Assorted Notes: Duke Ellington, Khaira Arby, Cesaria Evora, and more

From here and there…

Duke Ellington: Jan 2 – live concert only $1.00!

I found some parts of the Dec. 31, 1942 Toronto Star stuffed into a crack in my basement wall recently. While the war dominated headlines, the ad for Duke Ellington’s January 2 performance at the Royal York — advance tickets $1 — was the best find for me.

We’re 69 years late for this bargain…


Also on the same page:

– New Year’s Eve — “Toronto’s gayest frolic”– for only $2 at the Humber Pier Ballroom, a “Fireproof building”

– Yehudi Menuhin at Massey Hall on Jan. 7th; tickets ranged from $1.20 to $2.40.


Toumani Diabaté on BBC (Dec. 30 for a week)

The kora master is the guest of Mary Ann Kennedy on BBC Radio 3’s “World on 3”. Available for a week beginning Fri. Dec 30, 6pm.


Cesaria Evora

Afropop Worldwide has posted a link that features a recording of the late singer making her New York City debut in 1995 at the departed (and also legendary) Bottom Line club:


Khaira Arby: One of NYC’s Top 10 concerts of 2011

I’ve frequently mentioned the Malian singer who played Toronto as a guest singer with Sway Machine at the 2010 Ashkenaz Festival. (And earlier, sang live on CIUT FM). This was on her first-ever tour to North America.

NY Times music critic Jon Pareles picked her March show in Brooklyn as one of his top 10 of the year. (The article contains a link to her SXSW concert this past March).

Since then, she’s returned a few times, but has yet to play a show of her own (with her African band) in Toronto, despite the rave reviews her live shows and CD, Timbuktu Tarab.

After seeing her at those small Toronto performances in 2010, I went to Montreal later that month to catch a full show of hers. I’m hoping someone will finally book her for a proper Toronto show in 2012.


And speaking of Austin…

Austin: “Music City” too expensive for musicians

Austin is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. Young people are moving there in search of its plentiful sunshine, freewheeling lifestyle, hi-tech jobs and vibrant music scene. However, more and more musicians find they cannot afford to live in the self-styled “Live Music Capital of the World.”

In Austin, music seems to bubble up like an artesian spring. Yet many musicians cannot make a reasonable living wage in this town, which is why they need cheap rent. Hence the moment of silence last week when the Wilson Street Cottages were boarded shut.

“Everyone’s moved out of town, out of state, across town. Yeah, this is the last place. South Austin just got uncool,” says Jacob Rocha as he loads his belongings into a pickup truck.

Read and listen to the NPR story here


Treats at Soundscapes:

I’d recently posted a note that the annual Oxford American “Southern Music” issue was now on sale. Always a treat for its writing, and the accompanying CD. This year’s issue focuses on the music of Mississippi. Look for Howlin’ Wolf on the cover.

When picking up my copy yesterday at Soundscapes, I also got a 2012 “Blues Images” calendar featuring original artwork from 12 original blues singles issues between 1927-31. Those songs, with 7 others are on a CD included with the calendar.

And, everything in the store is still on “Boxing Day” sale. (At least for now)



Royal Conservatory Courses

Registration is now open for the winter session, with a variety of courses and programs.