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T.O. Music Pix Newsletter #11: May 11/06
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In this issue:
1. Aster Aweke May 13
2. "Rhythm & Jews film series & book recommendation
3. Upcoming shows in May
  Lula World, Small World South Asian Festival
  Njacko Backo May 13 (free)
  Adam Solomon & Tikisa rebroadcast
  Chasay Sichilima CD Release
  Warsaw Village Band
  K'Naan (radio)
4. New Website

1. ASTER AWEKE: in Toronto May 13
The great Ethiopian singing star brings her magnificent voice to the Kool Haus this Saturday! Her previous appearance in Toronto was marred with insufficient band backing, and poor sound. This show should have all the backing and setting she'll need... no doubt with a large and enthusiastic crowd of her fans.

Anyone who likes Ethiopian music, or great voices, or just a terrific, energetic environment should not miss this show! Guest singer: Tewodros Tadesse.

Kool Haus, 132 Queen's Quay East.
Doors open 8pm. Party starts around 10pm, and goes till 3:30am
For info, call Coffee House: 416 953-5340

2. "RHYTHM & JEWS" FILM SERIES & a book recommendation
As mentioned in the previous newsletter (, this part of the Toronto Jewish Film Festival focuses on the long and important connections in the U.S. between Jews and black music. An opening night documentary, Immaculate Funk about the legendary record producer Jerry Wexler was a great beginning to the festival (except for the sound quality!).

An upcoming film of note:
Godfathers and Sons: Thu. May 11, Bloor Cinema, 11:45pm
Taken from the festival program:

"Chess Records in Chicago was the home of such legendary blues artists as Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Howlin’ Wolf, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and Otis Spann. Leonard and Phil Chess were inspired to found the groundbreaking record company after being captivated by a gospel service they overheard outside a Black church on Maxwell Street. Director Marc Levin (Protocols of Zion) follows Marshall Chess, heir to the Chess Records legacy, and hip-hop artist Chuck D of Public Enemy, as they unite veteran blues players with contemporary musicians to explore the heyday of the Chicago blues. Part of Martin Scorsese’s The Blues Series, this film is stunning on the big screen! Includes rare archival performances as well as knockout appearances by Koko Taylor, Sam Lay, Ike Turner and others."

A fascinating accompaniment to this series -- and the above film in particular -- is the book The Record Men by Rich Cohen. Although I only bought the book a few days ago, and am just a few chapters into it, I'm finding it one of the best books I've read about the post-WW II popular music scene in the U.S. in which dozens of new, small independent record companies helped to revolutionize American public music, with the explosion of electric blues, R&B, rock & roll, and other regional musics.

This book captures the grit, funk, energy, corruption and street life of the business, the Jewish immigrant experience in Chicago, the black/Jewish interaction, and the excitement of the times better than any other book I've read. Wonderful use of language and imagery -- and perfect timing for the film series, and this film in particular.

A couple of other films coming up:
Paul Robeson, Here I Stand (May 12 4pm); Blue Note: A Story of Modern Jazz (May 13, 11:45 pm)

See for the sea PDF list of R&J films, or go to for more on the festival.

3. OTHER MAY EVENTS (See for more details on these and other shows).

a) continuing festivals
Lula World (May 3-14) at the Lula Lounge ( and the Small World South Asian Music Festival (May 3-26... with a variety of South Asian music and dance both continue this month.

b) Njacko Backo- May 13 at the Gladstone
A free show, 5-8pm in the Melody bar, with the kalimba player/drummer, originally from Cameroon. His show there last March was packed. This will be a warm up for his CD release at the Gladstone on June 16. Stay tuned. Following his trip to Cuba, Njacko has added Cuban rhythms (and musicians) to his musical mix.

c) Adam Solomon & Tikisa - May 16 rebroadcast
A rebroadcast of excerpts from Tikisa's wonderful May 4 CD release (Mti Wa Maisha) at the Lula Lounge will be broadcast on CIUT's "It's Alive" ( Tue. May 16, 9-10pm, 89.5. Rebroadcast Mon. May 22, 1-2pm

See The Live Music Report for a review of the show, and click here for my photos.

d) Chasaya Sichilima - May 19 at the NOW Lounge
There's n
ot a lot of opportunity to see or hear Zambian music in Toronto. Here's a great chance: come out to the CD release of Walasa by the Zambian-born Toronto singer -- a wonderful singer and performer. Donne Roberts will make a guest appearance. $10/$5 for Music Africa members. See for more info.

e) Warsaw Village Band, May 24-25, Lula Lounge
Winner of the 2004 BBC World Music "Newcomer" Award For more info on the band see: "Rock Paper Scissors" site (, which includes background info, links to articles and interviews and more.

f) K'naan on BBC
A reminder that starting this Saturday, for a week, you can hear K'Naan, the Somali-born Toronto hip-hop singer also known as the "Dusty Foot Philosopher" as Charlie Gillett's guest on his "Sound of the World" BBC radio show.

The show will be available online for a week. Go to, then go to the "BBC London" tab at the top, and click on "Latest show on demand"


A new website that looks of interest:

John Leeson

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