Afrocubism at Luminato, June 12: A Big Deal

I’ve posted several items about Afrocubism here and in the newsletter over the past couple of years, but it’s worthwhile commenting again about what a remarkable collection of musicians will be assembled on the stage at Luminato on the evening of June 12, for a free concert. This website has a particular focus on African music, and much of it on West African music; Mali may have some of the greatest musicians on that continent. If I were to try to pick an “all star team” of Malian musicians, it might end up looking like these guys. Much publicity about … Continue reading

Supporting the Ubuntu Learning Village in Zimbabwe (Mutamba Rainos)

Most people around the African music community know Mutamba Rainos, an mbira player/singer/dancer/percussionist with Nhapitapi, and formerly with Masaisai. He’s also a storyteller, chef, and (as of this fall), PhD student at OISE. However he also created an important project in rural Zimbabwe, the Ubuntu Learning Village.  He is in Zimbabwe for four months now, beginning the construction of this village. (I’m looking forward to meeting Mutamba in Harare this August) I’m posting some messages below from Mutamba about the project, and a fund-raising effort for it being held in Toronto June 17, through the AIDS Ride for Africa, sponsored … 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.

Doc Pomus documentary

UPDATE (May 13) Just came back from the first-ever screening of the documentary, A.K.A. Doc Pomus at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema as part of the Toronto Jewish Film Festival. What a great film. It did an excellent job of capturing the spirit of Doc’s life (as well as the music and the stories.  I found it really did prove a quote by Doc’s biographer, Alex Halberstadt that Doc “was literally the most beloved person I’d ever come across”. Very moving, and highly recommended. Not sure when or where you’ll be able to catch it. See www.akadocpomus.com. My older article … Continue reading

“Under African Skies”: Documentary on “Graceland”, 25 years on (updated)

Update, May 24: See this page for details on the various CD/DVD/Blu-ray packages being released June 5. Update (May 18): The film will be shown on A&E (TV), May 25 at 10pm. Update (May 13): A couple of film reviews: LA Times (May 11) The Age (Australia) (May 14) And, to capture a bit of the flavour of the original album release, you can find many videos on YouTube of Simon’s original “Graceland” tour which followed the original album release. Many are from the final concert in Harare, Zimbabwe, including: “You Can Call Me Al“ “Diamonds on the Soles of … Continue reading

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

Doc Pomus: documentary, biography & appreciation

A new documentary, AKA Doc Pomus will screen on May 13 at the Bloor Hot Docs Theatre as part of the Toronto Jewish Film Festival. (Screening details here) I don’t know the documentary, but  highly recommend this, based only on what I know of Doc Pomus’s life. Doc grew up as a short, overweight Jewish kid in Brooklyn, whose childhood polio meant he lived life with crutches (and later in a wheelchair). He became a true blues shouter in the Joe Turner style, and later half of the most successful pop music songwriting team in the early to mid-60’s (“Save … Continue reading

“Appalled by Dick Clark”: Joe Boyd on Clark’s Bandstand beginning

He may not be hip, but he was clean Two very, very different rock & roll figures died within a day of each other this past week, and have each received, in their own way, extensive media & internet coverage. Below is one take on Dick Clark. One of the news stories I read about Clark noted that he had taken over a local Philadelphia music and dance TV show, “Bandstand” after the original host had been fired. In the opening chapter of his excellent memoir, White Bicycles: making music in the 1960’s, Joe Boyd describes just what happened. (see … Continue reading

Bombino: London concert still on (Fri. Apr 13)

It’s unfortunate that the visas for the Bombino and band did not come through in time for Thursday’s Lula Lounge show; no doubt the band would have rocked the place again. They may be back later this summer, but the good news is that they did finally get the visas this afternoon, and their Friday, April 13 scheduled concert in London, Ont at the Aeolian, put on by Sunfest is still on. Sunfest concert info Article on the visa issues here Bombino interview with CBC music about the situation in Mali (Bombino is a Tuareg from Niger) Below: Bombino at … Continue reading