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Volume 19 Issue 9 - June/July/August 2014

  • Text
  • Jazz
  • Toronto
  • August
  • Festival
  • Quartet
  • Musical
  • Concerts
  • Sept
  • Theatre
  • Arts

Beat by Beat | World

Beat by Beat | World ViewLeitmotifs, Topical& TropicalANDREW TIMARIt’s still May as I write this, yet in that disconcerting way MotherNature has in Southern Ontario, hot sticky weather’s alreadysuddenly, shockingly arrived. “Why settle for mere spring when youcan have summer?” she seems to be asking rhetorically. It almost feelslike an ironic taunt coming after that miserably long winter we justendured. But as surely as the arrival of the humidex, BBQs, picnics,heatwaves and dog days – summer’s here to tarry awhile.One of the first signs of the official arrival of our outdoor musicseason is the Luminato Festival. Now in its eighth year, it runs Friday,June 6 through Sunday, June 15. Luminato bills itself as “Toronto‘sinternational multi-arts festival” which for ten days each June transformsToronto’s “theatres, parks and public spaces with hundreds ofevents celebrating theatre, dance, music, literature, food, visual arts,magic, film.” Festival artistic director Jorn Weisbrodt and his team’sambitious aim is to reflect “Toronto as a crossroads of ideas, culturesand traditions.”In order to navigate through the dozens of concerts scheduled andto get a firm handle on the urban geography of the downtown DavidPecaut Square, I spoke with veteran world music programmer DerekAndrews, Luminato’s music curator. “There are two stages at what wecall the Festival Hub, the large Pecaut Stage, and new this year: thesmaller Slaight Stage.” In addition, the featured site installation thisyear will lend a suitably tropical feel to Pecaut Square. Luminato hascommissioned Cuba‘s Los Carpinteros to design an ingenious surfside-themedenvironment titled Cardboard Beach stocked with loungers,umbrellas and lifeguard stations.“One of our themes this year is a celebration of the performing artsof the Americas with a focus on the Caribbean and Latin America, inanticipation of Toronto’s 2015 Pan American Games,” added Andrews.“Audiences will be able to experience a tropical Toronto, with samplesof samba, cumbia, reggae and other funky party music. We have alsotaken the Festival Hub up a notch with three ticketed attractions, TheRoots, TV On The Radio and Ziggy Marley.” I’ll train my spotlight ona few of the world music concerts by both local and internationalmusicians. For more, please see our listings and the well-appointedLuminato website.The Pan American tropical leitmotif is front and centre on June 6.It’s a triple bill opening with Interactivo, the star Cuban musiccollective layering jazz, funk, soul and rap atop bed tracks of Afro-Cuban rhythms, melodies and harmonies. Singer-songwriter EmelineMichel “the Queen of Haitian Creole song” highlights the islandnation’s rara and compass musical genres. JUNO-Award-winningproponent of nouveau flamenco Jesse Cook shares the late eveningstage with the Toronto-based Amanda Martinez, with whom he sharesan affinity of influences including flamenco, Mexican and SouthAfrican music.June 10 four First Nations’ acts grace The Hub in the excitingprogram “Northern Lights and Music.” Nick Sherman opens thenight at 6pm on the Slaight Stage. His songs, deeply rooted in hisNorthwestern Ontario experiences, are characterised by an “uneasy,yet always fluid transition between unabashed joy and sorrow.” TheJUNO-Award-winning five-piece Toronto band Digging Roots follows,co-led by musical partners Raven Kanatakta and ShoShona Kish.Their genre-blending music has been dubbed “Indie roots,” “globalblues” and “Aboriginal alternative.” Best I think to hear them live asthey access and layer even more vernacular musical styles includinghip-hop and reggae with a very good chance of bluesy undertones.Buffy Sainte-Marie then takes the Pecaut Stage. Certainly amongCanada’s most compelling female singer-songwriters, Sainte-Marie’simpressive careerTanya Tagaqspans some twodozen albums. Andher Cree heritageis never far fromher voice. Wieldingher impressivemelodic gifts, incisivelyrics and grippinglyexpressivevocals, she’s perhapsbest known forassaying the gloriesand tribulations ofindigenous people across the Americas. While unflinchingly “speakingtruth to power” Sainte-Marie is however never afraid to rock out.Capping the evening the brilliantly innovative Inuk vocalist TanyaTagaq and her band perform live music to American filmmakerRobert J. Flaherty’s classic silent film Nanook of the North (1922).While widely considered a groundbreaking documentary film it hasin recent decades been contested, viewed as being contaminatedby directed dramatic scenes in the “salvage ethnography” genre. Tagaqis celebrated for her concerts with Björk and the Kronos Quartet.On this project she digs into her own Nunavut childhood and subsequentmusical creations, along with music by Canadian composerDerek Charke, to challenge and reclaim aspects of Flaherty’s featurefilm, animating the film’s directed silent set pieces with emotivesoundscapes.Toronto Music Garden: I’ve spent many pleasant summer eveningsover the years listening and even on occasion playing at HarbourfrontCentre’s cool and colourful Toronto Music Garden. The garden wasco-designed in 1999 by cellist Yo-Yo Ma and landscape architectJulie Moir Messervy to reflect Bach’s Suite No.1 for Cello. No doubtabout it, though the imaginatively curated (by Tamara Bernstein) freesummer-long concert series held there is on an intimate scale, it’snevertheless a music festival. It is certainly one of Toronto’s perennialmusical treasures. This garden by the lake resounds with culturallydiverse concerts most Thursdays and Sundays in the summer. Here’sa sampling.The season opener on July 3 is titled “Kahnekaronnion” (TheWaters). Singing in English and Mohawk, the Akwesasne WomenSingers share their songs honouring Hodenausaunee women’s experiences,wisdom and humour. The group is joined by Odawa composerand flutist Barbara Croall performing her compositions on traditionalcedar flute.July 6 marks the Toronto debut of the Vancouver based trio Lalun26 | June 4, 2014 – Sept 7, 2014 thewholenote.com

in “Dreams from Andalusia and theSilk Road.” Featuring the eclectic musicalityof Liron Man (hang drum, flamencoguitar), Lan Tung (erhu and vocals) andJonathan Bernard (percussion), Lalunmerges their musical voices in an explorationof Spanish, Chinese and other culturallandscapes.Vocalist Bageshree Vaze and VineetVyas (tabla) return to the Music Gardenon July 24. In “Music from the Gardensof India” they present Hindustani classicalsongs with garden themes, includingdepictions of the iconic love story ofKrishna and Radha in the garden ofKongeroVrindavan.August 14 Jayme Stone’s group takesthe space under the imposing overarching willow tree. His “LomaxProject” celebrates the work of famed folklorist Alan Lomax (1915-2002) by reviving, recycling and re-imagining the traditional music herecorded and analyzed. Jayme Stone (banjo, voice) is joined by Eli West(voice, guitar, bouzouki), Margaret Glaspy (voice, guitar), BrittanyHaas (fiddle, voice) and Greg Garrison (bass).“Hanabi: Musical Fireworks in the Garden” on August 21 presentsgarden regulars Nagata Shachu, Toronto’s leading taiko ensemble,in a program inspired by the Japanese word for fireworks. Hanabicombines the kanji characters for “flower” and “fire.” Judging from thesonic power of their drums Nagata Shachu will probably only requirea minimal PA.August 24 the Sarv Ensemble takes the audience on “Seyr-o Safar: AMusical Journey Across Iran.” Joined by virtuoso percussionist PedramKhavarzamini, the group performs a wide range of folk and classicalPersian music in their own arrangements.Closing the season on September 4 the U.S.-based Veretski PassTrio, among the world’s most celebrated klezmer ensembles, presents“Jewish Music from the Carpathian Bow.” Their rare repertoirecentres on pre-World War II Jewish music from Carpathian Ruthenia,Bessarabia, Ukraine and Romania as well as from the former OttomanEmpire. It’s arranged for accordion, violin, cimbalom, double bassplus other regional traditional instruments, and performed in theircompelling virtuoso-raw village style.TD Sunfest 2014: London, Ontario’s TD Sunfest 2014 celebratesits 20th anniversary as “Canada’s premier free-admission festival ofthe global arts” from July 3 to July 6. I used to frequent the festivalwhen it was a more modest affair, charmed by its small-town feel.Today TD Sunfest turns downtown London’s Victoria Park into aculturally diverse party where over“35 outstanding world music and jazzgroups representing almost every regionof the planet entertain on five stages.”This summer’s headliners includeCuban dance band stars Los Van Van,the “ferocious folk foursome fromManchester, UK” 4Square, and Comas(Ireland/Belgium/USA), a band whichbills itself as “a unique blend of traditionalIrish music.” Also featured isthe Swedish “folk’appella” quartetKongero. These four women coax traditionalSwedish music out of its ruralpast, performing it with precision,emotion and humour. Paul White ofSoundonsound cheekily quipped thatthey’re “living proof that Autotune didn’t need to be invented.”With more than 275 exhibitors and food vendors at TD Sunfestyou come for the music and sun, but tarry for the international food,clothes, crafts and camaraderie you find there.Afrofest 2014: Music Africa presents Afrofest 2014 at Woodbine Parkon July 5 and 6, starting at 1pm on both days.At time of writing the Afrofest programming had not been finalized,but African and Canadian musicians will perform alongsidea Children’s Village and African-centric food, artifact and clothingvendors. Visit the Music Africa website for more detailed programinformation.May all you wonderful readers have a fun and safe summer filledwith comforting as well as challenging sounds from around the world.See you all in the fall.Andrew Timar is a Toronto musician and music writer. Hecan be contacted at worldmusic@thewholenote.com.Violins, violas, cellos & bowsComplete line of strings & accessoriesExpert repairs & rehairsCanada’s ad largest stock of string musicFast mail order servicethesoundpost.cominfo@the soundpost.com93 Grenville St, Toronto M5S 1B4416.971.6990 • fax 416.597.9923A treasure trove for string players& lovers of string musicthewholenote.com June 4, 2014 – Sept 7, 2014 | 27

Volumes 21-24 (2015-2018)

Volume 24 Issue 4 - December 2018 / January 2019
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Volume 23 Issue 7 - April 2018
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