Music News Digest, Aug. 31, 2018

Alessia Cara (pictured) helps bring smiles to ill kids, Fantavious Fritz and Charlotte Day Wilson launch a new film grant, and Thriller gets the IMAX treatment. Also in the news are GrassRoots Regina, the Cobalt Prize, CityFolk, Shad, the Wall-To-Wall Mural + Culture Festival, Colin Devlin, Brownman Ali, $keleton Club, and a farewell to Eli Kassner. Video provided for your enjoyment.

Music News Digest, Aug. 31, 2018

By Kerry Doole

A couple of days after shining on the iHeartRadio MMVAs on Sunday night, Alessia Cara was in her hometown of Brampton, ON, to help open the newly transformed ErinoakKids Centre for Treatment & Development. More than 150 children, families, and staff welcomed Cara as she cut the ribbon and unveiled the centre’s three revitalized Smilezone spaces.

Smilezone Foundation is a registered charity committed to putting smiles on kids’ faces. Cara is a Smilezone Foundation Ambassador, and Bell Media President Randy Lennox is a Director.

–  Following the 2018 Prism Prize win for Fantavious Fritz's video of Charlotte Day Wilson's hit single “Work”, the duo announces a one-time film grant for female and gender non-binary directors in Canada. The $10K fund was generated from a portion of the Prism Grand Prize Fritz received for the video in May.  Full criteria and submission guidelines for the Work Film Grant are available here. Applications open Sept. 4 and close Oct. 26.


–  On Wednesday, on what would have been the star's 60th birthday, it was announced that Michael Jackson’s estate and IMAX are partnering to digitally remaster Michael Jackson’s Thriller3D into IMAX 3D. It will be released in IMAX theatres across the US for one week, beginning Sept. 21. No word on any Canadian screenings. The 3D version was first shown at the 74th Venice Film Festival in 2017. The original short film, directed by John Landis, premiered in LA in 1983. Source: AP

– The non-profit GrassRoots Regina has presented folk and roots concerts since 2007. Its upcoming season features talent from Britain and across Canada. The artists include Oysters 3 (ex-Oysterband), James Keelaghan, Tom Savage, John Wort Hannam, The Slocan Ramblers, and Tri-Continental.

–  Submissions for the fifth annual Cobalt Prize Contemporary Blues Composition Award open on Sept. 3, with an Oct. 21 deadline. Established by Juno winner Paul Reddick and The Toronto Blues Society, the $1K Prize is designed to promote blues music through the exploration of its form. Previous winners of the award are Digging Roots, Conor Gains, Ann Vriend and Joel Nolan.  Details here


–  CityFolk has announced an expanded line-up for this year’s edition of Marvest in Ottawa, running Sept. 14-15.  70 acts from across the Ottawa-area will offer free live performances in a variety of non-traditional venues throughout the city. New this year––as part of CityFolk’s 25th anniversary celebration––will be a series of ticketed concerts, including Jack Pine and the Fire (Sept. 7) and The Trews (Sept. 8). CityFolk proper runs Sept. 12-16 at Lansdowne Park. More info here

–  With his stint on q behind him, Shad is concentrating on music again. His upcoming hip-hop saga,  A Short Story About A War,  comes out on Oct. 26, on Montreal label Secret City. A new single, “The Fool Pt. 3 (Frame of Mind),” was produced by Polaris Prize winner Kaytranada, and has a video directed by Justin Broadbent. 


– Winnipeg's Wall-To-Wall Mural + Culture Festival is putting music centre stage this year, with events around the city throughout September. Highlights include Bonjay (Sept. 6), Vivek Shraya and Too Attached (Sept. 7), Grand Analog (Sept. 15), and Cyber (Sept. 23). The festival closes with two finales on Nuit Blanche. A full lineup here 

– Dublin-born / LA-based songwriter Colin Devlin releases his new album, High Point on Oct. 5 on Blue Elan Records. There's a Canadian component to the record, as it is produced by PierreMarchand (Sarah McLachlan, Rufus Wainwright), a long-time collaborator. The album was recorded in LA and Montreal, with Canadian Michael Brook as one of the guests. Devlin was previously in '90s Irish band The Devlins. 


–  Toronto-based jazz trumpeter Brownman Aliis bringing his acclaimed Blue Note Composerseries to Cobourg, ON, in September. Spanning five Sunday afternoons (3pm-6pm), the series explores the unique writings of five legendary composers linked to that famed jazz label - Horace Silver, Joe Henderson, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock & Freddie Hubbard. Ali's ace accompanists include Nick Maclean and Mike Downes.

– $keleton Club is a Montreal power trio that has just released a catchy debut single, "D.O.A." We're informed that an album called Death, Love, & Money will come out in the spring.


Eli Kassner, classical guitar teacher and founder of The Toronto Guitar Society, died on Aug. 23 in Toronto, at age 94.

He was born in Vienna, Austria, then lived in Israel prior to emigrating to Canada in the '50s. He made a name for himself as a multi-talented artist, becoming most noted for his contributions to the teaching of the classical guitar at the Toronto Royal Conservatory of Music and the University of Toronto's Faculty of Music.

An accomplished performance artist himself, he also founded the Toronto Guitar Society in 1959. Under his leadership his vision of holding an international guitar festival and performance competition in Toronto became a reality with the establishment of the Toronto Guitar Festival in 1975.

Among many other honours, Kassner was the recipient of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012) and the Order of Canada (2016) in recognition of his life's work. Source: Toronto Star



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Kaytranada Announces a 'Timeless' New Record Featuring Childish Gambino, PinkPantheress

The Montreal producer's third solo LP will also include collaborations with Canadian artists Rochelle Jordan and Charlotte Day Wilson, and is set for a June 7 release.

One of Canada's most celebrated producers has a new full-length on the way, arriving just in time to kick off the summer.

Kaytranada's Timeless is set for a June 7 release, and will feature a host of acclaimed collaborators, including Childish Gambino — fresh off his Atavista release — U.K. bedroom pop star PinkPatheress, funk virtuoso Thundercat, R&B singer Ravyn Lenae and many more.

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