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Volume 18 Issue 9 - June/July/August 2013

  • Text
  • Festival
  • August
  • Jazz
  • Toronto
  • Concerts
  • September
  • Festivals
  • Flute
  • Arts
  • Quartet


Saturday, June 15 the “Reggae Around the World” concert includes thesix-member pioneering Beijing group Long Shen Dao making theirNorth American debut. Their name — a clumsy English translation is“The Way [Tao] of the Dragon God” — reflects the group’s statement thatwhile they are “not Rastafarians, reggae music, like a warm breeze, isaccessible to people no matter where in the world they come from.”Musically, the band combines rock, ska, reggae, hip hop and otherpopular music genres along with Chinese instruments like the zheng(plucked zither). “One World,” indeed.The next day, June 16, two outstanding performers energize the Hubstage. The Tuareg guitarist Omara “Bombino” Moctar of Niger hasgarnered international acclaim for performances of his songs, whoselyrics often carry a message dedicated to peaceful coexistence in hiswar-torn homeland. Musically, Bombino marries rock — he’s a bigHendrix fan — and the tende music of the Nigerian nomads. Amadouand Mariam follow on stage. The couple’s infectious blend of Maliansongs has since the 1990s added intercultural instrumentation tocreate a style dubbed “Afro-blues.”That same evening the stage will be set for DakhaBrakha. Meaning“give and take” in old Ukrainian, the Kyiv-based quartet has invented asurprising genre of world music. While perhaps only indirectly linkedto the Toronto-Ukrainian urban folk revivalist scene I explored in myMay 2013 column, it certainly shares the same spirit. Founded in 2004by avant-garde theatre director Vladyslav Troitskyi, DakhaBrakhabegan singing old Ukrainian village music but then added Russian,African, Indian, Arabic and Australian instrumentation to the mix.Calling the result “ethno-chaos,” their exciting transnational soundmakes its North American debut at Luminato. In a bit of inspiredprogramming, since the two have so many interesting points of intersectionas well as divergence, DakhaBrakha opens for the “queen ofperformance art music” Laurie Anderson. I have a personal sweet spotfor Anderson’s work: in the mid-70s I was hired to play bassoon in herband at the Art Gallery of Ontario.June 20, the a cappella quintet H’Sao entertains the Hub audience.Originally from Chad, the five-voice group moved to Montreal in 2001.From that home base they continue to develop and internationallytour their taut, richly textured and rhythmically vibrant choral sound.June 23 at 2pm, Luminato-goers are in for a rare treat: garifunamusic indigenous to the tiny Central American nation of Belizeperformed by the eight members of the Garifuna Collective. IvanDuran leads his group singing and playing a style of vivid drum,shaker and guitar-based Afro-Amerindian dance music making itsCanadian debut at the festival. The Kitchener native singer-songwriterDanny Michel joins the Garifuna Collective in the next set. Togetherthey perform songs from his 11-album career.Harbourfront Centre Festivals: Long before Luminato lit upoutdoor Toronto venues, the Harbourfront Centre’s summer musiccentricfestivals animated the waterfront. Under the banner “TheWorld in One Place,” each summer audiences by the thousandswitness emerging as well as leading world music acts with a differentethnic or national theme each weekend. Harbourfront Centre’s worldmusic programming is divided among two locations: the main 10-acremultiple-venue site and the Toronto Music Garden further to the westalong Queens Quay.Toronto Music Garden: The Music Garden presents a series offree concerts most Thursdays and Sundays all summer long calledSummer Music in the Garden. My first pick, on July 21, is titled “SendMe a Rose,” featuring music from China, the Middle East and Europeperformed by the Lute Legends Ensemble. Three international representativesof the lute comprise the ensemble: lutenist Lucas Harris,Wen Zhao on pipa and oud master Bassam Bishara.July 25, make a date for “Evening Ragas by the Water.” Sarangimaestra Aruna Narayan is joined by Vineet Viyas on tabla and AkshayKalle, tanpura. The sarangi, a North Indian bowed many-string instrument,is renowned for its ability to represent the nuances of thehuman singing voice. In Narayan’s masterful hands we will hear itsing with emotional depth and virtuosity.August 8 visit “A Taiko Tale of Two Cities” performed by the NagataShachu ensemble, one of Toronto’s favourite Japanese drumming andflute groups. Montreal’s Constantinople Ensemble performs musicwith a transcontinental scope — from the African Mandingo kingdomto the Persian court — on strings and voices August 11. And deep inthe heart of August (on the 18th), Swamperella, Toronto’s preeminentFranco-American hybrid Cajun music tribute band turns the MusicGarden into “Cajun in the Cattails.”Harbourfront Centre: There’s a themed Harbourfront festival everysummer weekend. I only have space for a few selected picks, so againbest refer to the listings.July 1, the summer at the always-crowded (in a good way)Harbourfront Centre kicks off with the “Canada Day WeekendCelebrations.” As usual, world music is represented. This year themultiple award-winning Cuban-Canadian singer-songwriter AlexCuba, with his fusion of funk, jazz and Latin pop, is among theWestJet Stage headliners.July 5, the Lula All Stars presents a concert of salsa, followed byChico Trujillo with his trademark cumbia punk music. July 6, the hotLatin Grammy award-winning Mexican group 3Ball MTY performssongs in musical genres variously labelled Latin house, tribal-guaracheroand electronic cumbia.July 19, 20 and 21, the three-day Tirgan Festival celebrates Toronto’sincreasing connection to the visual arts, food, crafts, dance and musicof Iran. The recently formed London, England-based group Ajam is theweekend’s featured musical ensemble, describing its style as “IranianRoots Music.”July 26 and 27, the auspicioussounds of the JaipurKawa Brass Band fromRajasthan, performingmusic from Bollywood andregional folk traditions, willresound at the WestJet Stage.A must-have at regionalweddings, they’re a mustseefor Harbourfront visitors.Jaipur Kawa Brass Band.Afrofest at 25: Afrofest, Toronto’s biggest African festival, is celebratinga significant anniversary: its 25th. On June 12 the festivallaunches at the Gladstone Hotel ballroom co-presented by MusicAfrica and NXNE. Outstanding bands including Njacko Backo(Cameroon), Madagascar Slim (Madagascar), Tich Maredza Band(Zimbabwe), Foly Asiko (Nigeria) and Midnight Trinity (Botswana) willperform. Then on July 6 and 7 various music and dance groups andtheir respective African communities will be out in force in the greensurroundings of Woodbine Park. There the real outdoor musical magictakes place in its appropriate milieu, among the food and craft stallsand the arts of Africa.City Hall Square Concert Series:Some Quick PicksThe City of Toronto presents a concert series Thursdays during July andAugust at Nathan Phillips Square starting at 12:30pm. Called “TastyThursdays,” in homage to the international dishes for sale, the seriesdelivers on its motto “celebrating the world in Toronto” by presentingconcerts with a global musical flavour.!!July 11, the NYC band Matuto steps onto the stage with its startlingmix of Brazilian forró and Appalachian bluegrass. Montreal’sBombolessé merges Portuguese, French and Spanish lyrics with anequally syncretic selection of musical genres into a festive dance-forwardperformance on July 25. On paper the group reads much likeurban Canada sounds these days.!!August 15, the Ghanaian-Canadian urban folk, pop, rap and soulmaestro Kae Sun will touch the assembled with his poetic observationsof the human condition. Finally, on August 22, the Lemon BucketOrkestra, Toronto’s often zany tribute to Ukrainian, Balkan, gypsyparty and klezmer music, rocks the City Hall square.Signing off for the summer, I wish all readers a relaxing andre-energizing summer full of music. Thanks for reading andlistening.Andrew Timar is a Toronto musician and music writer.He can be contacted at | June 7 – September 7, 2013

Beat by Beat | Classical & BeyondStaying Put Forthe SummerSharna SearleAhhh, summer’s here, finally. Time to hit the road, get outtatown, escape the city, right? Maybe not. There is so much goingon in Toronto that you might want to consider a musical “staycation”this summer, for part of it, at least.From Music Mondays to Sunday Serenades, you can catch a local,free (or at most –), indoor or outdoor summer concert seriesperformance pretty well every day of the week, from June right up tothe end of August and into September. Befitting summer’s easy pace,enjoy a leisurely perusal of the daily offerings below.Monday: For the past 21 years, every Mondaythroughout the summer, locals andvisitors alike have “taken a loadoff” at around noon, enteredthe inviting, downtown sanctuaryof the Church of theHoly Trinity and experienceda wonderful, restorative,musical performance,presented by Music Mondays.What is different this yearAnastasia Rizikovperforms atMusic that it is artistic directorEitan Cornfield’s first fullseason at the helm of thismuch-loved series.Last year, Cornfield sharedsome of his thoughts with us at theend of the 2012 season. This year, theveteran former CBC radio producer offers a few more thoughts on hisapproach to the series, at the front end of the summer and from thevantage point of a year’s worth of hindsight.Interestingly, in his search for “organizing principles” forMusic Mondays,” Cornfield’s language is more reflective ofenvironmentalism than show business or the arts: he speaks of “anecological image of Toronto’s musical life,” and what it takes to“survive and thrive in such an environment ... the effects of climate,nurture, location.”“I began to answer these questions by considering the ecologicalniches that are underserved” he says. “What comfort, solace and sanctuaryis there for weary shoppers, tourists, finance and IT workersin the high rise beehives of downtown Toronto, what opportunitiesfor reflection, to recharge our artistic and spiritual batteries? ... We’resurrounded by pop and light entertainment, the short burst ofsong, the guitar riff, the advertising jungle, all fuel for ADD. And sowe’ve redefined the mission of Music Mondays as providing food forPlein AirGarden Concerts ’ 13Join us Wednesday eveningsJuly and August,in the Garden.345 Balliol St. TorontoSeat fee at the doorInfo. & reservations:416 487 0705www.artistsgardencoop.comSINFONIA TORONTONURHAN ARMAN Music DirectorToronto’s Chamber OrchestraGala Concert Oct 26 2013 Toronto Centre for the ArtsLARA ST JOHN ViolinistSuperstar Lara St. John stars in a brilliantprogram that dances from Bach to thecatchy tunes of Nino RotaNov 8 2013 Glenn Gould StudioSHIRAN WANG PianistFRANCESCO LA VECCHIA ConductorA dazzling piano sensation and a Europeanmaestro make their Canadian debutDec 7 2013 Glenn Gould StudioJULIAN MILKIS ClarinetistDEZSO SALASOVICS ViolinistFrom the jazzy rhythms of legendaryDick Hyman to French bonbonsJan 24 2014 Glenn Gould StudioANGELA PARK PianistCONRAD CHOW ViolinistMuch Mozart, two Canadian composersand two outstanding soloistsMarch 1 2014 Toronto Centre for the ArtsMAURO BERTOLI PianistKAREN OUZOUNIAN CellistA “dazzling” pianist plays Beethoven’s ‘Emperor’concerto and a Toronto native returns to premierea glorious new masterpieceApril 11 2014 Glenn Gould StudioSEONJUNG CHOI ViolinistJOHANNES RIEGER ConductorA Toronto composer depicts the Canadian seasonsand a young virtuoso makes his Canadian debutMarch 1 2014 Toronto Centre for the ArtsALEXANDER GHINDIN PianistA meteoric Russian pianist starsin a mostly-Russian programSubscribe online and save9 adult / 9 senior (60+) / 9 studentPhone orders: add per June 7 – September 7, 2013 | 17

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