Music News Digest, Aug. 9, 2019

Liona Boyd compares notes with Vangelis (pictured), Simone Schmidt adapts her album for the stage, and lawn bowling for MusiCounts. Also in the news are Wolfe Island Music Festival, Rebecca Binnendyk, a Winnipeg benefit, The Beaches, OVO, Dwight Yoakam, Al Qahwa Ensemble, Graham Powers, ECMA,  Habari Africa Festival, VIFF, NSMW, and farewell Henri Belolo and David Berman.

Music News Digest, Aug. 9, 2019

By Kerry Doole

Famed guitarist Liona Boyd was recently in Paris where she spent two days with the world-renowned composer Vangelis. She played him tracks from an upcoming album, and he shared some of the new music he is creating for the European Space Agency. Many years ago Boyd recorded his Chariots of Fire composition and his theme from The Year of Living Dangerously. She tells FYI, "I was honoured to spend time with such a genius, and to discuss music, art, politics and space travel.” 

– On Wednesday (Aug. 7), CARAS hosted the Lawn Bowling Music Industry Social, at the West Toronto Lawn Bowling Club. Twenty teams from across the music industry competed for the championship while raising funds for MusiCounts. Sonic Unyon emerged as champions, beating TOML Lawyers in the finals. Previous CARAS Music Industry Social events have included axe throwing (2016), bocce (2015), table tennis (2014), and bowling (2013).


– Toronto singer/songwriter Simone Schmidt (Fiver, The Highest Order) received major praise for her 2017 album,  Audible Songs From Rockwood, based on the 19th-century stories of the wards of the Rockwood Asylum for the Criminally Insane in Kingston. Schmidt has collaborated with director Frank-Cox O’Connell on a theatrical adaptation, and Audible Songs from Rockwood premieres at the SummerWorks festival in Toronto this weekend.

– The Wolfe Island Music Festival runs Aug. 9 and 10, near Kingston, ON. This year, the popular non-profit event is a Hall Party Edition, with a strong lineup featuring The Sadies, Born Ruffians, Jim Bryson, Charlotte Cornfield, and more.

– Canadian pop singer-songwriter Rebecca Binnendyk is also a dedicated humanitarian. She has delivered medical supplies to the Masai tribe, and taught sex education and music to young people in Uganda. Now she plans to pair the promotion of her second album, I Don’t Belong To You, with raising money for Plan Canada, a global organization dedicated to advancing children’s rights and equality for girls, and The Orchid Project (UK), which aims to abolish female genital mutilation. Binnendyk will perform in an international online concert on Oct. 3 to launch her new album. Live stream tickets are C$10 and include an album download. She aims to raise $10K for each organization.


– A warehouse fire at 274 Jarvis Ave in Winnipeg has had a serious impact on the city's arts and music scene, as the space housed artist studios and was a practice space for local bands like El Diablo, Witchtrip, Dreadnaut, and Long Term Enemy. The Park Theatre and Pyramid Cabaret recently hosted benefit concerts in support of the artists. There will be another this Friday, Aug. 9, at The Good Will Social Club, featuring Nice Cops, Ceilings, Louser, and Shaner & McCleaner.

A pair of GoFundMe campaigns were launched to aid the artists, musicians, and craftspeople whose livelihoods were consumed by the fire. To donate to the visual artists GoFundMe click HERE. For the musical artists GoFundMe click HERE Source: Creative Manitoba

– Toronto rockers The Beaches will headline a benefit show, The Body Party, at The Great Hall in TO on Aug. 21 alongside Ralph and Prince Innocence. The pro-choice fundraiser will support Women’s College Hospital’s Bay Centre for Birth Control and the National Network of Abortion Funds. Tix here 


– Larry Gatlin, Dwight Yoakam, Marcus Hummon, Kostas, Rivers Rutherford, and Sharon Vaughn will be inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. The six new inductees will join the 213 existing members of the elite organization when they are honoured during the 49th Anniversary NSHF Gala on Oct. 14 at the Music City Center in Downtown Nashville. Source: The Music Universe


– Cadillac Fairview has announced that OVO, Drake’s official retail brand, opened its second Toronto location at CF Toronto Eaton Centre, coinciding with OVO Fest 2019 which ran last weekend.

– Toronto world music group Al Qahwa Ensemble places breathes traditional Arabic songs alongside innovative originals on its sophomore album Cairo Moon, out today (Aug. 9). It is launched with a show at Hugh's Room Live, Aug. 10, and other hometown shows are set for the Aga Khan Museum and Nathan Philips Square. Dates here

– A Celebration of Life for Graham Powers takes place on Aug. 11 (2-5 pm) at Snapd, 505 Queen St, Newmarket, ON.

– The first Musicians Raise the Roof festival is coming on Aug. 10 at a former golf course in Melbourne, ON, featuring 13 acts. The festival aims to raise money to support London’s homeless, with proceeds going to LifeSpin, which helps people living on low incomes, and Keeping Kids Warm, which provides homeless teens with handmade hats, mittens and scarves. Details here. Source: London Free Press

– Habari Africa Festival, a free multi-disciplinary music and arts festival showcasing the rich and diverse cultures of Africa, runs at Toronto's Harbourfront Centre, Aug. 9-11, co-presented with Batuki Music Society.

– Applicants interested in serving as an ECMA Board Member should submit a completed application by Aug. 23. Submit here

– The VIFF AMP Talent Accelerator is currently accepting applications from emerging musicians, composers, managers, and aspiring music supervisors interested in cultivating a career in film and TV. The application deadline is Aug. 16.

– Toronto dance-pop artist Kai Lamay's debut single, Captain Bacardi, arrives just in time for summer patio parties. The upbeat jam, mixed by US engineer/producer Ken Lewis, also works as an unofficial promo for the rum giant.

– Volunteer applications for Nova Scotia Music Week are now open. Volunteers receive a t-shirt, an identification badge, and access to all showcasing venues throughout the weekend (subject to capacity).



Henri Belolo, Village People co-creator, has died at the age of 82.

Belolo wrote the early Village People hits San Francisco, Macho Man, YMCA, In The Navy,  and Go West. His other creation was The Ritchie Family, for whom he wrote the hit Best Disco In Town.

Belolo was born in Casablanca and in 1960 became the A&R guy for Polydor Records in Paris. He moved to the USA in 1973 and set up Can’t Stop Productions. Jacques Morali joined the company in 1975 and in 1978 the two created The Village People.

The Village People’s Victor Willis took Belolo to court in 2015 claiming that he didn’t write the songs and had his name legally removed from the credits.

Henri Belolo received France’s highest honour, the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2015. Source:



David Berman, the poet and songwriter known for his projects Silver Jews and Purple Mountains, has died. His label, Drag City, confirmed the news but did not give a cause of death. He was 52 years old.


Berman formed Silver Jews in the late ’80s with Pavement members Stephen Malkmus and Bob Nastanovich. The group went through multiple lineup changes and released six studio albums between the years of 1994 and 2008. Berman remained the only constant member of the band during that period. His first collection of poetry, Actual Air, was released in 1999. After releasing their sixth LP Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea in 2008, Berman dissolved Silver Jews the following year.

A decade after Silver Jews disbanded, Berman announced a new project called Purple Mountains. He released a self-titled album under that moniker in July via longtime label home, Drag City. His North American tour behind the new album was set to begin this weekend. Source: Pitchfork

Billboard Editorial Director Hannah Karp at CMW 2024
Grant W. Martin Photography Courtesy Canadian Music Week

Billboard Editorial Director Hannah Karp at CMW 2024


The Best Advice from Billboard's Pitching to Media Panel at Canadian Music Week 2024

Billboard Editorial Director Hannah Karp moderated a panel that that included Billboard Canada editor Richard Trapunski, Red Umbrella P.R. owner Charlotte Thompson and Pure Country Radio Director Dayna Bourgoin. This was their best advice for upstart musicians and publicists looking for coverage.

Billboard hosted a panel on Pitching to Media at Canadian Music Week 2024.

The panel was moderated by Billboard’s Editorial Director Hannah Karp and featured members of multiple sides of the industry coin, including Red Umbrella P.R.’s Owner and President Charlotte Thompson, Pure Country Radio’s National Music Director Dayna Bourgoin and Billboard Canada editor Richard Trapunski.

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