The Sultans of String brought their “atomic world jazz flamenco” to the warm, intimate confines of Trinity St. Paul Centre Friday night and the audience couldn’t have been happier about it. The affection for this group was palpable as the band alternated between sincere tributes to whales, Sable Island horses and Mayan ruins, meditative rumba flamenco and smokin’ East Coast kitchen parties. Head Sultan Chris McKhool plays 6-string violin and is the main musical voice for the band. Other core players are Kevin Laliberté (who co-writes the songs with McKhool) and Eddie Paton on guitars, the two contrasting beautifully as Paton provided the fiery solos and Laliberté turned in precise and melodic phrases. Drew Birsten bowed, slapped and strummed his way through the bass parts. Master percussionist Chendy Leon sat amongst a small forest of drums and toys, but favoured the versatile cajon for most of the night alternating between hands, brushes and feet as the mood demanded.

Read more: What Has 32 Strings and Grooves?

I was wandering the halls of the U of T's Faculty of Music yesterday, and noticed two flyers tacked to a bulletin board. One was advertising the services of an "accompanist"; the other was for a "collaborative pianist."

In case you haven't heard, "collaborative pianist" means accompanist. The term arose in the 1990s, and has been adopted by numerous music faculties and conservatories.

In an effort find out more, I discovered that Toronto pianist Christopher Foley runs a website called The Collaborative Piano Blog ( Here, he explains that the word accompanist, "has traditionally implied inferiority, subservience, working ‘for' rather than ‘with' a recital partner. Collaborative piano, on the other hand, is a term that implies equality, association, and teamwork."

Read more: When is a Collaborator Not a Collaborator?

How to survive the internet – tip number one:
To avoid embarrassing the librarian, do not type the phrase “heavenly body” into Google or Yahoo if you are looking for an image of an asteroid on line.

I know this because of what happened after the announcement, on April 9, that Victoria astronomer David Balam had named “his” new-found asteroid tafelmusik in honour of Toronto’s most esteemed baroque ensemble.

Great topic for an editorial, I said, and flailed around on the internet for a bit, trying to find out what musical company tafelmusik would be keeping in its lofty new orbit. I found chopin, wagner, mozartia, liszt, thebeatles, bach, … no Beethoven, though. Probably still too modern. And then I decided to look for a photo.

.... Well, anyway, enough of that.

Read more: WholeNote Blog - Post #1

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