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FYI

Music News Digest, March 11, 2021

The 2021 Canadian Folk Music Awards announce their performers and name Ava Kobrinsky (pictured) as the recipient of the Slaight Music Unsung Hero Award. The Weeknd dazzles with a charts record, and the CLMA’s  #ForTheLoveOfLIVE campaign wants your help. Also in the news are Music Publishers Canada, NMC, Supercrawl, CMW, Serafin,  Alessia Cara, Music Nova Scotia, TD Sunfest, Reid Jamieson, Brent Mason, Terra Lightfoot, Music NB, and farewell Syd Kessler and Lou Ottens.

Music News Digest, March 11, 2021

By Kerry Doole

The 2021 Canadian Folk Music Awards (CFMA) is hosts its Awards celebrations online this year, presenting 20 awards virtually, April 10 & 11. Six 2021 nominees will perform on each of those nights. Appearing on April 10 are Mélisande, OKAN, The East Pointers, Leela Gilday, Pharis & Jason Romero, and Julian Taylor. On April 11, there’ll be performances from Sultans of String, Guillaume Arsenault, Big Little Lions, Catherine MacLellan, Zal Sissokho, William Prince. Hosted by Jean Hewson and Benoit Bourque, both shows start at 8 pm ET. Leading up to the Awards shows are four additional performer showcases April 7 - 10. Full lineups and more details TBA. Like the CFMAs Facebook page here 


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Winnipeg’s Ava Kobrinsky has been named the recipient of the Slaight Music Unsung Hero Award for the 2021 CFMAs. The Award will be presented during the 2021 CFMA online celebrations. She's the GM of Home Routes / Chemin Chez Nous and a tireless worker for Canadian Culture as an experienced non-profit arts manager and a co-founder of  the Winnipeg Folk Festival Board, among other positions in the arts world. Kobrinsky is also the wife of the late folk fest legend Mitch Podolak, and mother of noted roots musician Leonard Podolak.

– The Weeknd's global smash Blinding Lights made chart history this week as the first song to spend a year in the Billboard Hot 100's top 10, as it logs its 52nd week in the region on the chart dated March 13. The track, which rebounds 5-3, spent four weeks at No. 1 last April-May, eventually finishing as 2020's top Hot 100 hit. The song was released, on XO/Republic Records, from The Weeknd's LP After Hours, which tallied its first four weeks atop the Billboard 200 last April. On the latest chart, the set ranks at No. 6. Source: Billboard

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– The Canadian Live Music Association's #ForTheLoveOfLIVE campaign has officially been running for a month. Thousands of posts on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn have brought the community music together, fondly remembering everything that was great about live music and looking forward to its return. In this update, CLMA stresses "it is up to us to continue to raise awareness about the impact of Covid on the live music and events community."

"How to participate: Keep tagging #ForTheLoveOfLIVE and #PourLAmourDeLaScene, as well as @Canadian_Live. Share your concert photos, videos and memories, ticket stubs. Use advocacy graphics.  Share the campaign in your newsletters and with your network. Purchase a campaign mask and support the CLMA and Unison Fund. Tag your elected officials and ask for their favourite live music memories  Please consider other “advocacy” aspects of this campaign, like our template letter, and Live Music Recovery Plan. Find your MP here. Remember that your message should stay positive in tone, and remind others why live music matters to you." More info and campaign tools here.  

– Music Publishers Canada is now accepting applications for our 2021 Women in the Studio National Accelerator. Now in its third year, this program offers a series of curated production-related opportunities and networking experiences to women-identifying producer-songwriters from across the country. MPC welcomes applications from individuals who have been historically underrepresented in these spaces and who remain so today, including women, gender fluid, non-binary and gender non-conforming people. Applications will be accepted online until March 26, and can be submitted either by the candidate directly, or on behalf of a candidate. Apply here.

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– Hamilton's Supercrawl fest has announced the Spring 2021 run of its ongoing series of streamed performance. Taking place March through May, all performances will be showcased as high-quality streams via Vimeo, with exclusive ticketed access through Eventbrite. The lineup is mighty impressive, and includes Danko Jones (launching the series on March 12), Alfie Smith & Nicole Christian, Serena Ryder, Nuela Charles, Zoon, Theo Tams, iskwē and Tom Wilson, LTtheMonk, Basement Revolver, Bad Waitress, Athanase., Jeremie Albino, and Big Wreck. More info here

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– Yesterday (March 10), Google Arts & Culture and YouTube launched Music, Makers & Machines, an online resource celebrating the history and legacy of electronic music. It will feature over 250 curated exhibitions from 50 international partners, including The National Music Centre (NMC), Chicago History Museum, Moogseum, Philharmonie de Paris, Institute for Sound and Music in Berlin, UK label XL Recordings, Elektra Montréal, and more. Music, Makers & Machines hosts an extensive archive of over 15.000 photos, videos, 360° tours and 3D scans along with bespoke editorial features delving into scenes, sounds and iconic cities. More info here.

– On Mar 23 (2 pm ET) Canadian Music Week presents a virtual webinar, CMW Virtual Voices (Vol.16): The Day The Music Distanced - Industry & Artists On Covid's Mental, Physical and Financial Toll. In this session, artists and industry veterans talk about the Covid challenges, of finding virtual “crowds,” of literally being a solo artist, and of finding revenue in a world without venues. Register here 

– After a nearly 10-year hiatus, taken to look after an adopted young son, noted Canadian jazz artist Serafin LaRiviere recently returned with a new album, Unravel.  A second single, Mom, is now being released, and it showcases Serafin's serious vocal talent.

– Following guidelines from BC's provincial government, one of Western Canada's most beloved metal festivals, Armstrong MetalFest, was forced to cancel its 2020 edition. The fest has just announced that the ongoing pandemic has also led to the cancellation of the 2021 edition, initially planned for July 16 and 17.

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– The US profile of Canadian star Alessia Cara was given a boost last Sunday when she performed O Canada at the 2021 NBA All-Star Game (Gladys Knight sang the US anthem). Cara performed her country’s national anthem remotely from Toronto, hometown of the 2019 NBA champion Raptors. Source: Billboard

– Music Nova Scotia has issued a reminder of the March 15 deadline for the following programs: Artist Development, Mentorship, Covid--19 Response, and Marketing Support.  Learn more and apply here 

– Polls are now open for the Second Round of the 2021 CMAOntario Awards. Polls are now open and the voting deadline for CMAO members to vote here is March 20. 

– TD Sunfest is helping mount a free, online world music festival in late March. Toronto's Lemon Bucket Orkestra,  and Quebec's É.T.É will represent Canada in Culturas 360,  March 27-28, a new, virtual fest presented by TD Sunfest and eight other festivals worldwide.  Source: London Free Press

– Proof of the adage 'you can't keep a good song down' is Super Hero Girl, by Vancouver singer-songwriter Reid Jamieson. Originally out in 2016, it was recently reissued to coincide with International Women's Day, to a very warm response. With the support of Creative BC, the track has grabbed recent media attention and has been charting internationally #3 (Pop), #11(AC) plus #8 (Canada Top 50), according to the Roots Music Report. Co-written and produced by Jamieson and his wife Carolyn Victoria Mill, the song also features Juno-winning saxophonist Tom Keenlyside (Natalie Cole, Harry Connick Jr., and Diana Krall), on horns.

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– Presented by Creative Manitoba, Creative Entrepreneurship 2021  -  Embracing Change, held on March 12 and 13 offers two days of virtual workshops including keynotes, panel discussion, and interactive breakout groups targeting goal setting, getting grants, understanding your taxes, marketing yourself as an artist, and figuring out how to use social media effectively. Creative Entrepreneurship is for emerging artists of all disciplines and ages. CE 2021 will be presented online via Zoom and is free for members of Creative Manitoba. More info here.

– Saint John based singer-songwriter and story-teller Brent Mason has signed an exclusive publishing deal with the new local entertainment company 428 Entertainment Group. Mason's extensive catalogue of songs including 11 studio albums. 

– March 15 is the next application deadline for Music New Brunswick's Sound Record program. This component aims to investment for the production of #NB sound recordings, with a max investment of $6K per fiscal year. Apply here.

As part of its free Thursday programming, the Art Gallery of Hamilton is featuring hometown rock hero Terra Lightfoot in a Zoom session tonight (March 11). She will perform and answer questions. Register here 

RIP

Syd (Sydney Edward) Kessler, known as the Canadian king of jingles, passed away on March 7. The cause of death was not Covid-related.

A profile in The Globe and Mail in 2000 noted that “He was a millionaire by 30, yet he had never finished Grade 10 at Westdale Secondary School in Hamilton, Ont., where he'd grown up in a lower-middle-class family. He had worked as a railway brakeman and in the steel mills.

"At the height of his fame in the advertising world in the early nineties, the company he headed up, Supercorp, handled 60 per cent of all the advertising production business in Canada, plus 2 per cent of television production in the United States. He was an empire builder, and it all started with writing jingles, even though he couldn't read a note of music. Or play an instrument.”

Kessler began as a writer for Chuck Blore Creative Services. During the 60’s and 70’s, this company was considered to be the #1 creative radio commercial production company in the US. In 1970-71, Hatus/Hall– the producers of the legendary game show Let’s Make A Deal– hired him to develop a game show (The Crosswits) styled after a crossword puzzle. This show ran on ABC for 6 seasons.

Then Kessler started his own business and was president of Kessler Productions between 1974-78, producing and writing creative radio commercials exclusively for the Canadian marketplace. The company continued to grow and Syd took in other partners. The company changed its name to Kessler Music Inc. and Syd served as president until 1981, when he merged with the two top audio production companies in Canada and became the dominant player in the marketplace. This new company was called The Air Company and Kessler was its president from 1981 to 1988. In this period, the company won Canadian and International awards such as the I.B.A.s, The Bessies, and The One Show.

In 1988, John Labatt Ltd., a multinational Canadian corporation, with over $3 billion Cdn. in revenue, joint ventured with Kessler Music to create a new entity called Supercorp. Starting revenues of this company was $10 million. In four years the revenues rose to $150 million.

Kessler was a founding member of NABS, the National Advertising Benevolent Society, which looks after the well-being of advertising professionals, and founding member of Kids Help Phone. He was an inductee in The Marketing Hall of Legends.

He was also a published author, having written books including The Perfect System (Stoddart Publishing), which describes his unique personal story and business philosophy, his follow-up, The Perfect System of Parenting (Bastian Books), The Master Builder, co-written with Michael Berg, and Vibes, co-written with David Morrison, on the topic of consciousness and behaviour.

A graveside funeral was held at the Beth Jacob Cemetery in Burlington, ON, on March 9. Sources: Globe and Mail,AMA Marketing Hall of Legends 

International

Lou Ottens, the Dutch engineer who created the technology behind cassette tapes and compact discs, died on March 6, at age 94. 

After studying to be an engineer in school, Ottens got his start in the industry when he joined Philips in 1952 and, eight years later, rose through the ranks to become the head of the firm’s product development department.

It was there that Ottens led his team in developing the first portable tape recorder. Two years later, he revolutionized the reel-to-reel tape system by inventing a miniature version known as a cassette tape.

When the first plastic cassette tape made its debut at a 1963 electronics fair, it boasted the slogan, “Smaller than a pack of cigarettes!” Ottens specifically designed the cassette to be tiny enough to fit in a jacket pocket, in part because he found other  tape models to be unnecessarily large. “I got annoyed with the clunky, user-unfriendly reel-to-reel system,” he said years later. “It’s that simple.”

Instead of keeping his invention private, Ottens urged Philips to license his design so it could become an industry standard and reach a wider audience. Philips listened and made a deal with Sony to use the patented mechanism. Without missing a beat, Japanese companies quickly copied the tapes over to different formats while Sony rolled out a standard cassette globally. All told, over 100 billion were sold worldwide.

Several years later, Ottens changed the game again when he helped develop the compact disc, a new Sony-Philips standard that revolutionized the music industry. Of course, CDs became a lasting global phenomenon, selling over 200 billion copies and becoming a staple for physical media.

Despite the recent boost in cassette sales in the modern day, Ottens held the firm belief that CDs were better than cassette tapes until the very end, arguing that “nothing could beat the sound of a CD.” Sources: DutchNewsConsequence of Sound

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