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Volume 13 - Issue 5 - February 2008

g,j§i·Dii\t Klezmer

g,j§i·Dii\t Klezmer Milestone by Karen AgesCURRENTLY FLYING! starting from left: Dave Wall,Peter Lutek, Tania Gill, Victor Bateman;Bottom left: David Buchbinder; Bottom right: Max SennitMilestones are a time for celebration. This month, Toronto's longest runningKlezmer band, the Flying Bulgars, celebrate their 20"' anniversarywith a concert at the Al Green Theatre (Miles Nadal JCC), on February9 and I 0. It all began with a few musicians getting together for a weddinggig those many years ago, inspired by an early Klezmer ConservatoryBand recording. " l had just met (musician) Allen Cole at a party," saysband leader and trumpeter David Buchbinder, "and I believe he suggestedthe others". The others involved in that first wedding gig were Cole (piano/accordion,known to many as a music-theatre/opera composer), bassistMike Milligan, Ernie Tollar (winds), John Lennard (drums, percussion)and none other than vocalist Holly Cole. Originally "there was no intentionof taking it past that first, functional gig; but the response of thewedding guests was so overwhelming that we decided to learn somemore music and take it into the clubs." With a few changes in personel(Victor Bateman as bassist, the addition of a violinist), the Bulgars soonperformed their first public gig at a sold-out Clinton's Tavern, at a timewhen Klezmer music had not been heard in Toronto for decades. In thetwenty years since, the band has put out five CDs and two music videos,has had three Juno nominations, toured extensively in Canada, the USand Europe, and is recognized for its contributions to the development ofNew Jewish Music. Though rooted in the traditions of Eastern Europe,the Bulgars are always exploring new ground, creating new compositionsand arrangements.Buchbinder, and vocalist David Wall for instance, have very activecareers as composers well beyond the Bulgars (Buchbinder has severalbands on the go for which he writes most of the music, and also composesfor film , television, theatre and modern dance). And the rosterofthosewho have passed through the ranks of the Bulgars over the years readslike a who 's who of Canada's best known jazz, folk, world and contemporarymusicians. These include Daniel Barnes, Andrew Downing, LoriFreedman, Marilyn Lerner, Martin Van de Yen, Allan Merovitz, EvelyneDatl, Anne Lederman and Rick Lazar to name a few, some of whom willappear as guests Feb. 9 & I 0. The current Bulgars, in addition to Buchbinderand Wall are Peter Lutek (clarinets), Tania Gill (piano), VictorBateman (bass) and Max Senitt (drums). So what does the future hold?At the moment, there's a new CD in the works, with original songs byBuchbinder and Wall, with English lyrics and a political bent. "We' re closingthe Chutzpah! Festival in Vancouver on March 2," says David Buchbinder,"and as soon as the CD we' re currently mixing is ready, we' llbook a cross-Canada tour. We ' re very bullish about the new music andthink we'll reach a much wider audience because most of the material isin English as opposed to Yiddish - still very Jewish inspired, and clearlyfrom that sound world, but in no way traditional."Other highlights in brief:Described as "the international Celtic band from Ontario that hardly everplays here", Enter the Haggis performs at Hugh 's Room February Iand 2 .... The Ashkenaz Foundation presents a gala evening with thelegendary Theodore Bikel, star of song, stage and screen, February 2at the George Weston Hall (Toronto Centre for the Arts). Now 83, Bike!will perforn1 songs in Yiddish, Hebrew, Ladino, Russian and English, backedby pianist Tamara Brooks, and Toronto's Beyond the Pale folk/klezmerensemble .... Dora Award winning dancer/choreographer Peter Chin'scompany Tribal Crackling Wind presents his latest creation, Transmissionof the Invisible , a new multi-media dance work based on Chin'sthree years of research in Cambodia. Featuring music/sound design byChin and Garnet Willis based on their live recordings of Khmer musicianson traditional instruments, as well as video by Cylla von Tiedemann, thework plays at Harbourfront's Enwave Theatre February 6-9.The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts (formerly the Hummingbird)presents the Canadian premiere of African Footprint, South Africa'slongest running show which tells the history of that country throughmusic and dance, February 7- 9. The 30-member troupe created by entertainer/producerRichard Loring, has performed worldwide ....Presented by Wilkes, Loesser & Brookes Diamond Productions in associationwith Music Nova Scotia, DRUM! comes to Massey Hall February8 as part of its Ontario tour. Representing Aboriginal, Acadian, Blackand Celtic cultures of Canada, the 20 musicians, dancers, drummers andsingers blend each culture's distinct rhythms in what is bound to be anexciting and inspiring show.Toronto's Indian/jazz fusion band autorickshaw kicks off its 2008season with a concert at Lula Lounge, February 19. Band members SubaSankaran, Ed Hanley, Rich Brown and Patrick Graham are joined byguest musicians Mark Duggan (percussion) and Dylan Bell (keyboards).The evening will feature several ofDuggan's compositions, new piecesby Sankaran and Brown, and tunes from their 2007 CD So the JourneyGoes .. . . One final news item: the Esco la de Samba de Toronto performsin Sao Paolo, Brazil, February l- 5 and will be guests of honour atthe Carnaval celebrations there. The invitation came after exposure inBrazil of the documentary film We Are Samba, produced by CBC's FifthEstate editor Avi Lev. Congratulations to Alan Hetherington and the ensemble!Karen Ages can be reached at worldmusic@thewholenote.comGeo.11; D~ & Co. LimitedCONSERVATORS & PURVEYORSOF Fine & Rare ViolinsI I I '201 Chureh St.. Toronto, ON. MSB IY7 E m ail: ghcl@idirect.comTel: 416-363-0093 • Fax: 416-363·0053www.georgeheinl.comCanada•s foremost violin experts.Proud of our heri tage. Excited abou t the fu ture.WWW. THEWHOlENOTE.COM F EBRUARY 1 · M ARC H 7 2008

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Volume 26 (2020- )

Volume 26 Issue 1 - September 2020
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