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Volume 17 Issue 8 - May 2012

  • Text
  • Choir
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
  • Choral
  • Musical
  • Singers
  • Theatre
  • Concerts
  • Symphony
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SinfoniaTorontoMasterpiece SeriesGLENN GOULD STUDIO250 Front St. WestNURHAN ARMAN ad sr stMUSIC DIRECTOR416-872-4255Toronto’s Chamber Orchestra sinfoniatoronto.comMay 11, 2012 8 pmGlenn Gould StudioBEETHOVENANYA ALEXEYEV PianistTEEHAN Lament for Lost HopeBEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 4DVORAK Quintet op. 772012 - 2013Cellist Narek HakhnazaryanFirst Prize winner at theTchaikovsky Competition opensA Season of StarsPianists ANGELA CHENGDMITRI LEVKOVICHBORODIN QUARTETViolinist ALEXANDRE DA COSTAViolist RIVKA GOLANIClarinetist JULIAN MILKISand moreSpectacular concerts inGlenn Gould Studio andGeorge Weston Recital Hallsinfoniatoronto.com or call 416-499-0403The sad news that Billy Bryans, musician and champion ofworld music in Toronto, has died too early at 63 reached meas I was writing this month’s column. Suddenly, his passingat the Kensington Hospice in Toronto seems to mark the end ofa chapter in the evolution of the Canadian “world music scene.”This ever-expanding, ever-evolving basket of often vague and variouslylabeled commercial categories comprises mostly previouslyunconnected music genres. By those who like genres with capitalletters, they have been diversely dubbed Folk, Ethnic, Traditional,Worldbeat, World Music, Global, Roots, Alternative World, Local,and Diaspora.Billy Bryans’ four-decade career successfullyconnected with many facets ofthe Canadian popular and world musicbusiness. But it also reflects the evolutionof musical diversity in Toronto andthe hybrid processes at work in our nation’smulticultural musical landscape.The health of thecurrent worldmusic scene inturn owes muchto the dedicationof gifted artistssuch as Bryans,widely known tolocal musiciansas Billy.Beat by Beat | World ViewWorld Championandrew tIMARBilly Bryans.Above, ParachuteClub in 2008.Billy first came to my attention in the 1970s as a drummer activeon Toronto’s Queen Street scene with groups such as the new wavepunk, the Government. A few years later he co-founded, withLorraine Segato, the four-time JUNO winning pop group theParachute Club. He also made his mark as producer, working fora time at Daniel Lanois’ Grant Avenue Studios in Hamilton. Hisproduction credits include the Downchild Blues Band, the rockabillyBop Cats, jazz revivalists the Original Sloth Band, and Raffi.But it’s Billy’s career as a world music drummer, producer andpromoter, to which he segued over the last two decades, that mosttouch us here at World View. The Globe and Mail was not alone incalling him a “world music pioneer.” What is clear is that he broughtto bear his considerable musical passion, driving drumming grooves,and production and promotional savvy to Toronto’s emerging globalmusic scene. Many acts including the South African jive groupSiyakha used him as their drummer.Billy produced several significant albums in the genre includingthe prescient 1992 CD The Gathering, a song compilation ofToronto-based musicians from a variety of cultures that won thefirst JUNO Award in the “Worldbeat” category. (The category wasrenamed “Global” and changed yet again in 2002 to “World Music”).His CDs for the Shego Band, Diego Marulanda, AfroNubians, andPunjabi by Nature helped set the bar for the genre. Both of hisproductions for reggae dub poet Lillian Allen won JUNOs. In 1994,Billy saw a chance to connect directly with international artists andthe emerging industry. He traveled to Berlin to be among the fewNorth Americans to attend the first world music expo, WOMEX,which has since become “the principal market for world music” (LeMonde). He also established Mundial Music, Canada’s first worldmusic record “pool” for journalists and radio DJs.Long a fan of African-American and African musics, Billy grewto love Latin music in its many incarnations. In the last decade hetook to the dance floor to polish his salsa moves (especially Cubanrueda de casino) as well as spinning Cuban dance tracks for clubmisterbrYANS.cOM, PARACHUte CLUB: SOPHie GIRAUD20 thewholenote.com May 1 – June 7, 2012

goers as a popular Toronto DJ. When the Lula Lounge opened itsdoors at Dufferin and Dundas as a live music dancehall showcasingToronto’s growing Latin music scene, Billy was there, directlyengaged. And the feeling was mutual. When his health faltered,his musician friends and fans rallied. Lula held a recent benefit“Rumbon Para Billy Bryans” to raise funds for his palliativecare on April 19, 2012, featuring an all-star cast including JaneBunnett, Alex Cuba, Son Ache and Samba Squad.The use of the term “world” when referring to a kind of musicor a musician has a contested history. It often seems a strained,an incorrectly placed, or even a derogatory tag. When usedto describe the whole of Billy’s career however, embracing asmany musical genres as he did, “World Musician,” in capitals,feels right.LULAWORLD 2012 concertsAnother Canadian pioneer, Alexander Graham Bell, is reputed tohave written, “When one door closes another opens; but we sooften look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, thatwe do not see the ones which open for us.” Itseems hardly possiblethat the Lula Loungeis a decade old, yet here it is celebrating thisremarkable anniversary during May with a series of concerts,looking forward all the way.Originally a Latin dance club, in the ten years it has been openthis venue has broadened its mandate, distinguishing itself as a homefor world music of many persuasions. Now called the Lula Musicand Arts Centre, it is programming a series of collaborative concertscalled LULAWORLD 2012, bringing together artists from aroundthe globe. Here are just a few highlights.The series kicks off May 9, in collaboration with Small WorldMusic, with the celebrated local Autorickshaw shaking up contemporaryjazz, funk and the classical and popular music of India into abubbly brew. In keeping with LULAWORLD’s theme Autorickshaw(Suba Sankaran, voice; Justin Abedin, guitars; Collin Barrett, bass;Dylan Bell, keys; Ed Hanley, table; Ben Riley, drum kit) has invited illustriouslocal guests including jazz specialists pianist Gordon Sheard,bassist George Koller and mallet percussion maestro Mark Duggan.On May 11, Café Con Pan, Toronto’s exponents of son jarocho,the traditional music of Veracruz, Mexico, mix it up with guestsLa Marisoul (LA) plus musicians from Canada, Mexico, Chileand Iran. The concert will also launch Nuevos Caminos a Santiago(New Roads to Santiago) their “genre defying” second CD. In thesecond set this evening Lady Son y Articulo Viente hosts Montreal’stropical urban scenester Boogat in what is billed as a “hip hop soncubano mashup!” Canadian born and raised Yeti Ajasin, aka LadySon, is the lead vocalist/director of the Latin fusion band ArtículoVeinte. It sounds like dancing is required.Two outstanding, award-winning local ensembles join forcesMay 16: the classical Gryphon Trio and the Afro-Cuban and Latinjazz specialists, Hilario Durán Trio. They will perform “Cuban,Brazilian, Sicilian and Argentine charts” celebrating music that hasresounded at Lula.You can find moreLULAWORLD 2012 concertslisted in The WholeNote’s “Inthe Clubs” section.WORLD MUSIC PICksThis is one of those monthswhere no amount of spaceseems enough to cover themyriad concerts of interestin the GTA. I have selected afew to highlight and apologizefor having to leave out somany others.Yoga and music have longbeen intimately linked. OnFriday, May 4, 8pm at theCasa Loma campus of theGeorge Brown University, theLeft, Café Con Pan. Institute of Classical Yoga andAbove, Lady Son. Therapy presents “Music inharmony with Yoga,” a freeHindustani classical vocal concert featuring RamneekSingh. Ms Singh will be accompanied by an esraj playerand by Yashodhan Navathe on tabla.May 5 the Aradia Ensemble hosts Toronto’s leadingGeorgian choir Darbazi in a fascinating concert contrastingthe two groups’ choral approaches at the GlennGould Studio. Titled “The Grain of the Voice,” theconcert features two new works by Andrew Agar andKevin Mallon which will unite these two very differentvocal “grains.” Aradia’s Kevin Mallon, conducts.Another concert that marries Western and Eastern(here specifically Southeast Asian) classical musicforms will be presented at the Glenn Gould Studioon May 22. The Evergreen Club ContemporaryGamelan an eight-member pioneering world music ensemble, ofwhich I’ve been a member for some 29 years, is playing host to theBozzini String Quartet, Montreal’s contemporary and experimentalmusic specialists. The two groups will present five commissionedworks by leading Canadian composers for their joint forces, repertoirethey performed recently at a well-received Montreal concert.Back firmly on our musical native land, on May 10 the MétisFiddler Quartet launches its debut CD, North West Voyage NordOuest at the Lakeside Terrace, Harbourfront Centre. Currentlybased in Toronto, the four youthful sibling members of the quartet,Alyssa (viola), Conlin (guitar), Nicholas (violin) and Danton (cello)Delbaere-Sawchuk were born into a Métis family in Winnipeg. Theirprogram highlights arrangements of originally rural Canadian Métisand Native fiddle music that they learned directly from the greatestliving masters, and that the Métis Fiddler Quartet is eager to sharewith urban Canadians.Finally, on June 1 at Koerner Hall, the Royal Conservatory presentsSimon Shaheen on oud and violin in a concert fusing Arabic,jazz and Western classical music. Shaheen has been hailed as one ofthe most significant Arab musicians and composers of his generation.Based in New York, his two bands Qantara and the Near EasternMusic Ensemble tour internationally. Moreover, he has receivednumerous awards for his performing and educational contributions,including the National Heritage Award he received at the WhiteHouse. His album Blue Flame has been nominated for an impressive11 Grammy Awards.Andrew Timar is a Toronto musician and music writer.He can be contacted at worldmusic@thewholenote.com.ROger HUMBertMay 1 – June 7, 2012thewholenote.com 21

Volume 26 (2020- )

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