Living, on video: Press play for Toronto culture

As we gear up for the second annual Uma Nota Festival of Tropical Expressions (October 20-21 in Toronto), we're taking a moment to share some of the great Uma Nota moments and personalities on video we've managed to capture and publish online.There will be more video to come as we count down to the festival. For now, press play on these Toronto culture and world citizen-approved moments and get ready for an amazing three days of music, culture, art, food, dance and celebration.In November 2011, we presented our first Uma Nota Festival of Tropical Expressions. Here are a few killer moments.Who wouldn't want to do THAT again?In May 2012, we kicked off the season's Pedestrian Sundays in Kensington market with The Block Party at PS Kensington, in a co-production with Maracatu Mar Aberto.Here's a video memento of that fine day of music, culture and community:And here's our artist profile from the 2011 festival: Uma Nota presents Jerusa Leão & Maria Bonita and the BandStay tuned as we announce more details for the 2012 Uma Nota Festival of Tropical Expressions. We'll be posting videos, artist profiles, community events and more as things roll along in the lead-up to the October 10-21 festival.

Lemon Bucket Orkestra's arrivals and departures

This fine troupe of musical rascals is Toronto's Lemon Bucket Orkestra.Lemon Bucket OrkestraBy now, you may have seen the video of them performing on board an aircraft that was delayed on the tarmac at Pearson International Airport a while ago. The viral video made international news on CNN, CBC News Network and other media outlets.Lemon Bucket is planning an airport reunion of a musical nature for this Thursday, May 31 at Pearson, this time in the arrivals area of Terminal 1. An acoustic concert the likes of which the facility may never have seen ...Lemon Bucket Orkestra's media release: airport homecoming concertHere's the video in case you missed it -- this one now has more than 200,000 views on YouTube:As 14-piece Balkan party bands go, Toronto has something very original with Lemon Bucket.  They call themselves Toronto's only "Balkan-klezmer-gypsy-party-punk-super band," and it's true. The group was one of the founding acts of the Fedora Upside-Down Collective, which includes Uma Nota acts Maracatu Mar Aberto and Maria Bonita and the Band, among others. Fedora Upside-Down was also a community sponsor of the successful Block Party last Sunday in Kensington Market here in Toronto.Lemon Bucket raised a huge chunk of money this past spring by busking around Toronto. This was all  to pay for their travel to Romania, where they were invited to play in a festival and where they embarked on a tour (they chose to eschew grants and the like instead allowing "the people of Toronto" to decide whether the band went to Romania. It worked).When I spoke with founding Lemon Bucket and Fedora member Mark Marczyk for a recent CBC Radio story on the collective, he emphasized the busking roots as both true to his local band's and to the Ukrainian bands he joined up with when he first decided to make this music. Beyond an accessible to all form of performance, and the singing-for-one's-supper aspect, Marczyk said that music in unexpected places -- a core tenet for Fedora and especially Lemon Bucket -- gets people to take off the "blinders" of  Toronto city life:

"... [Lemon Bucket Orkestra's street performance] reminds people it's OK to stop and feel, to feel the world around you, it's OK to be surprised, to give in to spontaneity, not everything is according to plan, sometimes the most memorable experiences in your life are ones that happened by mistake."

Video diary entries from the tour are on the LBO website and on YouTube, all videos are by Fedora/Whippersnapper Gallery artist Josh Brandt.If you're free Thursday night to go make some music at Pearson International with Lemon Bucket and the Fedora crew, here is the info via the Facebook event:

On May 31st, 2012, we are returning from our Romanian tour on AC 877. The flight arrives at Pearson International at 7:25pm.Won't you be our sweethearts and come greet us at the airport? If you do, we promise we will give you all a big, long, musical kiss! Let's have an airport reunion (and celebrate it with a free acoustic show!)

You can also get more info on Fedora Upside-Down, the artists, groups and performers involved in the collective and more on the Fedora Upside-Down website.Welcome back, Lemon Bucket Orkestra!

Carnaval 2012 is here, from Rio to Salvador to Toronto

The famous, wild and irresistible "clima do Carnaval" has already been heating up all over Brazil for weeks.  From Friday until this coming Ash Wednesday, all bets are off, pleasure and hedonism rule and the world's most famous giant party takes over.Rio de Janeiro bloco 2012 Me Beija Que Sou Cineasta Fotográfos FoliõesOne member of the Uma Nota community taking part in this year's festivities is Jon Medow, the musical director of  Toronto's Samba Elégua and a drummer in samba master Maninho Costa's Batucada Carioca. He's been in Rio since early February on his first trip to Brazil (following a trip to Argentina), and he's arrived tearing it up on the samba front at just the right time.  A talented drummer who plays several instruments from the escola de samba bateria tradition like a hard-hitting Carioca himself, Jon has managed to get right in there with some of the Rio street blocos and now, we can confirm, in the bateria of an escola de samba.Jon Medow G.R.E.S. Inocentes de Belford Roxo Rio Carnaval  Escola de Samba Carnaval Rio de Janeiro  Sambadrome Marquês de Sapucaí Sambódromo Batucada Carioca Samba Up there with Rio, another of the most popular Brazilian cities during Carnaval -- for sheer music and joy overload, not to mention the definition of "multidão" (huge, packed to the gills crowds) -- is of course Salvador da Bahia, the birthplace of the "trio elétrico" (among countless other Brazilian cultural manifestations, predominantly Afro-Brazilian ones!). This year, worldwide viewers and social media-happy Brazilians can watch live streaming video of the many shows around Salvador on a new YouTube channel created to showcase the festivities and allow people to interact online to comment on them. (More from the Google Blog here, hat tip to Electric Joshua.)   [tubepress video=nEVzpKFxodQ]   Meanwhile back in "terras frias," Toronto isn't missing its turn to party down. This year the annual Brazilian community's Carnaval bash, produced by the lovely and talented (and "Brasileirissima") Angela Mesquita, also puts Bahia in focus as the region of Brazil selected as the theme of this year's festa. Local stars Banda Bracatum rock their mix of samba-reggae, funk, horns and Afro-Brazilian tunes along with Bob Marley and Stevie Wonder adaptations, all led by Contra-Mestre Bola of Capoeira Camará and more in the action-packed band. Singer Cibelle Iglesias and Adrianna Yanuziello's dance troupe Dance Migration will also perform a special piece prepared for the Bahia-themed party. And Maninho Costa, freshly arrived from his hometown Rio (where he just finished a performance run of the show A Febre do Samba, on the history of the samba-enredo), will lead Batucada Carioca in a set of classic Carnaval anthems by the great escolas de samba including two giants, the heavily Afro-influenced Vila Isabel and the often-Bahia-themed Mangueira. Toronto-bound (revelers) can get their fix this Saturday night. Details here. Feliz Carnaval a todos! Happy Carnaval to all!