RIP: Pete Fountain (born Pierre Dewey LaFontaine) a New Orleans-based jazz clarinetist whose Dixieland stylings earned him national popularity via frequent appearances on the Lawrence Welk and Johnny Carson TV shows. He died Aug. 6, of heart failure at age 86. He recorded over 100 albums during his career and had his own club in the French Quarter of New Orleans, down the road from another club owned by longtime professional rival, Al Hirt. A big jazz funeral is expected to be held in New Orleans.
RIP: Allan (Curtis) Barnes, the Detroit-born saxophonist and flautist best known for his soulful contributions to the best-selling jazz-fusion band the Blackbyrds in the mid-1970s, died July 25 after a massive heart attack at the age of 66. During his career Barnes wrote music with John Malone and had a single, “Disco Dancin'”, on the first Taste of Honey album and with R. Kelly co-wrote the single “Money Makes the World Go Round.” His best known work was “Until We Meet Again.”
-- Grammy award-winning R&B star and Toronto native Abel Tesfaye — alias The Weeknd — has donated $50k to the U. of Toronto in support of establishing an Ethiopic Studies program. The Bikila Award, named after Ethiopian Olympic hero Abebe Bikila who won gold twice running barefoot in the marathon in the 1960s, is an organization created to foster academic, professional and business excellence and promote volunteerism among Ethiopian-Canadians. Tesfaye received the same award in 2014, prior to his international success. Source: The Star
-- Newfoundland band Figgy Duff received a Lifetime Achievement Award on Saturday at the 40th annual Newfoundland & Labrador Folk Festival in St. John’s this past Saturday afternoon. The group played a major role in the Newfoundland cultural renaissance of the 1970s and 80s. Formed in 1976 by Noel Dinn (who died in 1993) and Pamela Morgan, the ensemble took its namesake from a kind of traditional pudding often served as part of a Jiggs dinner. Figgy Duff travelled across Newfoundland, learning traditional songs and performed them with arrangements that were part traditional and part rock & roll and released an independent self-titled debut album that was later released by Harvey Glatt’s Ottawa-based Posterity Records.
Morgan accepted the award, stating that it was an honour. "You know, it's a bittersweet thing because the person (Dinn) who spearheaded the band is not around to see it. I wish he was. And of course there are other members of the band who are no longer with us. It's a lifetime achievement so it makes you think about the lifetime that spawned it." Following this the band performed in concert with her brother, George, Dave Panting, Kelly Russell. Derek Pelley and Dinn's great-nephew accompanying the group on drums.
Subsequent to the band’s dissolution following Dinn’s death, Morgan has gone on to write, produce and record music on her own, and has also written extensively for film and theatre. Source: CBC
Below, “Weather Out the Storm” from the album of the same name, nominated for a Juno Award, released by Hypnotic and co-produced by Tom Treumuth and Gary Furniss.
-- For the past seven years, Montreal ensemble The Barr Brothers has backed one of Canada's most remote music festivals, taking instruments, talent and carloads of musicians to the tip of the Gaspé peninsula. Now a new documentary, directed by Encore Entertainment filmmaker and agent Andi State, is about to blow the lid off one of Quebec's best-kept secrets as it introduces the rest of the country to the bucolic seaside town of Shigawake through the movie of the same name.
Shigawake, the Movie explores the oral history of the region through one of the fair’s founding families, the Hayes family, with granddaughter Meghan Clinton Hayes unravelling the backstory of the Hayes’ history following the Great Miramachi fires that drove them out of the province’s northlands more than 100 years ago. State also looks at the challenges and obstacles facing the predominantly agricultural economy, from the point of view of a small community of anglophones in a francophone region. You can watch Shigawake, The Movie, in entirety here.
-- The Atlantic Presenters Association (APA), a touring network of 100+ presenting organizations in the four Atlantic Provinces, has partnered with RADARTS (Réseau atlantique de diffusion des arts de la scène) to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017. With federal funding, the orgs are presenting The Canada 150 Performance Series which will tour through Atlantic Canada next year with a marquee featuring multi-disciplinary artists (music, theatre, dance, young audience, variety, comedy, etc.) from the six Canadian Regions (Atlantic Canada, Quebec, Ontario, Prairies, British Columbia and the North). Submissions are now open through to Aug. 22 for artists to submit for an opportunity to be a part of this series. Full details, including criteria, application requirements, and more can be found here.
-- The 2016 Toronto Summer Music Festival marked Artistic Director Douglas McNabney’s last at the helm. Over his six year tenure the fest saw a 68% increase in audience attendance and he added many new initiatives. The just-concluded 2016 season, wrapped in the theme London Calling!, celebrated the vast musical traditions of Great Britain and featured 249 international and Canadian artists, a record number. Programming for the 2017 fest, under new Artistic Director Jonathan Crow, will be announced in March.
-- Seems to have been a while since we’ve heard from punk-pop vets Sum 41. Well they’re back, with a new album and tour ready to roll out soon. The album, 13 Voices, is their first in five years and is due out October 7th via Hopeless Records, with a 20-stops plus tour of Canada and the US kicking off on Oct. 5 in Orlando. With support from Senses Fail and As It Is are support acts for the trek, one Sum 41 term Don't Call It A Sum-Back Tour. Full dates here. Sum 41 have also partnered with the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund to help raise money and awareness on the upcoming tour.
--Toronto rockers July Talk release a much-anticipated new album, Touch, on Sept 9, on Sleepless/Island Records. They have just announced additional North American tour dates for the fall, with support dates for Nothing But Thieves starting on September 26 in Los Angeles, after a 14-date European tour earlier that month.
--Renowned soprano star singer Measha Brueggergosman returns to Toronto for a live musical performance at the launch of AGO Creative Minds at Massey Hall on Sept. 20, 2016. The series kicks off with an evening of unscripted dialogue on the topic of Art and Social Justice, featuring André Alexis, Rebecca Belmore, Deepa Mehta and Buffy Sainte-Marie. It will be moderated by Matt Galloway, and a key theme will be each artist’s relationship to activism, resistance and reconciliation through the lens of their work and life experiences. More info here
-- The Stompin’ Tom schoolhouse museum in Skinner’s Pond, on the northwestern tip of PEI, was supposed to have opened on Canada Day, but funding issues have pushed the launch date back to July 2017. Refurbishment of the wood building that first opened its doors to school kids in 1859 is now underway, and construction of an adjacent multi-purpose cultural centre with a 120-seat dinner theatre is expected to be completed in time for a grand opening that will play host to a number of celebrity performers and Connors family members. The “Bud the Spud” singer died March 6, 2013. He was 77 years of age.
-- Sari Delmar on LinkedIn yesterday: Office Closing Sale--Hey guys! Lots of great office and home furniture avail. for CHEAP! Everything must be picked up this week! Wooden desktops, record player, storage units, microwave, coffee maker, space heaters +++ more! Full list and photos here Email me sari@WeAreAB.co if you're interested! thank you!
-- Three-time International Bluegrass Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year winner and 2016 nominee, American Compass Records’ artist Claire Lynch pays homage to Canadian songwriters through a set of bluegrass and Americana tracks on her new album North by South. Working with banjo player and Alison Krauss band member Alison Brown in the producer’s chair, she delivers stand out versions of Ron Sexsmith’s “Cold Hearted Wind” with Jerry Douglas on Dobro, “Kingdom Come” written by Old Man Luedecke featuring Bela Fleck (banjo), and the maritime ballad “Molly May” written by Cape Breton’s J.P. Cormier. Lynch also offers reinterpretations of songs by Lynn Miles (“Black Flowers”), Dave Francey (“Empty Train”) and Gordon Lightfoot (“It's Worth Believing”). In addition, she contributes one of her own songs: the light-hearted “Milo” to the project. The album has its release on Sept. 16.