Odds, ends & catchups

As noted previously, I haven’t been able to post updates or newsletters recently. The events page (www.events.to-music.ca) now has extensive updates through the new year.

Below are a few scatttered items that have been accumulating recently, in no particular order:

“Music for Peace”

Steve Paikin, on TVO’s “The Agenda” interviews David Buchbinder (Flying Klezmer Bulgar Band, Ashkenaz and the new organization, Diasporic Genius) and Bassam Bishara (oud player and musical director of Arabesque Dance Company). The guests discuss (to a rather naive Paikin, in my view) their thoughts on Israeli/Palestinian conflict and connections, politics and music. They had collaborated on last September’s Koerner Hall concert, “Andalusia to Toronto”.

(I’m also amazed that Paikin had never even heard of the oud — but then I decided that there are probably things in his world he’d be amazed to learn that I had never heard of!).

A note on Buchbinder’s latest project, Diasporic Genius, described on its website:

Diasporic Genius is a new group with a vision and a plan to take what is already great about Toronto and transform it, so that we become one of the most evolved cities on the planet. Look through this website to see what we mean by such a claim, then join us in creating the city of our dreams.

From NPR:

Tinariwen in NYC

Article and interview by Andy Morgan, the group’s former manager

Assorted videos

a) Professor Longhair at Montreux Jazz Festival, 1973. The video quality isn’t great, but the music, by the genius of New Orleans R&B certainly is.

b) “Dr Jive’s Rhythm & Blues Revue” on Ed Sulivan (1955)
Ed barely can barely get the phrase “rhythm & blues” out, but this might be one of the first time R&B makes US prime time television. With Bo Diddely, Lavern Baker and others.

c) Not playing here anytime soon: Leningrad Cowboys with the Red Army Chorus: “Sweet Home Alabama”


2011 Latin Grammy Awards


Seun Kuti: guest on “A World in London”

The program used to be a weekly show on BBC Radio London hosted by DJ Ritu. Like many other fine and unique radio shows, it got kicked off the air, but now lives on the Internet.


New books:

a) Way Down That Lonesome Road: Lonnie Johnson in Toronto, 1965-1970
Former Globe & Mail jazz critic, Mark Miller has just published the above about one of the seminal pre-war blues guitarists whose career & life ended here in Toronto. From blogTO’s note about the recent launch:

Part biographical study, part social history, Way Down That Lonesome Road follows musician Lonnie Johnson from the generous welcome that he received from Toronto ‘s critics on his arrival and the successes and failures that followed, to the automobile accident that left him hospitalized for a year and the final, fleeting appearances of a comeback cut short by his death. Johnson ‘s years in Toronto were the happiest of times and the hardest, a Dickensian sort of paradox, albeit in a tale of just one city. This is that tale; here is that city.

b) The Last Sultan: The Life and Times of Ahmet Ertegun
A just published biography of the founder and president of Atlantic RecordsJ A review in the New York Times suggests the book is “devoted to hyping and preserving the Ertegun legend”, but there is no doubt how important Atlantic was in American popular music.

 Happy 10th Birthday, iPod

An article from the New York Times last month, written by Daniel J. Levitin, a neuroscientist at McGill University, & author of This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession.

Daniel Levitin reflects on the little gizmo and the many ways it has changed our lives — and the way we listen.

Has the iPod brought more music — more rhythm — into our lives?

Yes. The average 12-year-old can hold in her hand more songs than my great-grandfather would have heard in his entire lifetime. Also, digital music is a great democratizing force for musicians. They no longer have to go through the narrow turnstile of record companies.

Full article here 


Libyan events in Toronto

Finally, in a non-musical note, I’ve put together a video documenting many of the events organized by the Libyan community in Toronto this year, in support of the Libyan struggle for freedom.

The community here put in an amazing effort: organizing, lobbying, fundraising, and providing relief and medical assistance.