May Days (and down the road)

Check for details on these and many more shows.


Great stuff to look forward to this month including…

  • A big-time highlight: Khaira Arby at the Lula May 8. More on her here
  • The Annual Lulaworld Festival kicks off the next day, marking 10 years of this Toronto musical treasure. This year’s festival focuses on many of the collaborations between local and international musicians. A great lineup for 11 days, starting with Autorickshaw, and ending up with a huge blowout concert featuring Pupy y Los Que Son Son from Cuba at the Phoenix Theatre.
  • May 12: Too much going on this night! Njacko Backo has a full day and evening in his annual fundraiser. More info here. Bill King presents a musical landscape of the Old South in “Gloryland” at the Royal, and Justin Townes Earle is at the Opera House
  • AKA Doc Pomus: a documentary at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, one day May 13. More about Doc here
  • Small World Music‘s Asian Music Series finishes this month with “Next Music from Tokyo” May 18 & 19, Liu Fang on May 19 & “Bombay Brazil” on May 31
  • Soul Influence CD Release at Hugh’s Room, May 25
  • And just beyond the border of May: June 1, Tich Maredza Band will get the NOW Lounge up and dancing

To plan things out further down the road some festival info…

Luminato’s annual concert gems, include a concert by the terrific collection of Malian and Cuban stars, Afrocubism, a great Ethiopian show, a K’naan concert. These and many more free shows are at the David Pecault Square. I have more about some of the Luminato shows here. Luminato’s list of free concerts at David Pecault Square is here

Two long-time festivals are moving from their traditional Queen’s Park home to Woodbine Park. Muhtadi International Drum Festival (June 9-10), and Afrofest (July7-8). Lineup details for Afrofest are TBA, but one of the headliners will be Sam Fan Thomas of Cameroon.  Music Africa will be holding a pre-Afrofest launch concert on June 7, at the Gladstone Hotel Ballroom (6-11pm) featuring Njacko Backo, Jabulani & the Tich Maredza Band. Watch Music Africa website (and here!) for more about Afrofest

The Toronto Jazz Festival runs from June 22 to July 1.  I don’t try to cover jazz on this site as well, but this page lists many of the Latin & other world music performers at the Festival. Closing night (July 1), the main stage at Nathan Phillips Square, the Sierra Leone Refugee All-Stars open for Tower of Power

Harbourfront Centre has announced its theme weekends,  and the names of some of the performers. From the perspective of the music covered here,  there are more notable shows than we’ve seen for a couple of years.  Some highlights include Johnny Clegg (June 30), Orchestre Poly-Rhythmo de Cotonou (July 13), Sidi Touré & The Masters of Mali (July 27),  Yemen Blues (Labour Day weekend)

Last month, Koerner Hall announced its 2012-13 lineup. The hall is a gorgeous facility: beautiful to look at, excellent acoustics and sight lines, and in the time few years since it’s been opened has generally hosted exciting concerts.

I admit however, to being somewhat disappointed in learning of the upcoming season. Their world music series is usually my main focus, and compared to other years, I found it a bit uninspired. Excellent musicians, but nothing that struck me as either unique, or something that immediately said “must see”.  The series includes Alex Cuba, Amanda Martinez, Soledad Barrrio and Noche Flamenco, Buila & Milton Nascimento.

There’s also a special night featuring Johnny Clegg in a concert to be held at the Jackson-Triggs Niagara winery, on July 7. As well, a Cuban series which features, among others, Jane Bunnett with Chucho Valdes,.

Some other shows that may be of interest are in the “Music Mix” series including Béla Fleck and the Marcus Roberts Trio, Keb’ Mo’, Chick Corea & Gary Burton, Allen Toussaint and David Bromberg, Dianne Reeves.

Some other events in different veins sound interesting:

  • “Glenn Gould’s Birthday BACHanalia”
    Celebrating the birthday of the Conservatory’s “most illustrious alumnus”. It’s a night of Bach — without a classical pianist in sight. Musicians include Trichy & Suba Sankaran, Howard Levy (harmonica player with Béla Fleck), Mark O’Connor (fiddle), the Dave Young Trio and others. (Sep. 24)
  • “The Beethoven Marathon”
    Stewart Goodyear will play all 32 Beethoven sonatas in a single day, from 10am to 11:30pm.
  • “Devoted to Dizzy”
    Five concerts celebrating what would have been Dizzy Gillespie’s 90th birthday. October through May

Brochure for the season is here