By Kerry Doole
Canadian Music Week has announced Raven Kanatakta and ShoShona Kish of Digging Roots will receive the 2023 CMW Allan Slaight Humanitarian Spirit Award during a special presentation at the Westin Harbour Castle on June 10, in recognition of their longstanding commitment to charitable initiatives. The Award is presented annually to a Canadian artist, duo or group, in recognition of their social activism and benevolent support of humanitarian interests and causes. As the recipient of this Award, The Slaight Family Foundation will make a sizable donation towards a charity of Digging Roots' choosing.
In a press release, Gary Slaight, President and CEO of the Slaight Family Foundation, stated that “Digging Roots is a living example of community. The music that Raven and Sho-Shona create is grounded in the spirit of home and that is evident in all they give back as their star continues to rise. My father Allan was a champion of the arts and we are proud to carry on his legacy by celebrating generous and thoughtful work by admirable artists like Digging Roots.”
– The Jim Beam National Talent Search presented by CMW has named the five finalists for the 2023 Jim Beam Showcase on June 6 at the Drake Underground in Toronto. They are Reini B (Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC), A Short Walk to Pluto (Toronto), FKB (Edmonton, AB), Cody Lawless (Mission, BC), and Nicolina (Toronto). These five finalists will receive a paid trip to Canadian Music Week with access to Conference and Festival events plus the June 6 showcase opportunity. One winner will be determined live at this showcase to play the 2023 Jim Beam Indies on June 8 at History where Charlotte Cardin will play a full concert. Tickets are available here.
– Maestro Denis Mastromonaco and the Mississauga Symphony Orchestra and Juno-winning singer/songwriter Suzie McNeil will be inducted into The Mississauga Music Walk of Fame in a ceremony on Sept. 10, at 11 am at Memorial Park’s Gazebo Stage in Port Credit. The event is part of this year’s Tim Horton’s Southside Shuffle Blues and Jazz Festival.
– The Khatsahlano Street Party in Vancouver has announced 60 performers for its annual summer bash. The 11th annual one-day street party/music festival/outdoor boutique will occupy stages over West 4th Avenue once again on July 8, presenting music on seven stages. The lineup, curated by local fixture Zulu Records, features Yukon Blonde, Louise Burns, Daysormany, and Wallgrin. More info here. Source: Georgia Straight
– The 43rd edition of Le Festival International de Jazz de Montréal has announced new additions to the program, running June 29 to July 8 in the Quartier des Spectacles. They include Macy Gray, DOMi & JD Beck, JD McPherson, Christine and the Queens, Valaire, Tim Brady, HAWA B, Gabrielle Shonk, Jesse McCormack, Debby Friday, High Klassified, and Roni Kaspi. More info here.
– The first Norfolk County Fairgrounds Festival will run June 9-10 in Simcoe (SW Ontario). Host JR Digs informs us that the bill features The Beaches, Dizzy, Bif Naked, Sloan, Dizzy, and Finger Eleven, and the area resident states "This is probably the biggest thing to happen in Norfolk County in a decade." Tix and info here.
– In honour of the internationally lauded SING Vocal Arts Festival, the City of Toronto has declared May 29 to June 4 A Cappella Week in the city.
– The Fresh Up R&B Festival returns to Hamilton’s Bridgeworks, on June 23-25. Presented by Sonic Unyon, the event has Loony, Haviah Mighty, and Zach Zoya as headliners, with Aqyila, Adria Kain, Jhyve, Kaija, Omega Mighty, Romeyo Wilson, EverythingOShauN, Tedy, Nonso Amadi, Zenesoul, GodBlessRodney, and Quincy Griffith also appearing. MuchMusic VJ star Master T and Deemz co-host. More info and tix here.
– Cavendish Beach Music Festival has announced the lineup for its RBCXMUSIC Emerging Artist Stage’s Songwriters Circle, held over three nights, July 6-8. Host and MusicNL’s Indigenous Artist of the Year Jason Benoit will be joined by Eric Ethridge, Brittany Kennell, Noah Malcolm, Peytan Porter, Alli Walker, Isabella Samson, Ashland Craft, CJ Solar, Teigen Gayse, George Birge, and Joce Reyome. More info here.
– ArtHaus, a Toronto-based full-service record label, management, and music company, is partnering with Ottawa-based supply chain management leader Kinaxis on a series of new programs for The Catapult Collaboration, a multi-faceted emerging artist initiative. These include a pay-it-forward studio program, which brings together songwriters, producers, and artists from underserved areas and communities for opportunities to use the ArtHaus studio, and the current Art of Growth creative and social entrepreneurship program focused on the organization Hoops for Hope, one advocating on behalf of Indigenous people with disabilities. Finally, the Music On The Fly Concert Series in partnership with the City of Toronto and Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport has just launched, offering paid performance opportunities to emerging artists. More info here.
– Up-and-coming Toronto non-profit organization, LIL SIS is a youth-led artist resource centre that aims to reduce barriers in the arts and entertainment industry for BIPOC + 2SLGBTQ+ youth. The org will host a series of workshops and events throughout June. Previous guests include insights and/or performances from Vivek Shraya, Witch Prophet, Pantayo, Tao Ming Lau, Sydanie, Lydia Persaud, TUSH, R. Flex, James Baley, and Tafari Anthony. More info here.
– Monk is an LA-based hardcore band that has just signed to Toronto-based label Dine Alone Records. Fronted by Frank Bach (Vicious Cycle, Designer at Headspace) on vocals, the lineup includes two notable Ontario players, Daniel and Ian Romano, on guitar and drums respectively. A debut EP, Rock, is skedded for an Aug. 4 release. Here's a preview video.
– The appetite for all things The Tragically Hip remains strong. A new podcast, Getting Hip To The Hip, has just been launched by Torontonian Jamie Dew, who states "this new creation will take listeners on a journey through the discography of the soulful, unique, and poetic Canadian rock band from the perspective of two true music fans. New episodes are being released every Monday.
– Creative Manitoba is one of the presenting partners of the Art & Culture Ideas Summit, set for June 15 at Winnipeg's Centre Culturel Franco-Manitobain (CCFM) (9 am- 3.30 pm). It is termed "a full day of learning and conversation on how we can rebuild, engage, sustain, and strengthen the arts." Register here.
– On June 5 at The Baby G in Toronto, Women in Music BC presents a free showcase and networking event featuring Amanda Sum, WALLGRIN, Missy D, Dacey, and Katie Yahn. Register here.
–Considered a fast-rising Toronto rapper, Duvy (Tafarri Minott) has just been arrested and charged in the slaying of a North York man in Oct. 2022. The 21-year-old is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death. This comes just over a year after the rapper released his debut album, Grasswayz. Source: Toronto Sun
– On Sat. night, Hamilton venue Bridgeworks hosted a potent triple bill, comprising Whitehorse, Bywater Call, and NQ Arbuckle. all appearing under the umbrella of Steve Strongman's Smokestack Festival & Concert Series. Show opener NQ Arbuckle (aka Neville Quinlan) appeared solo, minus his usual ace Toronto band. This put extra focus on the emotional eloquence of his material, while his skill as a witty raconteur was also showcased. He really should be better known. Fronted by the dynamic Meghan Parnell, the seven-piece Bywater Call showed why they are rising stars in the Canadian blues scene with a strong and diverse set.
Headliners Whitehorse then dazzled with a superb set that primarily focused upon the rock-oriented material upon which they have established themselves. Luke Doucet used a wide array of guitars, all with great finesse, complementing Melissa McClelland's clear and strong vocals. Near set's end, they drew upon material from their most recent album, the classic country-focused I’m Not Crying, You’re Crying, bringing Gram and Emmylou (and, on one song, Rodney Crowell) to mind. The Sadies aside, few Canadian bands can excel in as many different genres as Whitehorse. The pair's roots in the Hamilton/Burlington area were referenced to a warm response. Check out their show itinerary here.
– On June 16, Les Louanges presents a free outdoor show as part of the Francos de Montréal. Taking place at 9 pm on the Bell stage, this will be his first concert on the main stage of the festival. Les Louanges recently unveiled a live performance of the single Central Park La Fontaine, captured during a surprise set he played at Parc La Fontaine in front of nearly 1,000 fans.
– Vancouver-based singer/songwriter/street photographer/poet Rodney DeCroo launches his new collection of poetry, Fishing for Leviathan ( Anvil Press), on 2 June at Backspace, Vancouver.
He will read poems from the book and perform a set of songs and poems with The Metaphors. C.R. Avery will perform a set of his tunes and Fraser Mackenzie is also performing. The event is close to sold out but check for tix here
– Out tomorrow (June 2), Denielle Bassels' third studio album, Little Bit a' Love is the anticipated follow-up to 2017's celebrated album, What About Wool Wishbags. Lazy Gazing is Bassels’ fourth and final single in advance of the album, and she plays Lula Lounge in Toronto on June 1.
– Acclaimed Toronto world music ensemble Sultans of String won a prize at the Cannes World Film Festival for its full-length music documentary, Sultans of String: The Refuge Project - Visual Album. That film is now going on a June screening tour of Ontario, with showings set for Burlington, Waterloo, Hamilton, Toronto, and St. Catharines. Check out the details here.
–Toronto-based nu-reggae band The Memberz has teamed up with 6x Juno winner Exco Levi on an infectious new single, What Ah Joy. The accompanying video was officially released at the High Priest Festival (A Tribute to Denise Jones) on May 26 at The Garrison in Toronto, and the group plays Moosefest - Celebrating 5 Years of Roots Music Canada at The Tranzac Club in TO on June 4.