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Showing posts from 2019

SEMPRE: Ian Maksin new solo album release January 5 2020 & Tour

From a media release:

SEMPRE: a New Dimension
Ian Maksin new solo album release: January 5, 2020
Tour dates in NYC, Western Canada & San Francisco (See below)
Stream it on Spotify
Stream it on Apple Music
Tickets to all tour dates

Having toured more than one hundred cities worldwide in the last year only, Russian-born Chicago-based cellist, composer and multilingual vocalist Ian Maksin, known for pushing boundaries of the cello well beyond its known scope and blending many genres together, is coming to NYC on January 5 to present his new album of all original instrumental music for cello. The album will include 9 tracks scored for multiple cellos, some with addition of percussion.

From Ian Maksin:

SEMPRE (Italian for always or forever) - a new dimension of infinity. I heard the cello for the first time when I was five years old. I closed my eyes and instantly got transported into an entirely new dimension where there was neither time nor space. I became overwhelmed with emotio…

Experimental world music | A.D.: the server (Independent / January 3rd, 2020)

Experimental world music
A.D.: the server
(Independent / January 3rd, 2020)
Check It Out

Global experimental electronica...okay, I made that up just now. But, what to call this very interesting sound? Three songs are available already in advance of the album release January 3.

This is what the producers have to say about the album:

We are P.C., producers for the server, an experimental world music record set to be released January 3, 2020. We have virtually formed the impossible band!

For 3 years we traveled from city to city with a mobile studio and recorded musicians in each area, stitching the sessions together into a massive global psychedelic oil spill.

This album features 300+ unique recordings, from hi-end studio sessions to lo-fi street scraps. No matter the sound source, we ground it down into a symphony of trash. The server is pulled from the utopian visions of a mystic poet & artist from india named A.D.; his mission was to create a new system of communal composition, w…

Rock Single: New From The Happy Freuds

From The Happy Freuds
Anew video: Initial outtake / pre-album version. An unusually mellow and long fantastic piece of writing from Spanish award winning poet/writer Fernando Garcin. After seeing him in a small bar in Valencia, we ended up recording this a late Sunday night.

(Fernando Garcín, letra y música. 2014-2018)

Classic Northern Soul: Marva Holiday feat Joseph Chambers - To Love Somebody

Classic Northern Soul:
Marva Holiday feat Joseph Chambers - To Love Somebody
(Independent / 31 July 2015)
Stream it on Spotify
Get it on CDBaby

Singer/songwriter Marva Holiday has a message.

"One of my goals is to inspire older women," says Holiday. "I will demonstrate that it IS possible to dust off one's deferred dreams and 'go for it.' Age is nothing but a number. Making music, whether mine or that of others, energizes me. I will write and perform as long as there's an audience." 

She's dusting off a cover of the Bee Gees hit To Love Somebody that she recorded a few years ago with the help of Joe Chambers, former lead singer and songwriter of The Chambers Brothers, (probably best known for the '60s rocker 'Time'.) Joe fronts his own group in Los Angeles, The Joe Chambers Experience.

Marva's version brings the song back to its RnB roots, with a laidback groove, and the vocal lines dancing around each other, rather than the lock-…

Indie Music: Rob Alexander - Being Myself (Independent / 25 November 2019)

Indie Music:
Rob Alexander - Being Myself
(Independent / 25 November 2019)
Stream it on your favourite service

Rob Alexander is back with Being Myself, his second album of melodic pop/rock. He's got a radio-friendly sound in a classic rock mode, characterized by a big voice and lush retro pop arrangements.

He's surrounded himself with a talented band on this release, including three members of Elton John's band, and others who are current or former members of Frankie Valli's band.

The first single from the album is Never Gonna Let You Go, a song he penned when one of his closest friends passed away this past year. It's a catchy ballad with some nice sax work from Rick Keller. With an interesting melody and harmonic changes, it's a standout track on the album.

Friend of Mine (Elton's Epic) is another intriguing track with multiple layers and changes. Fed Up has an insistent groove, fueled by the play between acoustic and electric guitars and the rhythm secti…

Rencontres de Bamako Photography Biennale - Nov 30 2019 to Jan 31 2020 in Mali

From a media release:

The 12th Rencontres de Bamako
Streams of Consciousness
Bamako Encounters Photography Biennale
Various venues in Bamako, Mali
November 30, 2019 to January 31, 2020
The 12th edition of Bamako Encounters Photography Biennial will be an opportunity to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the festival. The Ministry of Culture, in partnership with the Institut Français, is pleased to produce this international event. Created in 1994, Bamako Encounters is today the principal event dedicated to contemporary photography and new imagery in Africa. Bamako Encounters is a platform for the promotion and visibility of photographers and …
Organized by the Ministry of Culture of Mali with the support of the Institut Français, Bamako Encounters is the principal event dedicated to contemporary photography and new imagery in Africa. Internationally renowned, Bamako Encounters is a platform for discoveries, exchanges, and visibility.

Sites: Musée National du Mali, Palais de la Culture – Amad…

Solo exhibition: Gravity & Grace from sculptor Glen LeMesurier Nov 28 to Dec 28 2019 in Montreal

From a media release:

Solo exhibition:
Gravity & Grace from sculptor Glen LeMesurier
November 28 to December 28, 2019
4881, Boul. St-Laurent; Tuesday-Sunday, 11am-7pm
28 November 28–December 28, 2019
Vernissage Thur. November 28, 5-10pm

Montreal, November 2019 – Lauded local sculptor Glen LeMesurier will be exhibiting his new creations in his solo exhibition, Gravity & Grace, from Thursday, November 28-December 28 at Galerie Grace, 4881 Boul. St-Laurent. The artist, an alchemist of metals, has once again played with and explored different textures and states of his favorite material. Along with current work from the past nine months, there will be many pieces from previous explorations in steel. The sculptor will be present throughout the month-long exhibition.
Here, we have gravity—parts of these works are heavy and challenge their weight against the vortices of space and time, and grace—the beauty of form, the melting of metal, and the poetry of space and time. Their presence refl…

Singer-Songwriter Danny Medakovic: The Years

Danny Medakovic
The Years
Pre-Order The CD+Songbook & Double-Vinyl Release

If you like your country/roots solid and well crafted, with layers of melody and catchy hooks, and a bonus songbook AND vinyl, Danny Medakovic's upcoming release is one that you'll want to get hold of.

Danny has built a career as a singer-songwriter whose lyrics are as down to earth as the blue collar Southern Ontario city he calls home. The project was inspired by a string of challenges and difficulties among his family and circle of friends - challenges that bring out universal emotions everyone can connect with.

There are 17 tracks on the album. King of the Jungle is a standout, a retro rocker with a country flair. There's a nicely understated organ swelling up underneath the guitar picking.

Carpe Diem is another interesting track - part country, part art rock, with a combination of acoustic and pedal guitar. Shake Hands With The Devil is a sad country ballad about Romeo Dal…

Niagara-on-the-Lake Icewine Festival - Jan 19-20 & 26-27 2019

From a media release:

Niagara-on-the-Lake Icewine Festival
Saturday to Sunday Jan 19-20, 2019
Saturday to Sunday Jan 26-27, 2019
Find Out More
Find Out About More Icewine Festival Fun Through January 2020

For two weekends in January, 2020, the Icewine Festival takes over historic Niagara-on-the-Lake, as part of the larger Niagara Icewine Festival that takes places over the whole winemaking region over the month of January.

It's a wonderful opportunity to sample great wines and food, and celebrate the season in style. Here are some of the signature events in Niagara-on-the-Lake:

January 18, 8 pm to 11 pm
An Icewine Cocktail greets you as you enter the beautiful Royal Cambridge for an exquisite evening of culinary creations and live entertainment. Prepared by Signature Kitchen Chefs, VQA wines paired with an Icewine-inspired menu will tempt your taste buds. The evening ends with a fireworks display and icewine t…

Rockabilly Duo: Framus and Betty - New Horizon (Independent 2019)

Rockabilly Duo:
Famous and Betty - New Horizon
(Independent 2019)
Check It Out

If you like your blues rootsy, straight up and unvarnished, with a dash of punk and hillbilly rock, Famous & Betty have you covered on New Horizon, their 2019 release.

Famous Framus takes his moniker from the brand of guitar he plays (the logo is tattooed on his neck). Whether it's part of the legend or not, he coaxes a range of sounds from the instrument, from a growly rhythm to jangly chords and gorgeous bell tones.

He's an idiosyncratic songwriter, blending vintage hillbilly blues with avant garde expressionism, and lyrics that take blues into the existential territory. On the drums, Betty Bomb is bombastic - the perfect foil to Famous' dramatic lyrics and tempo-bending delivery.

The tracks are short and sweet, each built around a guitar hook - natch - with variations in approach that keep it interesting. Gone Blues showcases Betty's solid work on the drum kit against a minimalist cho…

Gladstone Hotel Toronto: Fall In Love With Deals November 15 to 30 2019

From the Gladstone Hotel:
Fall in love with Toronto
Get a deal November 15 to 30, 2019
Don't we look good in fall colours? Take in our city's favourite season with a November city escape (or staycation!) in Toronto. We've put together tons of things to keep you busy this month including art exhibitions, fairs and festivals as well as our favourite places to grab a bite along the way!
Book between November 15-30 directly on our website & get 20% off, plus breakfast vouchers and a complimentary welcome cocktail to get the autumn party started.

Book Now

While you're there, check out the Toronto Biennial of Art - a new international contemporary visual arts festival hosting events as culturally connected and diverse as the city itself. Throughout the Biennial, Toronto and the GTA will be transformed by exhibitions, talks, and performances that reflect our local context while engaging with the most pressing issues of our time. In an effort to make contemporary art availab…

Review: ProArteDanza - The 9th! Makes Exciting Dance From Beethoven's Symphony

ProArteDanza - The 9th!
Fleck Dance Theatre, Toronto
November 8, 2019
Dancers: Taylor Bojanowsk, Ryan Lee, Sasha Ludavicius, Daniel McArthur, Victoria Mehaffey, Connor Mitton, Jake Poloz, Kelly Shaw.

One More Chance To See It Tonight

In casual wear costumes, with a minimalist stage set, the focus is all on the dancers as they create a fascinating tableau of movement out of Beethoven's symphony in ProArteDanza's The 9th! 
Campanella uses a very modern choreographic language to explore Beethoven's 9th Symphony, with an intriguing dramatic undertone to the movements. At times agitated or combative, searching and connecting, the dancers weave on and off-stage, in and out of patterns together and as soloists. It creates a rich fabric of movement through the four movements of the symphony.

His interpretation of the emotional Romanticism of Beethoven is thoughtful, leaving the most dramatic moment of the music as more contemplative, and playing with the ebb and flow of tensio…

Cindy Sherman At The Vancouver Art Gallery October 26 2019 to March 8 2020

From a media release:

Cindy Sherman's First Major Canadian Retrospective in Twenty Years
The Vancouver Art Gallery
October 26, 2019 to March 8, 2020
Check It Out

Vancouver, BC –  Featuring 170 works by the American artist known for her conceptual portraits, this exhibition focuses on Sherman’s manipulation of her own appearance and her deployment of material derived from a range of cultural sources, including film, advertising and fashion. Organized by the National Portrait Gallery, London, in collaboration with the Vancouver Art Gallery, it is the first retrospective of Sherman’s work in Canada in twenty years.
Cindy Sherman at the Vancouver Art Gallery showcases a selection from every major photographic series the artist has produced, from the early Untitled Film Stills of the 1970s, through to her newest Untitled #602 created in 2019, which highlights the artist’s consistent engagement with the fashion industry. Exploring the development of Sherman’s work from the beginning of he…

Reggae from Texas: Micah Shalom - New Single “Peace, Rights, Love” Is Out Now

From a media release:

Reggae from Texas:
Micah Shalom - New Single “Peace, Rights, Love” Is Out Now
Micah Shalom is proud to announce his latest single “Peace, Rights, Love” which is out now. The established artist is one of the leading Reggae outfits in Texas bringing both conscious roots and danceability to the mix.

Back in 2007 in Gainesville, FL, Micah Shalom formed a band of ska, reggae, and world musicians to play his brand of original and cover music from these genres. The Micah Shalom crew now resides in Austin TX with a cast of diverse musical backgrounds from Latin to Ska to Afrobeat to Reggae.

Backing artists such as Cedric IM Brooks and Kevin Batchelor of The Skatalites, and Grammy Award Winner Calton Coffie of Inner Circle, The Micah Shalom crew cut their teeth learning to play Jamaican reggae and ska, traveling with Calton Coffie to perform in Jamaica and playing a number of shows in the US with Cedric IM Brooks and Kevin Batchelor. Micah Shalom will be celebrating the re…

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 …

Common Sense Composers' Collective: Spark (Innova Recordings - May 10 2019)

Common Sense Composers' Collective: Spark
(Innova Recordings - May 10, 2019)
Eight quartets
Composers: Marc Mellits; Dan Becker; John Halle; Belinda Reynolds; Melissa Hui; Ed Harsh; Carolyn Yarnell; Randall Woolf
Performers: Friction Quartet

Buy The CD

The collection of tracks on Spark showcase the range of the Common Sense Composers' Collective in eight pieces for string quartet. Alongside the compositions, the Oakland-based Friction Quartet displays impressive versatility, and ability to play with both virtuosity and restraint from a strongly rhythmic foundation.

Consisting of tracks by several different contemporary composers, the CD offers a broad pallet of styles and approaches. Marc Mellits' V: Five, from his String Quartet No. 3 (Tapas) is all mood and melody, and the Friction Quartet plays with delicacy and warm tones that illuminate the emotional and musical heart of the piece.

Dan Becker's Lockdown is a kinetic ride of inexorable rhythm and harmonic changes, wit…

New Classical - Juri Seo: Respiri (Innova Recordings - May 24 2019)

New Classical
Juri Seo: Respiri
(Innova Recordings - May 24, 2019)
Composer Juri Seo: Respiri, Suite for Cello; String Quartet (Infinite Season)
Performers: Argus Quartet, Joann Whang

Buy The CD

Composer and pianist Juri Seo paints with a full palette of colours in this second release on the Innova label, spotlighting her compositions for strings. Through the affecting and evocative music, Seo explores universal notions of life, death, memory, and change.

The opening track, Respiri, is Seo's homage to the late British composer Jonathan Harvey, who was a practising Buddhist. Seo uses Harvey’s signature musical concept, which was to emulate the sound of breathing, while expanding on the idea. The music is meditative in nature, building melodically to a peaceful release from life.

The Argus Quartet plays with a wonderful sense of expression and superb phrasing. After a two-year collaboration with Seo, they clearly understand and are fully immersed in her music. While not traditional in…

Jazz CD Release: Dan Pitt Trio - Fundamentally Flawed (Independent / October 18, 2019)

Jazz CD Release:
Dan Pitt Trio - Fundamentally Flawed
(Independent / October 18, 2019)
• Check Out The Album Release Party October 21 2019 in Toronto
Pre-order/Order the CD on Bandcamp

Toronto guitarist/composer/improviser Dan Pitt is a relatively new player in the city's jazz scene, and he's making his mark with his first release, Fatally Flawed. Bassist Alex Fournier and drummer Nick Fraser round out the trio.

Pitt is an inventive composer who uses tone and colour to paint soundscapes in various moods and modes. Balmoral is a contemplative piece that meanders in and out of conventional melody, the shimmer of cymbals or deliberate brush strokes, like inexorable steps, leading through the moody sound of both guitar and bowed bass.

Fundamentally Flawed, the title track, is an intriguing blend of avant garde and groove, with multiple changes, and a whiff of prog rock in the mix. It builds on a simple theme to a ferocious and intense finish.

The trio is a versatile format in Pit&#…

Review: Alfre Woodard Gives Performance Of Her Career In Clemency

Review: Clemency
Starring Alfre Woodard
Director, screenplay Chinonye Chukwu
Cast: Alfre Woodard, Richard Schiff, Aldis Hodge, Wendell Pierce, Richard Gunn, Danielle Brook
Opens December 27, 2019

Alfre Woodard gives the performance of her career in Clemency, a film that unflinchingly portrays the human misery at the heart of the prison system, and particularly, of death row. She is entirely convincing as the prison matron whose uber efficient professional exterior hides growing fissures in her emotional life. The film won a Grand Jury Prize at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, and it's easy to see why.
We meet Warden Bernadine Williams as she prepares to preside over an execution. She is deftly professional with family members, even as the chants of protesters swell outside her window. We see the gross spectacle of executions, the horror that goes on behind closed doors.

Director Chinonye Chukwu rightly focuses a lot of camera time on Alfre and her face - the mask of professionalism, …

The Worlds 50 Most Beautiful Cities© 2019

With material from a media release:

The Worlds 50 Most Beautiful Cities© 2019
Chosen by 1000 of the world’s top travel professionals...including me

Check Out The Whole List
• Search for cheap flights, vacation packages, hotels & more on FlightNetwork

Ask any urbanite in the world, and they will probably tell you their city is the best. So, Flight Network set out to name the World’s Best Cities© by asking the experts — a 1000+ Travel Writers, Travel Bloggers and Travel Agencies from all around the globe, who have seen and experienced the best the planet has to offer. I was one of the travel writer/bloggers on that list.

This extensive collaboration produced the most thoughtful and definitive list of the World’s Best Cities — a guide that will inspire travellers not only in 2019 but for years to come.

So grab your passport, because we’re taking you from fairytale-like pink city of Jaipur to the Game of Thrones backdrop of Dubrovnik and over to the modern metropolis of Dubai. This unp…

Interview: Da'Vine Joy Randolph Dolemite Is My Name

Da'Vine Joy Randolph
Dolemite Is My Name
Catch it in movie cinemas October 4, 2019
Stream it on Netflix October 25, 2019
As we meet Eddie Murphy's take on blaxploitation legend Rudy Ray Moore in Dolemite Is My Name, he's on the downside of his prime. He's middle-aged, selling records instead of making them, and creeping toward the edge of desperation. Still, the laughs and a relentless optimismn about what can still be hold him together. He's the has been who refuses to be a has been.
Murphy's portrayal is spot on, and certainly one of the best performances of his career, if not the best. With its over the top 1970s visual sensibilities - all neon colours, platform heels, sequins and feathers - set against the streets of seedy old Hollywood, it would be easy for this film to slide into period parody. Muphy is the story's solid heart, as the man who can seemingly pull success out of less than ashes.

The movie got its world prmeiere at the Toronto Int…