Nominees For The Bollywood Music Awards Chosen

New York, USA – Over the past weeks the jury for the U.S. based Bollywood Music Awards have cast their ballots for the best  five performances by music artists as well as their choice of the best song released last year.

The music artists and music makers who have received the top five rankingshave now been declared for the  Bollywood Music award to be held on Nov 1st2003 at the Mark G Etess Arena in the Trump Taj Mahal Casino, Atlantic City,New Jersey  where the winners will be declared.

Special award for distinguished contribution to the Indian music industry will be given at the Awards night to a singer who has promulgated Indian music and culture worldwide.Additionally, an nternational Star of stupendous magnitude will also be recognized at this event. Mr Kamal Dandona,Chairman of the Bollywood Group said ”The Bollywood Music Awards have been instituted with a vision that the enduring link with India is through the vibrant  medium of music which should be kept alive and
everlasting. The Awards are the token of appreciation and recognition by NRI ’S globally for the music makers
.”

The Bollywood Music Awards will be an electrifying event with performers from several countries and will be viewed by over 220 million viewers on television, cable, Internet, satellite in over 80 countries.

Bollywood Music Awards makes history in entertainment industry with advanced Online Ticketing capabilities. Now, Attendees Can Buy “Seat” – Not Just Ticket – Online.
Visit: www.bollywoodmusicawards.com and go to Online Ticketing section for
details.

The list of nominees is as follows for the Bollywood Music Awards:

NOMINATIONS
Category – (FILM)

Best Music Director- Film-
1)A.R. Rahman – Saathiya
2)Anand Raj Anand – Kaante
3)Jatin Lalit -Chalte Chalte
4)M.M.Kreem – Sur
5) Vishal / Shekhar – Jhankaar Beats

Best Song of the Year
1.Aa Bhi Ja-Sur
2.Ishq Samundar-Kaante
3.O Humdum Suniyo Re – Saathiya
4.Tauba Tumhare Yeh Ishare– Chalte Chalte
5. Pari Pari – Hungama

Best Singer – Male
1.Lucky Ali-Aa Bhi Ja – Sur
2.Sonu  Nigam – Saathiya – Saathiya
3.Shaan – Suno Na – Jhankaar Beats
4.Sukhvinder– Layi Vi Na Gaye – Chalte Chalte
5. K K – Bardasht – Humraaz

Best Singer – Female
1.Sunidhi Chauhan- Ishq Samundar–Kaante
2.Richa Sharma—Maahive-Kaante
3.Shreya Ghosal– Jadu hai nasha hai-Jism
4.Alka Yagnik –Tauba Tumhare Ishare- Chalte Chalte
5. Chitra – Mere Dil Ka hai Tumse Hai Kehna – Armaan

Best New Musical Talent
1.Mahalaxmi Iyer-Sur
2.Mahalaxmi Iyer-Jhankaar Beats
3.Shekhar – Supari
4.Sonu Kakkar – Dum
5.Shashwati- Mumbai Matinee

Pop

Best Album
1.Adnan Sami Khan – Tera Chehra
2. Alisha Chinoy-Alisha
3.Abhijeet – Tere Bina
4. Euphoria -Teri Gully
5. Bombay Vikings-Woh Chali

Best Artist Male
1.Adnan Sami Khan – Tera Chehra
2.Abhijeet – Tere Bina
3.Nitin Bali- Baliwood
4.Neeraj Shridhar-Woh Chali
5. Shaan – Bhool Jaa

Best Artist Female
1.Shashwati-Kaanta Laga-DJ Doll.
2.Falguni Pathak- Yeh Kisne Jadoo Kiya
3.Alisha Chinoy –Alisha –
4.Annamika – Pyar Hai
5. Sunidhi Chauhan – Pyar ke Sur

Best Bhangra Group
1.Hans Raj Hans – Haye Soniye
2.Jazzy B – Tera Roop
3.Punjabi MC-Mundian to bach ke
4.Gurdas Mann-Panjeeri
5. Daler Mehndi – Mojaan laen do

Best Remixed Album
1.Kaliyon Ka Chaman – UMI 10 Harry Anand
2.Kata Laga – DJ Doll
3.Return of Daddy-DJ Aqueel
4.Dance & Romance- Bally Sagoo
5. Baliwood – Nitin Bali

Best Dance Video
1.Mundiya to bach ke
2.Kaliyon Ka Chaman
3.Kaanta Laga
4.Kabhi Naee
5. Aaika Dajiba

The Music Company of the Year:
1.Universal- Sur
2.T Series – Chalte Chalte and Kaante
3.Saregama – Saathiya and Jism
4.Times Music – Mumbai Matinee
5. Crescendo -Jhankaar Beats

For further details contact
www.bollywoodmusicawards.com

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Austrian-Palestinian Musician Deported by Israeli Authorities

East Jerusalem – Artist Marwan Abado, an Austrian National of Palestinian origin, was detained immediately upon his arrival into Tel Aviv airport on Sunday 20th of July, and then was deported.

Abado was scheduled to participate in the Jerusalem Festival – Songs of Freedom, and in Bethlehem. His detention and deportation came in spite of the fact that Abado had obtained a visa through the Israeli Foreign Ministry. Several diplomatic bodies tried to intervene in the matter to have Abado released, including a representative from the Austrian Embassy, UNDP and the Consulate General of France. However, the Israeli Security continued to deny Abado entry, canceled his visa and put him on the first plane to Vienna after 24 hours of detention.

Regarding the incident, the festival organizers said: “We see such an unjustified action creating another unnecessary obstacle on the road to peace.”

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New CD by Hindustani Classical Vocalist

Hamilton, Ontario, Canada – A new music CD titled Sarathi has just been released in Canada containing the Khayal performance by one of the rising vocalists of India, Sarathi Chatterjee.

The CD contains Sarathi’s beautiful rendition of two Ragas: early morning Raga Ahir Bhairav and evening Raga Puriya Kalyan.

Sarathi lives in New Delhi, India and is a senior disciple of Pandits Rajan and Sajan Mishra. His style is a blend of Kirana and Benaras Gharanas of vocal music. He is an A grade artist of All India Radio and Television.The release of this CD by Aochar Music of Canada was timed with his concert tour of Toronto area during the month of July 2003.

For any further information about this CD by Sarathi, email info@aocharmusic.com, or telephone: 905-627-7496

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The Indian Way

Joseph Fire Crow - Legend of the Warrior
Joseph Fire Crow – Legend of the Warrior
Joseph Fire Crow

Legend of the Warrior (Makoche Recording Company, 2003)

There seems to be no shortage of Native American flautists or a shortage of innovative Native American flute recordings. Joseph Fire Crow who hails from the Cheyenne Nation (Montana) falls close to Lakota flautist Kevin Locke (Lakota) in his execution and reverence to Native American tradition.

A barrage of electric guitars (on the titular track) appears on Fire Crow’s latest release, Legend of the Warrior along with other contemporary instruments, but the performer’s Indianness shines through.

One listen to the infectious American Indian rhythms played out on traditional percussion, traditional chants and heart aching flute swirling about and listeners know they are getting the real thing.

Legend of the Warrior features the compositions of a virtuoso musician. Fire Crow either rearranges traditional songs or writes new material inspired by the songs of his ancestors. Each song comes with a brief story that not only explains the origin of the songs, but also allows listeners to become personally acquainted with Joseph Fire Crow. His songs are intimate and even if you are merely putting this CD into your stereo, you might feel that you are sitting around a campfire of long ago, listening to wisdom tales told by Native elders.

The titular track acts as an attention grabber with its power beats and electric guitar solo. This segues nicely into The Forty Nines, a song about snagging a mate through music. Sweet Medicine features emotive flute over light percussion and Where is my Angel? brings in piano

A Far Cry features melancholy flute over a jazzy background, imagining Miles Davis on flute instead of trumpet describes this song. Fire Crow adds various textures to his playing, trills and flutters on Cheyenne Man, (a song about self-image and heritage). The remainder of songs on the CD showcase the musical range of the wooden flute and Fire Crow’s ear for innovative compositions. While an array of Native American flautists exists including Carlos Nakai, Kevin Locke, Mary Youngblood, Burning Sky (just to name a few), you would do well to add Joseph Fire Crow to this collection.

Buy Legend of the Warrior

Compliments of Cranky Crow World Music.

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35 Artists Selected for the Flamenco Song, Guitar and Dance at the Festival del Cante de Las Minas

La Unión, Murcia, Spain – The renowned flamenco festival, Festival Internacional Del Cante De Las Minas, has just announced the finalists for its annual contest. After 19 selective contests throughout the Spanish territory, between May, June and July; the Festival Qualifying Jury selected the following participants:

Cantaores (Singers):

Nazareth Cala Luque, from Cádiz
Miguel Ángel de Tena Martínez “Miguel de Tena”, from Badajoz
Antonio Ortega Jiménez, from Sevilla
Inmaculada Martín RoldánMari Nieves Nieto Fernández, from Sevilla
Domingo Herrerías Pozo, from Córdoba
Álvaro Díaz Carrellán, from Huelva
“Rubito Hijo”, from Sevilla
María Dolores Expósito Carbonell “Loli
Carbonell”, from Huelva
Guillermo Cano García, “Niño Romero”, from Huelva
Raúl Montesinos Hoyos, from Sevilla
Rosario Guerrero Escalona, “La Tremendita”, from Sevilla
Antonia López López, from Almería
Salvador Salas Munar “El Potro”, from Cartagena
Juan Pinilla Martín, from Granada
David Pino Illanes, from Córdoba
Francisco Javier Sánchez Bandera “Bonela Hijo”, from Málaga
Francisco Garrido, from Huelva
Manuel Domínguez Gallardo, from Sevilla

Guitarists:

Juan Antonio Silva Campallo “Juan Campillo”, from Sevilla
José María González Bonilla “El Mami”, from Madrid
Antonio Rey, from Cádiz

The Festival Internacional Del Cante De Las Minas is the largest Flamenco festival in spain. It combines world class performances by the best performers together with a contest that seeks new talent. The following artists will peform August 9: Miguel Poveda y su grupo; Chano Lobato, Matilde Coral and Juan “Habichuela”; August 10, Opera Flamenca “Sueños de Libertad”; August 11, Estrella Morente ; August 12, la Compañía Andaluza de Danza, Gerardo Núñez and Carmen Cortés. From August 13 through 16 the international song, guitar and dance contest will take place.

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Can Today\’s Rock Become Tomorrow\’s Classical?

Preface: For the following article I have chosen The Hampton String Quartet® as the premier example of a classical string quartet that plays arrangements of rock. There are other chamber groups who have, at one time or another, played covers and/or arrangements of rock music, but The Hampton String Quartet is the only group and certainly the first to have made a career of exclusively playing rock music with a repertoire that spans Led Zeppelin to The Beach Boys, Hendrix to Jethro Tull and The Beatles to The Who. Kronos (an arrangement of “Purple Haze”), Apocalyptica (four cellists who play arrangements of Metallica), the Balanescu Quartet (interpretations of Kraftwerk tunes), The London Symphony Orchestra’s “Symphonic Music of the Rolling Stones”, The London Philharmonic Orchestra’s “Symphonic Led Zeppelin” and the more recent “String Tribute to Tool: Third Eye Open” – Piotyr Jandula (who has also contributed to the two CDs “The String Quartet Tribute to Led Zeppelin, Vols 1 and 2) are examples of other classically trained groups who have, on occasion, ventured into rock.The Hampton String Quartet® (HSQ®) is fond of saying, or explaining (as the case may be), that it is doing just what classical composers such as Bach and Beethoven did – borrowing from the folk music of the day and integrating that folk music into new, larger works.

What is the folk music of our day? The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition defines Folk Music as “originating among the common people of a nation or region and spread about or passed down orally, often with considerable variation.” Perhaps a little updating is in order as technology has rendered the “…passed down orally…” part unnecessary. The folk music of our day is passed down via CD, TV, radio, and the Internet, etc. The part of greater import of the definition is “originating among the common people.” When HSQ arranges and performs a Led Zeppelin tune, where is the folk music? In an article written by Susan Fast (Listening to Led Zeppelin: Ritual, Otherness and Body in the Music [forthcoming] and published in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd edition), she reports, “In addition to blues and folk music, traditional Arabic and Indian music were important influences [in Led Zeppelin], found in such works as Friends, In the Light, Four Sticks and especially Kashmir, which pushed musical boundaries….” Although re-inventing Led Zeppelin for classical string quartet is twice removed from the music’s more traditional folk music origins, it no less captures the contemporary music of our day – rock – just as Bach and Beethoven did in their day (Ode To Joy from the ninth symphony, for example).

Now for the big question – will HSQ’s rock/classical compositions be studied and performed one hundred years from now as we do Brahms? Certainly the students in the future will instantly recognize the origins of each work (HSQ gives credit to the underlying works – something Beethoven didn’t have to do). Absolutely, the students of the future will have recordings of the music actually being played to aid in interpretation, but will it garner the studious affections of academicians and journeymen such as they now bestow upon Stravinsky? The answer to this question is, of course, who knows? Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps got a pretty bad reception on first hearing and many notable great works have also fared less than favorably at their premiers. Similarly, the Tool tribute album, the all-cello Apocalyptica endeavors and the London Symphonic’s Rolling Stones’ interpretations received less than stellar reviews. Now, let us not mistake these observations as a suggestion that a popular arrangement of California Girls (HSQ after The Beach Boys) might someday rival Beethoven’s Ninth – I won’t even go there – but I do suggest that the trained embodiment of tried and true folk (rock) songs can legitimately bolster the great archives of classical compositions and further the development of new artistic modes of expression. In much simpler language, some rock is here to stay.

The Dirty “R” [rock] Word

How about publishing these works for posterity and offering them for sale along side of Haydn’s string quartets? Walking the unpopular road always takes courage – enter Mona Lisa Sound (MLS) – the publishing arm of HSQ – and others who want to risk being looked down upon by the classical cognoscenti. HSQ and MLS have gone one step further than just playing rock by publishing HSQ’s arrangements as sheet music for all to play. On a recent foray into a prestigious and well known classical retail sheet music dealer in NYC (by appointment), MLS spoke to a representative there about stocking MLS scores and got the quintessential classical response to any sentence uttered that contained the word, “rock”: “No, goodbye – not interested”. “Perhaps you would like to look at the score I hold in my hands here two inches from you before rendering judgment.” “No thanks, goodbye – ain’t gonna do it – not gonna happen.” The Juilliard School Bookstore manager wouldn’t even grace MLS with his presence (after several phone calls and an impromptu visit). Now, if you have ever been in The Juilliard School Bookstore, you know that it is so small, the manager had to be hiding under a table. This, even though he was aware that I had spent 10 years in Juilliard prep, that the other three members of HSQ are all Juilliard graduates and that the composers/arrangers are members of one of the largest selling string quartets in history (over 1 million CDs sold on RCA) – not to mention having been nominated for a Grammy. Goodness – such power this word “rock” can wield! Can you imagine if the military got hold of it?

All sarcasm aside, the songs of (most notably) Led Zeppelin and Hendrix, The Beatles, Stones, Kansas, Jethro Tull, and The Who do have lasting power in their own right. Having been authenticated by the touch of the classically trained hand, these tunes come into their own in a fresh and newly accessible way. They certainly strike a chord at HSQ concerts – standing ovations always prevail and, interestingly, for some very different reasons. The audience member of eight years old may see instruments he or she doesn’t recognize (i.e., not guitars or drums) playing music he or she recognizes and conversely, the audience member of eighty years old sees instruments he or she recognizes (violins, etc.), playing music he or she doesn’t recognize.

Some critics have likened this music to Bartok; HSQ’s arrangement of Black Dog by Led Zeppelin has no less than 96 metric changes. The Battle of Evermore is played with guitar picks on cello, viola and violin, raising some eyebrows when the cellist cradles his cello across his knee like a guitar (HSQ likes to explain to the audience that this is a good way to make a $200,000 Vuillaume sound like a $100 guitar). Similar reactions occur when Kronos uses feedback in live performances of Purple Haze.

Schubert vs. McCartney

One case in point is my arrangement of The Beatles’ extremely lighthearted work, Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (see illustration). Above all arrangements I have written for HSQ to date, this one most exemplifies what HSQ is all about, i.e. – the meeting of Rock and Classical styles. What better contrast and challenge than to combine the Beatles tune with one of the heaviest and darkest of classical works, Schubert’s Erlkönig. After stating the Schubert theme, I give the McCartney/Lennon melody equal billing and gradually move them until they are both vertically superimposed in a duel. I inject a little Beethoven (6 bars from his ninth) for good measure which becomes a false bridge allowing the music to move seamlessly back into the Schubert – two very different musical periods flowing one into the other. After both wreak havoc on the other in a rhythmic juxtaposition of the syncopations in the first with the triplets of the second, I allow Schubert to win (by a slim margin) in deference to the great composer. Although, if the tag is chosen in performance, the Beatles get the last laugh.

What’s Wrong with Enjoying the Concert?

Concertgoers to this music have a great time, simply put and always true for over 15 years. No programs to study and no 1st and 2nd movements you dare not clap after. The evenings are fun and challenging and Led Zeppelin never sounded so good (how’s that for snobbism?). Upon closer scrutiny, most (but not all) of HSQ’s works are not just fun – you must go beyond that – they are substantive and passionate (let me be the first to admit, a few are more like covers). For illustrations of rock transformed into classical music, take a look and listen to HSQ’s versions (published by Mona Lisa Sound) of Babe I’m Gonna Leave You, Dazed and Confused, Friends (instruments in this one are detuned), Over the Hills and Far Away, Stairway to Heaven, Blackbird, Black Dog, The Battle of Evermore, I Will (theme and variations), Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (with added Schubert’s Erlkönig), Jingle Bells (con Berlioz), Silent Night, God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen (complete with Fugue), Bach Chorale #21 (a/k/a American Tune) and Scarborough Fair/Canticle (enter Vivaldi). One other work, and the only one not arranged by a member of HSQ, is a beautiful arrangement of White Rabbit (Jefferson Airplane) from HSQ’s third RCA release, What if Mozart Wrote “Born To Be Wild”, and which was featured in a film of the life of Baba Ram Das.

End Note

Broadening one’s artistic palette often involves some risk – but such is growth. All new ventures by their very definition involve charting uncharted waters. In the words of one such folk hero, the challenge is “…to boldly go where no man has gone before….” Perhaps HSQ and MLS are the Star Trekkers of today – maybe yes – maybe no – only time will tell.

Mona Lisa Sound, Inc.
1-877-787-9505 (toll free)
www.MonaLisaSound.com
© 2003 John Reed

[Photos and ilustrations, from top to bottom: 1) The Hampton String Quartet®, 2) Led Zeppelin circa 1968, 3) Brahms, 4) Jethro Tull in the 1970s, 5) Schubert.]

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Spoons and Fiddles

Le Vent du Nord - Maudite Moisson
Le Vent du Nord – Maudite Moisson
Le Vent du Nord

Maudite Moisson [damned good harvest] (Borealis, 2003)

Quebecois musician and dancer Benoit Bourque (Matapat) brought the traditional group Le Vent du Nord to
my attention recently and as luck would have it, this charming quartet will be showcased at the 26th Annual
Vancouver Folk Music Festival. Le Vent du Nord (The North Wind) features Benoit on accordion, bones,
mandolin, response vocals and step dancing, yet he represents only 1/4 of this sprightly group. Originally
formed by Pianist Nicolas Boulerice (piano, hurdy-gurdy and lead vocals) and accomplished violinist Olivier
Demers (fiddle, guitar and vocals), Benoit and Guitarist Bernard Simard (formerly of La Bottine Souriante)
joined this Quebecois all-star quartet.

Recorded last December, the quartet’s debut CD, Maudite Moisson
was recently released in Canada thus giving Canadians another reason to celebrate the country’s diverse
musical traditions. The four artists featured on this recording are all well traveled and versed in traditional French language music
from Quebec and Brittany. Various tracks such as, Les trois freres Roy, Le moine complaisant and Chanson
d’ Hortense/Gigue des militaires were passed down to Nicolas through his various ancestors. Other songs
such as Riton/ C’est dans Paris or Au bord de la fontaine are traditional songs arranged by members of the
La Vent. While others, Grand-Pit/ Reel a deux tetes, Valse pour une fee and Petit reve II are original
compositions. However, the songs here flow seamlessly into one another and blend historical monuments with
a contemporary renditions. You will not find programming or electronic instruments on this recording which
further proves that acoustic instruments still have the ability to excite the senses. The rhythms created here of
the toe tapping variety induce listeners to get up and dance. And the love songs, old fashion in the traditional
sense, also delight ears hungry for musical sustenance. Fiddles dance with melodies played out on
accordions, hurdy-gurdy, guitar and effervescent piano. And all four musicians chip in vocals that run the
gamut from sensual to sublime.

Fans of Matapat, La Bottine Souriante and other neo-traditional Quebecois groups would do well to add this
recording to their collection. When many people think of Quebec, they conjure up images of the Separatists
Movement, Pierre Trudeau or horses and wagons trudging through snow and yet, Quebec harbors a wonderful
musical tradition that mirrors traditional music from Brittany and Cajun music from New Orleans. It’s a music
akin to celebrations, Quebecois kitchen parties, love, romance and storytelling. Le Vent du Nord’s Maudite
Moisson (damned good harvest) reaps the rewards of effort, talent and a nod to tradition.

(compliments of Cranky Crow World Music).

Buy Maudite Moisson

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Nataraj XT New Album

Marseilles, France – The Electro Indian band Nataraj XT, selected at MIDEM 2000 in Cannes as Electro Talents, is releasing its new album Ocean Birds on the American label Nutone/Nettwerk/EMI/Element Music ( DJ Tiesto, Delerium, Izdatso …).
To discover the album which will be distributed in Europe in a few months, click on the Nataraj XT Web site.

A
complete press review and two music videos Divx and RealVideo are on the group’s site. After their remarked performance during the last Strictly Mundial,
Nataraj XT was invited to the Sfinks Festival in Belgium, next July 26th.Interviews are available in the sound/video section of the site.

  • Natarajxt Web SiteThe group is formed by:
    Richard Bernet ‘Rishi’ on sarod, esraj, flute
    Philippe Capitani ‘Kapi’ on guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, drums, sampling, drum programming, computer, voices
    Pierre Grimout ‘Pierre Moitram’ on sitar.

    [Buy the groups albums:

    Ocean Birds
    and

    Tandava
    ].

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  • Review for The Music of Martinique

    Wapa Sakitanou

    The Music of Martinique (ARC Music 1790, 2003)

    Looking for something a little different? Say, Caribbean? ARC Music’s The Music of Martinique features Wapa Sakitanou, a lively musical group that encompasses the traditional music, costumes and dance of Martinique.

    Rich and weighty with African rhythms, The Music of Martinique showcases the call and response of vocals and percussion found in traditional Martinique music. Wapa Sakitanou percussionists make the tambour bèlè (barrel drum) and the ti-bwa (bamboo percussion) the backbone of the song upon which the singers build.

    Christian Valléjo is the lead drummer of the group, as well as author, composer and arranger. Sonia Marc Lasosso is the group’s choreographer and writes and arranges songs. Lead male singer Félix Cébarec warms up “Frapé Tig-bang,” “Bouwo” and especially “Marie o” with his rich tone. Sonia Marc Lasosso’s powerful voice takes center stage with “Changé la mi mwen” and “Milo Casérus.”

    The Music of Martinique is a fine pick for the person seeking traditional Caribbean music.

     

    ————————————————————————

    TJ Nelson is also a fiction writer. Check out her latest book, Chasing
    Athena’s Shadow
    <http://www2.xlibris.com/bookstore/bookdisplay.asp?bookid=34163>. Set in
    Pineboro, North Carolina, Chasing Athena’s Shadow follows the adventures
    of Grace, an adult literacy teacher, as she seeks to solve a long
    forgotten family mystery.  Her charmingly dysfunctional family is of
    little help in her quest.  Along with her best friends, an attractive
    Mexican teacher and an amiable gay chef, Grace must find the one fading
    memory that holds the key to why Grace’s great-grandmother, Athena, shot
    her husband on the courthouse steps in 1931. Traversing the line between
    the Old South and New South, Grace will have to dig into the past to
    uncover Athena’s true crime.

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    Folksters at Jericho Beach, Vancouver

    Vancouver-Folk-Music-Fest226th Annual Vancouver Folk Music Festival, Vancouver BC, Canada–July 18 – 20, 2003.
    After WOMAD USA was officially canceled, I made a decision to attend the Vancouver Folk Music Festival at
    Jericho Beach. This wasn’t going to be the usual festival attendance, but a leap of faith for me. After all, I have
    been unemployed for a year and I had to scramble for a place to stay as well as, ride shares.

    As you can
    imagine I was detained at the Canadian Immigrations Office, but finally allowed to enter Canadian soil. I left an
    atmosphere of fear and paranoia behind to enter one of harmony, joy and fabulous music set in a park with a
    panoramic view of trees, mountains and a stretch of English Bay. My memories of the festival linger in my
    daily thoughts and nightly dreams. I conjure images of the perfect blend of music and nature, of the painted
    Australian aboriginal musicians, of the solo folk artists, Quebecois foot tapping, the body melting sun and the
    friendly festival attendees.

    By the time I arrived at the festival grounds on Friday, I had missed half of the evening performance. My eyes
    adjusted to the natural setting during the Lotus Ensemble’s set and by the time, British folk singer Sara-Jane
    Morris belted out Janice Joplin’s Take Another Piece of My Heart, I shifted to a festival mood. French
    troubadours Lo’Jo followed with an effervescent set of songs revealing their connection to Africa. Having seen
    Lo’Jo perform at WOMAD twice and also in Seattle, it was a pleasure to see them perform on Jericho Beach.
    Next up was the Cockney bard Billy Bragg who played to an extremely enthusiastic crowd despite his usual flat
    vocals and dualistic anti-American sentiments. When I was in my twenties, I was a huge Billy Bragg fan and I
    have lost count of how many times I have seen him perform, yet I have grown tired of non-spiritual thinking. My
    mood soured after the Bragg performance and I turned in for the night.

    And yet, the festival provided both spiritual and political musical acts from the Woodie Guthrie inspired set to
    the celebration of the Sufi Poet, Rumi. Festival attendees had choices as they traipsed through the gorgeous
    festival grounds under an unforgiving sun. Many older traditions played along side innovative groups. The
    Vancouver World Music Collective blended music from the Silk Road with African, traditional Europe and
    Australia’s outback. I caught a glimpse of VWMC’s composition while a local film crew taped a documentary
    of the collective. The performance acted as a musical journey around the world and delighted the attendees of
    the performance. I was impressed with the exotic array of instruments including zithers, a pipa, didgeridoo,
    various drums and vocalists representing a variety of cultures.

    After witnessing the Vancouver World Music Collective performance, I stage hopped between Stage 1 and
    Stage 4. Quebecois accordionist Yves Lambert, Vancouverite Celso Machado, Victoria’s Portuguese fado
    vocalist Sara Marrieros and Ontario’s Sandra Bullock look alike folk singer, Martina Sorbara shared life’s
    simple pleasures on Stage 1. Although all the performers delivered musical pleasures, Ms Sorbara left me
    with the most memorable impression as she crooned out a bluesy tune about getting laid. It’s not the subject
    matter, but the musicians brazen delivery that caught my attention. Equally sexy and on Stage 4, was Indian
    vocalist Suba Sankaran (Ontarian ensemble Autorickshaw) jazzy rendition of the jazz classic Caravan. Suba’s
    immensely talented group shared the stage with the enigmatic Harry Manx (Salt Spring Island) on slide guitar
    and the Indian group Tantra (Quebec/Ontario).

    Hailing from the Australian outback, White Cockatoo performed ritualistic dance, drumming and singing which
    in itself proved intriguing, but was offset by a Crocodile Dundee type translator who talked through most of the
    performance. Ritualistic performances are best seen when there are no interruptions. Feeling a bit
    disappointed with this much anticipated performance, I headed to the Waves showcase in which Autorickshaw
    hosted and appeared with Tantra and the Syrian-UK group, Abdellah Chhadeh & Nara. Virtuoso qanun player
    (An Arabic 81 string hammered dulcimer), Abdellah delivered a breathtaking set of songs. And then Abdellah
    later appeared on stage with British musician and journalist Andrew Cronshaw where various instruments
    including oriental flutes, a shepherd’s horn and a zither were brought out. The set of songs proved innovative
    while allowing each performer to improvise and create a playful atmosphere.

    Saturday ended on a high note after seeing the Quebecois traditional group, La Volee d’Castors storm the
    stage. Despite my reluctance to dance in public, the group’s infectious music had me kicking up my heels and
    clapping along with the rest of the large crowd. Tantra followed with a quieter and more introspective set
    reminding us about the diversity of acts at the festival.

    Although Sunday was filled with miscommunication, missed connections and missed performances due to
    delays at most of the 7 stages, I did manage to squeeze in a few showcases. I started my morning at the
    Fiddler’s Bid showcase which was hosted by virtuoso fiddler Calvin Vollrath (Alberta) and featured Canada’s
    fiddling talent, Daniel Lapp (Victoria), Shannon Johnson (the McDades), Rani Orbo (Daisy Mayhem) and
    Darcie Deaville. Shannon shared songs about heartbreak, Darcie shared songs about childhood hardship
    and Daniel Lapp offered innovative fiddling. I also squeezed in performances of Lotus Ensemble, Harry Manx,
    Safa and the Toronto Tabla Ensemble. I ended my weekend with the Quebecois music showcase featuring
    Yves Lambert, La Volee d’Castors and Vent du Nord. Although the sun was baking my skin by this point, all of
    the musicians excuded energy as they step danced, fiddled and foot tapped their way through kitchen party
    and traditional Quebecois fare.

    Although I would have liked to have seen Lo’Jo perform one more time, the hot sun had taken its toll on my
    body so consequently I also missed the evening performance. My overall impression of the festival is a good
    one. I particularly am impressed with the festival staff’s sustainable practices and their desire to tread lightly
    on the planet. I have never been to a festival that has a mission of tossing less garbage in a landfill while also
    sharing a diversity of musical styles with music fans. The performers are also fed well and treated with a great
    deal of respect. The Vancouver Folk Music Festival, its staff, volunteers and sponsors all deserve a round of
    applause.

    For more information visit Vancouver Folk Festival
    (compliments of Cranky Crow World Music).

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