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Volume 19 Issue 1 - September 2013

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  • September
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Beat by Beat | World

Beat by Beat | World ViewWM 2.0: PossibleRoads AheadANDREW TIMARImay not be alone in feeling that this liminal seasonal periodbridging late summer and early fall is a time fraught with angst.This season in-between is tinged with regret at the passing of a toobriefand perhaps not-idle-enough summer. All too soon brisk falldays blow responsibility down our necks. The feeling is felt even bythose much too old to clearly recall the bittersweet frisson of returningto school the first week of September.Welcome back to our coverage of world music in The WholeNote.Welcome also to the ever-evolving notions of what performersand concert producerspresent as worldTal National.music, to those whocontest its very existenceand to my currentthoughts on suchconcerts in SouthernOntario neighbourhoods.Add to that listanother element integralto the category’s success:its audience receptionand fan support. Given,however, that I writehere about concerts tocome, you’ll have to readabout it in The WholeNoteblog reviews.Some writers, dissatisfiedwith the existing term for the present state of music beyondworldbeat fusions, have offered to tweak, if not entirely to rebrand it.“World Music 2.0” is one such proposed tag. Noise Next Door, a documentaryfilm to be released in 2014, explores the present unease withworld music as a marketing term and genre by examining the artists’music, ideas, influences, the collaboration process and the technologyused to “inspire the new world music generation of creators.”One group that has contested the world music tag as patentlyEurocentric (the commercial term’s actual geographic origin), with adistinct tendency to relegate those within the category as “the other,”is the exciting Ottawa-based aboriginal DJ and video “powwowstep” group A Tribe Called Red. They will be appearing in The MusicGallery’s “X Avant Festival” in October 2013. I’ll be writing more aboutthem in the next issue.Information for the next two events arrived too late to be includedin our listings: September 6, Jayme Stone, whom The Globe and Maildubbed “the Yo-Yo Ma of the banjo,” presents a concert supportinghis new album at the Music Gallery. Stone is one musician who justmay be comfortable with the world music label. The two-time JUNOAward-winning banjoist and composer clearly relishes the globalthreads which inspire many tracks on his albums. His new CD, forexample, is a sonic travelogue of imaginary geographies traversingwhat has been called the “cinnamon route through Persia and India,”and Stone elsewhere re-arranges melodies he collected in WestAfrica. His Music Gallery concert also includes a concerto for banjoand chamber symphony written for him by Andrew Downing, thegroup’s cellist. Stone’s versatile group is rounded out by top Torontomusicians and by guest vocalist Miranda Mullholland. And onSeptember 28, the Toronto taiko group, Nagata Shachu, drives downthe Gardiner Expressway to set the hearts of Hamilton audiencespounding at their concert presented by the Matapa Music and ArtsOrganization. Their physically demanding music will resound at theMolson Canadian Studio, Hamilton Place.September 30 at 12:15, Music Mondays presents “From Ragasto Rhythm” performed by Autorickshaw, another Toronto worldmusic fixture, at the Church of the Holy Trinity. The Autorickshawtrio of Dylan Bell, Ed Hanley and Suba Sankaran will be joined bysitarist, guitarist and vocalist Chris Hale, performing arrangementsof North and South Indian classical songs plus their special brand ofIndo-fusion.Small World Music Festival:September 26 to October 6With world music as part of its name, the Small World Music Societyhas long been the most active presenter of live international-flavouredmusic concerts in the GTA. In its own words, SWMS gives a “platformto dozens of developing Canadian artists of diverse backgrounds,providing a space for cross-cultural bridge-building, education andunderstanding.” Small World estimates it has presented roughly 400Jayme Stone.events since 1997, an impressive figure by any standard.In a late August telephone interview Small World executive directorand curator Alan Davis enthused about the company’s nascentcommunity presentation space, projected to open next year (moreof that later). He was also eager to get the word out about the 12thannual Small World Music Festival. Running from September 26 untilOctober 6 in multiple downtown Toronto venues, this is its signaturefestival. In his festival press release Davis fingered one problem withthe way our city’s vaunted multiculturalism plays out in world musicpresentations. “Let’s face it” he began, “as we get comfortable in ourrespective neighbourhoods, most of us need a little help — and perhapsa nudge — to enjoy new aspects of our famed diversity.” Contentmentand even complacency with one or two musical genres to the exclusionof all the others is an aspect of human nature familiar to mostworld music presenters who take on the daunting job of catering tomultiple and shifting audiences.Small World’s gentle nudge to local audiences begins September 26at the Lula Lounge with a Festival Opening Party. It features TalNational, reputedly the most popular group in Niger, West Africa.Drawing on regional musical genres of highlife, Afrobeat, soukousand “desert blues,” generously infused with transnational rock, theysing in Niger’s main languages of Zarma and Hausa, as well as inFrench, the colonial language. At home Tal National’s shows last untildaybreak; when will their last set wrap at Lula?40 | September 1 – October 7, 2013 thewholenote.com

Free one-day concert series, September 28: Beginning at 1pm,the festival presents a series of free concerts at Yonge-Dundas Squarecalled “Small World in the Square” lasting the entire day to 11pm.There are seven internationally celebrated acts booked. Unable todo justice to all of them here I’m providing a sketch of a few picks.Headlining is the reggae supergroup Third World marking 40 years onstage, in the studio and on the road. Spreading the message of peace,love and unity through music, these “reggae ambassadors” are therecipients of the 1986 United Nations Peace Medal, two Jamaica MusicIndustry awards for Best Show Band, and no less than ten Grammynominations. In 22 albums, Third World proudly combines a veritablecatalogue of musical influences including Jamaican reggae of course,but also older rural Jamaican, African roots, American pop, R&B, funk,rap and Euro classical music.Also taking the stage is the Lahore group Noori (Light) widelyconsidered pioneers of the relatively young Pakistani rock musicscene. The band plays a fusion of pop and rock and on occasioncolours their songs with traditional South Asian instruments, as intheir Season 3 session in the TV show Coke Studio Pakistan (view it onYouTube). While their instruments and musical idiom may be a reflectionof the West, their lyrics reflect more homegrown verities. Noori’ssongs mirror the dreams and realities of urban Pakistani youth, urgingthem to change their world for the better and professing women’sempowerment. I’m curious to see their Canadian fans and how theyinteract with these stars.Audiences in the square will also be taking a journey downColombia’s Caribbean coast escorted by Colombian-born composerand guitarist Roberto López and his band. The Montreal-based Lópeztakes us on a multi-level musical encounter starting with the inspirationof wind bands of Colombia’s Caribbean coast grooving to theregional rhythms of cumbia, paseo, mapalé, chandé, champeta andporro, interpreted via North-American jazz band instrumentation.Then “Global Bollywood” gets a local interpretation from Toronto’sBageshree Vaze and Ensemble. The group celebrates Indian film musicarranged for an ensemble of some of Toronto’s finest musiciansgrounded by the master grooves of Vineet Vyas on tabla. MTV India“rising star” Vaze is a triple threat. She’s not only the vocalist and bandleader but also an accomplished kathak dancer, a North Indian dancestyle closely associated with its traditional music.My remaining word count allows me a preview of only the closingshow of the festival: DakhaBrakha on October 6 at the Revival Bar.The Kyiv-based quartet, whose name means “give and take” in oldUkrainian, has invented a surprising and refreshing stream of worldmusic, infusing their theatrical take on Ukrainian village music with ametal-like rock sensibility. Their core instrumentation of closely mikedcello, floor tom, darabuka, djembe and occasional keyboard synth,harmonica and Jew’s harp support the group’s soaring vocal solos andpowerful close harmony refrains.I heard their North American debut at Luminato 2013 where theirset was in turns emotionally and powerfully intense and then chilledout, the latter in what sounded like an odd-ball R&B cover. Eventhose, like me, who don’t understand DakhaBrakha’s Ukrainian lyrics,nevertheless have come alongside their brand of transnational musicmaking. The group tags its style “ethno-chaos,” but whatever thelabel, the sheer emotional and quirky power embedded in the musicmarks it as one, however idiosyncratic, map of a way forward forthe genre.Andrew Timar is a Toronto musician and music writer.He can be contacted at worldmusic@thewholenote.com.The Season’s Musical Rainbow◆ BLUE PAGES UPCOMING IN OCTOBER!Published every October and updated year-round atthewholenote.com, the Blue Pages is The WholeNote’sannual guide to Southern Ontario concert presenters andthe musical riches they provide.Presenters! It’s not too late to count yourself in, but hurry!Address all directory inquiries todirectories@thewholenote.com◆ ORANGE PAGESBuilding on our March 2013 launch of this new directorywhich covered private teachers, community music schools,and seasonal programs, in November we’ll explore fulltimemusic-centred education at secondary and postsecondarylevels.◆ CANARY PAGESPublished in May and updated year-round at thewholenote.com, the Canary Pages is our guide to choral opportunitiesat every age and level of skill, across Southern Ontario.◆ GREEN PAGESOnline from April, in print in June, The WholeNote’sGreen Pages is our annual guide to summer musicOntario-wide, across Canada, and beyond.Don’t miss a note! You can find our directories, at any timeof year at thewholenote.comINDEX OF advertisersAmadeus Choir 29ATMA 5Bach Children's Chorus 54Canadian Opera Company 72Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra 17Celtic Orchestra of Southern Ontario 54Christ Church Deer Park Jazz Vespers 33City of Toronto Historic Museums 25Civic Light-Opera 43Classical 96 69Colours of Music 20, 49Cosmo Music 39Early Childhood Music Association ofOntario 54Elmer Iseler Singers 30Esprit Orchestra 4Etobicoke Centennial Choir 55G27 43Gallery 345 47Grand Philharmonic Choir 28Hannaford Street Silver Band 14Heliconian Hall 57I FURIOSI 24Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber MusicSociety 45, 50Little Voices Dancing Feet 55Liz Parker 55Long & McQuade 54Long & McQuade/New Horizons Band 39Matthew Kelly 56Miles Nadal JCC 55Mississauga Symphony 19Moeller Organs 56Mooredale Concerts 21Music at Metropolitan 19, 43Music Gallery 33Music Mondays 43Music Toronto 9, 46Musicians in Ordinary 45Nancy Sicsic 56New Music Concerts 7, 47Norm Pulker 56Oakham House Choir 55Ontario Philharmonic 18Oriana Women’s Choir 26Orpheus Choir 27Pasquale Bros 57Pax Christi Chorale 46Peter Mahon 26Queen of Puddings Inc. 53Remenyi House of Music 16Roy Thomson Hall 3Sheila McCoy 55Sinfonia Toronto 19Soundstreams 31St. Olave’s Church 45St. Philip’s Anglican Church 33Steinway Piano Gallery 15Steve Jackson Pianos 24Sweetwater Music Festival 20Tafelmusik 2, 44, 47The Sound Post 15Toronto Chamber Choir 55Toronto Consort 23Toronto Masque Theatre 46Toronto Mendelssohn Choir 29Toronto Symphony 71TorQ Percussion 13U of T Faculty of Music 11Vesnivka Choir 30Village Voices 55VOICEBOX: Opera in Concert 23Windermere String Quartet 25, 44Women’s Musical Club 17Yorkminster Park Baptist Church 27thewholenote.com September 1 – October 7, 2013 | 41

Volume 26 (2020- )

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