Music News Digest, Aug. 30, 2021
The Long Winter festival (pictured) turns 10, Music Nova Scotia launches a new performance series, and dub reggae pioneer Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry passes. Also in the news are MusicNL, Fiver, TIFF, Dionne Warwick, Friendly Ghostz, BC grants, El Plaga, Elise LeGrow, Zachary Lucky, IRCPA, and farewell Kenny Malone.
By Kerry Doole
Toronto festival Long Winter has announced a 10th anniversary extension to its winter series. Together Apart activities run Sept - Nov., with the aim of connecting DIY music and arts communities across Ontario, Europe, and beyond. Festivities include an outdoor rooftop concert series at the Garrison on Sept. 24 featuring Fiver, LAL, and Status/Non Status (tickets here), monthly editions of a cross-city zine, installations, cross-stream live performances from Toronto (St. Anne’s) and La Station in Paris, France, and much more. The Toronto-Paris partnership includes a conference and workshop stream with resources and information-sharing between local collectives.
– Music Nova Scotia has announced the first instalment of the new performance series, Curated, featuring new and emerging talent selected by a local artist. Set for Sept. 12 from 3pm - 5pm at The Stubborn Goat beer garden, it is curated by Lance Sampson of Aquakultre and showcases Chudi Harris, Yohvn Blvck, Wren Kelly and LXVNDR. Free and all ages. Curated is made possible by FACTOR and the Support for Live program.
– A star-studded cast of Manitoban musical talent performed at the province’s Unite 150 birthday celebration in Winnipeg on Saturday. Held at Shaw Park, the event featured an afternoon and evening session, attended by a live audience and streamed via Bell MTS and aired on CTV. Bachman Cummings concluded the evening festivities, preceded by Tom Cochrane, Begonia, Tom Jackson, William Prince, Tal Bachman, Doc Walker & Sierra Noble, The Lytics, Chantal Kreviazuk with members of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Fred Penner, and more.
– MusicNL awards and showcases are part of the province’s Music Celebration Week, set to take place the last week of Nov. Applications for both are now open here, until Sept. 23.
– The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) will honour six-time Grammy Award–winning music star and activist Dionne Warwick at the TIFF Tribute Awards with the Special Tribute Award. The Awards air on Sept. 18 at 7 pm ET / 8 pm AT on CTV, CTV.ca and the CTV app to Canadian audiences, on the final day of the 46th edition of TIFF.
– On Sept. 14, The Breaking Down Racial Barriers (BDRB) initiative presents the fourth and final part of a roundtable panel discussion on anti-Black racism in Canada’s East Coast music and entertainment industry. Backed by CIMA, the ECMA and other regional trade orgs, the series is curated and coordinated by Ian Andre Espinet and David “Click” Cox. The final session aggregates the findings to create actionable suggestions for change that will be shared with peer and partner organizations and the wider community. Free registration here.
– Trans Trenderz, the world’s first label run by trans musicians for trans musicians, has launched a new imprint Friendly Ghostz, a label for their CIS allies. Its first release is the new single from their first signing, Montreal drag queen Aizysse Baga.
– The BC government has pledged to spend $12.9M to make grants available to festivals, fairs and community events affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. CP reports that Melanie Mark, the minister of tourism, arts, culture and sport, says events will be eligible to claim up to $250K with applications open until Oct. 1. The money can go toward operational costs, health and safety measures, venue rental, marketing, wages and promotion.
– Christopher Lucas, a Toronto rapper known as El Plaga, has been arrested in connection with a fatal shooting at a party in Fort Erie that left two young women dead, Niagara Regional Police confirmed Thursday. The shooting took place at a birthday party at a short-term rental in Fort Erie on Jan. 19, 2021. Lucas faces two counts of first-degree murder Source: CTV
– Toronto's Elise LeGrow has earned international attention for her soulful and jazzy interpretations of outside material. Her upcoming second album, Grateful, (out Nov. 5 via Awesome Music/BMG) is her first collection of originals.
– Roots songsmith Zachary Lucky has reached the goal of a Kickstarter campaign designed to fund his new project, Songs For Hard Times. Lucky tells FYI that "It is a collection of traditional folk and country songs that I've been singing for years. It is so exciting to see it finally come together." We look forward to the finished product.
– The 2021 IRCPA Encounter with Canadian baritone and mentor Theodore Baerg is happening Oct. 1. The deadline to apply here is Sept. 10. For 30 years, The IRCPA Encounter series has been helping singers with their professional development, artistic skills, and with their knowledge of their craft and industry.
Kenny Malone, a prolific session drummer who played on hits for Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard and many others, died on Aug. 26, age 83 after being diagnosed with Covid-19.
Malone is credited on hundreds of records made in Nashville, including albums like Parton’s Jolene, and Haggard’s Dreaming My Dreams. He was known in particular for his hand-drumming technique. Among the other artists Malone played with were Dobie Gray, Ronnie Milsap and Crystal Gayle.
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum said he also worked on records by Bobby Bare, Garth Brooks, Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, George Jones, Barbara Mandrell, Charley Pride, Kenny Rogers, Dottie West and Don Williams.Source: AP
– Lee 'Scratch' Perry, a Jamaican producer and performer hailed as a visionary of roots reggae and dub, died on Aug. 29, at age 85. No cause of death has been reported.
The Guardian reflected that “the loping tempos of his work established the roots reggae sound that Bob Marley made world famous, while his dub production, with its haunting use of space and echo, would have a profound influence on post-punk, hip-hop, dance music and other genres. Along with his gnomic pronouncements and mystical air, he became one of Jamaica’s most unusual and esteemed artists.”
Perry’s band the Upsetters helped bring reggae to the world, and he produced such other top Jamaican artists as The Congos, Max Romeo, Junior Murvin, The Heptones, and Bob Marley & The Wailers. The likes of The Clash and Beastie Boys acknowledged Perry as a key influence, with The Clash hiring him to produce their 1977 single Complete Control.
His career began in the late ‘50s, through work with top record producer Clement Coxsone Dodd, including a stint at Dodd’s famed Studio One. Using this experience, he started his own label, Upsetter.
His studio experimentation—which included early uses of sampling and remixing—helped lead to the creation of the dub genre, which he solidified at his Black Ark Studios, situated in his Kingston backyard. From the 1980s on, work with British producer Adrian Sherwood plus The Orb and Mad Professor brought him a wider audience