“Music in Mali” documentary

Music In Mali: Life Is Hard, Music Is Good: Via Afropop Worldwide, I came across information on this recently completed documentary about Malian music (filmed before the tragic fighting and repression in that great country). The film is produced by Kanaga System Krush (KSK) Records, but at this point, I don’t have any information on any screenings or its availability. I will keep tabs on it though. The embedded clip is a 14 minute preview. (Click the full-screen icon to view it properly). Music In Mali: Life Is Hard, Music Is Good is a feature-length documentary about the musicians, dancers and everyday people of … Continue reading

Harbourfront’s “Classical IV” weekend featuring Masters of Mali with Sidi Touré

I’ve often found this themed weekend (in the past, appropriately titled “What is Classical”) one of Harbourfront’s most interesting each year, as it poses that musical question. One of my favourite Harbourfront concerts in recent years was Orchestra Piazza Vittorio performing their unique take on Mozart’s Magic Flute. This year’s “Classical IV: Strings” focuses on a wide variety of stringed instruments, and, Harbourfront suggests, asks questions such as: What is modern classical music? Why are some folk melodies and pop tunes called classics? And who gets to call them that? Can sonorous instruments from different cultures talk to each other? … Continue reading

Luminato & other festival info

Part 1 of the summer festival notes.  Check www.events.to-music.ca for details on these and many other events. Summer festival time kicks is here, kicking off this weekend with The Afrofest launch event tonight Beginning Friday, 10 amazing days of free Luminato concerts & the annual free Muhatadi International Drumming Festival Saturday. Afrofest launch: June 7 Tonight in the Ballroom of the Gladstone Hotel, Music Africa announces the lineup for the 2012 Afrofest, this year moved to Woodbine Park. A few names have already been announced including Sam Fan Thomas (Cameroon) and Wazimbo (who put on a terrific show at the … Continue reading

Khaira Arby talks music and politics with CBC Music: new unreleased songs

Khaira put on a great show at the Lula Lounge last Tuesday (May 8). She also spoke with CBC. The page has a few new unreleased songs available online Khaira Arby talks music and politics, shares exclusive new songs CBC Music – Free Streaming Radio, Videos, Songs, Concerts & Playlists.

Don’t miss Khaira Arby May 8: “It’s boom! It’s flash! It’s great!”

Anyone who’s followed this website, or my newsletter for the last couple of years, knows that I’m a huge fan of the Malian singer Khaira Arby. Over the summer of 2010, I followed news & reviews of her first-ever North American tour, and finally saw her perform in Toronto that September, at the Ashkenaz Festival and also in the CIUT studios. She was indeed, an amazing singer, but here, she was singing as a guest with the New York City Band, Sway Machinery. So later that month,  I took the train to Montreal to catch her performing with her own … Continue reading

The crisis in Mali, Tuareg music and rebellion

For some people, when you say “Timbuktu”, it is like the end of the world, but that is not true. I am from Timbuktu, and I can tell you we are right at the heart of the world. — Ali Farka Touré. from the liner notes to his 1994 album, Talking Timbukutu In 1994, I was looking forward to seeing the great Malian guitarist for the first time, in a concert with American Ry Cooder, with whom he had recorded the above CD. However, not long before that concert, word came out that Touré had cancelled his tour, because of … Continue reading

Khaira Arby at the Lula May 8

Great news, that Malian singer Khaira Arby is finally playing a concert in town with her band.  Of course, given the situation in Mali, especially in her region, around Timbuktu, we can all hope not only that she gets here, but that the fighting is resolved soon, and the people there can enjoy peace. She, Vieux Farka Touré, Bassekou Kouyaté have just released a new single, “La Monde Pour La Paix” pleading for peace. Khaira first played North America in the late summer of 2010 (and in fact, it was almost the first time she’d ever travelled outside Mali), and … Continue reading

“Globalized Tuaregs, and the Plight of the Festival in the Desert”

From Afropop Worldwide’s blog: These are trying times for the Tuareg communities of the Sahara. We are barely one month from the 11th annual Festival in the Desert in Timbuktu. A tantalizing preliminary roster (including Salif Keita, Baaba Maal, Habib Koite, and of course the preeminent Tuareg band Tinariwen) has been posted. Tinariwen has recently toured in the US, including an appearance on The Colbert Report, further enhancing their mantle as champions of a globalized, “desert rock” sound. And, prior to a November 25 kidnapping incident in Timbuktu, Festival in the Desert director Manny Ansar was also making the rounds, … Continue reading