Tag Archives: music

The beautiful sounds of Lorraine Klaasen at #TOJazzFest

I’ve spent most of my life living north of the 401. Even the past 8 years that I’ve lived south of the 401 I’m still close enough that if I listen very carefully, I can still hear the eastbound traffic.

That being the case, it’s near impossible for me to trek downtown to catch most of the festivals that Toronto has to offer. You see, Toronto’s festivals mostly take place downtown: Pride parade and events, NXNE, TIFF, Fringe Festival, Carnival/Caribana, Buskerfest, JFL42, Nuit Blanche and, until recently, the Toronto Jazz Festival.

And I’d like to thank the Shops at Don Mills for bringing “Toronto” to the “burbs”.

Shops on Don Mills courtesy of  Napkins and Nannies
Shops at Don Mills courtesy of Napkins and Nannies

This year, Toronto’s Jazz Festival is returning and playing at the Shops’ Town Square. And Sunday’s afternoon performance by Montreal’s Lorraine Klaasen under a clear blue sky was amazing!

Backed by a four piece band, Klaasen sang numerous popular songs from her catalogue as well as songs from popular Southern African singers, including from her mom, Thandi Klaasen (one of South Africa’s most beloved singers).

If you didn’t know her (and I didn’t when I joined the hundreds of music fans on the green lawn in front of the stage) you would have thought you were listening to Soweto’s most popular music export. And while that’s partially true, Klaasen currently calls Montreal home. Just last year she won the Juno award for World Music Album of the year!

While I arrived late for her show, I enjoyed the last 5 songs of her set. Her songs kept everyone dancing (the people who braved the heat and sun) clapping and dancing in their chairs (the rest of us who didn’t want to drop from dehydration!). I would 100% recommend Lorraine Klaasen to anyone who is a fan of music.

Lorraine Klaasen plays Toronto Jazz Festival
Lorraine Klaasen plays Toronto Jazz Festival

Here’s a bit of her bio from her Wikipedia page:

Lorraine Klaasen was influenced by South Africa’s musical giants of the 1950s and 1960s, such as Miriam MakebaDolly RathebeDorothy Masuka, Sophie Mgcina and Busi Mhlongo, contemporaries and friends of her mother, Thandi Klaasen.

She launched her career at a very young age, accompanying her mother to live performances all over South Africa and neighboring states of Mozambique and Swaziland. Later she got into musical theater and toured across Europe, eventually arriving in Canada where she settled in Montreal.

Klaasen’s musical repertoire has been steadily infused with a blend of Quebec, Haitian and French African influences, along with several African languages (Zulu, Sotho, Xhosa, Lingala) and her band musicians’ Caribbean roots to create an eclectic sound.

Lorraine Klaasen was nominated and subsequently won the 2013 Juno Award for World Music Album of the Year for her album Tribute to Miriam Makeba, released in 2012.

For more on this amazing singer check out her website at http://www.lorraineklaasen.com/

Klaasen and her mother were the favourite musicians of the late Nelson Mandela.

Review: coffee, beer and mosh pits

coffee, beer and mosh pits

On Tuesday night I had the opportunity to visit the Toronto Reference Library and listen to Randy Bachman tell stories like no one else can. But that is for another blog post. Today’s post – and photos – is from an amazing collection of photos, videos and posters which exhibit Toronto’s diverse and eclectic music scene from the 1960’s until today.

Maestro Fresh Wes
Maestro Fresh Wes

This jam is amplified. So just glide and let your backbone slide. Remember Maestro Fresh Wes from Scarborough? Now my favourite Canadian rap artist stars on Mr. D on CBC. Soon, he’ll be a guest on Toronto Mike’d with Mike Boon.

Broken Social Scene
Broken Social Scene

Toronto’s Broken Social Scene is perhaps the most influential musical collective and is headed up by Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning. The group has helped with the musical maturity of acts such as Metric, Leslie Feist, and The Stars. You can actually see the latest incarnation of Broken Social Scene this summer at the Field Trip outdoor concert festival.

coffee, beer and mosh pits
coffee, beer and mosh pits

Classic posters and hand bills in the gallery.

More posters and photos
Guess Who? More posters and photos
Yorkville Music Scene
Yorkville Music Scene

Yorkville was once home to future musical greats such as Neil Young and Joni Mitchell.

Coffee, Beer and Mosh Pits runs in the TD Gallery of the Toronto Reference Library until the end of this month. Visit the website for more information

Cost: Free

Concert Review: Paul Simon and Sting at the Air Canada Centre

1986’s Graceland by Paul Simon still remains one of my top ten favourite albums of all time. And Stewart Copeland’s distinctive  drumming while with The Police made it cool for kids like me to air drum.

So when my sister gave  tickets as a present for me to see Paul Simon and Sting (lead singer for The Police for those of you not at “mature” as me) this past weekend, I was more than excited.

While I thought that the sound system could have been improved upon (Neil Young’s last visit to the ACC may have blown a few fuses – I was at that concert too) the two did not disappoint the thousand in attendance.

Paul Simon and Sting
Paul Simon and Sting

Both eclectic songwriters performed hits such as Every Breath You Take, Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes, Walking On The Moon, Graceland, Roxanne, The Boxer (which was a Grade 5 favourite of mine), and You Can Call Me Al.

Watch some of my Vine’s from the concert:

https://vine.co/v/MKEEq2YP7F9

Toronto is Awesome: Reason #5 – Indie 88

This is my fifth article in the Toronto Is Awesome series. I would love your comments, thoughts and future suggestions for this series.

Indie 88
Indie 88

Giving great music a home. This is the motto of Toronto’s newest radio station. Indie 88 is my go to radio music station for home, car and even office.

I love the music and the independent feel of the station’s hosts. Even the commercials sound “indie”. One of my favourite things about the station is that I can also listen to it online via their live stream feed. And if you visit it you will notice the online chat. In the chat, you can find people debating the merits of playing Arcade Fire almost every hour. Most of all you will find the deejay’s (I like to call them hosts) participating in these chats.

A real gem in Toronto. Give them a listen even if you live elsewhere.

Arcade Fire keep pushing boundaries of digital content with Reflektor

Holy shit. Arcade Fire has done it again. And I’m not referring to their new single, Reflektor. I’m talking about their new video (I call it their new digital experience because that’s what it is).

I have previously spoken about Arcade Fire and their innovations in digital both here and here.

Today their new single and video(s) were released at 9pm local time. The traditional video is dark and gets some getting used to. However, when I found out that Arcade Fire also released an interactive experience I was hooked.

Another Chrome experiment, the experience is actually called Just A Reflektor and is a short film that follows the world of a woman in Haiti as she experiences both her world and ours.

Here are a couple of screen shots:

Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 9.18.54 PM

This one is of me within the video.

Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 10.12.47 PM

The one above is of the heroine.

Vincent Morisset is again the genius behind this production as he was with sprawl2. If you haven’t experienced the video make sure to watch experience it and read about the technology here.

Make sure to use the Chrome browser via desktop/laptop or an iOS/Android device. Enjoy!

Neil Young: 1972-2012

Recently I conducted a session at our social media agency in Toronto. It was about Neil Young and his mostly musical career over the past 40 years. I say past 40 years because Neil has been rocking in the free world for much longer.

[slideshare id=20160276&style=border:1px solid #CCC;border-width:1px 1px 0;margin-bottom:5px&sc=no]

Others have written much on Neil and his dealings with technology. Here are three of them.

Technology Highlights:

  1. Lionel Trains – model trains
  2. LincVolt – big cars can be clean cars
  3. Pono – 21st century digital

What podcasts do you listen to?

I’m in the need for some new and inspiring podcasts to listen to. I’m a Blue Jays and MMA fan.  I’m also an entrepreneur and a social marketer. So the podcasts reflect this.

Here is what I currently listen to:

Drunk Jays Fans – brought to you by the guys from The Score’s mosts popular blog on your Toronto Blue Jays.

ESPN UFC Podcast – from across the pond in England. This is one of the most unbaised podcasts on MMA around.

Freakonomics Radio – from the blog and book of the same name.

Humble and Fred Radio – because sometimes I need to relax and just have some unadulterated fun.

Q: The Podcast – Jian Ghomeshi is the best interview today.

The Ricky Gervais Podcast – Gervais is not actively podcasting these days. But when he does, it’s golden.

Six Pixels of Separation – Mitch Joel’s weekly conversations are very enlightening. And the monthly Media Hacks is entertaining and informative.

Spark – Nora Young helps us understand how our lives are being transformed by technology.

This American Life – Some of the best stories of people and their lives from south of the 49th.

This Week in Startups – Jason Calicanis is entertaining and his interviews and weekly news roundups are a must listen for all entrepreneurs in the tech space.

Under The Influence – Terry O’Reilly uses his unique story-telling style to bring today’s marketing and advertising trends to Canadians.

Wiretap – One of the best shows by CBC.  Jonathan Goldstein’s unique brand of humour and his band of characters always brings a smile to my face every week.

What’s your favourite podcasts? And why? Please share. Thanks!