Event updates delayed for Libyan election

I sent the note below in a newsletter on Monday (July 2). This note is being posted from Tripoli. (Note: that updates on my Libya blog www.libyatoronto.com (or Libyan twitter account, @libyatoronto may be a bit limited until after election day, July 7) Apologies for the lack of updates (website, events or newsletter) lately. It’s not for lack of music… just lack of time. In the midst of other activities, I learned less than two weeks that my wife and I will be going to Libya as part of a team of election observers — the only team from Canada. … 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

“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

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

From the Twitter- & other -verses

A few odds and ends collected or sent on Twitter (and other sources) recently.  See @tomusicpix A retweet from @RootsMusicCanada Fair enough. RT @alannealottawa: Kiran Ahluwalia wasn’t impressed that presenter didn’t attempt her last name #cbcjunos http://yfrog.com/ny3sgsaj Via  @RealWorldRec: Creole Choir of Cuba recording ‘Tande’ in the Wooden Room at @RealWorldStudio http://youtu.be/fHBQ-jzgNBU (Creole Choir is better known in Toronto as Grupo Vocal Desandann) 60 years ago: the first rock & roll concert & first rock & roll riot. Alan Freed in Cleveland: http://t.co/0CyVP0uh via Assoc. Music Parents “I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my … Continue reading

Doctor Mulatu, I presume

Update (April 1) Watch “Mulatau Astatke and the African Jazz Village“, his project to foster jazz in Africa. In the “long overdue” category, news has come out that the “Father of Ethio Jazz”, Mulatu Astatke will receive an honourary Doctor of Music degree from Berklee College. Other recipients will be Allison Krauss and The Eagles (I will not try to picture The Eagles on a par with Mulatu. Perhaps they should get an honourary Bachelor’s degree). Congratulations to a true master. Two portraits of the Doctor from his 2008 appearance with the Either Orchestra at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre: my photo, … Continue reading

Summer (festivals) #2: other notables

Besides the Luminato announcement, there’s much more coming, including: Lulaworld, May 9-19 The Lula Lounge over 10 years has been indispensable  as a live music venue, and as a contributor to the music and wider community of this city. This year’s annual Lulaworld festival will celebrate a decade of… that Lula world. Their website describes the festival best: For a decade now, Lula Lounge distinguished itself as Toronto’s home for groundbreaking international latin, jazz, and world music. In celebration, Lula Music and Arts Centre has programmed a series of collaborative concerts that will bring together artists from around the globe. … Continue reading

Summer (festivals): just around the corner: #1: Luminato

That early summer we had seems to have disappeared suddenly this week, but all the news of summer (and other) music festivals should keep you warm. Most notably, for this website is the news of the free music concerts at what may now be the  premiere annual arts event in Toronto: Luminato. Its free concerts, organized by Derek Andrews are often among the best of the year, and this year promises to be the best yet. (Enjoy the riches while you can… the recent provincial budget called for cutting Ontario’s contributions to Luminato over the next 2 years by 40%!) … Continue reading

Random recent musical notes

A few odds and ends from the musical world recently… A new double CD out on Stern’s of the late Guinean great Sory Kandia Kouyaté. Info, and some music here. Feel free to crank up the volume. Baaba Maal on the food crisis in Mauritania Reports from Senegal recently are that Youssou n’Dour was injured in the leg by a tear gas canister in the unrest over the election situation (and the court decision to not allow him to run for president). See also earlier post on this site And taking another musical perspective on serious political struggles, while the … Continue reading