18aOctober opens with the continuation of the eighth annual Small World Music Festival which began in late September. Remaining shows include Beyond the Pale klezmer fusion band at Lula Lounge, October 1; and Parno Graszt gypsy band, October 2, also at Lula.As well, there’s Music, Movement and Mythical Creatures, a childrens’ show with bellydancer Roula Said and friends, October 3 at Harbourfront’s Lakeside Terrace; Saeid Shanbehzadeh, Persian music and dance, also October 3, at the Richmond Hill Performing Arts Centre; and Celebrate! Holidays of the Global Village, a multicultural kids’ show with Chris McKhool, October 4 at the Lakeside Terrace.

Also on October 4, Africa New Music presents Festival Bana y’Afrique, a free outdoor celebration of African music and culture, at Metro Hall Square (near King and John streets). The line-up of performers includes JP-BUSE from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Blaise La Bamba, also from Congo, Madagascar Slim & Kintana Gasy, Valu David from Angola, Njacko Backo and Kalimba Kalimba (Cameroon), Akwaba Cultural Dance Group (Ivory Coast), Kgomotso “KG” Tsatsi (jazz singer) and more. The festival runs from 1 to 10 pm. See www.africanewmusic.org for more details.

18bProbably the most exciting event in Toronto’s musical landscape this fall has been the opening of the Royal Conservatory’s new concert venue, Koerner Hall. And to celebrate this event, a concert series featuring local, national and international stars has been launched and continues throughout this season. A number of world music acts have been programmed – and among them, none other than world renowned sitar player Ravi Shankar will grace the stage on October 17, along with his daughter Anoushka Shankar. The elder Shankar is probably India’s best known musical ambassador, and for over five decades he’s collaborated with the late renowned violinist Yehudi Menuhin, flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal and composer Philip Glass, and has composed three concertos for sitar and orchestra. An accomplished sitarist in her own right, Anoushka Shankar has explored musical linkages between Indian classical music and electronics, jazz, flamenco, and western art-music.

The same evening at Roy Thomson Hall, Spanish guitarist Paco Peña presents a show titled A Compás (Primal Pulse), with his troupe of three dancers, a singer, three guitarists and percussion in an exploration of flamenco rhythms.

The month comes to an end with another African drum and dance festival: Baobab Afrikan Arts presents Mandingue Summit, October 29 to November 1. Mandingue refers to the people of the ancient empire of Mali, which in the 13th century encompassed the countries known today as Mali, Guinea, Senegal, Gambia, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone and Burkina Faso. The festival presents local artists who specialize in the Mandigue style of drumming and dancing, as well as film screenings, cuisine, and drum and dance workshops. Visit www.baobabafrikanarts.org and our listings for more details.

Karen Ages is an oboist who has also been a member of world music ensembles. She can be contacted at: worldmusic@thewholenote.com.

 

Looking to expand your own musical horizons but don’t know where to start? Below is a short list (by no means comprehensive) of commuity education organizations offering classes in a variety of world music traditions.

28Sora

But first, some concert highlights for this month. The 8th Annual Small World Music Festival runs September 24 to October 4 at various venues, and features 23 artists from 20 countries, including Zakir Hussain with Béla Fleck and Edgar Meyer (September 29, part of the Grand Opening concert series at the RCM’s new Koerner Hall), Tasa, Bajofondo, Electric Gypsyland, Beyond the Pale, Omnesia Live, to name just a few. See our listings, or visit www.smallworldmusic.com for full details. The Klezmer Kids, from Winnipeg, perform September 12 at the Winchevsky Centre, 585 Cranbrooke Ave., followed by a workshop the next day. (www.winchevskycentre.org or call 416-789-5502); and KlezFactor, Toronto’s “alternative” klezmer band, performs at the Tranzac Club, September 29. Finally, Bernardo Padron and his band are at Hugh’s Room, October 1 (Venezuelan influenced jazz, with Alan Hetherington, Mark Duggan, Marylin Lerner and Andrew Downing).

Arabesque Academy

1 Gloucester Street, Suite 107

416-920-5593

www.arabesquedance.ca

In addition to being one of the best places in the city to study the art of belly dance, (including an auditioned professional course), Arabesque Academy offers classes in Arabic instrumental music. At the time of writing, the fall schedule was not available, but check their website for updates. Music classes are offered by noted local Arabic musicians Dr. George Sawa, Bassam Bishara and Suleiman Warwar on a variety of traditional instruments including dumbek, Qanoon, Naye, Oud, Voice, Violin, Saz, as well as history and theory.

Clapping Land – songs, movement and rhythm for young children

Sophia Grigoriadis

416-220-8161

sophia@clappingland.com

www.clappingland.com

“Through moving, singing and instrument play, music opens those crucial pathways for your child’s language and social development and physical coordination, giving opportunities for creative thinking and exploration.” Classes begin soon in the following age ranges: Newborn to 18 months; 18 months to 3 years; 3 to 5 years. Check the website for schedules and registration.

Gamelan Degung Sora Priangan

“Voice of the Spirit of the Ancestral Mountains”

Arraymusic studio, 60 Atlantic Ave. Suite 218 (rehearsal location)

atmar@istar.ca (Andrew Timar, contact)

Sora Priangan is the Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan’s community group, directed by Andrew Timar. The instruments and repertoire are indigenous to the highland Sundanese people of West Java, Indonesia. Sora Priangan’s mission is to foster an understanding and appreciation of the gamelan degung music of West Java, and the unique repertoire commissioned by its parent group, the Evergreen Club. Membership is open to the public, and the group presents concerts and workshops. Rehearsals are Tuesdays 6-9 pm.

Kathak Dance

355 College St., second floor

416-504-7082

joanna@mdo-tte.org

www.mdo-tte.org

In partnership with the Toronto Tabla Ensemble, Joanna de Souza offers classes in North Indian Kathak dance, from beginner to professional levels, in the Kensington Market area. For full schedule and registration, visit the website.

Koffler Centre of the Arts

Prosserman JCC’s Donald Gales Family Pavilion

4588 Bathurst St

416-638-1881 x4269

registration@kofflerarts.org

www.kofflerarts.org

In addition to a number of music classes and workshops offered by the Koffler Centre, new this fall is the opening season of the Toronto Jewish Chorus, under the direction of Judy Adelman Gershon. Auditions to be held in the fall.

Miles Nadal JCC

750 Spadina Ave., at Bloor

416-924-6211

info@mnjcc.org

www.milesnadaljcc.ca

In addition to a vast array of recreational and cultural activities, the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre offers a number of music classes, including a Community Choir, Women’s Chorus, and Klezmer Ensemble. See their website for schedules.

RCM Conservatory School

273 Bloor St. West

www.rcmusic.ca

Back in their newly renovated old location, the Royal Conservatory offers a number of community classes in world music traditions, inbcluding Brazilian Samba, Celtic-Canadian Fiddling, Latin Jazz, Taiko Drumming, and a World Music Chorus. Visit their website, click on “brouse courses,” then “world music” for schedules and registration.

Samba Kidz

Drum Artz Studio, 27 Primrose Ave. (Dupont/Dufferin)

416-538-6342

info@drumartz.com

www.sambakidz.com

www.drumartz.com

Run by Drum Artz Canada, the Samba Kidz fall 2009 session begins September 29, Tuesdays from 5:30-7:30pm. This multi-arts programme for kids aged 7-14 encompasses group-inspired world drumming, steel pan, dance and visual art projects culminating in performance opportunities throughout the city.

Samba Squad

Drum Artz Studio, 27 Primrose Ave. (Dupont/Dufferin)

slamdog@sympatico.ca

www.sambasquad.com

Lead by Rick Lazar, Samba Squad offers workshops in Brazilian Samba (beginners welcome) most Sundays all year round from 11:30am to 1:30pm. No need to sign up in advance. Instruments are provided. Bring your own ear plugs and a tape recorder if you wish. Some “graduates” become members of Samba Squad itself.

Toronto Tabla Ensemble

43riteshdas355A College St. West

riteshdas@tablaensemble.com

www.tablaensemble.com

416-504-7082 x1

Ritesh Das offers classes in North Indian tabla drumming, from beginner to professional levels, in the Kensington Market area. See the website for full schedule and registration.

Worlds of Music Toronto

416-588-8813

info@worldsofmusic.ca

For years, Worlds of Music has been a wonderful source of world music classes and workshops in a wide variety of traditions. At time of writing, the fall schedule does not appear to be in place; but do check their website or call for details.

 

While many music presenters celebrate the close of their concert seasons, others are just starting up. And with the arrival of warmer weather, it’s nice to know that there is at least one outdoor venue offering a series of free concerts. The Toronto Music Garden (475 Queens Quay West) is in its tenth year of presenting concerts on Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons, running June 28 to September 20. Glancing at the schedule of events (curated by artistic director Tamara Bernstein), it’s interesting to see the way in which “world music” has seeped into the fabric of general concert programming, without necessarily being labelled as such. Perhaps we’ve become less self-conscious of our own multiculturalism, something we increasingly take for granted in the “global village” that is our city.

Global village: Muhtadi International Drum Festival, June 6,7

Read more: A climate change

Sometimes I feel like I'm wearing too many hats..... as advertising coordinator for this publication, as a freelance oboist... and then there's this column, dear to my heart, but not always given the time and depth it deserves. But there are too many things coming up this month and a “highlights in brief” summary is better than nothing!

April 3, Roy Thomson Hall presents Scotland the Brave, an extravaganza featuring over 100 performers including full orchestra, highland dancers, choir, pipe-band, drum corps, Celtic fiddlers, and young tenor Greg Moore among the soloists.

World Music photo Apr 09
Alireza Ghorbani

Small World Music presents Bajofondo, an 8-piece electronica-infused tango rock band whose members hail from Argentina and Uruguay, April 5 at the Mod Club; Small World also presents Alireza Ghorbani, one of Iran's top vocalists, and Shiraz (classical Persian music ensemble), part of the Sounds of Persia series, April 9 at Harbourfront's Enwave Theatre. Cape Verdean singer Carmen Souza performs at the Lula Lounge, April 22 (see www.myspace.com/carmensouza).

Toronto's Ensemble Polaris, so named because it performs music inspired by and features instruments from northern countries, presents a program titled Viking Vacation Destinations, April 24 at the Edward Day Gallery. Scandinavian and Mediterranean influenced music is brought to you on guitar, violin, bagpipes, cello, hurdy-gurdy, nyckelharpa, recorders, seljefløyte, etc. I've heard this ensemble and they're pretty unique! York University's Department of Music presents its World Music Festival featuring its student ensembles. The Cuban, Klezmer, Mande drumming, Ghanaian drum and dance, and Brazilian Samba groups perform on April 30, and the Caribbean Ensemble, African American Piano Players, Chinese Orchestra, Korean Drum Ensemble, and Japanese Ensemble perform May 1. The Canadian Opera Company's noon hour series of free concerts presents an Introduction to South Indian Violin, with Subhadra Vijaykumar, May 7 at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre.


Beyond the GTA: the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music Society presents the Orchid Ensemble in contemporary arrangements of Chinese music as well as works by Vancouver area composers, April 4, 57 Young St. West in Waterloo. And last but not least, Kitchener's Open Ears Festival of Music and Sound (April 24-May 3) presents a number of world music ensembles this year: The Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band performs April 25 at the King St. Theatre Centre; Safa, comprised of Sal Ferraras (percussion), Francois Houle (clarinet), and Amir Koushakni (Setar, Tar, vocals), perform both improvised and composed works, influenced by Turkish and Judeo-Arabic traditions, but mostly based on Persian repertoire, April 30 at Zion United Church; Red Chamber, a quartet performing on traditional asian instruments has a repertoire from 917 AD to the present, spanning many world cultures. They're at Church of the Good Shepherd on May 1; Nagata Shachu Japanese Taiko Ensemble performs May 2 at Your Kitchener Market; and The Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan is featured in Gamelan (and on): The Enduring Legacy of Lou Harrison, May 2 at the King St. Theatre Centre. They'll perform both contemporary and traditional works.



 

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