East Africa Relief concert: Aug. 25, Lula Lounge

Batuki Music Society invites you to ‘Msaada’, the East Africa Relief concert to benefit the Médicins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders Horn of Africa Crisis campaign taking place at the Lula Lounge on Thursday August 25th at 8 pm. ‘Msaada’ means help in the Kiswahili language, widely spoken in East Africa. The concert features a lineup of some of Toronto’s popular African artists:  Henok Abebe, Kooshin, Girma Woldemichael, Gezahegn Mamo, Faduma Nakruma, Daniel Nebiat, Donne Roberts, Kwame Stephens, Kemer Yousef, Njacko Backo and Val, Sonia Aimy, Ijovudu Dance, Hussein Adani, Yared Tesfaye, DJ Apollo and more. Many of the musicians performing … Continue reading

RIP, Jerry Leiber

One half of one of the greatest pop music songwriting teams ever (with Mike Stoller), Jerry Leiber died today at the age of 78. They wrote and/or produced hits for Elvis, The Coasters, Big Mama Thornton (“Hound Dog”), Peggy Lee, Charles Brown, Ray Charles, Ben E King (“Stand by me”). They don’t come any better. Here’s a 45 minute documentary about the team: Jerry & Mike on the old TV panel show, “What’s My Line”. Guest: Vincent Price. Horror also supplied by rock & roll hater Dorothy Kilgallen One of the true Leiber & Stoller classics was Elvis’s “Jailhouse Rock”. … Continue reading

RIP, Jack Layton

There have been so many tributes to this remarkable man who led such a remarkable life, that I can’t add much more here. And while I have many thoughts about how much he contributed to a better Canada, in the context of this website, I picture him at Afrofest. Frequenty there are politicians and dignitaries who show up at Afrofest and other events, speak their words and leave. I remember Jack & Olivia showing up…and hanging out. An informal photo of them backstage at Afrofest, 2008 with Michael Stohr (Music Africa president).

A musical prayer for Libya

For over 6 months, ordinary Libyans have sacrificed, fought and died in order to finally rid themselves of the terror & opression they’ve lived under for almost 42 years. At this point, victory & freedom for Libyans may finally be close. In the last week, towns and cities all over western Libya have been freed. Only Tripoli remains, and it seems as if tonight and tomorrow may begin the final stand against the dictator. Many of us are holding our breaths. So, in support of Libya and Libyans, a small bit of Libyan music & other notes… Last Friday, I … Continue reading

Griot concert (Sep 17) & annual Mamaya Festival (Sep 24)

From Toronto’s Katenen “Cheka” Dioubaté, a griot originally from Guinea. Her annual Mamaya festival… TAMALA (Toronto African Music and Living Arts) TAMALA is proud to present the 6th annual MAMAYA Festival and Griot Night Concert on two Saturdays, September 17& 24, 2011 at the Centre for Culture, Arts, Media & Education at 918 Bathurst Street. MAMAYA Festival will feature traditional African music and dance performances and activities for the whole family. The festival is free for all ages and everyone is invited to learn the Mamaya dance. Griot Night Concert & Workshop Where: 918 Bathurst, N Centre for Culture, Arts, Media … Continue reading

Vintage Vinyl Party & Sale: Aug. 27

CKLN — Toronto’s oldest community radio station — has indeed fallen on hard times, but is still broadcasting music, news & community information, now just online at ckln.fm They do however, need funds to continue, to find office & studio space (see this blog post) and to maintain the equipment needed. They’re hosting a sale of their vinyl archives, along with CD’s, books, and more to support Community Radio. Other dealers will have related items for sale. Aug. 27, 9-11 (preview), 11-4: General Public 55 Gould St. See poster for more details.  

Njacko Backo: Children’s camp, Children’s book- Aug. 22-26

Summer’s not over yet.  An opportunity for kids… Garrison Creek Art Centre’s African Safari, August 22-26 Njacko returns to the Garrison Creek Art Centre for a one week summer day camp where children will sing, dance, play music, and make an African animal sculpture! For photos from previous summer camps, and to see other camps being run this summer, please look at their website: www.garrisoncreekartcentre.ca. For registration and more details, please contact garrison-creek@sympatico.ca See the full gallery on Posterous   Njacko’s 1st Children’s Book: Baki and the Magic Egg/Baki et l’oeuf magique Njacko’s first bilingual children’s book Baki and the … Continue reading

St Louis Blues: Bessie Smith’s only movie

For no particular reason… The Empress of the Blues” in her only film appearance (what a shame!). Below are links to the full 15 minute 1929 film, built around her 1925 hit. It’s poor quality, but the opening gives you more evidence of how rotten her man is. This page has some background on the film. Part 1: Part 2

Aug. 11 notes

T.O. Music Pix on CKLN: A reminder that I’ll be doing a guest spot on Paul Corby’s “Corby’s Orbit” show on CKLN Friday, Aug. 12 around 1pm, featuring some music and talk. Tune in online to www.ckln.fm   Also on the Internet this week While on the topic of Internet radio shows, I’m currently listening to DJ Ritu’s latest “A World In London” show. (Listen here) She began that show several years ago on BBC Radio London, taking over the timeslot of the late Charlie Gillett when he became ill. It featured a range of “world” and other music, reflecting … Continue reading