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Volume 9 Issue 7 - April 2004

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WORLD VIEW by Karen Ages

WORLD VIEW by Karen Ages As ToRONTONIANS, WE ARE privileged to live in one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse cities in the world. This diversity is reflected in the richness and variety of the city's musical life - Toronto is home, and often host, to many fine ensembles and individual artists representing traditions from around the world. This is the first appearance of this column in WholeNote, so itis worth-. while clarifying what is meant by "World Music" here. Is it "ethnic" music? "traditional" music? non-Western art music? Isn't all music "World Music"? I will attempt, hesitantly, to define it as "traditional, classical, folk or contemporary music, the origins of which stemfromoutside Western "high art" or "popular" culture, with generous room for the blurring of boundaries ." This is a purposely non-corrunittal definition: first, because of the ever-evolving nature of what I am attempting to describe - we are increasingly living in a true "Global Village" where the meeting and melding of cultures trickles down into the music produced by them; and second, because in acting as WholeNote's regular "tour guide" to the world of music presented in the city, I prefer to err on the side of inclusiveness. This month's offerings take us to Indonesia, Senegal, north India and beyond. SOMEWHAT. DEFYING categorization, the Evergreen Club Contemporary Grunelan Ensemble celebrates its 20th anniversary season with a concert titled "Landscapes from the East and the West", on April 13 at the Music Gallery. Formed in 1983 by composer Jon Siddall, Evergreen is dedicated to the performance of new music for gamelan (it has corrunissioned over 200 works by leading contemporary composers), as well as continuing to present traditional music of the Sunda region of West Java, Indonesia. The ensemble, comprised of professional musicians based in Toronto, has toured extensively in Canada and around the world, has released several CDs, and can be heard on the soundtrack to the Ang Lee film "The Ice Storm". Their April concert will feature works by Canadians Lee Pui Ming, Rick Sacks, and Wende Bartley, Pablo Silva of Mexico, as well as West Javanese 22 pieces arranged by members of the ensemble. As for Evergreen's future plans, director Blair Mackay informs me that several exciting projects are already underway. Among these are a gamelan opera, "How it Storms", by composer Allen Cole and librettist Maristella Roca. I attended a workshop performance of this stunningly beautiful and unusual work-in-progress at the Music Gallery in December, and Evergreen Club Game/an can't wait to see the final version, monojatiinclassicalJavanesereper- funk fusion, Afro-Caribbean and slated for production in May 2005. toire. ' Brazilian music as well as spoken Other projects in the works in- For more information on this con- word, dance, painting and photogclude a CD of Sundanese repertoire cert, contact Tribal Crackling Wind raphy; all events take place at the for the World Music division of the at 416-597-2455. To inquire about Trane Studio on Bathurst, 3 blocks Naxos label, and another in collabo- bec9ming a member of Gamelan north .of Bloor. ration with the Societe de musique Toronto, callAndrewTimarat416- On April 18, the Church Theacontemporaine du Quebec (SMCQ) 653-8747. On April 8, some of the tre in St. Jacobs presents Dervish, which will feature a large-scale work featured performers will give a dance a concert of Irish music featuring traby Walter Boudreau, "Le Matin des lecture-demonstration and gamelan ditional instruments and Cathy Jor­ Magiciens", for gamelan, 2 harps, workshop at York University, Win- dan, vocals (see Further Afield listondes Martinat, and other instru- ters SeniorCornrronRoom, 021 Win- ings). Also on the 18th, Toronto's ments. This work will be recorded ters College, 1-4pm. This event is mandolin orchestra, the National by Radio France when the Evergreen free and open to the public. For more Shevchenko Ensemble presents the perforns at the Festival Presence in information, contact Intan Murtadza Kaniv Dancers and Shevchenko Paris, February 2005. For more in- at 416-535-0184. School of Dance and Music at the formation on the Evergreen Club, THE Royal Ontario Museum con- Betty Oliphant Theatre, and a conplease visit their website at tinues its free Friday Night series cert titled "Mandolins of the World" . with a program of Egyptian music on May 9 at Hamilton Place. THE MORE TRADITIONAL Grune- and dance on April 2 (tying in with Orchestra Baobab from Senegal performs Afro-Cuban music at Masthe Egypt exhibit currently at the mu- Ian Toronto, one of the city's oldest community gamelans, will perform as part of a unique program of world music on April 30, and bayan Chatterjee, sitar, and Aneesh seun1), Lisa Patterson in a concert sey Hall on April 20· and the Raag­ Mala Music Society presents Pur­ . co-presented by Tribal Crackling music from Korea on May 7 . Wind (the production company of Harbourfront Centre hosts the Praghan, tabla, at U of T's Medical Dora award winning dancer-chore- Toronto Tabla Ensemble and Sis- Sciences Auditorium, April 24. See ographer Peter Chin), and the Indo- ters Euclid on April 2 and 3, as related article by Ulla Colgrass. nesian Consulate, April 11 at the . well as North-Indian classical musiconsulate. For more infonnation on any of the cian Pandit Jasraj on April 18. above, please consult the daily listings. Fondly known as "Gamtor", this Small World Music presents two If you are a world music presenter, or ensemble has in the past counted concerts this month: Senegalese singarnong know of events coming up, contact its. members notable person- er and guitarist Baab!i Maal on April alities from the local arts scene, in- 13 at the Phoenix Concert Theatre, eluding Chin himself, Small World and Portuguese fado singer and BBC Karen Ages is a jree/nnce oboist who Music director Alan Davis, perform- World Music Award winner Mariza has also been a member of several ance artist Katherine Duncanson, the next evening at the Winter Garmusical world music ensembles. She can be pedagogue and radio per- den Theatre. reached at 416-323-2232 or sonality Art Levine, CBC radio pro- April 15-18, the TUZA Festival ducer Ann MacKeigan, puppeteer of Arts and Music presents a mu!- . David Powell, and longest standing ti-cultural celebration ofblues,jazz, member and present coordinator, the Evergreen's own Andrew Timar. This event will present the Canadian premiere of acclaimed Indonesian dance artist Didik Nini Thowok in a program of dassical Indonesian dance and comedy. This artist, who received his formal training at the Indonesian Dance Academy of Yogyakarta, specializes in the Asian tradition of cross-gender dancing, impersonating female characters. Also featured will be Peter Chin in a new solo work, and dancers Setya Sutrisno Hartana and Wiryawan Pad- Dave Snider Music Centre 3225 Yonge St. PH (416) 483-5825 e Mai I: snidermusic@ snidermus www .s nidermu s One of Toronto's Oldest Music Stores .. . With The Best Selection of Pop, Jazz & Broadway Sheet Music in the city - For Beginners and Professionals - Come in and browse over 25,000 sheet music pu blications. We have a wide array of Wood wind, Brass, Keyboards, Guitars and ACcessories. Music Lessons offered on site. A PRI L 1 - MAY 7 2004

An fudian feast in Toronto By Ulln Colgmss MORE THAN TEN YEARS have passed since I found a hidden exotic pleasure, the Raag-Mala Music Society of Toronto. An Indian friend took me to the U of T's Medical Sciences Auditorium, where I entered a world of saris and elegant aficionados of Indian classical music. Even though I am an adventurous concertgoer, I had never heard of this concert series and would not have found it by q1yself, because it was at that time created by and for the Indian community. Now, a growing appetite for world music has widened the audiences of Raag-Mala. They are still mostly Indian, but also include the typical plurality of Toronto listeners. Fortunately, this developrrent has not watered down the quality and standards of the 23-yearold Raag-Mala Society. Magan Ambasna, Raag-Mala's founder and president, says, "We invite .the very best from India to perform for us in five or six concerts each season. These are our classical si:ars." Indeed, my Indian friend said that he had tried to get tickets for the evening's sitar virtuoso in Bombay, but the hall had been sold out. months in advance. He chuckled at the irony that he could satisfy his musical taste so close to home and for only . RMo-MALA's SEASON is about "to.start. Indian musicians refuse to play here during the winter. The cold would be too much of a shock for themselves I and their delicate instrurrents. The first concert is on April 24 with the exciting young Purbayan Chatterjee on sitar and Aneesh Pradhan on tabla. They have played for Raag-Mala before, have toured around the world and can be heard on nu.rrerous CDs, The deep resonant tones of the string instru.rrent sarod will be heard with the scintillating Tejendra Majurrrlar on May 22, with Subhankar Banerjee as equal partner on tabla. They are the main attraction at a festival in India, organized by legendary Ravi Shankar. The remaining three concerts in the season feature Falguni Mitra, singer and Tapash Kumar Das, tabla (June 20); Atul Desai, singer and Ramesh Bapodra, tabla (Sept 11), and Shujaat Khan, sitar and Abhiman Kashaul, tabla (Oct. 16). IT ALWAYS AMAZES ME how two or three Indian musicians can play the most delicate improvisations and work up to the sonic force of a large ensemble. At these exquisite moments, audiences mutter "wah, wah" and even speak out to the musicians who in tum reach for greater heights. The dance between player and listener is very much part of this culture. To my ear~, ·the scope and improvised nature of tlfe Indian classical style has much in colnmon with jazz, even though the music is based on different scales. All raags are ·rooted in spiritual beliefs but the music is not solemn. It moves all comers of the psyche, from Summer Music by the Lake July 26 ~ Aug 7, 2004 The Royal Conservatory of Music presents An Unforgettable Chamber Music Experience! For Musicians & Composers Ages 8-25 APRIL 1 - MAY 7 2004 • 1 or 2 weeks at the historic Adamson Estate • All instruments • Intensive chamber rehearsals • Skill-building coaching sessions • Daily mini-recitals • 0/1 week, 0/2 weeks ( + registration fee) Register Tod.ay 905-891-7944 The Royal Conservatory of Music in Mississauga the serene to the majestic. The audi- musicians walk on together or one by ence follows the music intently. They one, greet the audience with palms toeven giggle when the performers en- gether and sit cross-legged on the beaugage in drawn-out humorous sparring. tiful carpet to tune their instrurrents. Many of the Indian solo instrurrents Vases of flowers and a statue of Sarare exotic looking, like the sitar and aswati, !he goddess of art and music, sarod presented in the first two con- share the stage. The first raag is really ce.rts. Their amplified sounds stand a warm-up. Sometimes it starts a bit out in the auditorium along with ac- slow or unfocused while the audience companying tabla, which is also centre settles down. Finally the concert bestage and played with dazzling tech- gins with artists' intrcxiuctrnycomrrents nique. Harmonium and tambura often and occasional audience requests. provide the drone, and wes\em famil- I don't share the Indian culture and iars like violin, flute and even saxo- ancient religion, and I don't understand phone, also play this classical reper- the text of each raag, but I have dev.eltoire. My favourite Indian artists are oped a great love for the rich variety of probably the singers, who display in- this sophisticated music. I was taught credible virtuosity and stamina in a vocal· to listen with my ears and to "undertechnique that is light years removed stand" music. Indian music is more from western classical singing. sensuous for me, absorbed by my My earliest Raag-Mala adventures entire body. Tumiµg off my old liscompeted in length with a Wagnerop- tening habits helped me get into the era, with a long intermission where peo- music. It now feels like home. ple fortified themselves with food, tea The soloists presented by Raag-Mala and purchases of CDs. Today, while are world travellers who also perform slightly more streamlined (an official with the greats of other countries, such starting time of 7:30 to get everyone as cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and Iranian arseated by 7.45 pm, and only a half tiste Kayhan Kalhor. It's a rich scene, hour break to eat saimsas and talk with indeed. friends),Raag-Malahasmaintainedthe Reserve tickets, or , at traditional style of presenting music. 416 492-7665 or 416 281 -3725. While western musicians warm up backstage and roll into high gear from Ulln Colgmss is a Tororuo journalist the minute they step on stage, Indian wlw often wn·tes abouJ music.

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