The year that passed and the year to come

Liniker presented by Uma Nota & LMAC. pic: ANna Encheva

Liniker presented by Uma Nota & LMAC. pic: ANna Encheva

This year that passed was awesome. Many cool productions, collaborations, and artist residencies made 2018 special. Let's break it down…

We started the year with our Winter Nite, giving props our Brazil-phile roots with the real deal samba troupe Batucada Carioca. Speaking of which, this year's Winter Nite is the awesomest. Check the link.One of the early highlights in April was a full on reggae explosion with the Human Rights 10 year anniversary. The night was an indoor, fully packed block party, self produced at the restored Vaudeville theatre The Redwood. The Human Rights rocked it along with special guests Ammoye, Exco Levi, Kultcha Ites and so many more...

HR Ammoye

HR Ammoye

For a couple weeks in July, we had our first visiting Artist in Residence with the return to Toronto of the indelible, ultra charming (and equally frustrating hehehe) Jerusa Leão, who came presenting her solo show Saraváh  as well as a re-boot of everybody's favorite forró rabecado, Maria Bonita & the Band, of course, with Jerusa in the front, killing it. To say her vibe is infectious would be an understatement. She also guested with Maracatu Mar Aberto singing alongside Flavia Nascimento on several occasions, including at Guelph's super awesome Hillside Festival.

jerusa 2018

jerusa 2018

Perhaps our most memorable show was presenting together  Lula Music & Arts Centre and Polyphonic Ground, the great Liniker e os Caramelows. The show went OFFFFF! Soooooo much fun and groundbreaking for Toronto and the Brazilian community here. The soulful sounds kept us vibing all night long

Liniker all intimate. pic: Anna Encheva

Liniker all intimate. pic: Anna Encheva

.Beyond these great shows, on contract working with Small World Music, UN artistic director, Alex  assisted in programming several acts as part of their incredible festival, (including Tdot Batu w/ special guests, Las Cafeteras AMAZING 100, Soukustek & Baobá). UNC also worked closely with RPM (Revolutions Per Minute) during the Manifesto Festival, and to top it off, we rocked Vox Sambou's CD release at the Baby G in Toronto! Again, these last two were co-productions with Polyphonic Ground.

Finally, this year we went to España (and Catalunya), to Barcelona, Andalusia and Islas Canarias for WOMEX, the World Music Expo, where we met with like minded artists and presenters, including our friends Liniker e os Caramelows and a crew of peeps from Latin America, Brazil, and beyond. We learned lots and made mad connections there. One special encounter was with Jabu Morales, a super talent, an old friend and the sister of Toronto's own Aline Morales.

WOMEX with tha cool peeps. From left to right: Tamar Ilana of Ventanas, Kristyn Ann from Uma Nota, Alex from Uma Nota, Jabu Morales and DJ Mukambo (Benjamin Tollet)

WOMEX with tha cool peeps. From left to right: Tamar Ilana of Ventanas, Kristyn Ann from Uma Nota, Alex from Uma Nota, Jabu Morales and DJ Mukambo (Benjamin Tollet)

So a lot of good stuff this past year with Uma Nota... look out for 2019! Including our first event of the year, Winter Nite, and something groundbreaking as part of the Progess Festival: real real  with Bruno Capinan, plus a new festival in July. Keep your ear to the ground to hear the rumblin's a-comin'! Much love and happy new year! May all our dreams and aspirations move forward!All the best Toronto and beyond! One love! 

Feb 16 at the Theatre Centre in Toronto, co-pro with Summerworks

Feb 16 at the Theatre Centre in Toronto, co-pro with Summerworks

Vox Sambou live! Fall Edition

 uma_nota_fall2018_facebookOk ok ok... Another night of uninhibited dancing  coming up... buy tickets!The last time Vox Sambou played in Toronto was at Uma Nota back in 2015, he and his band lit Geary Lane on absolute FIRE. My favourite part was actually after his set had ended, when he, his bassist, and Toronto's Lady Son, free-styled over some dubby tracks the DJ was throwing down.image (1)Vox figuratively represents half the world in his show. The Haitian-born, Montreal-based musician and activist rocks the mic in five languages, without shame and with so much flow.  Expect some beautiful energy, as he is fresh off a tour in Brazil and will be celebrating the release of his latest EP, Eritaj. Vox Sambou has been called “a key figure on the progressive front of the Rap Kreyòl movement”, and blends the traditional music of Haiti with Afro-Latin grooves, Afrobeat, reggae and hip hop. A charming and engaging performer who is known for his captivating and interactive performances, merging the stage and dancefloor with powerful vibes... all that's missing is YOU!DJ support by two of Toronto's best tropical selectors, Juana Go-gó and DJ General Eclectic!Last but not least on the bill is María Chávez, here for the X Avant XIII hosted by the Music Gallery. She will be spinning a dance set to move you.Screen Shot 2018-10-04 at 12.09.28 AMExpect more than your average Toronto indie concert! This is a participatory party and a dance floor celebration!Everyone welcome!Doors open at 10pmLimited $10 advanced tickets availableCopresented by Revolutions Per Minute and Polyphonic Ground

The Live Element: Bands at Uma Nota Fest

cover pics bands copyHere is the rundown of the Live acts featured at this year's Uma Nota Fest (#UmaNotaFest for the social media savvy). Lots of talent and creativity in the mix to move your body and stimulate the pleasure zones of the mind.The Human RightsUma Nota alumni The Human Rights (formally Friendlyness & The Human Rights) have spent 6 years honing their unique style of uplifting and ultra-heavy reggae music. The ten-piece band has recruited Toronto soul man Tréson and have re-united as The Human Rights. Tréson brings a whole new level and dynamic to the band, his powerful voice the perfect compliment to Friendlyness' style. After two Canadian tours, CBC recording sessions, opening slots for reggae legends Gregory Isaacs, John Holt and Beres Hammond, and a feature in the new Trailer Park Boys movie, The Human Rights are gearing up to release their 2nd LP and are touring in support of their latest single "Old School Track." On Oct 17th at the El Mocambo they bring us back that old school feeling. (FB event)

Heavy Soundz (Montreal)

Heavy Soundz come to us from Montreal and embody the alter-Latino scene there. Solidly anchored in a merry multicultural melange, the members of Montreal collective Heavy Soundz kick it with crazy rhythms that get any party started. What do these 5 musicians and 5 MCs from Québec, Haïti and Latin America have in store for us? A caliente whirlwind of Latin urban music spiced with reggae, cumbia and hip hop, as heard on their latest album, “Tumba Parlantes”, a sound that gets everyone in the room moving, grooving and sweating … We are pleased to welcome Heavy Soundz to the El Mocambo  On Oct 17th. (FB event)Flavia Nascimento and BandFlavia won hearts and fans in Toronto with her whimsically romantic forró during last year’s Uma Nota Festival. She is now proud to launch her self titled EP in Toronto. Recorded in Brazil over the winter (Brazil summer) of 2014, the CD is a mixture of original compositions and original takes of some classics from her homeland. The distinct regional style of her native state Minas Gerais is heard as some songs harken the congados (African processions from Minas) and a distinct, almost Milton Nascimento vibe in her arrangements. Her live performance is warm and festive, with a touch of romance. Flavia is the most enchanting start to our festivals. Flavia plays the festival launch at Touché Lounge on Oct 16th at 9pm. (FB event)

Wagner Petrilli  

Brazilian guitarist and composer Wagner Petrilli, originally from São Paulo, is one of Toronto’s most prominent Brazilian musicians. Wagner plays the very best MPB or musica popular brasileira, which is a very Brazilian way of saying the work is made with influences from the entire spectrum of Brazilian national music, including samba, choro, afro-derived forms and classical music. His recently released CD Confissão (“confession”) received critical acclaim and his cd launch at Lula Lounge was a memorable evening for all there. Expect a lively and powerful show from a great band. Wagner plays at 6pm at The Great Hall. (FB event)

Wagner Petrilli [soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/158141444" params="color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

Batucada Carioca (led by Maninho Costa)

Batucada Carioca is Toronto’s premiere Rio-style samba troupe. Led by Rio native sambista Maninho Costa (Maninho z10) Batucada has a raw uplifting style. For their 10th anniversary Maninho has prepared a special set of all new material, and beyond the regular bateria (samba drums) the show features Carlinhos Pernambuco on cavaco, Wagner Petrilli on 7-string guitar and Christopher Butcher on trombone, with special guests performances by Tio Chorinho and Louis Simao. Batucada Carioca plays at 7:30 at the Great Hall on Oct 19th. (FB Event)This one is an oldy, not high def footage, but it shows Batucada Carioca in 2009, so it has wicked historical value and you can see see Maninho killing it.

Roda de Samba (Brazilian roots samba) 3pm

A ‘roda de samba’ or circle of samba, is a a gathering of friends who play and sing classic samba tunes with smaller instrumentation (as opposed to the baterias of big samba schools). In Brazil a roda de samba can take place on market days or at bars with people gathering around a table of seated musicians, and eating, dancing, rejoicing and often singing along in chorus. In Toronto, Carlos Pernambuco is at the forefront of this movement, with his infectious voice and cavaquinho leading the songs. The roda (circle) will happen in the afternoon while the feijoada is being served and other activities happen around the venue. Roda de Samba will play throughout the day starting at 3pm at The Great Hall. (FB event).An example of roda de samba in Brazil:

Give It Up for the DeeJay.

Uma Nota Festival has got a wicked line-up of live music and some of the best selectors and beat producers. Let's take a look at the deejays on the bill for Uma Nota Festival 2014.Ushka ushkaUshka is a Sri Lankan-born, Thailand-raised, Brooklyn-living migrant. She is an activist, cultural organizer, and deejay re-defining the boundaries of global bass music and culture. Having grown up in several parts of the world, her musical influences are as transnational as she is. She deejays from the perspective of a dancer, blending a wide range of music from soca to cumbia, hip hop to South Asian rhythms, kuduro and other African styles to samba. She does so with the philosophy that global genre-blending connects cross-cultural struggles and tells important stories between communities but most importantly, she translates this onto dance floors. Ushka plays Saturday Oct 18th for the Digital Tropics Party.[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/users/1151113" params="color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false" width="100%" height="250" iframe="true" /]Poirierpoirier_002hires_by_may_truong_jpg_0Poirier is Montreal’s pre-eminent Tropical Bass producer. Pinpointing the bits and pieces of dancehall beats, soca energy and electronic intensity is futile in the face of Poirier’s dance-driven creativity and air horn-worthy excitement. He has been nominated for a couple of Junos in his time. This is a man who just understands what works in the dance. He’s released several acclaimed albums on Ninja Tune, remixed the likes of Busy Signal, Salif Keita and Pole and has toured the world several times over. In 2013 Poirier embarked on a new mission: the “chamber techno” music of Boundary. This alias was responsible for one of the remixes in the Music Gallery’s Hugh Le Caine project last year. Poirier also got in touch to say that he is coming into town with his main emcee Face-T. Expect the best with Poirier. Poirier plays Saturday Oct 18th for the Digital Tropics Party. [soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/users/494979" params="color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false" width="100%" height="350" iframe="true" /]Rebel Up! Soundclashlandscape_rebel_up_soundclashStarted in the beginning 2007 by Seb Bassleer aka SebCatLitter, the idea of RebelUp! Soundclash was to bring more diverse global styles and potentially more raw and organic sounds to the dance floor out of the big musical biotope that our world has to offer. Instead of dancing to the same well known tunes over and over, RebelUp! offers a podium to discover unsuspected sounds, feelings and expressions. Expect a night of global and political culture mash of sounds from straight-up old skool roots, Arabic roughness, amplified African rhythms, Latino cuts, Asian psychedelica, Balkanized mestizo and gritty electronics. Rebel Up! play the Friday Night Jamboree on Oct 17th . [soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/users/306076" params="color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false" width="100%" height="350" iframe="true" /]General Eclecticgeneral eclecticFounding Uma Nota member General Eclectic is one of Toronto’s most revered djs and selectors. His record collection runs deep and his musical knowledge is beyond vast. As his name implies, his tastes are ‘eclectic’ and he can bring out ska/reggae, soul/funk, afrobeat/jazz, cumbia and the Brazilian rhythms. The engine behind such signature Toronto events such as Shindig, Footprints and Building Blocks, he recently surprised us all with a killer hip-hop set at the End of Summer Block Party. As a founding partner and graphic designer he has been instrumental in the creation of the 'Uma Nota style'. General Eclectic plays the Friday Night Jamboree and The Batucada Carioca 10 year party for the Community Cultural Fair.

Uma Nota Festival 2013 Preview Mix by Dj General Eclectic on Mixcloud

  

Luiz Gonzaga: 100 Years and an Eternal Legacy.

This year is the centenary of Luiz Gonzaga. I’ve been delaying writing this post for some time now. In fact, his birthday was on December 13th and I had wanted to celebrate and write this for that day. Alas, it was not to be. Instead I did what every good forrozeiro should do while in Rio: I went to a forró in the square at Praça Tiradentes and danced with some lovely ladies to live music. It had rained early in the afternoon, so the night was warm and humid; only the die-hards came out to hear the many bands sharing the stage and paying tribute to the great Gonzaga, the King of Baião.How can one convey the immense influence and legacy of Luiz Gonzaga in a simple web post?Well, instead of rehashing what you can easily find on Wikipedia, other websites and in books about Gonzaga, I thought I would give you a quick breakdown and let you use your own research skills to find out more about this man. I’ve curated a bunch of YouTube videos of songs and clips that I thought might help you along the path. Take the time to discover the wonderful story of Luiz Gonzaga.The son of an “8 baixos” accordion (diatonic button accordion) player named Januário, Luiz Gonzaga was born in arid Northwest of Pernambuco state in Brazil. He joined the army, traveled Brazil, and ended up in Rio de Janeiro. Fate took hold and a series of historical currents allowed for this man to become the reference for forró and Northeastern culture across Brazil.At the time Luiz went to Rio, there was an influx of poorer working class migrants from the drought-stricken northern states. Although he tried to get into the Portuguese fado style, marchinhas and other contemporary music of classy Rio, it was the infectious rhythms and melodies of the Northeast that got him noticed. His showmanship made him popular. The themes of his songs, the hardships of migrant life, homesickness, and the rural life, became trendy among all the people.Luiz was a super gifted performer and he created some important creative friendships with composers like Humberto Teixera. Humberto wrote the song Asa Branca, which became and remains the anthem of forró music and of the "simple life" back home; of nostalgia. It was with Humberto, also from the Northeast, in this case Ceara state, that they decided that the base rhythm for their songs would be the "baião."The era also saw radio flourish. The recorded sound was just reaching early adolescence. He signed a contract with RCA and at one point in time it seemed like Luiz was the only artist they were recording. With this, he inspired a generation. He became the de facto reference for forró and his voice was heard all around the nation. People were buying radios, and people flocked around the radio. The popular performer was also a popular marketer, endorsing many products and services from supermarkets to cars.Here is Luiz and band in a film from 1958. Check out the cool steps when they dance the "xaxado." This band was often playing for the Rio elites in the swank clubs and hotels of the day.Below is the trailer of the movie The Man Who Bottled Clouds, which is about the life of Humberto Teixera, but chronicles much of a crucial time in Luiz Gonzaga's career. (There are English subtitles; it makes for a great reference.)But wait! I wouldn’t want to be misinterpreted here. It was not chance that made the King of Baião. Maybe there was an element of chance involved, but the man created a legacy through beautiful music, performance, an acknowledgement of the tradition and cleverness. His songs carry such a beautiful poetic tone, sometimes romantic, sometimes fun, sometimes sad, and often tongue and cheek.This is one of my favorites, in a dubby style and a minor key, it speaks of a journey of hardship yet satisfaction at the place you have reached in life. Epic.One beautiful anecdote I read somewhere is from when Luiz wandered into a record store in Fortaleza, sometime in the early '70s. Luiz was really a thing of the past then, with few people in the industry paying attention to him after the early '60s, when bossa nova and Brazilian rock became more prominent. He maintained his popularity in his beloved Northeast however, and the store owner instantly recognized him. The shopkeeper asked Luiz if he had heard Caetano Veloso’s version of Asa Branca. Luiz responded that he hadn’t. Caetano, at this point living in exile in London, included this song as the last on his record. It was a slow rendition, a strong lament of the saudade, the nostalgia, that he felt for home. Luiz cried from the emotion. The old man not even conscious of his legacy among a generation of tropicalia musicians. Soon after Gilberto Gil proclaimed that Luiz and Humberto Teixeira, the composers of his time, were “responsible for a revolution in my life.”After that, the great Luiz Gonzaga slowly returned the the popular consciousness of the nation. He reunited with his estranged son and began touring once more. Another interesting tidbit, Luiz Gonzaga apparently said (speaking about the dictatorship era), is that music about politics is for the educated university types like Caetano and Gilberto Gil -- he was just a simple man.This is the trailer of a recent movie about the relationship of Luiz Gonzaga with his son and the burden of being the King of Baião and being from a simple rural background.Another great moment of interview of father and son. Please learn Portuguese people, or ask someone special to help you translate. ;)I guess at this point I should let you know about about forró. Here is a quick explanation from a previous article I wrote:Forró is not really the music per se. It is more of an all-inclusive cultural manifestation: music, dance, party. When you dance the rhythms of forró it is usually in a pair. Style can vary between people and region but it is always fun, tongue & cheek, and sometimes safado (an implied sly sexuality). The 3 basic instruments are: the triangle, the zabumba drum and the accordion. The three basic rhythms are: Xote (pronounced 'shótch' and usually slower), Baião (more up-tempo) and the Arrasta Pé (quick two step).Check more videos:A cute animation to a famos Luiz xote about a young girl who seems ill, but really she's just got the love bug of adolescence. Her dad takes her to the doctor, and the doctor says: "There ain't no cure in all of medicine!"Here is a song in the baião rhythm. It is upbeat and happy. Chamego is when you dance close, cheek to cheek often hip to hip and belly to belly, a bit jumpy and totally with no shame and a sly smile on your face: "Ai! Que chamego bom!"This one is an arrasta pé rhythm, more upbeat and you dance side to side. This is also the beat you use in a quadrilha, Brazilian old time square dancing.Here is one of my absolute favorites. In this one, with wicked instrumentation including a flute, Luiz, in a classic forró spoken word style, tells the story of how he returned to his father's house after more than sixteen years living in the Southeast of Brazil. It is told in classic Northeastern dialect and cleverness. Send me a message if you want me to translate for you.The Brazilian national news report of Luiz's funeral in his hometown of Exu, Pernambuco, in 1989:And finally, his classic song A Vida do Viajante, sung with his son, affectionately known as Gonzaguinha, or little Gonzaga.Long live the great Luiz Gonzaga, O Rei do Baião!-- Alex Bordokas 

NuJazz Festival takes five (and how)

Jay Cleary knows a thing or two about carving out a niche in the Toronto music scene. He's brought hundreds of artists through in many years, representing big-time on the local and international acts of a funk, groove and soul nature.Cleary has been all over it in Toronto for years but now lives in NYC. Luckily his concerts remain, and he even visits for special occasions. Case in point: NuJazz Festival, which he started five years ago. Cleary has presented a slew of artists over the past festivals -- a few standouts include shows by Herbaliser, Toubab Krewe and one of last year's marquee attractions, soul legend Roy Ayers.This year, Cleary bounced into town after yet another NYC/Toronto "commute" -- in this case spending more than 12 hours in transit via bus -- and went straight to work. On Nov. 9, SoulJazz Orchestra kicked off this year'sat Wrongbar to get the festival  underway. The group used the launch of the fifth annual festival as the debut Toronto performance of their new album Solidarity. Cleary confirms that this was SJO's biggest Toronto headline show to date, noting "the rabid crowd loved every minute of the 2 hour set!"SoulJazz Orchestra at the launch of the fifth annual NuJazz festival at Wrongbar on Nov. 9, 2012This year's NuJazz lineup, Cleary writes, "embodies the spirit of nu-jazz, which is bringing jazz into a modern context by blending this essential improvisation-based art form with other contemporary styles." Dig ... here's a little more on some of the fest's remaining shows:Saturday night (November 17) at Great Hall features the duo Martin and Blades, a year-plus-old collaboration between drummer Billy Martin (Medeski, Martin and Wood) Hammond B3 organist Wil Blades.  The two joined up at a festival in summer 2011 and the danceable, improvised old school grooves proved so popular that they've been touring this two-man, two-instrument act.  Drummer Billy Martin happens to be a student of Latin, Brazilian and global percussion and has immersed himself in a study of clave rhythms, recently publishing a book on African-derived clave grooves. So rhythm heads take note, this is a drummer to catch in a live setting. And to round out the night, Toronto's free-spirited horn-based ensemble The Shuffle Demons support.A taste of that drum kit/B3 duo:Another of the shows we're most looking forward to is the return of Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, who rocked it at the inaugural festival in 2008. Cleary recalls their show a few years back, commenting that at the time they had just "tapped into their own sound," breaking new ground based on their background with jazz melodies and hip-hop grooves. Since then, Cleary notes, "eveyrone wanted to collaborate with them," and those who did include Erykah Badu, Mos Def and Damon Albarn, who made HBO the touring backup band for Gorillaz. (The hit film Hunger Games also used their track War in a crucial scene.)Musically, says Cleary, they've advanced in the jazz realm and recorded with composer and former Sun Ra Arkestra collaborator Philip Cohran -- who by all accounts is indeed the father of the musicians comprising Hypnotic Brass Orchestra. HBO's resulting music is "more African, more arranged than ever. Hypnotic Brass Ensemble plays The Opera House on Friday, November 23, a show that promises to once again bring out all the dancers and appreciators in the know. Opening the night are Heavyweights Brass Band, who use the classic New Orleans instrumentation to lay down everything from funk and R&B to some pretty fun covers of War, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Michael Jackson.Finally, we have to give shout-out to Yuka, one of the city's hardest-working funk/soul acts. They perform next Thursday, November 22 at the El Mocambo alongside  Chameleon Project and others in a local showcase concert.Take a listen to the Yuka funk here:Other NuJazz headliners on the DJ tip include the seemingly ageless Mark Farina and multi-instrumentalist/spinner Chuck Love. The latter show is co-presented by the boys of Promise and supporting DJs include Circle Research, whose inclusion on the bill is always a good thing and a sign of educated taste.Props and a sort of farewell for now are due to Cleary, who plans to head back to NYC after the festival and stay there for a while, still maintaining his toe-hold on the groove scene in Toronto. We wish him well and look forward to the rest of a killer festival.The fifth annual NuJazz Festival runs until November 24 in Toronto. Full schedule, ticket info and more are available on the NuJazz website

Celebrating a year in the life of Fedora Upside-Down

Around a table on Freeman Dre's deck in Parkdale, the heads behind the Fedora Upside-Down collective discuss details of the upcoming festival. Beyond the logistics of programming three separate rooms, including two live music stages, there are mentions of theatrical performers, photo exhibitors, art installation creators, dance and interactive performance artists, lighting planners and decor painters, and food, bar and logistics crews.Three key musicians are responsible for bringing about the Fedora Upside-Down collective: Mark Marczyk, Tangi Ropars and Freeman Dre are credited as the principal creators of the "urban folk" collective, dating back to its establishment by name around its first shows in spring 2011. Fedora Upside-Down comprises multiple bands from various traditional musical styles (and fusions theereof) world over, manifested in Toronto in an accessible way, from Balkan and bluegrass to flamenco and forró and beyond. In addition, several visual arts and performance collectives now number among many member groups, and countless more bands and urban artists make up part of the Fedora community.All of the groups and their respective scenes, both together and individually, are part of the city's most exciting and current cultural renaissance. Fedora is about uniting the diverse traditional cultural forms of music, dance and art ("folk" forms) present in the urban Toronto scene and allowing the communities, musical styles and artists to mix. (Uma Nota's tropical vibes are represented via Maria Bonita and the Band and Maracatu Mar Aberto.)While the Lemon Bucket Orkestra is one of the best-known and most visible bands in the collective, and both Ropars and Marczyk are members, the many Fedora artists around that one group have also seen a rise in interest for their work. Last year's festival was something of a catalyst."The [2011] festival opened us up to people who had never come before, it showed them what we're about. We're getting people out in the streets and we're creating worlds in the shows we do, whether as Fedora Upside-Down or as individual bands and performers," says Marcyzk. "Everyone's working on their own, too, and applying what Fedora is to their own practices."In the past year, the collective has boomed with shows, events, festivals and general snowball-effect-like growth. In addition to a roughly one-year Thursday night residency at the Cameron House, the collective's first day-long festival last October sparked a number of larger functions: A masquerade/Mardi Gras in February, a "Feria" or fair in April, Luminato appearances by Lemon Bucket Orkestra, the New Traditions festival on the Toronto Islands in late June, Sheroes at PS Kensington in July, the annual Blackout party and parade in August, the second annual Ossington-area alleyway party in September; all this plus appearances at Ashkenaz, Small World Music Festival and Nuit Blanche, and now the second annual Fedora Upside-Down festival.This year's day-long affair, notes Marczyk, while still predominantly featuring live music, brings in more artists in the visual and theatrical arts, more poets and writers, more inter. "We've opened up programming ... we want to get people involved in the cultures we're so heavily involved in," he adds, naming some of  the interactive workshops offered during the afternoon portion of the day-long festival, among them kids' theatre, mask-making, and village dances (from various traditions)."Now we want to not only show, but to teach, give people an opportunity to learn, to be involved in a personal way," says Ropars of the workshops, noting that  they will take place all afternoon, leaving time between activities. "It's a new thing, but a very important one. It's our second big event in such a large room, where lots of different communities will be gathered together ... a very unique place.""This event is different from the others that led to it," says Freeman Dre. "What's Fedora? Come to this event and you'll find out. It's also the one chance for all of us [members of the collective] to play together [in one night], for everyone to do their art form. It will probably only happen once a year."The three Fedora co-founders make it clear  that Fedora as a collective has grown, shifted and evolved since the last festival. "We're more like facilitators now," says Marczyk, noting that hundreds of bands have played shows under the Fedora banner in the past year. He says there are now more invitations to bring in artists, usually friends and colleagues, that it's less of a set collective with member groups now than it is a artist community with members united by their relationship to heritage or traditional forms of music and art. Participation is "community-based rather than genre-based," says Marczyk, and includes artists who are less visible in the city.On Fedora's style of events and shows, Ropars points to past permit-free throwdowns like the Blackout parade and the Ossington-area Alleyway Party: "Totally a community event, it's not a venue with a cover. And ours are different than other events -- we have live music non-stop."The existence of Fedora as a collective based in a certain part of the city is part of it too, the three agree."It's definitely a neighbourhood thing," says Dre on his Parkdale-area deck. "[Fedora] is a snapshot of this neighbourhood. It feels like you could walk down the block, as though there were no walls [between buildings and houses], and see all the groups in their rehearsals."Fedora Upside-Down Festival takes place Saturday, October 6 at the Ukrainian Cultural Centre. More info, tickets and full programming available via the Fedora Upside-Down website and via the Facebook event page.  

Brazilian World Music Day - 7 de Setembro Dia Mundial de Música Brasileira

Over in New York City and in the grand diaspora of Brazilian music lovers worldwide, a singular project has been building up over the past year. The ARChive of Contemporary Music, based in NYC and with Columbia University as a founding partner, has amassed and catalogued thousands upon thousands of Brazilian recordings in the U.S., thanks to project director Beco Dranoff, a Brazilian based in NYC and São Paulo. The date, September 7, is no coincidence -- known as Sete de Setembro in Brazil, it is the country's national day, the day it gained its independence.Participants in World Brazilian Music Day abound, from artists living in Brazil and its "exterior" (other countries), to Brazilian arts and community organizations, Capoeira groups, dance groups, cultural associations, and of course, plenty of Brazilian music shows. (Check out the site's list of Brazilian instruments and a great map of Brazilian music by region, from the book The Brazilian Sound by Ricardo Pessanha and Chris McGown, for a couple of examples.) The project's impressive blog has been up for months, with amazing tidbits like posts on record hunting in Brazil or this gem from the '6os, a Beatles cover in Portuguese on the Rio-samba-rock tip:Now that 7 de Setembro is here, the full website is live, with access to the online catalogue, a listing of participating organizations and events, and the project's backstory and future ...In the spirit of Brazilian Music Day, here are just a few reasons today why we're passionate about the past, present and future of Brazilian music:In Brazil now, you can find most every kind of music without leaving a sphere of nationally produced music. Along with true "cultura popular" manifestations still beloved to many Brazilians (the various forms of samba, maracatu, coco de roda, frevo, Capoeira), the dominant global pop music phenoms are there, from indie rock and hip-hop to electronic forms and pop phenoms, but all in Brazilian Portuguese, making global pop forms available in the Brasileiro vernacular. Many of these projects, like hip-hop/samba mixer Marcelo D2, the electronic and non-electronic works of Otto, the jazz-meets-candomble rhythms of Salvador da Bahia's Orkestra Rumpilezz or the dub reggae/roots Brazilian groove projects produced by Buguinha Dub out of Olinda/Recife and Sampa, are innovative besides.And since we're mentioning boundary- and border-crossing music exploring Brazilian and global themes, here's a fresh video from American emcee Ryan Wink and American/Mexican/Brazilian musician (and capoeirista) Quetzal Guerrero, exploring the northeastern Brazilian city of Recife with a hip-hop beat mixing in maracatu rhythms, and "elogiando" the city's joyful and rich cultural heritage in both English and Portuguese (and with a special nod to the present-day, costumed Carnaval vibe):Next up: Brazilian minister of culture Gilberto Gil, a formerly exiled musician, is one of the world's foremost visionaries on "copyleft" and the future of music media consumption. We could go on about the many facets of Gil ... but we already did that. His vision and execution, though, have set up Brazil as a key player in the ongoing discussion and narrative around the future of copyright and how we consume and share music and reinvent the business models for the music industry on a global scale.What else? Brazil "tá na moda" -- Brazil as a brand is fashionable.  The profile of Brazilian musical and cultural references in western popular culture has risen steadily for years, and the Olympic handover ceremony, that grandiose show, served to illustrate images of Brazil that are new to some Western (non-Brazil-obsessed) eyes (though perhaps not the cliché-free presentation organizers had promised). From Havaianas everywhere to Capoeira in countless TV ads over the years and even the surge of interest in forró  nights in the "exterior"the steady infiltration of Brazilian cool into Western consciousness will only grow as the world turns more and more of its attention to Brazil, including its musical exports. Here's a previous post about the coolest Brazilian brands on another site by Uma Nota's Alex Bordokas.And of course ...In our corner of "Brazil fora", things have never been hotter. Toronto's Brazilian scene has grown by scads. The number of Brazilian and Brazilian-influenced bands, drumming groups, dance organizations, teachers and performing companies, and Brazilian festivals and events have all grown by leaps in recent years. In the last six or seven years, the likes of Seu Jorge, Gilberto Gil, Hermeto Pascoal, Adrianna Calcanhotto, Cansei de Ser Sexy (CSS), Luísa Maita, Olodum, Daniela Mercury, Ivete Sangalo, Carlinhos Brown, Céu and other international-level Brazilian artists have performed at large Toronto venues, in some cases for free as part of programming  paid for by Canadian and/or Brazilian government grants or other funding. In fact, last night in Toronto, the Brazilian consulate organized a special pre-7 de Setembro concert at Koerner Hall, free of charge with advance registration, performed by mandolin master Hamilton de Holanda.Not only that, but the Brazilian flag was raised at Toronto's City Hall today (Sept. 7) in honour of the commemoration!Meanwhile, Toronto-based artists like Aline Morales and her producer/arranger David Arcus, Maria Bonita and the Band, Luanda Jones, Mar Aberto Sound System, Maninho Costa (with both Batucada Carioca and Tio Chorinho), Bruno Capinan and Tropicalia have helped to bring Brazilian grooves, voices and new interpretations to the Toronto scene, opening doors between the Brazilians, the Brazilphiles and countless other musical worlds. Other Canadian cities are on the map, too: at Winnipeg's summer Folklorama festival, the Brazilian pavilion remains the top attraction, thanks in no small part to the participation of Toronto's Dance Migration company; Montreal's Rio 40 event series, Calgary's Brazilian contingent at the Stampede, and Vancouver's summertime Afro-Brazilian Block Party are just a few of the other Canadian-Brazilian scene highlights. And the previously mentioned Hamilton de Holanda plays in Ottawa on September 7, as organized by the Brazilian embassy there.Over the years, Uma Nota has done its share of fostering this movement. Our very first event presented Maracatu Nunca Antes, Canada's first maracatu group, as well as Samba Elégua, a samba fusion brateria that has a heavy Brazilian influence. We have featured many DJs  whose primary influence has been Brazilian music (Petri Glad, Jason Palma, Jerus Nazdaq) and one of the first mentions (if not the first-ever) of Aline Morales on promotional material was on an Uma Nota flyer. In 2009 we presented samba soul funk artist Curumin, and since then we have featured Maracatu Mar Aberto, Maria Bonita and the Band, Luanda Jones, and regular performers Maninho Costa and Batucada Carioca. At this year's festival (October 19-21 in Toronto), we are upping the ante, presenting Pedro Luis and his band and Rio de Janeiro funk/hip-hop fusion act Stereo Maracanã. As the eyes of the world increasingly turn to Brazil -- global politics, energy systems and economic development as well as for music, culture, sport and fashion -- we celebrate on World Brazilian Music Day and congratulate the artists, innovators, producers, organizers, researchers and supporters who make it all happen.What about you? What about Brazilian music in 2012 excites you? How are you celebrating this World Brazilian Music Day?While you're answering that, as a World Brazilian Music Day treat, we invite you to check out the 5 tunes we chose for our post on CBC Music, in which they asked us about the events, Brazilian music's role in them and put together this, our Uma Nota playlist -- Brazilian tracks you might hear at Uma Nota, and why we love them.DubbenRainha Do Dub A CoisonaAquecimento da CapoeiraEddieRadistaePinducaVamos FarrearJorge BenTake it Easy my Brother Charles

Brazil Bombay Jam

I guess you can sum it up as a musical perspective of India through Brazil.On Thursday May 31st Small World Music will present Bombay Brazil. The show will join  together some of the most active and accomplished musicians in Toronto's Brazilian and South Asian music scene. After literally almost running into into Alan Davis from Small World, he mentioned that the Uma Nota crew should take a look at the project. Intrigued by the concept, we decided to get on board.The word "fusion" is a mixed bag. But this project, "the brainchild of Samba maestro Alan Hetherington," is a perspective from someone who has devoted his life to Brazilian music, and who has also had unique musical exposure to Indian music influences. I reached out some to Alan Heatherington and he answered some questions for me.What inspired you to create this project?Alan Davis approached me, with the idea of asking me to do something a little different for his Asian Music Series. Having had some experience with Indian music, playing in Tasa, and the interest I have playing with Brazilian music and musicians, I proposed a project with some of my favourite musicians and friends from both of these genres, and he went for it.What makes this "fusion" different for all the others?The idea is largely influenced by and based upon a format I learned many years ago playing for John Wyre (from Nexus) in his ensemble World Drums, where he created a group of percussionists and other musicians, from around the world - usually for World Expos - to perform in different cities together. We did about 5 or 6 of these concerts over some years and they were the best music education I've ever had! John was a Zen master at bringing talents and strengths together, linking them with simple ideas or themes, and with minimum rehearsal. I've tried my best to emulate his philosophy here with this group, utilizing two focal cultures, rather than the many John used.  Are you focusing more on Brazilian music and adding Indian instrumentation, or are there Indian derived tunes as well?The link between the two cultures here in this show is 'diversity of rhythm', both in meter and phrasing (feel). Some people who study Brazilian popular or folkloric music often don't realize there is a whole other world of Brazilian music in unusual meters out there. Indian classical music is the same, using very beautiful and ornate rhythmic shapes. I find there is a great affinity between the rhythmic feel of Africa, India and South America (which is essentially African in nature). Playing in John's group taught me just how compatible the complexity and subtlety of Indian and Brazilian rhythm is together. This concert will also be very Canadian, in its spirit of compatibility and (hopefully) rule bending without offending (haha!). There will be some traditional and contemporary tunes from both cultures, and some interesting surprises. We're very excited about the possibilities!Thanks Alan! The show is this Thursday  at Lula Lounge, details here.

Rockers Arena: Underground Sound

Underground in the city. In fact, there were some issues whether we should even post about this because it is strictly for the people who like a late and hidden party, and for those who like the good sound of a resident selector and dub plates. In our internationalized world, the reggae style is alive and well in Toronto.Nowhere is this more evident in the downtown than at the Rockers Arena. The Rockers Arena, at The Rainbow Palace in Kensington Market, is run by a crew that plays reggae the way traditional Jamaican sound sytems used to play, with a selector and a crew of emcees and singers who perform live on dub version. "The sound system scene is generally regarded as an important part of Jamaican cultural history and as being responsible for the rise of several modern Jamaican musical genres."  from Wikipedia.The boys at Rockers Arena keep it real: It's all analogue and it's all vinyl. The music is raw, underground, and bass heavy. The sounds are mostly vintage music from the mid 70s to late 80s. Selector K Zar plays everything from big classics to lesser known gems he has discovered collecting vinyl. Like the tunes, the jam is one of those rare gems of culture in the city and the Rainbow Palace is a unique venue. A basement in a hidden corner of Kensington, it is a liminal state of existence; almost like stepping down into another world. The music and the vibe are righteous, positive, and the 'courage' flows all night. Remember this event goes from 11:30pm until 6am!! An all nite rubadub & roots session with the Dub Connection in full flight, with K Zar the selector performing live and direct with the crew Lord Fury, Gloomy, Nkrumah & Ras Yunchy.Check some sound files of Rockers Arena live in sessionhttp://soundcloud.com/dubconnection-1

Funk Carioca and Kuduro Angolano

There are two heavy afro-electro roots based manifestations on either side of the South Atlantic, oddly enough both from from former Portuguese colonies: Funk Carioca from Brazil and Kuduro from Angola. Each is different but sometimes they like each other and they get together.Baile Funk (Funk Carioca)I'm not going to go on a huge ethnohistorical rant about what Baile Funk music is all about. Let's just say that it comes from the marginalized classes, mostly of African descent, in the hillside slums of Rio de Janeiro (hence the term Carioca). It is all about the manifestation: the dance, the rap, and the jam. That is what a baile is, a party. So it's party music with electronic beats based on afro-brazilian musical forms, cut up remixed and rapped over by an MC. It has gotten a bad rap (pardon the pun) by the Brazilian middle classes and the media because  A. the sexually explicit lyrics and dance, and B. because mainstream media everywhere is usually racist and classist. Nevertheless, the music has become very popular and a great number of people love it, and even more essentially express guilty pleasure at liking it so much that they dance to it alone in front of the mirror or their web cams. Wikipedia breakdown.It's wicked to see a crew dancing in unison to the tracks, and damn, they can dance.In the last 5 years it has gotten popular all over the world because DJ Diplo picked up the vibe and made beats for MIA that carried the Funk DNA, although with a more refined air. The Funk Carioca that I know is raw, or cru (as they would say in Brazil). It is of course a genre that has been around for two decades so it has had a certain evolution. Check the tunes and videos below.Diplo's documentary trailer on Funk Carioca in Brazil. Old school Funk track that gives you a little perspective of what environment the Funk Carioca came from.  more modern tracks in this 10 minute mix. Kuduro Wikipedia: "Kuduro (or kuduru) is a type of music and dance originally born in Angola in the 1980s. It is characterized as uptempo, energetic, and danceable. Kuduro, which translates as "hard ass", began in Luanda, Angola in the late 80s. Initially, producers sampled traditional carnival music like zouk and soca from the Caribbean and semba from Angola and laid this around a fast 4/4 beat."Kuduro is hard hitting and the dance is 'street' almost up-rock style that involves the articulation of all appendages, some acrobatics and a lot of style. While popular in Portuguese speaking African countries, Kuduro recently gained traction  in Europe through the sounds of Buraka Som Sistema from Portugal and the significant expat Angolan community in Lisbon. What brought Buraka Som Sistema and the sound of Kuduro to the rest of the world once again involved MIA and the video below.Kuduro from Angola. A production from around the same time...Now the party for this stuff in Toronto is at Bunda Lounge ~ The Home of Global Bass Music  @ 1108 Dundas St. West (@ Ossington) Doors 10pm - $5 cover. Check check it out. This will soon be a monthly series.

Dos Mundos in COLOMBIA!

The last time I was in Colombia, it was 2005 and I was a directionless wreck who was looking for some selfish fun and just wanted drastic change right away. And I got all those things and this is what's great about Colombia. No other place in the world could I have self-destructed and come back a better person. I came back and shortly after I started a radio show on CIUT, I called it Dos Mundos, because that's what that trip helped me realize. Even though I was born in Mississauga, Ontario, part of me is always in Latin America. And that's how I was raised, like all North American born Latinos, in-between those two worlds.This past December, I was invited to an amazing music festival in Cartagena, Colombia called El Mercado Cultural del Caribe.The festival was a great excuse for me to return to Medellin to visit my family and meet some folks in the music scene down there. I came back with loads of music for Dos Mundos Radio and our new site dosmundosradio.com! I'm going to touch on a few things that caught my attention, in a bunch of different genres! This is a tiny taste of the loads of great stuff coming out of Latin America - hopefully it inspires you to keep on digging!

La Chiva GantivaI watched these guys tear up the main stage at the festival in Cartagena and I literally punched the guy standing next to me out of pure joy.Started in 2005, La Chiva Gantiva are a group of Colombians living in Brussels who mix traditional Colombia rhythms with Afro-Funk-Rock. Produced by Richard Blair (Sidestepper), their debut full-length album is being released on Crammed Discs. Chekalo...La Chiva Gantiva - Pelao from Crammed Discs on Vimeo.ProvidenciaYES! Providencia is one of the biggest reggae bands to come out of Colombia - they've played all the big festivals in Colombia and have been nominated for awards on the regular. Hailing from Medellin, Colombia - these guys seamlessly blend roots reggae music with tropical vibrations.Check out their wicked cover of the classic Cumbia tune 'Juanita Bonita'.StereocucoFans of Colombian breakout group Systema Solar will LOVE this brand new group coming out of Baranquilla.Stereocuco was started by a group of musicians (featuring the drummer and DJ from Systema) with the idea of mixing traditional Caribbean and Colombian sounds with electronic elements to create a contagious and highly-energetic live show.Check their Soundcloud Dany FThis kid is super young and super talented. I kicked it in his mom's living room in Medellin where he proceeded to drop some deadly tracks on his barely functional PC! His style is defined as 'deep cumbia' a mix of cumbia with deep house and minimal elements. Watch out for this kid!Check his Soundcloud.Watch out here comes the Canadian angle!Lido PimientaOK! You're not going to find another artist like Lido Pimienta. Not only is she a talented visual artist (currently studying at OCAD) but she is also a recognized figure in the new wave of Colombian music. Originally from Baranquilla, Colombia, Lido is a hybrid of shoegaze-tropical and bass-heavy-pop whose talent is only matched by her versatility. I really just scratched the surface here, Colombia is going through a sort of musical renaissance at the momeny. For more of this freaky Latno kinda stuff, please check out our new site: dosmundosradio.com and tune in to Dos Mundos Radio, every Wednesday night from 6pm-8pm ET on CIUT 89.5FM!W3PA!Sergio

Afro Connections: Wunmi in Toronto

Africa has long been regarded as ground zero for the beat and the sole birthplace of rhythm. Without exaggeration, it is the very epicentre from which an endless stream of beat-driven music has flowed since day one. But while the continent itself is as varied musically as anywhere else in the world, we tend to use just one single word to describe the many polyrhythmic influences this part of the globe has given us. That word, of course, is "Afro."Now, this word tends to gets tossed around a lot, but nowhere in the world is it more at home than in Brazil, where rhythmical styles like Samba, Maracatu and Batucada trace their lineage from the African experience.This Saturday's show at Revival in Toronto will feature a great musical encounter from these two areas of the world:For one, we'll showcase the one and only Wunmi from Nigeria. She first appeared back in the late '90s, collaborating with the likes of Bugz In The Attic, Masters At Work and Osunlade and helping to kickstart the whole neo-Afrobeat scene that would soon spread across underground movements in both the U.K. and the U.S. Her stage presence, style of musical attack and singing voice are comparable to greats that have come before her (namely Fela Kuti and Victor Oliaya, among others). What's interesting to note is that while she remains true to this long line of Afrobeat legends, she is a woman in an field traditionally dominated by men. This combination of sensitivity and vulnerability coupled with a hard-edged stage presence creates something entirely new to be experienced and is sure to make this weekends show very special indeed. (More about Wunmi on her very nicely designed website.)The other part of this Saturday's show (a co-production with United Soul) is a showcase of our Uma Nota mainstays Maracatu Mar Aberto. Billed this time out as Mar Aberto Percussion, this performance will feature a pared-down version of our beloved super group playing various drums and instruments alongside myself, DJ General Eclectic. Expect to hear a broad cross section of Brazilian music, specifically Afro-Brazilian styles like Samba, Bossa Nova and MPB alongside newer underground beat productions. This will be our first DJs-and-drumbeats type of event since our three-day festival last November, so we're all super excited to create a dynamic showcase and also reconnect with our music-loving community! See more about the event on our Facebook event page.

Carnival's hangover party: Masquerade

Carnival is a time and place where people forget their state of being and rejoice in a world that is beyond present reality and where the normal rules of play don't necessarily apply, yet oddly enough it's all about play... don't fret, it's not over yet ...All around the world, and especially in the Americas, we have Carnival: an eat 'meat' before Lent, pseudo-Christian (but very pagan) tradition. Be it the big Indian Chiefs of New Orleans' Fat Tuesday, the mud-splashed Trini-revelry, or the amazingness of the hundred million Brazilian ways to celebrate, Carnival is Carnival. In Toronto, some people have decided to celebrate with our own special hung over version, for those of you who are truly debaucherous and just want to keep partying every weekend ... and for the rest of you too.The real Carnival happens in the underground. And, while you may think that "underground" is a glossy ad in Vice magazine, the real underground actually requires you to dig. This Saturday night, the Toronto underground is the Masquerade party. This little spectacle of masked fun is pleasantly and loosely coordinated by Fedora Upside-Down, a self-titled urban folk collective that  is full of perennial creativity and good live music.An example of the type of creativity I'm talking about, from Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro: The Super Mario Bros. Bloco!

Back to Saturday in Toronto: The music featured on this revelrous night will include Maria Bonita and the Band, who will warm our hearts up as we get into the mood before Combo Royale, with their boudoir music, take over. I'm excited to see this group, I hear they are a fun bunch cravin' for that romantic time when hookers practiced bad hygiene. Their horns, strings and tap dancing woo us into the enticing gazes of the burlesque dancers that will also be on hand to keep things lively.Maracatu Mar Aberto, in all its oceanic glory, will bring out the Afro-Brazilian drums & song along with the street feel to the party, and yes, they will be followed by that raucous  band of horns called Rambunctious, led by the infamous and indomitable Michael Louis Johnson, God bless him. I may add he will also host the event. Anyways, check the poster for details, and see y'all there. You shan't recognize me though, because I will be in costume.More info, tickets etc. via Fedora Upside-Down.Facebook event page here

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! 

Navideño Reimagined - A Post-Latin Christmas Concert

The Music Gallery in Toronto Friday December 16th, 2011. Navideño Reimagined. A show for Christmas, treat someone special to a unique concert.From the incredible musical mind of David Dacks, The Music Gallery's new Artistic Director, Exclaim writer/editor and host of CIUT's the Abtract Index, comes Navideño Reimagined. The concept is simple and beautiful, take a classic vintage album, one that has defined a community and a sound, and remix it it in a modern Latin context...The album, with 'a far from home at Christmas & so cold so cold flavour of diverse latin community in the US, is salsa. But don't expect a salsa show... expect a reflection of today's Latin music, diverse, produced, overt, subtle, wholly strong wholly proud and wholly historic. Think a little bit of Calle 13 and more... Writes Dacks "Asalto Navideño [the original album] was a statement about New York, but its themes are eminently adaptable to Toronto as well. Today’s Latin sounds continue to mix traditions from the Americas and the world, particularly with the aid of electronics."To this end, Dacks  has brought some international latin producers based in TO to remix tracks from the original album. Dacks says that at first he thought of a band playing the original tunes, but then considered the different perspectives and edge producers could derive from the record. The live element is certainly there to push it up a notch, with Steve Ward on trombone and Ruben Esguerra on percussion.From the Facebook event:Four producers have been commissioned to come up with new takes on the album’s classic material: Toronto’s DJ Linterna & Uladat, DJ Javier Estrada from Monterrey, MX and Sonora Longoria from San Antonio, TX. All have been widely acclaimed in “World Music 2.0” circles for their individual combinations of past and future music, groove and experimentation. Their electronic elements will be mixed with live instrumentation with Steve Ward on trombone and Ruben Esguerra on percussion.  Linterna - missin chiwas town (meli riddim) by dj linterna Vocalist Lido Pimienta, who splits her time between Toronto, London Ontario and Colombia, will be a key part of this evening. Her audacious hybrid of vocals, electronics, and humanist messages had made her one of Latin music’s fastest rising artists. Joining her on vocals is Ricardo Barboza. Lido Pimienta_Luces by Lido Pimienta     

El Mundo del Tropical Bass

If you've ever heard baile funk, heavy-dub reggaeton or kuduro, you've encountered tropical bass, and I doubt you stood still. Tropical Bass or Global Bass encompasses a sprawling mega-genre of electronic music with several designations within it -- all of it, though, amounts to that wonderfully dirty, bassy, all-night dance marathon goodness.Sergio Elmir, music journalist and co-host of CIUT's Dos Mundos radio program, breaks it down this way:"Tropical Bass is an umbrella term. We use it to describe all the music we play: Digi-Cumbia, 3ball (Tribal), Moombahton, Baile Funk [AKA Funk Carioca] , Reggaeton/Dembow, etc. It's basically music inspired by things like Cumbia, Salsa, Merengue, Reggae/Dancehall but infused with electronic elements to create bass-heavy, forward thinking Tropical music."poirier_mexico3_pic_by_bazAs the Dos Mundos DJs (eLman, along with Linterna), the crew and their Funkete  and radio show have become local references for this global bass movement. Elmir explains how tropical bass differs from its northern-based cousins:"Tropical Bass is like the distant cousin to grime/Baltimore/dubstep, etc. -- all these musical styles fall under the World Music 2.0 category, an emerging genre that describes the evolution of traditional world music in the digital era."Anupa Mistry's article in the Toronto Standard put the music into a local context this way: "The Uma Nota Festival is where organic traditionalism collides with contemporary digitized sound, with one aim: to make you dance." (He said, she said.)The Dos Mundos DJs are heading to Colombia not long after the Saturday night World Electro party, which brings that tropical bass heavy and hard-edged with extra South-meets-North America flavour in the mezcla."In Latin America, all these sounds are still underground. They're not mainstream and in most cases people who go to Latin America are still looking for an 'authentic' experience and lean towards more traditional sounds. Tropical Bass is a youth-driven movement, it's the next generation of artists/DJs/producers who may not be pop right now -- but they're gaining the respect of heads from all over the world."[tubepress video= XS0-ufaE9eM] And for a live act and a Canadian one that's also a full-on world citizen, look no farther than Boogat. His new and recently reviewed EP Pura Vida looks well-posed to make exactly the example Elmir describes above."Boogat is an exciting figure because he brings a really unique talent to the game. He's a rapper, who's spent years in Montreal's hip-hop scene before meeting Ninja Tune recording artist Poirier. Together they're changing the game and putting Canada on the World Music 2.0 map. He's also a bilingual MC and an accomplished vocalist for several different projects, so experience-wise, he's at that level. There aren't that many MCs in the movement that stand out, but Boogat's talent and personality have put him on the radar for DJs/producers/MCs from Montreal to Mexico and beyond."Boogat himself had lots to say in Mistry's article for the Standard, including these gems on tropical bass jams: "There’s a really cozy and cool atmosphere at tropical bass parties ... People dance like crazy; they just react to the energy of the songs and DJs. It’s a scene that’s really grounded on the quality of the music."Some more artists, labels and producers that inform the tropical bass world include, according to Elmir: Toy Selectah, Los Macuanos, Javier Estrada, ZZK Records, Uproot Andy and Geko Jones + Que Bajo, DJ Orion + Peligrosa, Cocobass Records. And in Canada watch for: Lido Pimienta, Gameboy + Will Ede, Boogat , Uladat, Huelepega Sound System, El Nosotros.Along with DJ Jerus Nazdaq, Salvador da Bahia, Brazil native living in Toronto, Dos Mundos and Boogat promise a hard-hitting, all-night Saturday tropical bass throwdown. World Electro lives at Uma Nota (meets) Funkete -- your Toronto chapter of the global bass scene.Get ready to DANCE! Baila![tubepress video= mOYoTSVzsv4]

Tropicalia, the band and the 60s movement

Tropicalia, the Toronto band, is a group of musicians and friends who have one thing in common: they don't wear underwear. Well anyways, that is what their myspace says. They do also share a love for the genre of music known as Tropicalia that came out of Brazil in the 60s and 70s. They are Amy Medvick- vocals, flute. Dave Atkinson- keyboard. Graham Campbell- guitar. Sam McLellan- bass. Jon Maki- drums. Eric Woolston and Christian Ingelevics-percussion.They formed in May of 2010, when they unleashed themselves at Duffy's Tavern, and this bunch of homey Canadian music nerds can definitely rock a show. They will play on the Sunday of the Uma Nota Festival at Lula Lounge at 7:15!Tropi-what?Tropicalismo is a Brazilian art movement that arose in the late 1960s and encompassed theatre, poetry, and especially, music. It is the psychodelic convergence of several movements floating around the urban centers of Rio and São Paulo in the sixties. These trends, combined with the outside world’s counter culture movements headed by the Beatles and the Stones, peaked the interest of the likes of Gil, Gal Costa, Caetano Veloso, and Tom Zé. These four were all “new style” creative musicians from Bahia state in the Northeast. These artists were driven by socially aware lyrics and political activism following the Brazilian military coup of 1964. The right wing dictatorship, their feathers ruffled by these trends, incarcerated and exiled Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil in 1968. This marked the beginning of the end of the Tropicalismo. Even though it only lasted for a few years, the movement had profound effects on Brazilian popular culture and identity and is in part responsible for the formation of the MPB (Musica Popular Brasileira) genre.I love Novos Baianos, sorry I put two videos of just them up. 

A Little Perspective on Forró

With Maria Bonita & The Band playing the Sunday Community Fair at Lula Lounge, we thought we’d explain a little bit about their style of music: forró. Think of a fun evening, a full house and a romantic edge to your step. That is one of the myriad of ways to describe forró! This post is adapted from one I did for Rio Mate in 2009 click hereo-forro-do-amor1In times past forró was the music of the working people across Brazil. While originally from the country’s Northeast, through massive internal migration the style became a national form. In the late 90s and early 2000, the old school forró "Pé de Serra" was again popularized by middle class youth travelling to Bahia in the summers to dance by the seaside. Forró is not really the music per say. It is more of an all-inclusive cultural manifestation: music, dance, party. When you dance the rhythms of forró it is usually in a pair. Style can vary between people and region but it is always fun, tongue & cheek, and sometimes safado (an implied sly sexuality). Traditionally forró is most popular in the months of June (for St. John festivities) and July, during the winter of Brazil. Forró is traditionally played by a trio, normally comprised of 1. a zabumba (a double headed drum, struck with a mallet on one side that gives a bass sound and struck with a thin stick on the other side that gives a high pitched attack) the zabumba plays a syncopated beat, 2. a metal triangle emphasizing the on and off beat in a constant rhythm, and 3. an accordion playing the melodic line and improvising over the rhythm, in some regions or if there is no accordion, a rabeca (a type of violin) or a guitar are used. These trios play a number of rhythms, among them: coco, xaxado, samba, arrasta-pé, and baião. All of them have their associated dance steps.Forró music was popularized by the great Luiz Gonzaga, who started a recording career in Rio in 1943 playing the music that the Northeast migrants longed to hear. For two decades he was immensely popular, and as his popularity waned in the cities during the 60s, he remained popular in the rural areas of Brazil. He regained popularity again in the 70s when a number of prominent musicians, such as Gilberto Gil, re-recorded his songs. Other famous forró artists include: Jackson do Pandeiro, Elba Ramalho, Genival Lacerda, Dominguins, Trio Nordestino and Alceu Valenca.here is a clip of Luiz Gonzaga doing a little spoken word explaining his return to the Northeast of Brazil after years working as a musician in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. an example of a forro 'rabecado' played with violin from the first ever show of Maria Bonita & The Band.  

Gilberto Gil Inspiration

Gilberto Gil has gone beyond being a national idol in Brazil. The former minister of culture, the artist, the social policy visionary and philosopher is today a hero to many around the world. His lecture at the Ontario College of Art Design last Monday was inspirational. The theme was the "Power of Art."He started off with a plea for us to remember that culture is imperative for all society and that even those who control the world from behind the scenes know this. "We work six days for a day of culture" he said.He then read from a speech, translated from Portuguese I suspect, about the digital age and the new opportunities this represents for artists and people who work in the creative industries.We are in an age of "the dematerialization of commodities, of new possibilities with the new contents that can be put out in a digital landscape: the new whole productive system." He added that with this whole reassessment of the landscape we must also readjust our ambitions within this landscape. This speech falls into line with policies that Gil espoused as Minister of Culture: empowerment for artistic communities and cultural "hotspots" through technology and digital savvy for communication and creativity. I personally as an agitator in the Toronto arts & music scene, was very inspired and happy that such a  prominent artist and politician was espousing views to grow the economy of culture. Favorite quote, "I am from the psychedelic generation."After fielding some questions (some more focused than others) Gil was kind enough to grace us with a song at the end.