Corby's Orbit

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

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Playlist For Show Of 28 February with Maryem Tollar, Paul James and Ernesto Cervini

Commissioner of Selection: Paul Corby 

( Brought to you by Renewable Anarchy, Accurate Uprisals, and Keepers of Our New Year Revolution )

Guests: Maryem Tollar, Paul James and Ernesto Cervini

Show dedicated to Gladys Pearl Corby (2 December 1921 - 23 February 2020)
5-7 p.m. Fridays online and at .  

Podcast here 

Click On Pictures To Enlarge 

Canadians in Asterisk’d RED. 

5:00 Pearl`s Jam

Ray Charles ~ Together Again ~ Super Hits

* Don Bray ~ Gone Before I Leave ~ I Bless The Wounds NEW DISK

* Hayley Richardson & Quinn Bachand ~ The Jaws Of Angus ~ When The Wind Blows High & Clear 

* Raylene Rankin ~ Cape Breton Lullaby ~ Lambs In Spring

* Chantal Chamberland ~ I Wanna Dance With Somebody ~ Temptation

The Isley Brothers ~ Nobody But Me ~ Sweet Soul Music

5:20 Tollar-ama

* Al Qahwa ~ The Beautiful One / Interview with Maryem Tollar / Cairo ~ Cairo Moon ~ Al Qahwa @ Small World Centre Friday 6 March  8 p.m.
Tickets Here

5:45 So Well Music

* Soul Motivators ~ Savalas / I Miss Those Days ~ Do The Damn Thing NEW DISK ~ @ Lee's Palace tonight

Roomful Of Blues ~ Telephone Zombies ~ In A Roomful Of Blues (Alligator)  NEW DISK

6:00 La Vie En Bob 

* Paul James ~ Highway 61 / Interview / I Shall Be Free / It's All Over Now Baby Blue ~ La Vie En Bleu ~ @ Hugh's Room Live for Paul James & His Band Pay Tribute To Bob Dylan Saturday March 7

6:30 The Importance Of Being Ernesto

* Ernesto Cervini ~ Stro / Boo Radley / Interview ~ Tetrahedron NEW DISK ~ @ The Rex Jazz & Blues Bar Thursday / Friday 5th & 6th March for CD launch

* Frazey Ford ~ September Fields ~ Indian Ocean ~ @ The Mod Club Monday 2 February 

* Laura Smith ~ Safe Home Sweet Light ~ Everything Is Moving ~ Celebrating An Icon: Laura Smith @ Hugh's Room Live tonight

Saturday, February 22, 2020

I Heart Neighbourhood Fund Raiser for Radio Regent

I Heart Neighbourhood Charity Auction with 
FOCUS Media Arts Centre
Home of Radio Regent
Thursday, 30 April 2020 from 6:30 PM - 9:30 PM
@ Daniels Spectrum 585 Dundas Street East, Toronto, ON.
This unique collaborative fundraising event hosted by The Neighbourhood Group, UrbanArts, St. Stephen's Community House, FOCUS Media Arts Centre - Regent Park and Neighbourhood Information Post raises much-needed funds to support vital programs and services. Collectively, our agencies serve 50,000 Torontonians each year.
Attendees will enjoy an elegant evening mixing delicious fare and beverages with both a silent and live auction, live entertainment, and the opportunity to learn about the work of five local charities.…/i-heart-neighbourhood-charit…/

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Illuminating and Elucidating the Blues at The 2019 Maple Blues Awards

Matchedash Parish
Click On Pictures To Enlarge
The blues came out to play again on Monday night at Toronto’s Koerner Hall for the yearly Maple Blues Awards gala. The burgeoning young Canadian blues talent pool was represented strongly by refreshing newcomers to the proceedings: Miss Emily, who walked away with several awards (including the new Sapphire Video prize) and some shiny mascara trails, a quartet of fledgling horn talents from the Regent Park School of Music, and new-generation blues turbines Matchedash Parish, whose finale inspired the already crunk house to a joyful summit of soulfulness.

Miss Emily. Photo by David Hynes.
Perennial performers were of course evident in abundance, coming out from under their fedoras, foregoing their denims, and sporting sparkle, tweed and vintage heels for the occasion, bringing an element of peril to foot traffic on the inclined aisles of the hall. Vivacious first-time hostess Raha Javanfar made a point of chameleoning through a pageant of suits and leathers, and the impeccable Harpdog Brown sported pinstripes with a white tie, rust socks and shirt and two-tone shoes. The night was definitely dialed to high snazz.

Performance levels were again boosted by the support of Gary Kendall’s Maple Blues Band (above), recruited from Toronto’s blues and jazz elite, and featuring two members of Entertainer of the Year honourees the Downchild Blues Band. 
 Downchild's Chuck Jackson, Mike Fonfara, Pat Carey and Gary Kendall
Mister Downchild himself, Donny Walsh, was present to accept his recognition only as a pre-taped video projection, as were several of the other award winners including Colin James (Electric Act of the Year) and Kenny Blues Boss Wayne (Piano / Keyboardist of the Year). Matt Andersen’s two acceptance speeches were videotaped on a balcony in Jamaica, although he was boisterously represented in the hall by a fan who bellowed out a “Yeeeaah!” every time his name was mentioned throughout the evening.

Matt Andersen appearing on screen from Jamaica
Our MC, Raha J., aka the Bad Luck Woman, kept a light conviviality floating all night long, even while sharing conscious thoughts on the continuing social progress that will be necessary to further develop inclusivity of gender, race and generational variables in the Canadian blues nation.
She then demonstrated her point by sharing the stage with the young artists from Regent Park (above) on a powerful and finely fiddle-fraught performance of the title track from her latest Cruel Thing album, which also manifested a first runner-up nod for her and her band, The Misfortunes, in the Cobalt Prize for Contemporary Blues Composition, which was won by Rich Junco’s Cope.

Raha Javanfar. Photo by David Hynes.
MontrĂ©alers were prominent winners in the major categories, with powerhouse Dawn Tyler Watson (below) taking top songwriting honours for Mad Love, an album which, she confided, “came out of a lot of pain,” and also sharing the Producer of the Year award with her hiphop/jazz saxman Francois Tiffault.
  Dawn Tyler Watson with Howard Moore and Alison Young Photo by David Hynes

Her long-time compatriot Paul Deslauriers was presented with Guitarist of the Year, and the bassist from his trio, Alec McElcheran, took Bassist of the Year, consolidating a Quebecois coup in the string categories. Acoustic guitar master Michael Jerome Browne humbly received the Blues with a Feeling lifetime achievement award for his deeply adept and respectful curation of old-time blues, as well as his ongoing contributions to the future with his many original compositions. He capped the moment with a graceful and show-stopping performance of “Pharaoh” from his 2019 Juno-nominated That’s Where It’s At record. The song was redolent with shades of melancholy and the tang of slavery that historically permeates the roots of the blues.
Michael Jerome Browne
             Harpdog Brown. with old pal Steve Marriner 
In a touching coincidence, Harpdog Brown and one-time protege Steve Marriner shared the Harmonica Player of the Year award, and a big bearhug at the podium, each giving testimony to the other’s prowess and inspiration.

Brian Blain. Photo by David Hynes.
A native MontrĂ©alais who has bolstered the Toronto blues community with his writing, editing, performance and empathy skills over the past 30 years, Brian Blain (above) accepted the Blues Booster of the Year honour with a quiet homage to the “bluesicians” whom he has admired and with whom he has collaborated over the decades, and an admonishment to all practising artists of “Da Bloose” to maintain their dedication and stamina in spite of the obstacles that still persist for them over the other 364 days of the year.
Grammy demi-gods Rob Bowman & Colin Linden (left) and Steve Dawson & James Dean (right)
As the TBS continues to enjoy presenting this event in Koerner Hall, arguably the most prestigious venue in the city, and with the advent of an international audience tuning in as a live streaming feed was inaugurated this year, is it maybe not time to assess the persistent drawbacks that shortchange the potential excellence and effervescence of what has become a highly successful and jubilant occasion: a chronically muddy snare mix, a complete absence of staging, and amateurish screen graphics? And incidentally, could someone not have helped Michael Jerome Browne with his amp? And would a singing hologram of Lonnie Johnson be out of the question?
                                Big Dave McLean
So many hyper-expressive and involving performances over the course of the evening of original songs by Dawn Tyler Watson, Big Dave MacLean and Miss Emily – not to mention Matchedash Parish’s high-water finale – highlighted the fertility of compositional innovation and the vivid showmanship that validate the rising prestige and the nascent sugaring-time of our talented Maple Blues ambassadors internationally.
Looking forward and upward now, and on to the next sweet Blue Decade!
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Saturday, February 15, 2020

Playlist For Corby's Orbit Show Of 14 February 2020 with Suzanne Jarvie and Jay Douglas

Commissioner of Selection: Paul Corby 

( Brought to you by Van Gogh Mangoes, Picasso Avocados and Apple-core Dali)

Guests: Suzanne Jarvie & Jay Douglas

5-7 p.m. Fridays online and at .  

Podcast here 

Click On Pictures To Enlarge 

Canadians in Asterisk’d RED. 

5:00 Rhap Sodas

Joseph Shabalala  (28 August 1941 – 11 February 2020) & Ladysmith Black Mambazo ~ Hello My Baby ~ The Warner Bros. Collection

David Crosby with Neil Young ~ Music Is Love ~ If I Could Only Remember My Name

Baaba Maal ~ Fa Laay Fanaan (Ashley Beedlr Remix) ~ Remix 2002 ~ @ The Aga Khan Friday / Saturday 21 & 22 February ~ Duniya Salaam Tour

* Wes Carroll's Confabulation ~ Borderless ~ Elephant In The Sea NEW DISK ~ @ Tranzac tonight 7:30

5:20 The Jarvie Universe

Smokey Robinson & The Miracles ~ Ooooh Baby Baby (live) ~ 1957 - 1972

* Suzanne Jarvie ~ In The Clear / Interview / You Shall Not Pass (live) / Point Blank (live) ~ In The Clear ~ @ Winterfolk XVIII @ 2 & 3 pm Saturday on 22 February and 8 pm on Sunday 23 February

6:00 Fab Originals

* Nate Smith ~ The Grove ~ Let It Rest Let It Rise NEW DISK ~ @ Burdock Sunday and on Corby's Orbit Friday March

* Buffy Sainte-Marie ~ Guess Who I Saw In Paris ~ Illuminations

* Craig Cardiff ~ Judy Garland (You're Never Home) ~  Judy Garland (You're Never Home) ~ @ Hugh's Room Live tonight

* Susan Aglukark ~ Hina Na Ho (Celebration) ~ This Child 

6:15 Jay's Reggalia 

* Jay Douglas JUNO NOMINEE ~ Jah Children / Interview / Jah Children (Dubmatix Dub Version) / Magic ~ Touch Of Magic 

photo by Adrian Hope

6:40 Kate and Anna Canadiana

Linda Ronstadt ~ Anna McGarrigle's Heartbeat Accelerating ~ Winter Light

* Clela Errington ~ More Love And Happiness: A Song For Kate & Anna McGarrigle ~ More Love And Happiness ~ @ Winterfolk XVIII Friday 21 February 8 pm, Saturday 3 pm

* Dieufaite Charles ~ Dambala Dangwe / Peace ~ Bamba Eya NEW DISK / Toronto Music Listings

Bob Dylan ~ Early Morning Rain ~ Self Portrait ~ Edge Of Dylan @ The Linsmore Friday 22 February

Ladysmith Black Mambazo feat. Paul Simon ~ Amazing Grace ~ The Warner Bros. Collection

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

The Speak Music Be Kind Festival Warmed The Wintersoul

There was too much musical and emotional content on display at Beverly Kreller’s first-ever not-for-profit Speak Music Be Kind Festival last month to adequately describe the magnitude of the vibe. How did Toronto’s first music festival of 2020 combine the perfect storm ingredients of a sizable audience, a comfortable and accessible venue, the Tranzac, and a captivating flow of lustrous musical talent to manifest a concept - kindness – so intrinsically simple that it has failed to be made obvious until now?

As a gender-balanced event, there was a lake effect of feminine calm that was palpable from every angle, and, with a major snow occurrence squatting down on the entire region overnight, there was that particularly Canadian camaraderie that only mutual sufferers of the overchill can share. It seemed that the deluge, fortunately, had little appreciable effect on attendance, or on the safe and timely transit of performers and volunteers to the venue. Highlights of two nights spent kindling kindness follow:

Above: Gregarious blues monger Sammy Duke absorbs the high attitudes with prime kindness motivator Beverly Kreller and Roots Music Canada’s retired Chairman of the Moose, David Newland.

Fiercely empathetic duet Piper & Carson inducted the audience in the Southern Cross Room into the wolf clan with a howling chorus, setting a primeval tone for Friday night’s opening set.

Shi Wisdom, the songstress with the longest of tresses, blessed and unstressed the Main Hall with a stick of incense and some trance-y beats and rhymes.

Best of buds, Chloe Watkinson and Mip, contributed bundles of warmth and fun to the bonfire of kinship that empowered the evening’s ascending flight path. Chloe crushed it yet again with her superb power ballad The Universe.

In their florally resplendent fabrics, Blisk brought Balkan balladry, stomping revelry and some elegant harmony to a boil with their accordion-fuelled distillation of far-flung cultures and wildly celebratory songs.

Mike Field’s capricious pop compositions gave his star-studded band a chance to enhance the dance quotient, and an opportunity for saxman Paul Metcalfe to blow away the chill.
Vivienne Wilder was a total weapon against gravity with her uplifting songcraft, badass lyricism and the musical support of her two expert flotation devices, Neil Whitford on guitar and Andrew Roorda on bass.

Jazzomometers were overloaded during late sets by cobalt-jacketed scat champ Ori Dagan sparring with his miracle bass player Jordan O’Connor (above), the Simone Morris Trio (right), keeping the audience hanging off every note and word of her insinuating originals in a snowflake chic ensemble, and by midnight, dreamy retro queen Tia Brazda (below)

had style galore to convey her positive perspectives on the changing stages of affection and romance.

James Bailey, Lydia Persaud and Kyla Charter

After a steady Saturday of shovelling out, the second night was back in action, with an all-day jam bubbling along, a bellowing accordion workshop and one for fiddle inside the Tranzac’s cozy, parlour-style Tiki Room which featured a hoedown showdown between Anne Lederman’s intricate string embroideries and Dr. Draw’s electro/techno techniques . There were also a dozen afternoon concerts by such folk faves as Annie Sumi and David Newland, amongst others. Courtesy volunteers and sandwich trays helped to develop a comfortable, indoor “snowday” atmosphere. By sunset, with the welcome news that the roads were clear and the wind-chill was minimal, a fresh buffet of sounds had been set out for us.

At 6:00, Abigail Lapell (above) started charming the Main Hall, linking her songs of deep melody and lyricism with her gregarious personality and stream-of-consciousness musings, while Sammy Duke was busy roaring out the blues to the nearby Tiki Room denizens.

The six members of Darbazi (the Georgian language’s equivalent of “kitchen party”) decided to set up on the floor in front of the stage in order to more directly present their harmonious edifice of full-throated a capella chanting, murmuring and yodelling  to the receptive crowd.

Meanwhile the multi-national fusion music of Al Qahwa was timbrelling up a complex brew of rhythm and ouds in the Southern Cross room with shadings of social conscience, cinematic visualizations and a bit of belly dancing from den mother Maryem Hassan Tollar.

Lydia Persaud opened hearts, minds and ears by reducing the songs from 2019`s  Let Me Show You album to a vocal trio format, with James Bailey's and Kyla Charter's contributing cascades of vibrant and velvet ornamentation.

Notching up the energy, the magnetic Ginger St. James had braved the highways to deliver a tight band and a loose sense of propriety, just in time to kick the Saturday-Night factor into high gear. She`ll soon be on her way with guitar man Slim to decimate audiences at the Blues Challenge in Memphis.

Johnson Crook turned the dance floor into a carnival as their urban country air breathed the sparks of Saturday night into a raging flame.

Then all that remained was for fiddling dervish Dr. Draw to explode his shamanic forces onto the approaching midnight, urging his band into hyperdrive while shredding his bow - along with our minds - and filling the dance floor all by himself.

When ECHLO came onstage we were eased into the smoothness of her beautiful songs by a heavenly voice and lustrous gestures conjuring a state of grateful fullness and kind repose. If music was food we would all have gained a lot of weight by then.
In retrospect, there was a great level of love being shown for this series from the community: non-performing artists such as Tannis Slimmon, Shawna Caspi and Jill Harris were just there to support and absorb the atmosphere. Because of the gender equity, we heard songs about topics such as assault, girl crushes and sperm donors that might not see such a large audience anywhere else.

As far as the cultivation of kindness goes, uber-host Bev Kreller (left, with Tannis Slimmon) has some warm recollections: “A few of the performers offered to waive their fee and donate it to the Unison Benevolent Fund. Artists offered to go and fetch hot beverages for the volunteers (because it was REALLY COLD at the front door reception). And folks were creating and catching the kindness vibe throughout, with smiles and excitement for the festival event. Plenty of hugs and warmth going around. There was enormous support for the idea of kindness. Virtually every artist kindly highlighted the festival’s intention, in comments during their sets. It wasn’t corny or saccharin, it was genuine and heartfelt…some folks even shed tears.”

In terms of success, she adds, “We had a terrific turnout in spite of the cold weather conditions and massive snow storm on Saturday. Ticket sales online were brisk and we had a large number of walk-ups for single day and 3-day passes. And as well, folks who had bought a single day pass, often came back to the box office to request a full weekend pass, because they were so thrilled by the performances and the eclectic lineup. Due to word of mouth, walk up increased significantly day by day as the festival went on.”

She also remarks, “OMG there were SOOOO many moments! The choir led by Laurel Minnes, called Minuscule, blew the roof off a packed main hall, earning a standing ovation. So Long Seven piqued everyone’s interest and captivated with their unique combination of banjo and tabla. Tour mates Tragedy Ann (right) and Moonfruits packed the Tiki Room like a tin of sardines, and you could hear a pin drop. Gary Kreller doing old-school rap with accordion. The Pure Pop workshop with Blair Packham, Arlene Bishop and Rob Szabo was glorious and engaging, while the blues-rockin’ roots workshop with Julian Taylor, Kim Doolittle and Ken Yoshioka offered a terrific blend of varying blues styles. Dave McEathron made me cry and yet I felt elated at the same time! Johnson Crook were hugely impressive – such great country songs and vibrant harmonies. The Barrel Boys were tight and brilliant as usual. Ginger St. James and Dr. Draw both tore it up in the main hall while Ben Heffernan quietly impressed in the Tiki Room.”

And her wish list for next time? “A little more sound proofing between the rooms, though it was pretty good through most of the fest, a few more volunteers to share the load, and a portable heater for the front door area! LOL.”

Originally published at Roots Music Canada
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