Covering African, world & roots music

NOTE: New pages are now located at

Old web pages:  Newsletter   Photos   Articles   Videos   Best of   Links

Web This website


T.O. Music Pix Newsletter #107: May 6/10
Click here for information on subscribing and an index of past newsletters

In this issue: 

Warning: Good times Friday night; upcoming events and some recent shows. Plus Fela grabs the Tony nominations: 



a) Raul Malo: Hughs' Room show postponed to September

The sold-out show has been rescheduled to Sep. 17 and 19, as a result of serious flooding in and around his Nashville home.


b) Warning: Seriously good times expected Friday night at the Gladstone

As noted in the last newsletter, it looks like you can expect a remarkable night with two excellent shows, starting with a free show starting at 7:00 in the Melody Bar with the Tich Maredza Quartet. That group is composed of some of the members of the excellent local Zimbabwe mbira group, Masaisai. Tich played with Oliver Mtkudzi at his last Toronto show, and the Quartet will be opening for him at his next Toronto concert, July 24.

At 9pm, across the hall in the Ballroom, a truly packed lineup will perform to support an excellent cause. We all know that there are great and needy causes everywhere, and fundraisers are a frequent necessity. This one is to help raise much-needed money for École St Albert Le Grand, the childhood school in Bazou, Cameroon of drummer and kalimba player Njacko Backo.

Njacko is so well known and respected around town, not just for his music, but also his energy, and support of many needy causes around town, that when he takes on a project like this, it's no surprise that he also gets the support and participation of a remarkable lineup of musicians. I'd encourage you to come to the Gladstone Friday, for the music, the spirit,... and the cause. You will have a great time at both shows.  Suggested admission is just $10, or Pay What You Can. 100% of the donations will go to support room repairs and future projects at the school. More info at

Performers (in order of appearance): Muhtadi, Marni Levitt, Jacques Yams, Toumkak, Chris Whiteley & Diana Braithwaite, Amara Kanté and Amadou Kienou, Adam Solomon, Steafan Hannigan, and finally, Njacko with his band Kalimba Kalimba.


c) Some other May events
(see events page for details and links for all of these and many more shows through the spring and summer months)

There are so many excellent events coming up over the spring and summer, it'll be tough to choose. Below are just a very few upcoming shows coming up this month that might be of interest:

  • May 8: "I Am Cuba", part of the LulaWorld Festival. The night kicks off with show girls & Cuban orchestra reminiscent of Havana's famed Tropican club, and ends with music from Changuito (one of Cuba's top percussionists), Telmary, Angel Luis, Alberto Alberto and Yani Borrel

  • May 13: Michelle Shocked at Hugh's Room

  • May 13: Kinobe and Soul Beat Africa, also a LulaWorld night. Kinobe, a young Ugandan musician is quickly gaining attention around the world.

  • May 14: "Global Grooves from Round the World" with Samba Squad, featuring guests.  2010 World Music Juno winner Dominic Mancuso opens. Another LulaWorld show

  • May 19: Elizabeth Sheppard, with a free noon hour concert in Yonge Dundas Square

  • May 22: Tribute to Celia Cruz... once again, a LulaWorld show honouring the late Queen of Salsa

  • May 25: Sharon Jones at the Sound Academy

  • May 26: Rosie Flores at the Dominion on Queen. Great rockabilly, country and blues singer.

  • May 26 & 29: Nathaniel Dett Chorale at the Glenn Gould Studio

  • May 30: Jason Wilson and Friends (Mighty Pope, Fergus Hambleton and Holmes Hooke) at the Lula

Enough for one month?

Of course, things really heat up in the summer. More notes and news to come, in particular about the Luminato festival, which hosts an amazingly jam-packed schedule over 10 days. The June 12 free concerts in Queen's Park promise to be one of the best days of African music Toronto has seen in a long time.

In fact, this year the Festival includes a special focus, "Spotlight on Africa" featuring concerts, films, literature, panel discussions, and what looks to be a remarkable theatre production of three one hour plays, The African Trilogy, produced by three directors and three playwrights from six different countries. Tickets are on sale now.

See the Luminato website for details. I also have a summary of some of the events on my events page.

Other festival listings added to the event page in the last week or so include the first lineup announcement for Afrofest, and free concerts at Yonge Dundas Square.

2. Other notes

a) Fela on Broadway:

Congratulations to the cast and crew of Fela!, the Broadway musical on the life of the late Fela Kuti. It just received 11 Tony nominations, including Best Musical. The idea of Fela on Broadway -- and raking in Tony nominations! -- is something truly amazing. So, to recognize Fela's bizarre posthumous appearance on Broadway, here are a few Fela video clips.
  • On Broadway (right)

  • Part 1 of a documentary on his life. (The other parts are linked in the Related Videos to the right)

  • An old, rough clip done by Ginger Baker from the early 70's


b) Adam Solomon new CD

Adam Solomon, who performs solo, with his band Tikisa and the African Guitar Summit has just recently released his third solo CD, Africa And the West II, once again mixing together the music and rhythms of those two musical culture, including blues from Africa and Mississippi.

Adam will be doing a solo set as part of the Njacko fundraiser at the Gladstone May 7



3. Some recent shows

I'm afraid time constraints have prevented me from posting photos from any 2010 concerts (yet)... however I do have some video clips from several excellent shows over the past few months including  Eliades Ochoa, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Tilahun Gessesse and others.  See



Eliades Ochoa, Royal Theatre, April 24.
Watch a video clip of "Chan Chan" from the concert

Carolina Chocolate Drops, Hugh's Room, May 4
Watch them perform, "Your Baby Ain't Sweet Like Mine here.

John Leeson