Corby's Orbit

Corby's Orbit
Listening in All the High Places illustration by John Kricfalusi

Monday, December 17, 2018

Travelling By Ear - This Year's World Group Nominations at The Canadian Folk Music Awards

While handling the enormous task of curating the musical treasures of the entire country, the annual Canadian Folk Music Awards,  held in Calgary on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 this year, also encourages submissions “separate and apart from the dominant ethnicities within Canada … demonstrating a ‘world perspective’ … from recent immigrant cultures.”
The jurors again selected five nominees to vie for World Music Group of the Year award – though when it comes to nomenclature, “world music” is widely regarded as an under-stuffed comforter, as far as blanket terms go.
In combining them with the nominees, in a separate category for World Solo Artist of the Year, the CFMA’s serve annually to showcase ten facets of Canadian-based international musical culture.
Many significant globally-inspired artists in Canada fail to feel the warmth of inclusion however, political policy speeches and the corporate fetish for exoticism notwithstanding. None of the chosen entries this year are Caribbean-, African, or Latin- based, although last year`s trophies were taken by the West Indian-flavoured ensemble Kobo Town (also Juno champs) and Portuguese-Canadian multi-instrumentalist Louis Simao.
Two of the World Solo Artist noms this year work and create within Québecois musical traditions, and Buffy Sainte-Marie’s inclusion here arguably stretches the parameters of the criteria for eligibility into the ephemeral. Of the five group noms, four are based in Toronto, and one in Montréal, demonstrating the necessary symbiosis between the development of group artistic expression and large urban populations.
Near East is an instrumental trio, which nonetheless manages a thick and rich impasto of sound because of the expansive creative spectrum of the three musicians involved: Ravi Naimpally is a prolific tabla performer and teacher. (One of his other projects, So Long Seven, is also nominated in the Instrumental Group of the Year division). Demetrios Petsalakis elevates his virtuosic chordal and improvisatory string skills to an orchestral magnitude on the oud, lyra and tampouras. And Ernie Tollar, a widely curious jazz musician who has travelled into distant realms of tradition to enrich his vocabulary of scales and phrasing, displays the results of these nutritive supplements on sax, bansuri and ney. Their eponymous first album reflects alternate moods of meditation and dance, and occasionally recalls Paul Horn`s pioneering “Inside” series of Canadian world music recordings.

Autorickshaw`s fourth album, Meter took the award this year. Also nominated for a Juno, it has a more intimate and gregarious sound, perhaps because it is the only entry with songs sung primarily in English. Exploring percussive vocal pyrotechnics and lush layers of electronic embellishment, Autorickshaw presents a soulfully satisfying blend of tradition and innovation, and the versatility of Suba Sankaran`s splendid voice has a universal appeal. There is even a Top 40 cover tune.

Minor Empire, who won the award in 2011 for its first record, Second Nature, has returned with Uprooted, a thematic musical statement, which sympathetically explores the issue of forced migration impacting large sections of the human community. Using original compositions interspersed with traditional Turkish melodies, chief conceptualists Ozgu Ozman and Ozan Boz, who have themselves become estranged émigres, create a communal hallucination of fractal seraglios, electronic calligraphy and extra sensual perceptions. In fact, Ozan Boz`s spectacular production values have given him a shot at being named Producer of the Year as well. Kanun player Tamer Pinarbasi, who also appears on the Near East album, adds some particular dimensions of reverberating delicacy that add to the dark depth of the disc.

2015 CFMA winners the Lemon Bucket Orkestra have opted to charge their music with an even stronger political concept on their 2017 release If I Had the Strength. Reaching outward from their guerilla-Klezmer fan base, the members propose a pathway anchored to the inspiration of future freedoms, tessellated with martial, choral and mariachi elements. The orchestra is augmented by the starring talents of Measha Brueggergosman, Choir! Choir! Choir! and musician/rapper Boogat, who add original vignettes to the band`s famously theatrical sonic staging.

Another Juno nominee, Montréal`s Oktopus infiltrates their European musical influences by injecting humour, caprice and rampaging clarinets into the traditional stateliness of compositions by Jorane, Felix Leclerc and Johannes Brahms. There is even a drum solo. Their singular Hapax album is flush with a delighted energy that balances insouciance and virtuosity, powerfully befitting these ambassadors of both the Balkan and Québecois musical traditions.

The notion that world music is still considered a risk investment by old school publicists and venues has been pro-actively addressed this year by several progressive initiatives in Toronto (see features on the Small World Festival and the Global Toronto Conference in RMC passim) and n November at Mundial Montréal. And yet, the secret taint of whispered words like “foreign,” “immigrant” and “minority,” now perfumed over by P.C. propriety, attach themselves to the underbelly of media coverage and programming budgets, obfuscated by the odious catch-all term, “multicultural.” Exposure to the potential breadth of talent available to the Canadian listening public may often, to this day, be still intrinsically limited by provincialism and old-fashioned thinking. Certainly, thought should be given at this point in the maturing marketplace, to a new awards vehicle dedicated to seeking out the best in globally derived musicianship, with a change of gatekeepers and fresh stakeholders, as has been proposed several times in the past. Between the CFMA’s and the Junos, however, broader audiences are still allowed a chance to glimpse the effervescence of a few of the unique hives of communal creativity enriching the landscape of Canadian folk.
Originally published at Roots Music Canada
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Saturday, December 15, 2018

Favourite New Songs of 2018

Ever notice that after the morning coffee and the emails, it sometimes still takes a good piece of music to actually wake you up? Weaving through the day, I will find myself with that deep luxurious wave that a good song provides rolling in my throat at the curve the bow takes against the fiddle, or at the way that song-lady intends some gracious word or thought to be taken.
Here are a few such memorable moments from my past year.

Jadea Kelly I Beauty co-write with Peter Katz

Big Little Lions ~ Alive and Well 

Kids On The Run   Kalle Mattson  from   Youth 

Work It Out   single  by   The Memberz 

A Universe  by  Chloe Watkinson

Roi  by  Georgian Bay  from Soleil

Bad Bad News   by  Leon Bridges  from Good Thing

Song Of The Mournful World   by   Jon Brooks  from No One Travels Alone

Do Whatever The Heck You Want  by  Rae Spoon from bodiesofwater

She Gets Her Courage From Alcohol  from Wilderness Years by Jory Nash

Bedouin by Romina Di Gasbarro from Risorgimento

Send Your Angels Down by Jenie Thai from Night On Fire

Playlist For Corby's Orbit Show Of 14 December

Commissioner of Selection: Paul Corby 

( Brought to you by Remedy Extremities, Shiver Endeavors, and Ache Sickles )

5-7 p.m. Fridays online and at .  

Canadians in Asterisk’d RED. 

Guest: Doug Paisley

Click on photos to enlarge.

5:00 Significant Hovers

Buju Banton ~ Bad Mind And Gun (recorded 7 Dec. 2018) / Life Is A Journey ~ Unchained Spirit 

* Elizabeth Shepherd ~ Good Lord's Work ~ MONtreal NEW DISK

* David Myles ~ The Gift ~ It's Christmas ~ The Dakota Tavern Saturday 6:30

* Fortunate Ones ~ Christmas Without You ~ All Will Be Well EP

* Lynn Miles ~ Twenty Pound Turkey ~ Winter

5:20 Size Of Relief

* Cindy Doire ~ Lilas ~ Panorama

Maria Doyle Kennedy ~ Hola Luna ~ Sing 

* Kith & Kin ~ The Friendly Beasts ~ Yet Will I Be Merry @ Lula Lounge with Bernice Saturday

5:40 Paisley Sage

* Doug Paisley ~ Transient / Interview / Easy Money ( live ) / Shadows / Waiting ( live ) ~ Starter Home NEW DISK ~ @ The Horseshoe Sunday for A Night Of Country Covers   for the Daily Food Bank

6:10 Santarama

* Mip ~ Northern Lights ~ Half Pint Full Heart ~ @ T.O. Lounge tonight for Holiday Hoedown

* Tragedy Ann ~ Nails ~ Stumbling ~ @ London Music Club tonight

* The Good Lovelies ~ Winter Hours ~ Live At Revolution Hall ~ @ Danforth Music Hall Wednesday 19 December

* T. Buckley ~ Kira's Song ~ Miles We Put Behind NEW DISK

* The Rankin Sisters ~ The Christmas Star ~ Do You Hear ~ Heather Rankin @ Richmond Hill Center For The Performing Arts Wednesday 19 December

* Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar ~ Silent Night ~ Ladies In Waiting / Jingle Ma Belle ~ @ The Cadillac Lounge for The Ice Queen's Blue Christmas

6:30 Have A New New Christmas

* The O'Pears ~ Stay Warm ~ Stay Warm NEW DISK 

* Bob Jensen & Tony McManus ~ The Swallowtail NEW RELEASE

* Tony Quarrington & Zoey Adams / Q&A ~ Missing Mistletoe NEW RELEASE ~ @ 120 Diner tonight

* Melanie Peterson ~ Away In A Manger NEW DISK

* Sonic Perfume ~ Trace ~ Beautiful Landscape vol. 2 NEW DISK / Toronto Music Listings

* Boreal ~ Shovelling Snow ~ Winter's Welcome

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The 2018 Orbital Celebration Of This Year's Top 50 Musical Over-Achievers

My personal pick of new album arrivals this year.

The LYNNeS  (ON)   Heartbreak Song For The Radio

Brenda Navarrette    (CUBA)    Mi Mundo

Jason Buie   (ON)  Driftin’ Heart

Collette Savard & The Savants (ON)

Corey Gulkin   (PQ)  All The Things I’ll Forget

Les Poules À Colin  (PQ)   Morose

Alex St. Kitts   (ON)  The Projektor

Dan MacDonald  (ON/NS)    Rural / Urban

Raine Hamilton   (ON)  Night Sky

Willard Bond   (ON) Jiggery Pokery


Ronley Teper & Her Lipliners  (ON)   The Game

Bettye Lavette (US) Things Have Changed

Tragedy Ann (ON) Matches

Marie Goudy 12Tet feat. Jocelyn Barth (ON)The Bitter Suite

The Ennis Sisters (NF) Keeping Time

Jon Brooks (ON)  No One Travels Alone

Great Lake Swimmers (ON) The Waves The Wake

Pharis & Jason Romero (BC) Sweet Old Religion

Kellie Loder (NL) Benefit Of The Doubt

The Tiki Collective  (ON)  MUSE

Hannah Sanders & Ben Savage  (UK)  Awake

Leon Bridges  (TX) Good Times

Kalle Mattson  (ON)   Youth

Kaia Kater  (PQ)  Grenades

Outside I’m A Giant  (PQ)  Point Comfort


Georgian Bay  (PQ)  
Courage  (Soleil / Moon)

Madeleine Roger (MB)

La Suite   (PQ)  Inventions 
Pour Deux Violoneux

Cindy Doire (ON) 

Jeff LaRochelle (ON)
Lenses Extend

Steven Taetz (ON) 
Drink You In

Jean-Francoise Belanger  (PQ) 
Les Entrailles De 
La Montagne   

Mike Field  (ON) True Stories

Elizabeth Shepherd   
(PQ) MONtreal

The Al Purdy Songbook (ON)  Various Artists

Judy Brown  (BC)  Say It

Romina Di Gasbarro    
(ON) Risorgimento

Jeremy Dutcher   

Bellegarde (PQ)   
Anba Tonel

Dana Sipos (ON)  
Trick Of The 

Doug Paisley (ON) 
Starter Home

Lucinda Williams & Charles Lloyd 
with The Marvels (USA) Vanished Gardens

The Long War (BC)   

Chloe Charles / Echlo  
(ON) Echolocation

The O’Pears  (ON)  
Stay Warm

Northern Haze 
(NU) Siqinnaarut

Melanie Brulee (ON) Fires, 
Floods& Things 
We Left Behind

Aaron Schragge & Ben Monder   
(NY) This World Of Dew

Aasiva (NU)

David McEathron  (ON)
Abandoned Companions
 & The Abandoned 
 Companions Companion