Toronto Radio: the importance of CIUT & CKLN

This week (April 11-17) marks the semi-annual fundraising for CIUT FM, 104.5, If you’re reading this, then the kind of music you’re interested in would be much less available (on radio and live) in Toronto without strong, independent voices like CIUT or CKLN… and they wouldn’t exist at all without supporters helping to pay the bills.

So, please, if you care about this music, consider contributing something to keep those voices alive.

CKLN, 88.1, Toronto’s first community radio station is still under threat from a CRTC decsion but is reorganizing and revitalizing. Check its website for updates; it can also really use our support to help keep it on air.

Toronto needs both these vital radio voices.


Muslim World Music Day: April 12

Muslim World Music Day is an idea that came from Bob George of the Archive of Contemporary Music in New York City.

The ARChive collects, preserves and provides information on the popular music of all cultures and races throughout the world from 1950 to the present. Since the ARChive’s founding in 1985 our holdings have grown to over 2 million sound recordings, making the ARChive the largest popular music collection in the United States.

The Day, is “an online effort to identify and catalog all the recordings of Muslim music in the world. It will be a step towards making this culturally significant body of work readily available to people around the globe for study and enjoyment”. Among its impressive achievements is an online database of almost 10,000 recordings.

You can also watch a huge collection of YouTube videos of Islamic music. Scan the list of countries in the bar on the right. Each contains a wealth of music videos.

Listen to The Afropop Worldwide radio podcast for the event. And to explore further, listen to some other Islamic music-related Afropop radio shows available online.  (The Umm Kulthum show is notable)

Toronto Rock & Roll Stories: Great documentary on Toronto’s rock & roll scene in the 50’s & 60’s

This March, Bravo screened a highly recommended three part documentary on the early Toronto rock & roll scene in the 1950’s and 60’s: Yonge Street: Toronto Rock & Roll Stories, directed by Bruce McDonald.

From the early roots of r&b and soul, to the raunchy atmosphere of the Yonge Street bars, and the original Club Bluenote, it features some classic sounds and photos, and interviews with some of the key figures – famous and not.  Among its highlights:

  • Charting the growth and influence of Robbie Robertson, from a 14 or 15 year old guitar star, to the brilliant guitarist with Ronnie Hawkins. After he and the band left Hawkins, someone working for Dylans’s manager, Albert Grossman told Bob Dylan that he had to go to Toronto to see Levon & the Hawks. When they returned to Toronto backing Dylan at Massey Hall, a Toronto Star review called them a “third rate Yonge Street rock & roll band”
  • Local r&b singer Eric Mercury describing the night that his father, a church minister came into the Bluenote, and physically dragged him out. “I was a star… mohair suit, mohair buttons, patent leather hair. Do you know how embarrasing that was?”
  • The story of 15 year old Little Stevie Wonder showing up at the Bluenote and sitting in on drums
  • What a world apart Yonge & Yorkville were.
  • David Clayton Thomas touring Yonge today. “And the Zanzibar tavern is still there!” he proclaims happily. Reading its sign, he says, ” ‘Couch dancing’ ? They had that back then… they just didn’t call it that”

All three parts available online here.