Skip to main content

Ruth Mathiang at the Gladstone Hotel

Ruth Mathiang
at the Gladstone Hotel (Toronto)
April 2

A big set of pipes are tucked into the petite frame of Ruth Mathiang, who filled the crowded Melody Bar at the Gladstone last night with her expressive voice. She's an assured performer and obviously at home on stage as she went through sets that blended her own songs with a few covers.

Backing her up was a solid trio of Waleed Abdulhamid - who I keep seeing with band after band in this city - on guitar, Derek Thorne on percussion and Charles James on bass - the kind of musicians who can create the polyrhythms and multiple harmonies necessary to Mathiang's moveable music without breaking a sweat.

From Sisi, by Ruth Mathiang:

Sisi
Sisi watoto wa kesho
wasichana wavulana wa kesho
wa baba na wa mama wa kesho
Sisi watoto wa kesho

English Translation

We
We are the children of tomorrow

women and men of tomorrow

mothers and fathers of tomorrow

we are the children of tomorrow

Ruth's story is quite a dramatic one. Born in southern Sudan during the civil war, her pastor father often found himself at odds with the ruling powers, and was imprisoned for his political beliefs. He eventually found employment in Kenya and secretly moved his family of 9 children there. Ruth grew up in refugee camps in Kenya, where she began her musical career. Both parents were gospel musicians, and in Kenya she was also influenced by jazz, hip hop and reggae, along with traditional forms of African music - threads you hear intertwined in her work. She began writing her own pieces and performed at cultural events while in Kenya, and she lists Miriam Makeba, Bob Marley, Tracy Chapman, Ben Harper and Nina Simone as her influences. She sings in English, Spanish, Arabic and Kiswahili.

When it came time for higher education, opportunities were few until she became part of a student refugee programme that brought her to Canada to study at the University of Prince Edward Island. True to her roots and interests, she studied political science and women's studies, underlying the themes of social justice that run through her songs.

It was a relaxed show, with some extended solos and jams, and an easygoing flow. You can check her out in action from a few years ago here.

First image by John Leeson of to-music.ca.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Film News - imagineNATIVE Embargo Collective at the Berlin Film Fest

Hot Off the Presses:
(and gosh, doesn't that expression sound quaint these days?)

imagineNATIVE’s EMBARGO COLLECTIVE
to have its European Premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival 2010
(Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin 11.-21.02.10)

(Toronto, February 3rd, 2010) The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival is pleased to announce the official selection of the festival’s Embargo Collective programme for the Forum Expanded section of this year’s Berlin International Film Festival. This programme of works was commissioned by the imagineNATIVE festival for its 10th anniversary and will have its European premiere Monday, February 15th, 8.30pm at Cinema Arsenal 2 and a repeat screening Wednesday, February 17th, 4pm at CinemaxX 6.

Curated by imagineNATIVE’s Artistic Director Danis Goulet, the Embargo Collective is an international group of seven Indigenous artists at the forefront of the changing global landscape of Indigenous cinema. Inspired by Lars von Trier’s The Five Obstructi…

Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company Spring 2013 Toronto Performances

From a media release:

The new season brings
Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company
to new heights and new audiences

March 20-24, 2013 - A Night in Madrid
April 25-28, 2013 - Annual Toronto Season - World Premiere of Portales

TORONTO : Following on the heels of Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company's (EESDC) 30th anniversary year where its production Aguas/Waters was named one of the top five dance shows of 2012 by NOW Magazine, the early months of 2013 are full of excitement and possibility for Esmeralda and the company, which brings the finest flamenco and Spanish Classical Dance to Toronto stages.

March 20-24, 2013 - A Night in Madrid
Company dancers Esmeralda Enrique and Paloma Cortés perform Spanish Classical dance with the celebrated Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir for A Night in Madrid featuring the Iberian flavoured music of composer Luigi Boccherini who made his home in Spain. His work is infused with the sounds of Spanish and gypsy folk music.

March 20-24 …

Guitar Rock | Happy Freuds - Echo Of Sounds Independent: May 31, 2019

Guitar Rock
Happy Freuds - Echo Of Sounds
Independent: May 31, 2019
Stream/Buy on Bandcamp
Stream it on Spotify

With tight musicians and intriguing lyrics, Happy Freuds delivers high energy guitar rock with stylistic flair on Echo Of Sounds, their debut release. Produced with a minimum of overdubs or fixes, the album consists of a mix of original material, rearrangements of works from others and selected, less known, classic rock.

A kinetic rhythm section is the bones of the music, offering interesting patterns that augment sometimes unexpected harmonic changes. It's brainy rock, in other words, meant for music lovers who can appreciate the quality. Teo's vocals are raspy and expressive, growly when necessary - perfect for the musical mode. Teo also covers lead guitar, adapt at ear worm leads, with a tone that can be clean or dirty as required

Their sound ranges from straight up hard rock in tracks like The Mountain to the pop-flavoured acoustic Background Noise and folky To …