7 years ago

Volume 17 Issue 4 - December 2011

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  • Jazz
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What Is The

What Is The “World”In This Music?A N D R E W T I M A RVALENTINEFIESTA ROMANTICAJohannes LinsteadoN .1 World Latin GuitarAntonitas D’HavilaoN .1 Gypsy Flamenco Guitar28-Jan The Studio at Hamilton 1-855-872-5000FOR TORONTO VENUESwww.uofttix.ca416-978-8849Free CD8-Feb Coconut Night Club - TorontoAntonitas D’Havila10-Feb Latin Fever Night Club - Toronto17-Feb Heliconian Hall - Antonitas D’HavilaSolo Flamenco Guitar RecitalWhat is “World Music” and who are its performers? For yearsdismissed it as irrelevant to the music I loved and mademyself. Now that I’ve served as your faithful world music columnistfor some months, however, I thought I’d use this end of year soapboxfor a further series of annoying questions arising from my simpleinitial one. The woods get much thicker before we can clearly seethe trees, let alone the clearing beyond.Is world music a commercial marketing category, coined by recordlabel executives in 1980s London, equipped with its own salescharts, radio category, journalistic terminology and record awards?Or a term coined in the early 1960s by the late ethnomusicologistRobert E. Brown at Wesleyan University, Connecticut for hisgroundbreaking world music studio and academic programs there,which became a model for universities, colleges and conservatoriesaround the world?Is it “local music from out there,” or “someone else’s local music”as some have proposed? Is it about “our” vs. “their” music, or aboutthe way musicians variously recombine the music you were born intowith the music you chose, moved into? Or is it a musical footballmatch playing out a disagreement between perceived authenticity(i.e. indigenous music) and hybridized musical categories, especiallythose seemingly “diluted” by pop culture?In the face of such a bewildering range of questions, just whatmusic are multiple, dynamic and overlapping. Another is that overthe last 30 years world music has clearly gone through a process ofated“roots music” to include a mounting list of newly created hybridsub-genres. Part of this process is no doubt the result of pressureson genre boundaries in the overall climate of a globalising popculture. There are commercial pressures at play here too. Accordingto a 2002 Unesco report by the latter half of the 1990s the value ofsupport for world music, has declined. On the one hand this has led,overall, for world music as well as for many other music categories,to a precipitous decline in overall album sales. Paradoxically it mayalso be directly linked to the vigour of the modest but vital local liveworld music performance scenes dotted around the planet, and to thetouring companies who (hope they will) pack our largest halls, oftenwrapped up in elaborately costumed and staged extravaganzas.There are examples of both on display in my column this issue.Happily for all of us, musicians of all stripes continue to make bothestablished and newly minted hybrid kinds of music that someonemay choose to dub world music — or not.I hope I haven’t lost you in my overview of some 50 years ofworld music, because, as you can see from what follows, our GTAmany of the issues I have mentioned.Parvaz Homay and his Mastan Ensemble present “Love, Wisdomand Human” [sic] at Roy Thomson Hall on December 2. Describedas a newly created concert “opera” by Iranian musician ParvazHomay, this production (in Farsi) is presently touring Canada andthe US. Judging from this group’s multiple albums and internationaltour dates they seem to enjoy a sold fan base among the Iraniandiaspora. At its Toronto stop, the Mastan Ensemble, a traditionalPersian instrumental group, is reinforced by a Western orchestradirected by Toronto conductor Kerry Stratton. A brief trailer videoon his website reveals Homay as a singer with a folksy voice. Onthe other hand, soprano Darya Dadvar sings in a distinctly operaticmanner. The dramatic baritone, Soli, rounds out the concert cast.On December 6, the world music Christmas calendar beginsin earnest with the Nathaniel Dett Chorale’s concert titled “AnIndigo Christmas: Navidad Nuestra” at Koerner Hall. The artisticdirector, Brainerd Blyden-Taylor has programmed a vibrant mix ofAfro-Latin and Andean rhythms and harmonies. The Latin musicquartet, Maderaz, and the celebrated dance collective COBA willadd to the choir’s celebration of Afro-centric dance, music andfolkloric traditions invoking the spirit of Christmas. The concertfeatures two choral gems by Argentinean composer Ariel Ramírez(1921–2010). His Misa Criolla (1964), now a staple of the choralrepertoire, is spiritually charged and at the same time deeply rootedin multiple music/dance forms from across South America includingthe chacarera, carnavalito and estilo pampeano, as well as AndeanLindsay, COBA brings it to life through staged dance representationsof the dance rhythms intrinsic to Ramírez’s score. Ramírez’ssignature Yuletide Navidad Nuestra, which serves as the concert’scentrepiece, is a suite of Argentinean carols marked by characteristicHispanic American music. The evening is rounded out byHaitian-born Sydney Guillaume’s Dominus Vobiscum interweavingGregorian melodies with Creole texts and rhythms; a trio of African-American spirituals by Minnesota composer Robert L. Morris; ana cappella interpretation of Go Tell It On The Mountain arrangedby Bruce Saylor; and Craig Courtney’s impassioned arrangement ofMary Had A Baby.Music Gallery’s concert on December 16 also has a Christmasthe Music Gallery’s “New World Series.” Titled “Asalto NavideñoReimagined: A Latin Christmas Concert,” the concert has threelayers: a remix of a classic salsa Christmas album, a seasonal celebrationand a resolute statement of pan-Latino culture. Originally astatement about New York Hispanic life, Willie Colon and HectorLavoe’s popular salsa Christmas album Asalto Navideño, now40 years old, is ripe for reinvention. Its lyrics speak of the joy ofChristmas, but they also explore themes of home and diaspora andeven propose new festive traditions. Today’s Latin sounds continue28 thewholenote.comDecember 1 – February 7, 2012

COURTESY SHEN YUN PERFORMING ARTSShen Yun Performing mix music from across the Americas, increasingly with the interventionof electronics. Therefore it’s natural that four “producers”have been commissioned to remix the album’s now-iconic material:Toronto’s DJ Linterna & Ulladat, DJ Javier Estrada from Monterrey,MX, and Sonora Longoria from Austin, TX. All are known for theirindividual combinations of music genres, groove and experimentation.Their electronic contributions will be mixed with live instrumentsincluding Steve Ward on trombone and vocals. Vocalist LidoPimienta, who splits her time between Toronto, London, Ontario,and Colombia, is a key voice in the evening; her striking hybridperformance style combining unaffected vocals and electronics.Moving into the New Year, on January 10, 2012 at noon, the LittlePear Garden Collective presents a different sort of festive entertainment,performing classical and contemporary dance works withChinese music at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, Four SeasonsCentre for the Performing Arts. The collective, directed by EmilyCheung, is Toronto’s Jingju or Peking opera company. That thisconcert is part of the “Dance Series: Chinese Traditions Then andNow” is yet another reminder that world music performances alsosometimes include dance.Keeping with the Chinese music and dance theme, on January 12to 15, Falun Dafa presents “Shen Yu Performing Arts” at the SonyCentre for the Performing Arts. This massive NYC based companycertainly aims high. It was established in 2006 with no less amission than “reviving 5,000 years of divinely inspired Chineseculture.” Its mission statement makes an eloquent ideological case,“After more than 60 years of Communist Chinese rule …Chinesetraditional culture has been all but completely demolished. However,the deeper spiritual core of the ancient culture, with its values ofbenevolence, honor, propriety, wisdom, and sincerity, as well asa reverence for the gods and the heavens, cannot be destroyed. Inorder to restore … Chinese traditional culture, a group of overseasChinese artists established Shen Yun in New York.”At the core of Shen Yun’s performances appears to be a vaststaged pageant, with tableaux enacted by dozens of performersclothed in impressive, brilliantly coloured, custom-made costumesand supported by an original musical score performed by a Westernorchestra, classical Chinese and regional ethnic dance styles, instrumentssuch as erhu and pipa, and characteristic vocalists. The show’snarrative is transparent. It moves audiences from the Himalayascreation over 5,000 years ago through to the story of Falun Dafain China today.” With over 100 artists “Shen Yu Performing Arts”might be one of the primary proponents of the “go big because youcan’t go home” school of world music (and dance) performance.May you all have wonderful Holidays, a stellar 2012 and be ableto go home if you want to.Andrew Timar is a Toronto musician and music writer.He can be contacted at music educationstore at:TMSteve’s music would liketo wish our clients a safeand happy holiday seasonand best wishes for aprosperous 2012!please visit usin december to takeadvantage of our greatdeals on holiday music!stay tuned for specialnew year surprises we’vegot for our customers -coming in january!steve’s music, wherethere’s more to play andless to pay!415 Queen Street West, Torontostore: (416) 593-8888www.stevesmusic.comeducational@stevesmusic.compresentsFEB. 24 TH 2012 - 8PMIN CONCERTRoy Thomson Hall60 Simcoe Street, Toronto, ONFOR TICKETS CALL: 416.872.4255or & roythomsonhall.comTicket Price: .50, .50 & .50Sponsored byDecember 1 – February 7, 2012 29

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