8 years ago

Volume 16 Issue 9 - June 2011

  • Text
  • Jazz
  • Toronto
  • Festival
  • Concerts
  • Musical
  • Summerfestivals
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  • Trio

World. Class.ANDREW

World. Class.ANDREW TIMARJune appears to be another month chock-ablock with performancesof both seasoned world music headliners and fresh experimenters.On June 3 the Carnatic violin virtuoso L. Subramaniamperforms with his son Ambi Subramaniam at the Isabel BaderTheatre. No stranger to international audiences, L. Subramaniamcomes from a leading south Indian violin playing family. In hislong and well-recorded career he has garnered glowing testimonialsmaking of my colleague Subramaniam.” Dubbed “The Paganini ofIndian Classical music,”L. Subramaniam drawshis musical languagefrom both Karnatak andWestern classical sourcesin his concerts and in hisover 150 recordings andSeveral percussionistsand a morsing (mouthharp) player will accompanythe Subramaniams’melody.Father and son – L. andA. Subramaniam.At the other end of the spectrum of world music, the experimentalquartet Global Cities Ensemble performs at the Music Galleryon June 5. This recently formed Toronto quartet’s interculturalexperimental mission infuses hip-hop with West Asian & SouthEast Asian instruments and music, thereby exploring a new worldmusic language. Four respected musicians on the Toronto musicscene, each from a different musical background, comprise the GCEcollective. Members include the award-winning Toronto rapper andsongwriter Abdominal; the leading experimental turntablist andelectronics musician Professor Fingers; the Toronto virtuoso of thetar (long-necked Persian lute) Araz Salek, and yours truly on sulingkacapi (Sundanese zither). Withsuch a mix, expect an adventurous exploration of a new global soniclandscape.Luminato 2011 is billed as “Toronto’s 10 day festival of artsand creativity.” This year it boasts a veritable world music festivalfeaturing a large number of impressive world music acts at its newdowntown festival hub at David Pecaut Square, and elsewhere.Commissioned by Luminato, Sampradaya Dance Creationspremieres its production TAJ on Friday, June 10 at the HarbourfrontCentre’s Fleck Dance Theatre. Under the artistic direction of theaward-winning company choreographer and dancer Lata Pada,this 90-minute dance drama has a music score by Praveen Rao.Bollywood stars Kabir Bedi and Lisa Ray headline the productionthat chronicles the human drama behind the Taj Mahal, the Indianarchitectural wonder. This is among the most ambitious productionsof the Mississauga based Sampradaya Dance Creations which boastsa 20 year history marked with innovative dance creations, manyfeaturing music commissions as an essential performance element.The Luminato world music series launches at the David PecautSquare on the evening of June 11 with the Italian group Bandabardò.Formed in 1993, this Florentine folk revival band is renowned bothfor its live performances and for its popular albums. Bandabardòroots lends authority to his signature blend of rock with the folkmusic of Southern Italy. Toronto’s Dominic Mancuso, the winner ofthe 2010 Juno for World Music Album opens the evening. Mancusowho has been called the “premier Sicilian griot of these times” singssoul, and jazz.On Sunday June 12 at 2pm Homayun Sakhi, widely consideredat Luminato. The remarkable Alim Qasimov Ensemble fromAzerbaijan who follows Sakhi has been acclaimed by the Guardianas “one of the most thrilling, unashamedly emotional performerson the planet.” Alim Qasimov is the world’s leading exponent ofmugham, a sophisticated Azerbaijani performing art form combiningmusic with classical poetry. Musician friends who play Arabic andPersian music have already made plans to attend this extraordinarydouble bill concert.That same evening (June 12) the renowned Kronos Quartetheadlines an evening of string music – with an idiosyncraticworld music twist. The Grammy-winning American Kronos hasbeen active for decades developing a unique repertoire mixingclassical string quartet works and global musical languages in oneadventurous combination after another. The resulting thousandsof concerts and dozens of albums are an eloquent testament to theof the string quartet’s role in music today. Their guest is Toronto’sAnnex Quartet. They will jointly perform a typically eclectic allcontemporaryprogramme including Terry Riley’s Sunrise of thePlanetary Dream Collector, David Balakrishnan’s Skylife, FranghizAli-Zadeh’s Mugam Sayagi, and Osvaldo Golijov’s Se Me Hizo Facil.Toronto’s Sultans of String perform at Luminato with YemenBlues on June 14. The local group garnered a 2010 Juno nominationfor their infectious dance music mixing French Manouche GypsyJazz, Spanish Flamenco, Middle Eastern Folk, and throwing inhis original compositions. His nine-member group blends Yemenitesongs with blues, jazz, and funk in a dance friendly fusion ofcomplex grooves.June 16 brings an evening of contemporary bhangra to Luminato.Bhangra is the popular dance music genre originally from ruralPunjab. The Vancouver group Delhi 2 Dublin players, two bhangra percussionists and a female Bollywood-stylevocalist, presenting them in an exhilarating mash-up of Punjabibhangra, Celtic, dub reggae, and electronica. Bhangra superstarMalkit Singh and his band Golden Star follow. They have touredthe world and won international acclaim for such hits as “Jind Mahi”from the Bend It Like BeckhamContemporary Arabic music is showcased at Luminato with aspecial focus on artists from Egypt on June 18. Toronto’s MinorEmpire ensemble opens the afternoon with a mix of traditionalMiddle Eastern and Western music. The guitarist and composerOzan Boz leads Michael Occhipinti, Chris Gartner, Debashis Sinhaand other sought-after Canadian musicians. Headliner Natacha Atlasis one of the leading female voices in contemporary Arabic culture.This Anglo-Egyptian singer has collaborated with divas such asSarah Brightman and Sinead O’Connor in music that fuses electronicbeats with Arabic music. I saw Atlas perform years ago atHarbourfront and her powerful singing that afternoon still resonatesin some sonic recess of my mind. The Qanun (a zither-like instru-18 thewholenote.comJune 1 – July 7, 2011

ment) master George Sawaand his ensemble continuesthe Arabic festival at 8:00pm.Sawa has spread his expertisefrom medieval to modernArabic music to several generationsof Toronto musiciansand has performed around theworld. The Egyptian singerHakim follows on stage.Called the “Lion of Egypt” byfans, Hakim is a star of thea popular urban music genrerooted in traditional Egyptianfolk music capturing “thetumultuous essence of life onthe street.”June 19 marks the closingday Luminato festivalconcert. At 2pm Toronto’sTasa performs originalcompositions as well as arrangementsof songs fromthe Indian diaspora. Foundedin 1999 by tabla player andcomposer Ravi Naimpally,Tasa is one of our town’sNatacha Atlas.leading world music ensembles, winning an Urban Music Awardfor Best World Music Album for their debut release “Bhakti.” TheIndo-British musician, producer and composer Nitin Sawhney is thefestival’s closing act. His critically acclaimed music combines AsianSawhney has just released the album “Last Days of Meaning,” anshared memory, empathy and ultimately hope.Saturday June 25 the group Wenge Musica Maison Mere directedby Werrason plays at the Ukrainian Cultural Centre. At the beginningof the 1980s, the Congolese singer and musician Werrason wasan essential member of the innovative band “Wenge Musica 4X4Tout Terrain d’Intervention Rapide,” touring throughout Europe,Africa, and North America. Werrason’s 1999 album “Solola Bien”was accorded the Golden Record in France. The following year heperformed in Paris in front of 17,000 fans and in years since hasreleased a number of world music albums. Be prepared to dancedeep into the night: the show is advertised to last from 9pm to 2am.In closing, a word about music performances at the TorontoPublic Libraries. With 99 branches, the Toronto Public Library isthe world’s busiest urban public library system. 18 million visitorsborrow more than 32 million items each year. While the brancheshave long been information and education hubs for citizens ofall ages, recently it seems that performing arts events includingmusic have been rising to the top of the stacks. During the monthof May a spate of performances celebrated Asian Heritage Monthwith eight Asian Homelands Festival programs around town. OnJune 8 at 2:00pm at the Elizabeth Beeton Auditorium, TorontoReference Library, the Native Canadian Centre of Torontopresents Native Songs and Dance: The Importance of First NationsCulture, a programme of singing, dancing and drumming to befollowed by discussion. Free programs celebrating Portugueseand Newfoundland musical connections are scheduled at 2pm atthe Northern District Public Library at 40 Orchard View Blvd.On June 2 John Christopher and John Showman play Newfoundland,Latin and bluegrass music on guitar and violin. Mark and KenSparling perform on banjo and guitar on June 16. Finally, localPortuguese guitar masters Nuno Cristo and Alvaro Oyarce play themusic of their homeland on June 23.LUMINATOJUNE IS PRIVATE STUDIO MONTH!Staff recommendations forstudents & teachers on a budgetCheck out the Canadian-made La Patrie classical guitarselection! Solid top models starting at only 9.95Korg 88-key electric pianos starting at only 9.00For a limited time, get 30% of specially markedPrint Music and DVDsFull selection of “newer used” woodwinds &brass starting at only 9.00Student level Stentor Solid Top 4/4 Violins with deluxecase/bow starting at 9!416-593-8888415 Queen St. West Toronto, www.stevesmusic.comCanada’s Premier Celebration of World CulturesJuly 7 - 10, 2011Victoria Park, London, Ontario, CanadaMusic, Dance, Food & Crafts from Around the WorldFREE ADMISSION!More than 275 Unique ExhibitorsRed Chamber Ensemble (Canada)Hypnotic Brass Band (USA)Etran Finatawa (Niger)Over 35 Top Professional World Music & Jazz Ensembleson 5 Stages including“The WestJet Jazz” & “Le village québécois” stages& NEW this year … SUNTRONICA ’11“A Showcase of Electronic Music & Dance” 519-672-1522 www.sunfest.on.caTMAndrew Timar is a Toronto musician and music writer. Hecan be reached at 1 – July 7, 2011 19

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