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The Interviews


As the years click by, one of the things that becomes obvious when you're producing a blog is that old posts tend to get buried, often quickly. Since interviews are one of the most popular posts in general, and the ones that people will often look at over time, and since they represent my original work (as opposed to media releases) I decided to gather them together here, organized by the discipline of the interviewee.

• You'll find other recent interview pieces on
Interviews and other arts pieces at Okayafrica
• You can also check out my archive at the now defunct Sway Magazine, where I freelanced from 2011 till they folded in 2012, including concert & gallery show reviews and interview pieces.


Thomas Mapfumo 2011 copyright Anya Wassenberg
Thomas Mapfumo, 2011 (copyright Anya Wassenberg)

Patric Caird
• Michelle MacQueen writes about The Tragically Hip
• The Heavyweights Brass Band
Madagascar Slim
Thomas Mapfumo (my pic of him to the right)
Hugh Masekela
Oliver Mtukudzi
Nadine McNulty of Batuki Music
Tunde Olaniran
Uncle Jonny
Dave West & Waleed Abdulhamid


Soulful Messiah by Christopher Cushman
Soulful Messiah by Christopher Cushman

Ilter Ibrahimoff
Sasha Ivanochko
Luke Garwood
• Laurence Lemieux
Christopher Cushman (one of his images of Ballet Creole's Soulful Messiah to the right)
Jasmyn Fyffe
Rex Harrington (not my interview, but I was there...)
Charmaine Headley
Jeff Melanson of the National Ballet School
Tiffany Mosher of the National Ballet
Kevin A. Ormsby


Fela on Broadway

Director Mitchell Cushman 
Blyth Festival Artistic Director Gil Garratt
Hettie Vyrine Barnhill (pictured in Tony Award winning Fela! on Broadway, 2011 - above)
John Hastings
Mumbi Tindyebwa Otu
Heather Ruffo
Kwame Stephens
Jenny Young


Katie Boland
Katie Boland

Da'Vine Joy Randolph
Andrew Renzi
#tiff18 review/interview: Freedom Fields, Directed by Naziha Arebi
Ian Harnarine
Allen Altman
Tetchana Bellange
Wang Bing
Katie Boland (pictured here because her pictures get soooo many pageviews!)
Emily Hampshire
Sandy Jobin-Bevans
Athena Karkanis
Paul Laverty (and I won't even pretend that I don't like to blow my own horn... the New York Times online review of Even the Rain/Tambien la Lluvia has a link to this interview)
Liz Marshall (about her documentary Water on the Table, a portrait of Maude Barlow)
Dorothée Van Den Berghe & Matthias Schoenaerts
Andrucha Waddington

Fashion & Visual Arts

Design by Baby Steinberg
Design by Baby Steinberg

Christopher Cushman
Rafael Goldchain
Ed Ou
• Jane Seymour - the painter
Baby Steinberg (one of her designs pictured)
Hugh Wilson
Gathinja Yamokoski


Brad Bathgate
Brad Bathgate

Food, Travel & Connections: A Sourdough Story, An interview with scholar Arianna Sikorski
Brad Bathgate (pictured)

What Else Is Hot This Week?

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 …

Polina Semionova to Appear as Guest Artist with American Ballet Theatre

From a media release:


New York - Polina Semionova, a principal dancer with Berlin State Opera Ballet, will debut as a Guest Artist with American Ballet Theatre for the 2011 Metropolitan Opera House season, it was announced January 14, 2011 by Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie. With ABT, Semionova will perform Kitri in Don Quixote at the matinee on Saturday, May 21, opposite David Hallberg as Basilio, and the dual role of Odette/Odile in Swan Lake on Saturday evening, July 2, opposite Hallberg as Prince Siegfried.

Born in Moscow, Semionova studied at the Bolshoi Ballet School before joining the Berlin State Opera Ballet as the company’s youngest principal dancer. Her repertoire with Berlin State Opera Ballet includes Odette-Odile in Swan Lake, Nikiya in La Bayadère, Marie in The Nutcracker, Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Swanilda in Coppélia, Kitri in Don Quixo…

Lithuanian Rock: Robertas Semeniukas - Backstage Stories (Independent / November 20, 2019)

Robertas Semeniukas - Backstage Stories
(Independent / November 20, 2019)
Stream it on Spotify
The Album "Backstage Stories" 2xLP & CD

Robertas Semeniukas is a great find if you like your rock with a hard edge and a strong groove. Naturally, guitar reigns supreme, with a sound that ranges from snarly to fluid and melodic, and virtuosic chops to keep everything interesting. You don't have to understand Lithuanian to enjoy the well-crafted songs and polished musicianship.

Of the 20 tracks, 8 are instrumental. This is rock in what you'd call a classic vein, heavily influenced by 1980s and 1990s bands, but with a modern gloss to it, and a sense of musical experimentation that isn't often associated with that era in Western pop music. Robertas wrote or co-wrote all the tracks except for one cover, the blues composition You Gotta Move by Mississippi Fred McDowell.

Within the rock/metal genre, the prolific composer, singer and musician mines a variety of moods. So…

So You Can't Go: Six Ways To Travel Virtually

So You Can't Go:
Six Ways To Travel VirtuallyTravel is limited for most of us in the world these days. For Canadians, it depends on the province you live in, but with the border to the US still closed, and other options limited at best, virtual travel from the couch can provide at least a view with a difference at a time when you may well need it most. Google Cardboard – VR On A BudgetYou don't need a lot of cash to get into travel via virtual reality. Google Cardboard is a line of VR viewers that are, well, made of cardboard, and are priced starting at $12CAD.If you check out this link, you'll find out how to download the software to your smartphone.At this link, you can get yourself an actual Google Cardboard for a hands-free VR experience. Google Cardboard apps offer a variety of ways to experience our beautiful planet, including Google Earth itself, which can take you anywhere, along with apps to view museums and cultural artifacts, and more.Ascape VRAscape has a huge l…

Blues/Rock: The Cole Patenaude Band - Are You Happy Now? (Independent / 24 July 2020)

The Cole Patenaude Band - Are You Happy Now?
(Independent / 24 July 2020) Buy the CD Big vocals and infectious grooves make up this release from The Cole Patenaude Band. It's modern blues with a classic sensibility, anchored by solid musicianship and upbeat songwriting. 
Keyboard player Dean Thiessen and Patenaude on guitar trade off solos and melodic lines to keep it interesting through a range of bluesy style, incorporating rock and country, with a pop song sheen on songs like For the Money. Would You Be Mine is more Elvis-esque rockabilly, while How To Love is an acoustic song with folky storytelling lyrics and feel. 
Compromise is a standout track, with a snarly guitar line and a churchy organ swelling underneath a nice bluesy beat. Horns aren't credited in the notes, but I swear I heard some on this and a couple of the other tracks. 
As a husband, father, and full-time mechanic based in Langley, British Columbia, finding the time to make his music was a challenge…