Exhibit: 50 years of the Mariposa Folk Festival

Toronto’s Market Gallery is hosting an exhibit, through Oct. 15 celebrating the 50th anniversary of one of Canada’s great music festivals. From the press release: “Mariposa: fifty years of making music” documents five decades of one of Canada’s oldest and best known music festivals through historical photographs, festival programs, and sound recordings. Materials featured in this exhibit are taken from the Mariposa Folk Foundation’s extensive archives, which were donated to York University’s Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections in 2007. “Mariposa: fifty years of making music” will also document the origins of the festival in Orillia and the folk revival … Continue reading

Musical notes from here & there

A few random musical notes Khaira Arby: The singer from Mali made her first North American tour last fall. Here in Toronto, she sang at the Ashkenaz Festival over Labour Day weekend as a guest with the New York group Sway Machine (and also earlier that day live on air at CIUT FM).  I was impressed enough with her that I went to Montreal later that month to see her with her own band at the Club Balletou. A great performer (live and on her CD, Timbuktu Tarab), she’s now on her third trip to North America, but sadly, nobody … Continue reading

Award to Waleed Abdulhamid

This news is actually a couple of months old, but I just came across it today. Waleed, a native of Sudan, and one of the busiest musicans working in the Toronto African music community last may received the 2011 New Pioneers Award for the Arts. The award is organized by Skills for Change, a non-profit agency based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Our mission is to provide learning and training opportunities for immigrants and refugees to access and fully participate in the workplace and wider community.” The award “recognizes the accomplishments of remarkable immigrants”. Read more about Waleed here, and watch … Continue reading

High Def concert videos posted: videos.to-music.ca

I’ve created a new site to post some recent (and not so recent) HD concert videos I’ve taken. See www.videos.to-music.ca  Posted so far: Bombino @ Lula Lounge, Jul. 12 Thomas Mapfumo @ Lula Lounge, Jul. 11 Kabakuwo @ Lula Lounge, Jun. 30 Yemen Blues @ Luminato, Jun. 12 Freddie Gwala, Platform One & Tich Maredza, Great Hall, Apr. 16 (below) More to come. (Older, non-HD videos at www.youtube.to-music.ca)

Notes: Mapfumo, Bombino, Ragovoy, Congotronics &…

Shows at the Lula last week As noted in another post, Thomas Mapfumo closed out Afrofest, but because some of his band members didn’t get visas for Canada, filled in with some local musicians (including guitarist Larry Lewis & Tich Maredza on bass).  Mapfumo wasn’t happy with the struggles to get the tightness he wanted, but those who were at both shows agreed that the whole band was much better with another day under their belts on the Monday night at the Lula, and the dance floor was busy. The next night, Bombino (Omara Moctar), the Tuareg guitarist/singer and his … Continue reading

Event notes for this weekend

Some events to consider this weekend:  See alsowww.events.to-music.cafor more Jul. 22: Sexteto Tabala at the Lula Last weekend, Harbourfront held the Colombian Diaspora Festival (see Harbourfront blog for some video & photos) Friday night, the Lula hosts the Toronto debut of Sexteto Tabala, from San Basilio de Palenque (“the first free town in America”). The Lula describes their music as “a unique mixture of Cuban son with Afro-Colombian rhythms such as bullerengue, porros, cumbia and funeral rituals.” A chance to catch some unique music (I plan to). Details, links & video on the Lula website Note: NVOZ, a Columbian acapella … Continue reading

Afrofest replay: audio & video

A strange bout of flu made me miss my first Afrofest in years, but whether you were there or not, you can catch some of its performances. CIUT FM, as always, broadcast most of the two day festival, and has archived all the performances it broadcast. Listen here I talked to many people who were at Afrofest, and the one performance everybody raved about was the Canadian debut of South African Dizu Plaatjies and Ibuyambo.  While I listened to their concert on CIUT, I missed out on the visual impact of their show, something everyone commented on. Fortunately, Peter Mykusz … Continue reading

Afrofest schedule

The 2011 Afrofest schedule and a map of the site is here. Three stages, vendors, food, a Children’s Village and of course a beer garden. This year Wellesley St to the south and one lane of Queen’s Park Crescent to the east will be closed to traffic, expanding the size of the festival area and easing the pressure on the park and its grass — one of the areas of contention with the city. It’s not certain if Afrofest will be able to return to its traditional home next year, so come out to enjoy this year’s Afrofest in the … Continue reading

“Summer kicks off”: Upcoming highlights

Event listings have been updated. Check out www.events.to-music.ca for information on numerous shows through the summer. July this year keeps up its tradition of great music. Some shows to check out in the next couple of weeks: Details on the event listings page.   Fri. Jun. 30: Kabakuwo at the Lula Mandingue music, featuring dual koras. Among the players: Sadio Sissoko whom many have seen recently wiith Okavango African Orchestra plus Dieli Mori Tounkara, nephew of the great Super Rail Band guitarist Djelimady Tounkara. Bela Fleck & the Flecktones at the Toronto Jazz Festival “Hispanic Extravaganza” at the Living Arts … Continue reading

Afrofest in Queen’s Park 3 weeks away

Email announcement from Music Africa: AFROFEST AT QUEEN’S PARK ON JULY 9th & 10th Afrofest, a free celebration of the richness and diversity of African culture, is set for Queen’s Park in Toronto on Saturday July 9th and Sunday July 10th.  Featuring world-renowned African musicians and top African groups based in Canada, an African marketplace, food and craft vendors, artistic displays, music workshops, and organized activities for youth and children. Afrofest is THE cultural event of the summer. Discover Africa in the Heart of Toronto! African music legend Thomas Mapfumo will be a feature act of Afrofest 2011. “The Lion of Zimbabwe” is considered both the Bob Dylan and … Continue reading