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Volume 24 Issue 9 - June / July / August 2019

  • Text
  • Orchestra
  • Listings
  • Concerts
  • Quartet
  • Musical
  • Theatre
  • Jazz
  • August
  • Toronto
  • Festival
In this issue: The Toronto Brazilian bateria beat goes on; TD Jazz in Yorkville is three years young; Murray Schafer's earliest Wilderness forays revisited; cellist/composer Cris Derksen's Maada'ookkii Songlines to close Luminato (and it's free!); our 15th annual Green Pages summer music guide; all this and more in our combined June/July/August issue now available in flipthrough format here and on stands starting Thursday May 30.

L to R: Alan

L to R: Alan Hetherington; Maracatu Mar Aberto; Aline Morales groups in Rio from a young age – including the renowned Uniao da Ilha do Gobernador run by his uncle – to the tight, swinging shows of Batucada Carioca. Costa regularly holds Women’s Samba Bateria workshops for women wanting to learn the basics of Brazilian drumming with a chance to try out all the instruments. Morales hails from Belo Horizonte and her group, Baque de Bamba focuses on a style of folk music from the northeast region of Brazil called maracatu de baque virado. The group is largely made up of women but all genders are welcome. Their performances include some dancing and singing of traditional maracatu songs and the joy is infectious. “Some people say that you don’t choose maracatu, that maracatu chooses you. And I’m starting to believe that,” said Morales. “I wasn’t born in Recife where this tradition came from, but since the day I started to play, I couldn’t respect more what maracatu represents.” Morales holds evening workshops that have often been taught by veteran members of the group such as Mari Palhares, who has gone on to form her own groups, and Ana Maria Higuera, who started playing with Baque de Bamba when she was just 12 years old. Morales explains that “Big groups like ours need this kind of support from the members. It’s vital for the growth of the community.” Maracatu Mar Aberto, led by Alex Bordokas, also performs maracatu de baque virado and plays regularly at festivals around town, such as Pedestrian Sundays in Kensington Market. “We have a collective approach where the sound and impact of the group is greater than the sum of our parts,” said Borodakas. “Our focus is on the creativity of Mar Aberto and not any one artist in the group.” Among the newer bands on the scene is Tdot Batu. Led by Patricio Martinez, the group focuses on the samba reggae rhythms from Martinez’s home of Salvador, Bahia, in Brazil’s northeastern region. Performances are high energy and the infectious rhythms get their audiences partying and dancing. Started just three years ago by Adam Kafal, a member of Batucada Carioca, Blokoloko is the latest group to emerge on the scene. Their rhythmic style is inspired by the samba carioca of Rio and they are also mainstays of Kensington’s Pedestrian Sundays and a few other festivals. But performing isn’t everything for them. “I think the process of creating and sustaining a rhythm is more of a joy than performing,” said Kafal. “Blokoloko started because I wanted to play samba with an emphasis on more complex breaks and arrangements.” At the end of the summer of 2018, a Brazilian supergroup comprising about 70 members from Batucada Carioca, Blokoloko, Samba Squad and Escola de Samba – and led by Maninho Costa – rocked Kensington Market with an afternoon of exuberant percussion. A similar event is being planned for the summer of 2019. Joining a bateria Almost all of the groups in Toronto hold beginner workshops for people interested in trying their hand at Brazilian percussion. All that’s needed is a good sense of rhythm. From these workshops members for the performing group are often chosen. The groups in Toronto follow the aural teaching tradition of Brazil for learning songs. The use of written notation is rare. New members learn through attending workshops and rehearsals and listening, as well as studying audio clips or videos. “Samba is hard,” explained Adam Kafal. “It’s not something you can pick up by coming to a single two-hour rehearsal per week. My goal is to make people care a little more about the music and show them the way.” The seasoned players are encouraged to help the novices. Emphasis is on watching and listening and, often, singing the parts and keeping time with your feet before an instrument is ever picked up and played. It can be a long process for people who don’t have a background in drumming and students need to have patience and openness in order to gradually learn enough to contribute to the group. It’s a lesson that can be applied to life as well as music. “Learning to listen and absorb and digest before jumping in, is a tool I try to equip my students with,” said Hetherington. “And it can serve us well in many other aspects of our lives, too.” Cathy Riches is a self-described Toronto-based recovering singer and ink slinger. BRAZILIAN MUSIC 101 Percussion groups are just the tip of the iceberg that is Brazil’s vast, varied musical culture. Toronto is lucky to benefit from an influx of Brazilian immigrants who have brought their skills to our city. Plus we have plenty of local musicians who are adept in these musical styles. Here is just a handful of the other styles of Brazilian music and bands you can enjoy: Choro, which means “cry” in Portuguese, is anything but sad. It’s a happy, upbeat music and is often compared to ragtime or New Orleans-style music. It’s primarily instrumental and is covered authentically by Tio Chorinho. Led by mandolin player, Eric Stein, the band plays festivals and does the occasional club gig. Samba de roda (samba circle) is a mix of guitars/ cavaquinho, percussion and singing. Musicians get together to jam and go through popular samba tunes. In Toronto, Roda de Samba plays every other Saturday at Yauca’s, where expat Brazilians and Brazilophiles gather to dance and sing along. Good times. Although the source of the name is unclear – it may be derived from the term “for all” – forro is a lively folk music from the Northeast region of Brazil. Trio PernamBahia, led by Carlos Cardozo, plays at Lula and other bars and Forrobodo is a monthly event, produced by percussionist Mari Palhares, that delivers a full cultural experience of traditional food, dance lessons and music. Of course, bossa nova is one of the most famous Brazilian musical imports, with Stan Getz bringing it to North America in the 60s. A crop of young expat Brazilian performers are keeping classic bossa nova, MPB and samba alive – Aquarela Brasil, singers Babi Mendes and Giovanna Correia and guitarist-singer João Leão, who channels João Gilberto in clubs around Toronto. A couple of songwriters producing beautiful Brazilian-esque music are guitarist André Valério and multi-instrumentalist Louis Simao. Catch them in concert if you can (or buy their CDs). AND A FINAL NOTE! Don’t miss Festa Brasileira – Um Grande Encontro as part of the TD Toronto Jazz Festival, Saturday, June 22, 2019, 3pm to 6pm, Bloor Street at Avenue Road 14 | June | July | August 2019

CONVERSATIONS Cris Derksen’s Maada’ookii Songlines GIFTS IN TIME DAVID PERLMAN Cris Derksen RED WORKS PHOTOGRAPHY Let’s do a little bit of time travelling to set the scene: On June 14, 2017, Tributaries, the show that opened the Luminato Festival in Toronto, was billed as “paying tribute to the immeasurable power, passion, beauty, and resilience of Indigenous women … in a large-scale celebratory experience.” It was divided into four parts, titled Roots, Resurgence, Reclamation, and Emancipation. On February 19, 2019, at the Banff Centre, ten musicians met in Banff for an event titled Call to Witness: The Future of Indigenous Classical Music. “It was one of the first gatherings of its kind,” according to the CBC, “and included musicians from Alberta, the west coast, and northern Ontario. Along with creating music, participants also drafted a statement to the music industry about the importance of including Indigenous musicians in any music project involving Indigenous culture.” On May 8, 2019, Soundstreams mounted a show titled Fauxstalgia at the Drake Underground, on Queen St. W. in Toronto. Lawrence Cherney, Soundstreams’ artistic director elaborated: “Fauxstalgia speaks eloquently to our priorities, first of all, because it presents deserving younger Indigenous and queer artists making their debuts on our stage,” he said. “Equally important, these artists are passionately engaged in reflecting the past, including ‘classical’ repertoire, through a 21st century lens.” On Saturday May 18, 2019, the Toronto-based Eybler Quartet held a CD-launch concert at The Burdock Music Hall, tucked away in a trendy brew pub/restaurant on Bloor St. W. The CD in question is the Eyblers’ second showcasing their groundbreaking take on Beethoven’s Opus 18 String Quartets. Some of the music played on the evening’s program was by Beethoven. But the piece that got played twice, once at the beginning and once at the end, was not. June 12-16, 2019, Kiinalik, a Buddies in Bad Times/Luminato co-production comes to the Berkeley St Theatre. In the Inuktitut language, when a knife is dull, it is said to “have no face,” the Luminato website explains. The word Kiinalik, in contrast, means that it does! As we are told, Inuk artist Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory and queer theatre-maker Evalyn Parry met on an Arctic expedition from Iqaluit to Greenland. Kiinalik: These Sharp Tools is their concert, dialogue, and symbolic convergence between North and South, mapping new territory. “How,” it asks, “do we reckon with these sharp tools.” Finally, towards sunset on June 23, 2019, at Harbourfront Centre, Lakeside, Maada’ookii Songlines, a free performance with a cast of hundreds including at least eight choirs will ring the proverbial curtain down on the 2019 edition of Luminato. “Maada’ookii is a genderless Ojibway word describing what happens when one distributes or gifts, or shares something with others. And songlines, or dreaming tracks as they are also called, is a term, drawn from Australian aboriginal teachings but present across Indigenous traditions, for songs that help us find the way, both over short but perilous journeys, and over hundreds or even thousands of miles, traversing 19/20 EXPAND YOUR MUSICAL HORIZONS Subscribe today and save up to 25% June | July | August 2019| 15

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