

Official Website:

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Japan Travel: Spring in Japan & Taxi Travel Tip

From a media release:

Japan Travel:
Spring in Japan & Taxi Travel Tip

Springtime is especially splendiferous in Japan, and even if you can't make it this year, you can view some of the blossoming abundance that makes it so special online - and then make your future plans...
Osaka Castle in the springtime
The Return of Spring and Hanami Season

Hanami is the ancient art of appreciating the beauty of flowers, and for many outside the country, it has become synonymous with experiencing cherry blossom season in Japan.

At this time of year, Japan is awash in cherry blossoms from north to south. If you are in or around Tokyo, the Tobu Sakura Matsuri 2017 website introduces recommended viewing spots, dates, and shops offering cherry-blossom sweets along the Tobu Railway. Once the trees have fully bloomed, 360-degree videos of Sumida Park, Satte Gongendo, and Kawagoe Shingashi River will be shot and added to the site.

Hanami parties under the night sky are also popular, and Kinugawa-onsen will be hosting viewing parties around the bottom of the Kinugawa Ropeway from April 8 to the 15th. They are also offering a Hanami Bento Combo, which includes a reserved seat, a special Hanami Bento made by a local restaurant chef, 2 cups of sake in a traditional masu cup, and games for JPY 5,400 per person. Advance reservation is required.

Foreign Friendly Taxi Service in Kyoto

Get all the details and download the app

Getting around Kyoto City is now easier than ever with a new Foreign Friendly Taxi service. The first ever foreigner-first taxi stands in Japan have been established at Kyoto Station and offer 24-hour service at Hachijyo gate and 9am-11pm service at Karasuma Gate.

Drivers located at the two stands take a foreign language seminar and customer service training and can accept credit cards and traffic IC cards. The cars are marked with a special Foreign Friendly TAXI sign and can accommodate more than 2 pieces of luggage.

While on the go, you can have a Foreign Friendly Taxi dispatched using the Japan Taxi app, available in English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, and Korean.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Niq Reefman - A Selection of Musical Tales (Independent - April 9 2017)

Niq Reefman - A Selection of Musical Tales
(Independent - April 9 2017)

Preorder/Buy the CD

You don't often describe someone as a Trumpet-Singer-Songwriter, but Aussie Niq Reefman is anything but ordinary. He uses jazz chords, electronics, and folky, conscious lyrics to tell stories with song. He calls himself "Instrument-fronted Contemporary Singer-Songwriter".

Based in Gosford, New South Wales, Australia, his music is hard to categorize, but easy to enjoy. Niq's voice is fluid and accomplished, with a style that veers between folk and vaudeville.

Witch Doctor is bouncy and electronic, where Close Shave uses accordion and trumpet in Niq's singular style to create something that could be musical theatre with a slight touch of Frank Zappa, without the profanity. From I Got My Mojo Back,

I am not amused at all
Last night I was God
Life can play cruel games on you
Just when you're thinking you were up on top 

I'm a good boy is most like a conventional jazzy pop song...almost. Obligation is spoken word over a sythy jazz track, punctuated by trumpet notes.

Musical comedy fuses with jazz in his live shows, where his talent for storytelling comes alive. Niq spent 2016 playing in festivals, vineyards, wine bars, restaurants, theatres, schools and homes across Australia, including a well received appearance at Granite Town Festival, where he was asked to join the closing band for a guest appearance.

It's fun collection, thoughtful, quirky, and musically diverse, to say the least.

Personnel: Niq Reefman - Trumpet, Keyboard/synth (percussion & bass included), Vocals, Accordion, Ukulele.

  1. Witchdoctor
  2. Close Shave
  3. Glue
  4. Mooshiek Man
  5. I’ve got my Mojo back
  6. I’m a Good Boy
  7. Horn of Fate
  8. Storm at Sea
  9. Obligation
  10. Fishing
  11. In Australia
Social media:

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Eclectic Pop: Captain Of The Lost Waves Hidden Gems – Chapter 1 (Brigand Broadcasting Company - March 8 2017)

Recently Released:
Captain Of The Lost Waves
Hidden Gems – Chapter 1
(Brigand Broadcasting Company - March 8, 2017)

Buy the music

Vintage Britpop, carnival or cabaret -- Captain Of The Lost Waves' sound keeps you guessing, or maybe it's all of them, all at once. Certainly, there are recognizable influences from Peter Gabriel to Jethro Tull, with a little Jacques Brel and the Beach Boys thrown into the mix.

If there is steampunk pop, then I never knew about it before. Captain Of The Lost Waves is an underground musical hero from Yorkshire, UK, who is finally getting a little exposure to the wider world. This collection of eclectic tracks seems to include songs from the last couple of years, many of them accompanied by charming animations.

Another Planet was his first single. This is the Jack Hobbs radio edit mix, animation by BAFTA award winners Fettle Animation. A modern take on music hall, using black and white animation. You can see where I mention the steampunk influence.

His live shows are unpredictable, each one unique, with audience involvement required. They're often site specific, held secretively on a who-you-know basis.

The songs include a theatrical touch, like Happy In Bed, which starts with a clock ticking and the sound of snoring. He sings of toast and wanting to stay just where he is in a melodic tenor. There's a whimsical sensibility, and a daft sense of humour. To a pleasantly Celtic-ish roots groove of acoustic guitar and penny whistle,

This is a song
Nobody wants to hear
This is a song
You'll forget long before you care to remember
This is a song
I'll tattoo across your chest
For this is a song...

As befits a release of Hidden Gems, there are four hidden tracks on the album. If you like the theatricality and storytelling, then you'll love this imaginative release.

Captain Of The Lost Waves – Voices, Bouzouki, Ukulele
Murray Grainger - Accordion, Accordina
Tony Taffinder - Mandolin, Banjo, Bodhran, Guitar, Voice
Dave Bowie Jnr – Double Bass/Bowed Bass

1. Grand national
2. Another Planet
3. Happy In Bed
4. Danger
5. Summer
6. Fat Freddy's Fingers
7. This Is A Song
8. Don't Miss What's Right In Front Of You
9. Mr Many Men


Danger on Planet Earth, there's a singer songwriter epidemic and they say it's getting worse...who can save us? None other than the bravest, boldest alien hunter in the galaxy, Mr William Theodore Ricard...

Retro Rock: New Single by Ivan Beecroft - BELIEVE (Release date: March 6 2017)

New Single:
Ivan Beecroft - BELIEVE
(Release date: March 6, 2017)

Check him out on iTunes

Indie DIY rocker Ivan Beecroft has a new single in advance of an album in the works. The new track, Believe, is a strong pop tune in a retro vein, where a liquid piano line teams up with the guitar in a straight ahead beat with echoes of classic Brit-pop.

The title might lead you to believe it's some kind of upbeat ode to self-help pop psychology, but you'd be wrong. It's more along the lines of muddling through the real world.

You just can't find the things you need
I can't believe the things I see

As a steel worker in an industry that was dying, Australian singer/songwriter/musician Ivan Beecroft found a social conscience, and a keen sense of the difficulties of getting by in the modern era. It's something that has fueled his work, along with a personal history often spiked with tragedy. He was traumatised with a close friend and bass player was severely injured in an attack while trying to defend a neighbor, and almost gave up on music. Luckily, his wife bought him a guitar a couple of years after the incident, and it reignited his musical muse.

Ivan's a multi-instrumentalist and then some. He started out playing the flute, then added saxophone, drums, and guitar in various bands. Dissatisfied with the music production that he could afford, and inspired by the independent Do-It-Yourself ethos of underground 70s UK bands such as Sex Pistols, Joy Division and The Clash, he learned how to record, mix, master and produce his own music.

The new song seems to take a slightly different direction to his 2016 full-length release, Dirty Lie. On Dirty Lie, his approach is more straight ahead electric guitar-driven rock in a classic vein. Angel is a stand out from the album, a boucy rock tune in a vintage mode.

The album delivers the goods in a number of variations, including the slowed down, acoustic feel of Summer Serenade and the rock pop fervour of Where Were You.

Personnel: Ivan Beecroft/drums, bass, guitars, piano/synths, vocals

Twitter  @ivanbeecroft_ivan

Friday, March 31, 2017

Review: Silver Lake 66 'Let Go Or Be Dragged' (Independent - August 1 2016)

Silver Lake 66 'Let Go Or Be Dragged'
(Independent - August 1st, 2016)

Buy the CD

Soulful and twang-filled, Silver Lake 66 offer a rollicking, satisfying version of Americana on Let Go Or Be Dragged, their debut release. It's just the latest point in a long and rejuvenated career.

The duo of Jeff Evbo and Maria Francis share strumming and vocal duties ably. Jeff sings Bury My Bones in Arkansas, a track with echoes of country and classic rock, and a cool slide guitar line that adds a flourish.

Maria's sweet, plaintive voice is a highlight on Magnolia, a lovely country waltz. She's got a nice sense of phrasing and melody that's easy on the ears. It's put to good use on tracks like Change Your Mind, a sweet country shuffle where her tone perfectly matches the heartbreak lyrics.

If the Devil's looking for me,
I'm not too hard to find...

Devil's Looking For Me has a real Dirty Thirties vibe to it, and the pair trade off vocals to a swingy groove. Their voices blend in some sweet harmonies on the chorus.

This is Americana played straight, with a sincere feel for the music, even if the pair obviously have fun with some of the lyrical conventions.The release was well received on the Americana circuit, getting airplay from over 50 American radio stations throughout the US, Canada and Europe. Let go or be dragged reached #24 on the Roots Music Report (a national Americana radio airplay chart) and the song “San Francisco Angel” climbed to CD #18 on the song version of the same chart. It's not hard to see why. The upbeat tune has a kicky rhythm and a forgiving message...You're just an angel who somehow wings...

The couple and duo of Jeff Overbo and Maria Francis were living in Minneapolis when they began performing and recording their material. Living in LA for nearly 10 years, their band The Ruby Trees performed regularly in area clubs. A move to Portland, Oregon put the brakes to their musical endeavours for a while, until they ran into other Americana afficionados locally. The duo returned to music under the name Silver Lake 66.

Personnel: Jeff Overbo – guitar, vocals; Maria Francis – guitar, vocals, percussion

Let go or be dragged
1. Bury My Bones in Arkansas (4:21)
2. Magnolia (4:20)
3. Change Your Mind (4:05)
4. Devil’s Looking For Me (3:35)
5. Treat Me So Fine (2:43)
6. Do You Ever (4:45)
7. Sherman County (4:58)
8. San Francisco Angel ( 3:44)
9. Don’t Have to Tell Me You’re Blue ( 3:51)
10. Price You Pay (4:23)
11. End of the Day ( 3:05)
12. Doctor (4:40)

Authentic Maritime Culture: PEI Mutual Festival of Small Halls June 11 to 24 2017

From a release:

Authentic Maritime Culture
PEI Mutual Festival of Small Halls
June 11 to 24, 2017

Check out the Halls and more

Getting a taste of real Maritime culture as you explore the bucolic countryside, beautiful beaches, luscious seafood and more...what could be better?

For 14 days in June, lap up the lush rural surroundings of Prince Edward Island in more than 40 striking community halls whilst enjoying the hottest home-grown talent live, at the PEI Mutual Festival of Small Halls, June 11 – 24, 2017.

With more than 50 performances over 14 days in June, in over 40 rural community halls, the PEI Mutual Festival of Small Halls is a critically acclaimed traditional music, storytelling and dance festival that will have your toes tapping across the Island.

Recognized as an East Coast Music Award nominee for “Event of the Year” in 2011, 2012 and 2013, and winner of the Music PEI 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013, 2016 Event of the Year and 2016 Presenter of the Year, the Festival mixes music and dance from PEI’s rich Irish, Scottish and Acadian cultures, along with the Island’s proud tradition of singer-songwriters and folk tales.

Held annually in June, the PEI Mutual Festival of Small Halls brings exceptional shows to treasured places many visitors and locals alike have not yet discovered.

Many Island performers will be returning to the small communities and rural stages where their careers began. A wonderful medley of roots, folk and traditional music will take place in cherished halls of all shapes and sizes, found down back country roads and along breathtaking coastal drives.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Contemporary Art: Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience A project by Kent Monkman Goes On Tour To 2020

From a media release:

Art Museum Launches National Tour 
of Highly Acclaimed Exhibition
Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience
A project by Kent Monkman, 
supported by Donald R. Sobey Foundation

"The year’s most talked-about art exhibit" - Maclean's 

After premiering at the Art Museum at the University of Toronto with over 23,000 visitors, Kent Monkman's Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience will begin its national tour, travelling between Canadian coasts for the next three years. Calgary’s Glenbow Museum is the first stop to welcome Monkman’s searing critique of Canada’s colonial policies in response to the Sesquicentennial of Confederation.
Kent Monkman - The Scream

As both artist and curator, Monkman includes his own paintings, drawings and sculptural works, in dialogue with historical artefacts and art works borrowed from museum and private collections from across the country. Shame and Prejudice was repeatedly described by Art Museum visitors as the show that “everyone needs to see.”

Barbara Fischer, Executive Director at the Art Museum, underlines the significance of the exhibition, which narrates a story of Canada through the lens of First Nations' resilience. “Monkman’s artistic and curatorial project puts unreconciled settler-indigenous relations front-and-center of a singularly powerful reconfiguration of the museum’s role as narrative form. Over three years in the making, Monkman’s project is a major revisioning of the way in which the relationship between settler and indigenous peoples is typically represented.”

Narrated by Monkman’s time-travelling alter ego, Miss Chief Eagle Testickle, the nine chapters of her memoirs tell of the disastrous consequences of the newcomers’ taking of the lands. Miss Chief’s journey takes her from the Fur Trade to the bitter tales of subjugation through starvation and sickness, to present-day life on the Urban Res to witness the fall-out of centuries of shame and prejudice.

A catalogue published in English, French, and Cree is forthcoming in the fall of 2017, with an introduction by Barbara Fischer and contributions from Richard Hill, Lucy Lippard, and  John Ralston Saul.

Comments from the visitors’ book
“Kent Monkman has given us a powerful and moving reality check.”
“Fantastic – this show should be on tour from coast to coast. We have so much to learn and this has so much to teach us.”

Enabled by the leading support of the Donald R. Sobey Foundation, the Art Museum partners with the Confederation Centre Art Gallery to present this major exhibition in venues across the country.
Kent Monkman - The Bears of Confederation

Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience
Canadian Tour Schedule

  • Glenbow Museum in Calgary, Alberta - June 17 – September 10, 2017
  • Agnes Etherington Art Centre - Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario - January 6 – April 8, 2018
  • Confederation Centre Art Gallery in Charlottetown,
  • Prince Edward Island - June 24 – September 15, 2018
  • Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax, Nova Scotia - October 10 – December 15, 2018
  • McCord Museum in Montréal, Québec - January 15 – February 24, 2019
  • Tom Thomson Art Gallery in Owen Sound, Ontario - Summer 2019
  • Winnipeg Art Gallery in Winnipeg, Manitoba - October 2019 – January 2020
  • Museum of Anthropology at UBC in Vancouver, British Columbia - May – October 2020

Friday, March 24, 2017

Five-star Luxury: The Rhino Resort in Portudal, Saly, Senegal

From a release:

Five-star Luxury

The Rhino Resort in Portudal, Saly,  Senegal

Make Your Reservation

A lush tropical location close to the action, top notch amenities and stellar service have made The Rhino Resort in Saly, Senegal, a popular destination for years.
The Rhino Resort in Portudal, Saly, Senegal
The Rhino Resort Hotel & Spa in Portudal has earned international recognition and awards as the best small hotel in Senegal, Africa. The name of the hotel was inspired by the rhino statue located at the front entrance. It is a beautifully detailed piece from the famous Woodcarving Museum in Chiang Mai (Thailand).

Location, location

You'll be staying in the perfect base for exploring Saly, the Senegalese Riviera, Dakar, and many other of Senegal's treasures. You can experience a half day at Brouse or Retba's pink lake on a Moto quad. With an exclusive outdoor swimming pool, hot tub and fitness room, the Rhino Resort Hotel & Spa offers luxury, comfort and style in a unique African setting.
The Rhino Resort - spa
This 5-star hotel has free Wi-Fi Internet access and spacious rooms with all the modern comforts. The Rhino Resort Hotel & Spa has hosted celebrities who enjoy the romantic and relaxing ambience and the distinctive authentic style. Luxuriate in this quiet green setting within reach of many events and activities such as big-game fishing, deep-sea diving, horse riding, sailing, golf, and even parachuting. Saly also has nightclubs, a casino and various boutiques as well as a small private airfield.
The Rhino Resort - the Rhino Room


Stylish rooms offer mosquito nets, minibars, and tea and coffeemakers, plus safes, flat-screen TVs and soaking tubs, and some add 4-poster beds and loft bedrooms. Suites have living areas, and an upgraded 2-bedroom suite features furnished terraces, a private pool and meeting rooms.
The Rhino Resort - junior suite

Attention to Detail

From the gorgeous shimmering fabric of the dresses worn by staff -- made using a local technique called basin riche -- to the room decorations, there's a meticulous attention to detail

This strange shape, curling in space at the edge of the bed, is a vine called taowan in Thailand. When this plant dries it becomes totally rigid.

Each one of the Rhino Resort’s 61 rooms is decorated with an exceptional piece of artwork, representing different African peoples. Thai artist, Yuttana Yutain, created these works using a bamboo brush and charcoal.

Facilities include a swimming pool and gym exclusively for guests, a Spa which is open to the public but free for guests, a beauty salon, boutique, and conference room. The Spa and some rooms have a Jacuzzi.
The Rhino Resort - dining room

When it comes to dining, there are two open-air restaurants, along with a stylish lounge and no less than two pool to enjoy. There's also a man-made beach with a bar.

Nearby Attractions

You'll be in an ideal location to explore the area,
The Rhino Resort - entrance

Other nearby activities & sights:

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Journey To The Origins Of Jazz And Blues - So Long Seven April 8 2017 in Toronto

From a media release:

So Long Seven - April 8, 2017
Part of the 15th Annual Small World Asian Music Series, sponsored by TD Bank.

Buy Tickets

TORONTO - In the fourth and final installment of the TD Discovery Series Special Projects, So Long Seven will premiere several new compositions as they explore the West African origins of jazz and blues on Saturday, April 8 at the Small World Music Centre.

Collaborating with master percussionist Amara Kante , So Long Seven will showcase the influence of West African music on the contemporary scene drawing on the expertise of Kante, one of the top djembe players in the world. The origin and evolution of the banjo will also be acknowledged as they explore the rich and rhythmic language of this tradition.

"The banjo is an important instrument in that it is a descendant of an instrument called the ngoni that is played in Africa," states So Long Seven's banjoist Tim Posgate. "The ngoni and other similar instruments were brought to North America by slaves to the United States where it evolved into the banjo like I play today."

So Long Seven masterfully blends genres such as jazz, classical, world and folk to create richly textured acoustic music. Influenced by bands such as Punch Brothers, Shakti, Oregon and many others, So Long Seven creates a seamless tapestry of sound through their original music. So Long Seven consists of Neil Hendry (guitar / mandolin), William Lamoureux (violin / voice), Ravi Naimpally (tabla / percussion) and Tim Posgate (banjo). Amara Kante is a master drummer known for his encyclopedic memory of rhythms and his exceptional technique on the djembe drum as well as instruments such as dununs, bara, n'tama and krin.

The TD Discovery Series Special Projects 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.

So Long Seven with special guest Amara Kante
Small World Music Centre - 180 Shaw Street
Saturday, April 8, 2017 - 8 p.m.
Tickets $15 advance

Friday, March 10, 2017

Dance: An Interview With Laurence Lemieux On James Kudelka's Love Sex & Brahms March 16-19 2017

An interview with Laurence Lemieux

Choreographer James Kudelka premieres #lovesexbrahms – the expanded version
Presented by Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie (CLC)
and featuring Evelyn Hart
March 16 – 19 2017 
at the Betty Oliphant Theatre, Toronto

Get Tix For The Show

From March 16 to 19, legendary Canadian choreographer James Kudelka will be presenting a piece that first made a splash on local stages a couple of years ago. The piece is an expansion on a shorter piece of the same name that was originally commissioned in 2015 by Andrew Barashko's Art of Time Ensemble, involving 13 of Brahms' Intermezzi for piano. The performances netted a Dora Mavor Moore Award for Best Choreography for James Kudelka and Best Lighting Design in Dance for Simon Rossiter. The new, expanded piece includes all 18 short Intermezzi, some of the last pieces for solo piano that Brahms ever wrote.
Bill Coleman, Evelyn Hart, Luke Garwood, Ryan Boorne - Image by Jeremy Mimnagh

Along with 60 year old dance icon Evelyn Hart, the work will feature ten dancers from the CLC company and live piano by Andrew Barashko. Laurence Lemieux is both dancer and choreographer, but she takes the former role in this piece. "It's a really fascinating work," she says. "It feels more lilke a play."

The music is rich and dimensional, and lends itself to interpretation. "It's actually a series of Intermezzi composed by Johannes Brahms," she explains, "like little jewels." Along with marrying contemporary dance to European classical music, the work is a dramatic one that follows intrigues and tensions in the relationships between the dancers as characters, along with Sarkis, the puppet who acts as a host. "They're like little stories, each one."

"James is a choreographer, but he's directing it more like  play." The scenes are set in a vintage, Victorian world – appropriate to the work of Brahms, after all, who lived from 1833 to 1897. It allows for some elegant costuming. "I'm approaching it as an actress."
Evelyn Hart & Tyler Gledhill - Image by Jeremy Mimnagh

What's it like to work with one of Canada's true dance legends, Evelyn Hart? "She's amazing - dedicated, passionate, smart - great to work with."

Laurence is also excited by the prospect of dancing to live music by Andrew Barashko. "He's such a beautiful pianist," she says.

The work comes in contrast to her next project, a short work she's taking to France for the commemoration of the Battle of Vimy Ridge - an outdoor work. "It's an uncontrolled environment," she says. "It's like night and day."
Andrew McCormack & Bill Coleman - Image by Jeremy Mimnagh

But first, Kudelka and Brahms.

Love, Sex & Brahms showcases costumes by Hoax Couture, lighting design by Simon Rossiter, with puppet design by Nell Coleman. An ensemble of 10 CLC company artists will be joined onstage by Evelyn Hart, including: Laurence Lemieux, Bill Coleman, Danielle Baskerville, Luke Garwood, Tyler Gledhill, Louis Laberge-Côté, Andrew McCormack, Victoria  Mehaffey, Ryan Boorne and Daniel McArthur.

Join Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie for a special pre-show, Opening Night Gala celebration on March 16 at 7pm, hosted by CLC Board Chair Stephen Delaney, with a special introduction by choreographer James Kudelka.

Rehearsal clip from the 2015 production: