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Showing posts from February, 2019

Fighting the People's War: The British and Commonwealth Armies and the Second World War by Jonathan Fennell

Fighting the People's War: The British and Commonwealth Armies and the Second World War
by Jonathan Fennell
Cambridge University Press (January 24, 2019)
Order it on Amazon

If an ill-informed or indifferent electorate is a menace to our national safety, so, too, is an Army which neither knows nor cares why it is in arms. 
The quote comes from an Army Bureau of Current Affairs (ABCA) missive dated July 21, 1941, and it sums up the core of this extensive look at the Commonwealth armies in the Second World War. Despite its academic pedigree, author and professor Dr Jonathan Fennell writes in a clear and readable prose that makes it accessible outside the ivory tower set.
Fighting the People's War is a weighty volume, part of a new series from the Cambridge University Press on the armies of the Second World War. In it, author Jonathan Fennell weaves the social history of the times to come up with a portrait of the regular soldiers of the British and Commonwealth armies, including Au…

Psychadelica:Lord Sonny the Unifier - The Starman (Independent / 8 February 2019)

New Single:
Lord Sonny the Unifier - The Starman
(Independent / 8 February 2019)
from the upcoming album Final Notice! due April 13, 2019
Stream the New Single
Pre-order the album

"The music and instrumentation that comes from this album is based on a deep love for the instrumentation, production style and spirit of the mid 60's to the late 70's when, somehow, it seemed as if the very magnetic force of the earth and her times were also directly transferred to the magnetic tape itself as well as the song's soul, a soul that seemed to BE, to exist solely, for the purpose of being a song to sing of itself and not for any other commercial or self - aggrandizing distractions."

Starman is the new single from psychadelic garage rocksters Lord Sonny The Unifier. Brooklyn-based musician and composer Gregory Jiritano began playing guitar at the age of 8, and started playing in New York City bars by age 16. When a fire struck his recording studio in 2015, he knew he had to …

Rio de Janeiro: The Perfect Place For An Active Holiday

From a media release:

Rio de Janeiro: The Perfect Place For An Active Holiday
• Find Out More About Rio de Janeiro

The city of Rio de Janeiro, with its climate and lush natural landscape, is the perfect stage for practicing outdoor sports. Whether in the sea or the mountains, locals and tourists find a welcome setting, which has already served several official competitions, including the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Check it out below.
WALKING, RUNNING AND CYCLING - Rio’s beachfront is perfect for leaving the boring health clubs behind. The paired boardwalk/cycling path is the perfect invitation for walking, running or cycling. Flamengo, Botafogo, Leme, Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon, São Conrado and Barra are some of the neighborhoods with cycling paths. At the break of dawn or at the end of the day, locals and tourists flood the tracks. On Sundays, one of the lanes of Avenida Atlântica, in Copacabana, and Vieira Souto, in Ipanema, are closed, as well as in Aterro do Flamengo. The p…

Japanese Taiko Drumming Sensation Kodo Return to Toronto March 21 2019

From a media release:

Japanese Drumming Sensation, Kodo, Presents Final Production
by Celebrated Artistic Director Tamasaburo Bando in
– One Earth Tour: Evolution –
World-renowned Japanese taiko drumming ensemble returns to Toronto with exhilarating masterpiece of percussion and performance 

Buy Tickets

Toronto, ON – Japan’s internationally acclaimed drumming phenomenon Kodo makes their highly anticipated return to the Toronto stage with One Earth Tour: Evolution, March 21, 2019 at Sony Centre for the Performing Arts. Directed by legendary Kabuki performer and Kodo Artistic Director Tamasaburo Bando, One Earth Tour: Evolution marks the 35th anniversary of the renowned drumming ensemble, and the final production with Bando at the helm. The thrilling program forges a new direction for this vibrant living art form, placing Kodo’s signature work alongside audience favourites from their latest core repertoire and new compositions specially created for this production.

The result is a rousing…

Art Pop: David Browning - Now You See Me (Independent / 14 January 2019)

Art Pop:
David Browning - Now You See Me
(Independent / 14 January 2019)
• Stream it on Spotify

Vancouver based musician David Browning teamed up with Grammy Award winning produce Ian Prince for this EP, his solo debut in the pop music world. David has the perfect voice for his brand of thoughtful and atmospheric pop - a nimble tenor range, with that slight edge of wistfulness and melancholy that matches the tone of the music.

Stay Over is danceable ear worm material, with some nice changes and unexpected chord progressions inside radio-friendly edm. He builds his songs in layers, with clever lyrics, and changes in the music that follow the words. While love and its usual vagaries are the subject, he manages to offer an unexpected angle. From Call Me When You're Single:

Remember the days in chemistry class
When our chemicals mixed and we created a blast
And the whole school was on fire...?

Always Inside takes the energy down a notch with a more mellow anthem to strings and keyboards, h…

New Music Detroit: Smoke: Music of Marc Mellits (Innova Recordings - June 22, 2018)

New Music Detroit: Smoke: Music of Marc Mellits
(Innova Recordings - June 22, 2018)
Composer: Marc Mellits
Performers: New Music Detroit; Shannon Orme; Erik Ronmark; Gina DiBello; Adrienne Ronmark; Samuel Bergman; Una O'Riordan; Gyan Riley; Vicky Chow; Ian Ding; Daniel Bauch

Buy the CD

New Music Detroit (NMD) and composer Marc Mellits are long time collaborators.Artistic Director and percussionist Ian Ding is quoted in a media release,

"Marc is one of our oldest friends and collaborators so it was only natural to feature his music on our first official album. We were especially excited to record 'Smoke', which was commissioned and premiered by NMD."

It's fresh and exciting music. Three of the compositions have never been recorded before, and in NMD, Mellits has found a good home for his idiosyncratic compositions.

In Smoke, the results are eclectic and compelling, a mix of good old Detroit groove with sophisticated rhythms and melodic patterns, fleshed out wit…

Jazz Single: Gabriel Vicéns 'Coming Back; (℗2019 Outside in Music - February 1, 2019)

Jazz Single:
Gabriel Vicéns - Coming Back
(℗2019 Outside in Music - February 1, 2019)
Stream the Single on Spotify
Check out his album Days

Jazz guitarist Gabriel Vicéns was born in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, and currently makes his home base in New York City, where he's made a career composing and playing with the likes of jazz legend Eddie Gómez, David Sánchez, Will Vinson, John Benitez, Luis Perdomo, Joe Martin, and Henry Cole, among others.

He's just released a new single on the Outside In Music label called Coming Back. Gabriel describes it as, "an expressive blend of modern jazz with Afro-Puertorican folklore."

The piece revolves around a theme played on the piano, met first with a churning percussion line, then echoed by the horns. It's melodic and expressive, with a sense of the restrained energy of the rhythm section underneath the more languid trumpet solo. The sax offers a more kinetic improvisational stretch, bouncing off the piano, and the guitar a patt…

Classical/Music for Dance Rick Baitz: Into Light (Innova Recordings - Aug 24 2018)

Classical/Music for Dance
Rick Baitz: Into Light
(Innova Recordings - Aug 24, 2018)
Composer: Rick Baitz
Performers: Joyce Hammann; Mary Rowell; Beth Meyers; Ashley Bathgate; Brian Shank; Christian Lundqvist; Jeremy Smith; Brian Shankar Adler; Rick Baitz; Ken Thomson; Jessica Meyer; Stephen Gosling

Buy the CD

American composer Rick Baitz is perhaps best known for his film scores, along with pieces for concert and dance. Into Light showcases his talent for working with varied instrumentation

Chthonic Dances was written by Baitz for violinist Mary Rowell and her quartet, known as ETHEL at the time. It's easy to imagine movement as you listen to the piece, a sonic whirlwind where rhythms criss cross each other, and harmonic and melodic patterns emerge, only to subside again in the kinetic momentum that offers many changes in mood and tone.

In a media release, Baitz credits influences he gained during his early years spent living in Brazil and South Africa. “The healing energy of dance …

British Masterworks on Display for the First Time at the Denver Art Museum - Opens March 2 2019

From a media release:

Recently Gifted Collection of British Masterworks to be on Display
for the First Time at the Denver Art Museum
Opens March 2, 2019Exhibition showcases groundbreaking new scholarship on major Tudor paintings

DENVER – Feb. 13, 2018 – The Denver Art Museum (DAM) is pleased to present Treasures of British Art: The Berger Collection, an exhibition showcasing about 60 paintings recently gifted to the museum by the Berger Collection Educational Trust (BCET) in 2018. The BCET’s gift is the largest gift of European old masters to the DAM since the museum received the Kress Collection in the 1950s. Organized by the DAM and curated by Kathleen Stuart, curator of the Berger Collection at the DAM, the exhibition will present a chronological selection of works ranging from the 1400s through the late 1800s, telling the story of Britain’s rich cultural history.

British School, Henry VIII, about 1513. Oil paint on panel, housed in its original frame; 15 x 9-3/4 in. Promised Gift of t…

#JUNOS 2019: Wesli Nominated for World Music Album of the Year

From a media release:

#JUNOS 2019:
Wesli Nominated for World Music Album of the Year
JUNO Week 2019 March 11 to 17 in London, Ontario
Stream it on Spotify

MONTREAL – Montreal-based Haitian-Canadian WESLI receives  JUNO nomination in the World Music Album of the Year Category, for his epic 21-song album RAPADOU KREYOL. Two Hearts, One Sound: Wesli’s welcoming approach to Haiti’s revered Afro-Diasporic rhythms takes tradition mainstream on Rapadou Kreyol. The album focuses on keeping the Haitian traditional music and instrumentation alive and well.

Wesli is a born entertainer who's groove machine skillfully cooks Rara, rock Afrobeat and Haitian roots into a unique blend of spicy pot-o-feu.

Since he strung his first oil-can to build a guitar, musician and songwriter Wesli has taken seemingly disparate elements and tinkered with them ingeniously until they turn into a powerful groove. Born in Port-au-Prince, tempered in West Africa and Montreal, the guitarist and songwriter takes Haitia…

Meet Jazz Guitarist/Composer Cidou Dagnon

Meet Jazz Guitarist/Composer
Cidou Dagnon
Stream his 2017 album Kwabo on Spotify
Listen on Soundcloud

Check out my talented Facebook friend Cidou Dagnon aka Placide Dagnon. A jazz guitarist, singer, and composer, he's from Benin in West Africa, and first made a name for him himself playing clubs in and around the city of Cotonou.

Cidou moved to France in the 1980s, and has had a busy career there since then. He's played with contemporary jazz greats like Lionel Loueke (Herbie Hancock) and fellow Beninese Angélique Kidjo.

From his album Kwabo:


You can catch him playing in a duo with award winning bassist/guitarist George Guy in clubs in the east of France. They play a varied repertoire of blues, jazz, reggae, various African musical genres, and zouk. Cidou often blends genres in his compositions.

He's looking to travel more and perhaps cross the pond for festivals and other venues, so you may just be able to see him on the road sometime soon.

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Old Miami Is New Again: The Biltmore Miami Coral Cables

Old Miami Is New Again:
The Biltmore Miami Coral Cables
New hotels are nothing new in Miami, where areas like Collins Avenue and the Design District seem to welcome another shiny new hotel opening on the reg. The Biltmore Miami offers a distinctly different experience, now boasting a tony $25 million renovation, a project that took about 18 months to complete in stages.
When real estate developer George Merrick arrived in what is now Coral Gables, Florida, in the early 1920s, there was nothing to see but the bounty that Mother Nature blessed Florida with. What his real estate developer's imagination saw was a Mediterranean style fantasy, a home and playground for America's newly minted wealth.

He built the Biltmore as the flagship of one of America's first planned neighbourhoods, and with its 315-foot tower, it was the first structure to grace what is now an upscale hood. It was also the tallest building in Florida at the time it was built in 1926.

The architecture was mod…