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Volume 17 Issue 2 - October 2011

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Global PoolingANDREW

Global PoolingANDREW TIMAROver the past 30 years, as world music has emerged as a commercialmusic category, the general audience interest in it hascontinued to grow and morph. As a meta-genre, it has longjumped the boundaries of its component musics’ roots in their ethniccommunities of origin. The various kinds of music included in thesea of world music, when observed at close hand, really consist ofmultiple interconnected pools. And here in Toronto there are manysuch pools teeming with life. This isthe “scene” I try to get a feel for andshare with you, dear reader, in eachWholeNote issue.As important as various groups andcommunities are to the overall vibrancyof the local world music scene,the significance of the contributionsof certain individuals pops out occasionally.These individuals are theperformers, teachers, producers andprogrammers without whose imagination,skill and dedication the scenewould be a very still pool indeed.Small World Music is a case inpoint. This production company isthe lovechild of Alan Davis who cuthis programming teeth at Toronto’sMusic Gallery in the 1980s and 1990s.In the ten years since he foundedhis production company, SmallWorld Music has become, arguably,Toronto’s most active and consistentpresenter of music from many cornersof the globe. It is also a supporter ofmusic that mixes all sorts of genres.I attended the launch of the tenthannual Small World Music Festival onSeptember 22, and got the scoop onthis year’s lineup.Having begun in September, theSmall World Music Festival continueson October 2 at the Enwave Theatre,Harbourfront, with the Karevan Ensemble performing a concerttitled “Homeland Variations.” Composed by Reza Moghaddas, thescore received a 2011 Dora Mavor Moore Award nomination. Called“multimedia Persian fusion,” the music combines gypsy songsaccompanied by kamancheh (Persian fiddle), punctuated by saxophone,keyboards and electric bass. Further sections feature R&Brhythms blended with industrial and electronic sounds, dovetailingwith melancholy duduk (Armenian reed) melodies and the spiritedupbeat juxtaposition of African percussion, kamancheh and tanbour(Kurdish lute). I’m guessing the dancer Bahareh Yaraghi will providethe “multimedia” aspect of the show.The same Sunday night at the Royal Conservatory, Small WorldMusic, in association with the RC, presents the Bollywood divaAsha Bhosle with Nilandri Kumar on sitar. Bhosle, one of the queensof playback singing, has performed an astounding 20,000+ songs inover 1,000 movies in her epic career. In fact she has the distinctionof receiving the “most recorded artist” laurel from the Academyof World Records. Kumar, much the junior of Bhosle in age andexperience, is an emerging Indian fusion sitarist with roots in theclassical tradition. He has worked in Bollywood as a musician, andrecorded with guitarist John McLaughlin on his album FloatingPoint, as well as on 13 of his own albums. We can expect thatpopular film songs and ghazals, songs sometimes included amongthe “light classical” side of North Indian music, will dominate theevening at Koerner Hall.Another example of an individual who has made a significantcontribution to Toronto’s world music scene is the mrdangam (SouthIndian hand drum) master and music professor Trichy Sankaran. Itis hard to recall a time when Indian music–classical and otherwise–was not a feature of Toronto’s concert and university music educationlandscape, but there actually was such a time not that long ago.A noted mrdangam player in India when still quite young,Sankaran came to York University 40 years ago to help build itsnewly hatched South Indian classical music (Karnatak music)programme. He’s still teaching at York, inspiring by exampleyet another generation of students to study this highly developedpercussion art form. He has also inspired some of his twoTrichy Sankaran.generations of students, myselfincluded, to infuse Karnatak music’slanguage and discipline into theirown music and scholarly research.Sankaran’s 40th anniversary atYork will be marked on October 4,7:30pm, at a concert at the TributeCommunities Recital Hall, part ofthe York University Departmentof Music’s “Faculty ConcertSeries.” In addition to Sankaran’sbrilliant mrdangam playing, guestmusicians will include members ofAutorickshaw (Suba Sankaran, pianoand vocals; Ed Hanley, tabla; andDylan Bell, bass guitar), as wellas Mohan Kumar, ghatam, andDesi Narayanan, kanjira. TrichySankaran’s considerable contributionsto his field are increasingly beingacknowledged. He has recently beenshort listed for the Toronto ArtsFoundation’s Muriel Sherrin Awardfor International Achievement inMusic. He will be receiving theprestigious “Sangita Kalanidhi” titlefrom the Music Academy in Chennai,India, in January 2012.A commemoration of another sorttakes place on October 21 and 22at the Betty Oliphant Theatre. Theworks of the late Toronto composerand percussionist Ahmed Hassanwere imbued with Afro-Caribbean and Middle Eastern influences.Written primarily in conjunction with Canadian theatrical dance,Hassan’s works will receive performances in their original stageddance context at the Abilities Arts Festival, produced by PeggyBaker Dance Projects. Renowned dancer Peggy Baker, the curatorof this show, is Ahmed Hassan’s widow. Titled “The Neat StrangeMusic of Ahmed Hassan,” his music will be performed along withthe original dances, by important Toronto choreographers, forwhich his music was commissioned. The performers include seniorstudents of the School of Toronto Dance Theatre; Hassan’s sister,Maryem Tollar, vocals and Mother Tongue, a “world beat” band.From October 15 to 23 the Music Gallery presents its annual XAVANT New Music Festival VI. The festival typically programmesavant-garde music in its many guises, however on Friday October21 there is a world music element. That night, three acts representvarious shades of contemporary music. The Montreal based soundartist Tim Hecker will play St. George the Martyr Church’s pipeorgan plugged into a computer, the sound looped, altered and playedback through the PA system, while the German pioneer of “glitch”music, Markus Popp, explores modern electronica. (Opening theevening, is a new cross-cultural Toronto music collective GlobalCOURTESY OF TRICHY SANKARAN30 thewholenote.comOctober 1 – November 7, 2011

Cities Ensemble of which, as I mentionedin the June issue, I am a member, playingsuling — Indonesian ring flute, and kacapi— Indonesian zither along with Araz Salek(tar — Persian lute); Abdominal (songs andrap) and Professor Fingers (live electronics),and blending instruments, intonation, andmodes from Iran, Indonesia, India andWestern musics.)World music also makes several appearancesthis month further downtown on FrontStreet at the splashy, renovated Sony CentreFor The Performing Arts. On October 21“Goran Bregovic And His Wedding andFuneral Orchestra” features music from themixed ethnic centre of Sarajevo, combininga Serbian gypsy band, a classical stringensemble, an Orthodox male choir and twoBulgarian female vocalists. On the 22nd,the Salsa Kings perform music from Cubaincluding the dance-infused music of themambo, rumba and the cha cha cha.Opening its run on October 26 also atthe Sony Centre, David Mirvish presents“Bharati: The Wonder That Is India.” JudgingAhmed Hassan with dancer Peter Bingham (cira 1991).from the promotions touting a “music anddance spectacle from India, featuring 70dancers, actors, singers, acrobats andmusicians,” this production appears to bea big-stage nationalistic extravaganza alongthe lines of recent Chinese productionsand predated by the long-running Irish201112themed mega-shows “Riverdance” and“Celtic Woman.”Bharati’s storyline, on the other hand,sounds compellingly contemporary. Amodern day Siddharth raised in the U.S. andcynical of all things Indian returns hometo cleanse the Ganges river of its pollution.Despite his contempt, Siddharth is attractedto a mysterious and elusive Indian woman,Bharati, who reintroduces him to the manywonders of India. As the story goes, in theend, Siddharth, appearing to be a sort ofdiasporic Everyman, discovers a new senseof self in this journey of homecoming, identityand redemptive love.These are big, ambitious themes. I hopethe production delivers them with more thansimplistic bombast since I plan to attend.I especially wish for a nuanced presentationof a sampling of the multitude of Indiantraditional performing arts, among thetreasures of the music of our world.Andrew Timar is a Toronto musicianand music writer. He can be contactedat worldmusic@thewholenote.com.FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14, 8pmThe Rest is SilenceJoin us at our beautiful new venue - theRosedale United Church - with music ofinnovation, tradition, and inspiration, asDebussy and Brahms usher in the voice ofone of Canada’s finest young composers.FOR TICKETS:416-972-9193 orwww.viasalzburg.comVIA SALZBURG IS GENEROUSLY SUPPORTED BY:CHRIS RANDLEINDEX OF ADVERTISERSAldeburgh Connection 21Alexander Kats 53All Saints Kingsway Anglican 41Amadeus Choir 15Amici Chamber Ensemble 39Amoroso 68Antonin Kubalek Memorial 19Arraymusic 35, 45ATMA 5Brock University Centre for theArts 12Canadian Opera Company 27Canadian Sinfonietta 36Cathedral Bluffs SymphonyOrchestra 38Chamber Music Society ofMississauga 20, 44Christ Church Deer Park JazzVespers 24Classical 96 69Continuum Contemporary Music20, 45Cosmo Music 25Counterpoint Musical Services 52Elmer Iseler Singers 16ESPRIT 72Exultate Chamber Singers 14Gallery 345 33George Heinl 22Hannaford Street Silver Band 7Heliconian Hall 54Humbercrest United Church 44International Resource Centre forPerforming Artists 53Janet Obermeyer 43Judy Young 53Kindred Spirits Orchestra 44Larkin Singers 17L’Atelier Grigorian 61Laura McAlpine 36Leon Belov 56Liz Parker Piano 51LIZPR 55Lockwood ARS 56Long & McQuade 25Margot Rydall 56Markham Theatre 15Mary Lou Fallis 53Miles Nadal JCC 52Mirvish Productions 10Mississauga Symphony 37Moira Nelson 42Music at Metropolitan 41Music Gallery 18Music Toronto 9, 35Musicians in Ordinary 34Nathaniel Dett Chorale 15New Music Concerts 19,Nine Sparrows Arts Foundation 29Nocturnes in the City 45Norm Pulker 56NUMUS 13NYCO Symphony Orchestra 21Off Centre Music Salon 42Ontario Philharmonic Orchestra 28Opera Is – Learning 52Opera Is – Travel 54Opera York 43Orchestra Toronto 23Pasquale Bros 51Pattie Kelly 56Pax Christi 40Peter Mahon 17Remenyi House of Music 68Robert Bruce 34Roy Thomson Hall & Massey Hall 4Royal Conservatory 11Samantha Chang Production 36Scarborough PhilharmonicOrchestra 41Sheila McCoy 52Sinfonia Toronto 17, 35Soundstreams 42St Paul’s United Church 45St. James’ Cathedral 51St. Philip’s Anglican Church JazzVespers 25St. Stephen in-the-Fields AnglicanChurch 50Steve’s Music Store 18Sue Crowe Connolly 56Sunrise Records 67Tafelmusik 2, 3, 36October 1 – November 7, 2011 thewholenote.com 31

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