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Music Musings – Emel Mathlouthi

Emel Mathlouthi performed at Mehboob Studios as part of the first Johnnie Walker – The Journey festival – and part of reviving my old Music Musings series!

Emel seduced the audience with the powerful emotions her voice emitted… punching through with passion, protest, shifting from lilting to wrenchingly raw.

After the show, Emel shared how much she enjoyed their short stay in India. Yet after extensive touring also appreciated a chance to relax in the hotel, swim outdoors…

She shared that they had been to Vancouver and Montreal and enjoyed their Canadian tour. I later met the guitar player who talked about being busy working on their new CD, soon to be independently released – Ensen.

Emil Mathlouthi – Ma Lkit

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I’ll admit I’d never heard of her before the event… and yet for much of December, Christmassy music was replaced by the haunting sounds of Tunisia.

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Manitoba musical memories… a tribute to cold winters, warm hearts

In June I was in my home town of Winnipeg, Manitoba. It is always good to be back and there were so many special reconnects.

One evening in particular reminded me how blessed we were to grow up in a place bursting with musical talent.

Living room jam

Living room jam

I looked around the room at familiar friends… folks I grew up… folks with many shared experiences… folks whose lives have gone through many twists and turns… folks whose  hearts have been broken, mended…. folks who faced trials and many triumphs… folks who still turn to share with each other life through music…. relationships that span several decades.

After all, we were there to celebrate a friend’s 60th birthday. Six fabulous decades of merriment, mischief and more. (more…)

Winnipeg Folk Fest Part 3 – Thanks for the memories

Some folks in Winnipeg were surprised we did not remain for the Folk Festival.

After all, I’ve been an avid festival goer and volunteer for many years! Even dragged my partner from Bombay back for the 40th Winnipeg Folk Festival  in 2013.

However… our focus this trip to Canada was my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary celebrations in Winnipeg, with a side serving of re-uniting with friends in Vancouver, Canada Day with my partner’s sister and family in Toronto and a bit of amusement in London before scampering back to India.

But I gotta admit… this weekend as Facebook is flooded with photos of the Fest, viewing vicariously what I’m sure was amazing music, friends catching up with other friends, the effort and joy of volunteering, the next generation delighting in the unique community environment and activities… yeah I’m missing it.

So decided to relive it going through a few photos from 2013… and to share three: (more…)

Mitch Podolak – Creating a community

I received an email today from Mitch Podolak sharing the news he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Brandon University.

For anyone growing up in Winnipeg or tuned into the folk music scene in Canada, Mitch is a familiar figure. A visionary character that dared to have crazy dreams and convince others to come along for the party! (more…)

Amsterdam’s Bibliotheek + Conservatorium (new and old)

As I sip my morning coffee in Bombay, back to the sights, sounds and smells of India, it seems strange to think last weekend I was in Europe!

It was a brilliant impromptu trip with many wonderful moments. Lucky me, last Saturday a friend had time to show me slices of ‘her’ Amsterdam that I’d be unlikely to explore on my own…

While originally from Japan, she’s called Holland home for 30 years – lured by her love of Western classical music and art. (more…)

Wedding socials to crowdfunding…

A regular feature in Manitoba was “The Wedding Social“… basically a great big party to raise money to help offset the costs of an even bigger party ie “The Wedding”.

You find a cheap hall to hold it in with a crappy music system, your friend’s band would play, you’d charge a reasonable amount for drinks to make a little but not gouge the wallet, food would be rye bread, kubasa and sliced meats, cheese, slap on some mustard and mayo and voila! Oh and there would be pickles – lots of pickles! Plus a generous side helping of chips and pretzels.

Add to this donations of weird and sometimes wonderful assorted items for raffle / draw / bidding wars! Generally it would be a good time full of laughter and cheer while happening to raise some money too. Real people, real times together in a real community.

Then along came crowdfunding… with its global reach, click of a button payments and the pleas to support, share, begging help! (more…)

The Emma G Days… a tribute to taking a chance!

Once upon a time there was a young lass, who had a crazy notion to run a late night vegetarian café! So she gathered her friends and friends of friends, they pooled their meagre resources, wrangled a Student Business Loan… And voilà!  “Emma G’s Deluxe Eatery” was born 25 years ago!

It was a moment in time. Most of us were around 19 years old, we were fearless of failure, didn’t actually care about making money, just wanted a home for aspiring artists, musicians, writers, students and sundry misfits. (more…)

Music Musings – Carlos Bica and Azur

Carlos Bica, Frank Moebus and Jim Black performed last week at St Andrew’s in Mumbai and are this week’s Music Musings feature!

Carlos Bica, Frank Mobus, Jim Black (Photo: Carlos Bica's FB page)

Carlos Bica, Frank Moebus, Jim Black (Photo: Carlos Bica’s FB page)

There is something about seeing a trio perform that just do their thing – and have been doing it together for 20 years – it shows. Their sound is original and completely their own. Broadly falling under the music category of ‘jazz’, it is … (more…)

Music Musings – Sridhar/Thayil’s STD

This Music Musings feature is STD – a remarkable duo from Suman Sridhar and Jeet Thayil. Seems fitting as we’ve enjoyed listening to their CD with them at our recent dinner gathering – what fun!

ShridharThayil (Photo: X site)

ShridharThayil (Photo: STD MySpace)

Him – Jeet is an old friend of my partner – known for his edgy poetry, blistering guitar, funky offbeat and outrageous approach. His book Narcopolis was short-listed for the 2012 Man Booker prize and draws one into a different side of Bombay – its addictions, predilections and transformations in the 70s and early 80s.

Her – I first saw Suman on Boxing Day (26 Dec 2010) at an evening gathering of music and merriment in Bandra. Her quirky style and powerful talent blew everyone away – blues, jazz scatting, opera, Hindustani classical… she effortlessly slips between styles seducing and conquering them all.

Them – Together they are a combustible combination… flirting and bending musical styles, mocking and breeching boundaries of conventions, creating a sexy groovy sound that is uniquely theirs. (more…)

Music Musings – Fatoumata Diawara

Compared with Angelique Kidjo, Fatoumata Diawara from Mali was performing this week in Mumbai and is today’s Music Musings feature!

Fatoumata Diawara (Photo: Wikipaedia)

Fatoumata Diawara (Photo: Wikipedia)

Now living in Paris, Fatou’s singing, guitar, dancing and theatricality was mesmerizing. Her sound clearly reflects her Wassaoulou tradition in a folk pop way that deftly weaves a bit of funk, jazz and rock for good measure.

It’s been some time since we’ve seen such a brilliant performer – not just musically talented but also puts on a show. Warms up the audience, charms, beguiles, engages, captivating one and all completely. A born story-teller, she spoke of war, women’s rights, and embracing the world traveling by choice or forced by circumstance.

One of the most entertaining numbers was when she decided to teach everyone the different dance styles of Africa and proceeded to go region and country by country demonstrating each with such joy and abandon! (more…)

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