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Volume 11 Issue 6 - March 2006

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WORLD View by Karen Ages

WORLD View by Karen Ages As usual, there is a broad spectrum to choose from in this month's world music offerings; but dominating the scene are musical events inspired by the Middle East and nearby. First off, a sheerly joyous event, Bellydance Superstars comes to the Jane Mallett Theatre March 8. The 16-member troupe, on a 37--city tour, is hailed as "the hottest dance extravaganza in Europe." With them is doumbek player Issam Houshan, whose drum solos are a major feature. Arabic vocalist Maryem Tollar, needs no introduction here: founding member of Maza Meze and vocal duo Doula, and soloist in the operatic works of Canadian composer Christos Hatzis. Lesser known (to readers of this column) is Maryem's uncle, the Montreal poet, playwright and activist Ehab Lotayef, who recently garnered media attention when he travelled to Baghdad on behalf of the Canadian Islamic Congress to try to free the Canadian hostages. On March 11 at Glenn Gould Studio, Maryem and Ehab, in conjunction with Small World Music, are joined by some of the city's finest musicians in a program titled "Family Values" , featuring songs set to poetry inspired by Ehab's travels in the troubled Middle East, "framed by Ehab's profound photographic images from his journeys to Palestine, Jordan and Iraq". I've had a sneak preview of some of the photos, which include shots of the newly erected and highly controversial Israeli/Palestinian "security barrier" . It will be an evening, organizers say, that "unites talent and commitment with the urgent necessity of making art that stands for fundamental human values in the face of tragedy and oppression." I usually try to move chronologically in this column but, staying with a theme, let's jump to April 3 and the Toronto debut of Journey to Jerusalem, an oratorio composed and conducted by Eyal Bitton, currently the choir director at Beth Tikvah, and composer of over 130 liturgical pieces and several musicals based on biblical themes. Originally written for the 3000th anniversary of Jerusalem and premiered ten years ago at Montreal's Salle Claude Champagne, Journey to Jerusalem features Cantor Tibor Kovari, Michele Tredger, the Beth Tikvah Choral Society and a 25-piece orchestra, and chronicles "the historic journey of the Jewish people from Abraham and Sarah to the birth of modern-day Israel." For sound clips and more information on the composer, visit www Travelling slightly further east: the Iranian Association of U of T and Harbourfront Centre present Sense of Spring, featuring orchestral works by contemporary Persian and Azeri composers, at Harbourfront Centre Theatre, March 17 and 18. The works on this concert, conducted by Mehdi Javanfar, include, among others, The Legend of My Fatherland by Kurd composer Arsalaan Kamkar and The Blood of Seyavash by Iranian Behzad Ranjbaran, whose violin concerto was performed last season by the Toronto Symphony, with Joshua Bell as the soloist. In addition to a Western classical orchestra of local musicians (which will include myself!), some of the works employ traditional Iranian instruments. The concert is part of the three-day Under the Azure Dome festival in celebration ofNorwuz, an ancient Persian Spring Equinox celebration. For more information, visit Also on March 18 (let's hear it for conflict calendars!) Roy Thomson Hall and Small World Music present Masters of Persian Music, drawing on the rich heritage of Persian classical music and Sufi poetry. Musicians include Mohammad Reza Shajarian, Iran's most prominent Dave Snider Music Centre 3225 Yonge St. PH (416) 4 83 -5825 c Ma il : s nid c rmu s ic @ s nid e rmu s m w w w .s ni de rmu s i c .com 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 publications. We have a w ide array of Woodwind, Brass, Keyboards, Guitars and Accessories. Mus ic Lessons offered on site. WWW. TH EWHOLENOTE.COM classical vocalist, tar (lute) maestro Hossein Alizadeh, Kayhan Kalhor on kamancheh (spike fiddle) and Shajarian's son Homayoun on tombak (drum) and vocals. Closer to home: Old time fiddler Erynn Marshall is launching her newly published book Music in the Air Somewhere: The Shifting Borders of West Virginia's Fiddle and Song Traditions March 20 at the Gladstone Hotel, joined by banjo I guitar player Chris Coole, bassist Neal Evans, and other guests (free admission with book purchase; all book sale proceeds to Augusta Heritage Center (WV) music programs). U of T gamelan specialist Annette Sanger writes: "my Balinese gamelan teacher (for the past 20 or so years) I Wayan Sinti is coming to U of T for two weeks in March with his wife, dancer Cokorda Istri Nilawati. Sinti will teach the two Balinese gamelan groups at the Faculty of Music, both will give a free workshop (with me) on Balinese music and dance at Scarborough campus on March 20 (all welcome), and Nilawati will offer an introductory dance workshop at the Faculty of Music. Sinti will also tune the instruments of U of T's gamelan Semar Pegulingan, a task that requires much skill and time!" All of this will culminate in a concert March 26 at Walter Hall. See listings for details. The fourth annual Global Divas concert takes place March 30 at Kool Haus (132 Queen's Quay East). An "International Celebration of Women and Song", this annual event, led by jazz musician Jane Bunnett and her band The Spirits of Havana, is in aid of St. Stephen's Community House, a social agency in downtown Toronto. This year, all proceeds will go toward the St. Stephen's Youth Arcade, a drop-in program. This For Sale - Two Fine Harpsichords excellent condition, only used professionally Sperrhake: from Passau, Germany. One manual, two 8 foot registers, lute stop, 99.oo Hannaby: from Toronto, Canada. Spinet mode~ one manual, lute stop, 99.oo For Free Photos and more details please call : Rita, 519-439-9507 Global Divas: Jane Bunnett year's performers include Muna Mingole, known as "The Blue Flame of Cameroon"; Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq Gillis, who has performed with Bjork as well as the Kronos Quartet; Latin jazz/ Afro­ Cuban singer Amanda Martinez (who is also the host of "Cafe Latino" on Jazz FM 91.1); jazz vocalist Kellylee Evans, who won 2nd place in the 2004 Thelonius Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition; and South African singer-songwriter Zaki Ibrahim. And a couple of quick mentions in closing: presented by World­ Songs, Moira Smiley will be leading a workshop in music from the Balkans, Ireland, and shapenote music, at the RCM (90 Croatia St.), March 6; and KlezFactor (see CD review p. 76) will play traditional Klezmer at the Free Times Cafe on March 5, and their unique style of jazz/Klezmer/rock fusion at The Bagel on March 22, joined by the York University Klezmer Ensemble. Karen Ages is a freelance oboist who has also been a member of several world music ensembles. She can be reached at 416-323-2232 or PHILIP L. DAVIS Luthier Formerly with}}. Schroder: Frankf urt, West Germany A Fine Selection ef Small and Expert repairs 416-466-9619 67 Wolverleigh Blvd., Toronto ON M4} 1R6 M A RCH 1 - A PR IL 7 2006

SOME THING New by Jason van Eyk What has happened to our festival "season"? I seem to remember a definable series of concerts packed into a few summer months, just a breath away from the close of the annual concert season. While this rich summer festival season continues, the sense of its fixed boundaries has become blurred by a year-round assembly of mini-festivals tucked into the concert season. Why has this come to be? I would venture a guess that the "festival" concept has become so universally popular because it gives artistic directors a curatorial tool that easily focuses their programming into tidy marketable packages. I don't intend to sound negative here, because this "packaging" is far from a bad thing. Quite often the ideas that come out of a wellprogrammed, season-based minifestival can have a greater artistic effect and public impact than the formula of a regular concert season. They can also bring an increased positive profile and notoriety. Take for example Continuum's L'oreille Fine festival from last winter. As a first larger-scale festival attempt for this organization, it had it all - a great concept tied together with good programming, well performed concerts in new venues, all which showcased their capabilities. The result is that their current concert season is playing to capacity audiences. Where we no longer have a Nu­ MuFest to celebrate Toronto's new music community on a grand scale, a crop of younger and leaner festivals has come to take its place. Two . .,. l' ·.. ' . of these make their return at the end of this month, both with completely different attitudes and directions. Starting on March 24th, and running until the end of the month is Arraymusic's third Scratch Festival. Initiated by past artistic director Allison Cameron, Scratch came into being as what seemed like a bridge between Toronto's experimental music scenes. Taking its name from the pioneer music experimentalist Cornelius Cardew's Scratch Orchestra projects of the late 1960' s, Arraymusic's Scratch festivals have opened a democratic space to reach common ground between the improvisational, electronic, experimental and more traditional classical concert music communities. In so doing, Arraymusic has brought the music of seminal experimentalists to Toronto, including Gilius van Bergeijk of the Netherlands, and Christian Wolff from the United States. The third installment of Scratch will again break new ground for Arraymusic, showcasing performance and interactive sound art installations at locations throughout the city, and focusing on new and recent work by Canadians Gordon Monahan and Sandor Ajzenstat. In the mix is Ajzenstat' s Cumulative Interplay multimedia sculpture, which is "played" by the audience themselves to stimulate light and sound movement through a fixed maze. When It Rains, which was first exhibited by New Music Concerts in 2000 and at the Open Ears CDNTINUES Mus~cGallery Tornnlo s Ce 11tr·e fo r Creat ive HL1 s1c sat march 4 rnatthew shipp Al/ANT-JAZZ SOLO PIANO, NYC/THIRSTY EAR RECORDS -- 8PM $TBA wed march 8 contact: girlfriend w/ lori freedman INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY, ALL WOMEN COMPOSERS -- 8PM / thur march 9 gravitas: dvd release JOH N KAMEEI. FARAH+ GALACTIC ANIMATIONS -- 8PM // 0 mon march 13 workshop: madawaska quartet STATE OF THE ART: CQlo,IPOSERS' INORKSHOP -- 10AM-5PM PWYC sat march 18 earshot: bassic reeding MAX CHRISTIE, BASS CLARI NET + WALLAC E HALLA DAY, BARITONE SAX 8PM fri march 24 toca loca: words we (never) use RESIDENCY CONCERT #2: GLOBOKAR, STANILAND -- 8PM // sun march 26 kaiser/ligeti/oswald/snow/sokol NEW YORK-TORONTO FREE -I MPROI/ SUMM IT ! -- 8PM $TBA tue march 28 progress STUDENT + EMERGING MUSIC @ THE RED GUIT1\R -- 8PM PWYC music gallery 197 john st. 416-204-1080 WE ACKNOWLEDGE THE ONGOING SUPPORT OF : CANADA COUNC IL FOR THE ARTS, CANADIAN HER ITAGE, ONTARIO AR TS COUNCIL, THE SOCAN FOUNDATION, TORONTO ARTS COUN CIL, WELLINGTON BREWERY. . \',,~ :,,\~ . ~\ ,.-......,:,. Xenakis x Concerts x Sound Installations Symposia x Exhibits x Screenings 1 Expl~~it:{J the interaction and shared . :.¢ompo~itional structures between ' 111.~SiC an9!a rch itectu re . '' ~\ soundaXis . 'tM'~;f~ms Toronto into a pla)'~ dlscovecy ,.• •' \I ' IJ ,, '• . ~ . Violins, violas, cellos, and bows Complete line of strings and accessories Expert repairs and rehairs Canada's largest stock of string music Fast mail order service .... . ' -----... ........... •• ">....._, -~ ~ ..-~-- _·/ / " \ ':·. \. Thematically based on revolutionat'lf, thinker composer, and architect, Iannis Xerrakis , soundaXis uncovers the mutual \ definition and intimate . interaction between \ sound and space . ' June 1-11, 2006 , 1 I M ARCH 1 - APRIL 7 2006 WWW. TH EWHOLENOTE,COM 25 \ ,, An initiative of the Coalition of New Music Presenters Explore Toronto's evolving aco ustical and architectu ra l soundscape

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