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Feel good sadness. Nostalgia music. Quintessentially Canadian. That's what the Tragically Hip was to us when we were in high school in the 90s. Gord Downie's voice was omnipresent, whether it was a bush party, a school dance, on the way to a buddy's cottage, or at the cottage having a few beers and sitting on the dock.
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The summer of 2014 had me almost getting married -- preparations were in place, rings were purchased and the date was set. But love is hard sometimes, and life doesn't always play along, even with the best intentions.
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What truly sets Prince's estate apart from most deceased musicians is what he left behind: a personal vault of 2000 works of unreleased music. To put it in perspective, there is enough music to release one album every year for the next century. I know what you're thinking: What will happen to all of this music, and will we ever hear it?
In thinking about what it was that made people love him so much, I came to the conclusion that it was because he was completely and utterly himself. He was always authentic to his vision and unafraid to do things exactly his way. He was someone who was truly free.
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One moment, I was in Spain, strolling the Passeig de Gracia, eating tapas and sipping red wine. The next, I was singing for Justin Bieber. Perhaps it was jet lag. Perhaps it was the parade of superheroes that casually strolled by me as I donned my Marie Antoinette wig. Either way, it was the most surreal evening of my life.
Reggae pioneer bass player and singer Leroy Sibbles knows what it means to take that boomerang ride. Born and raised in Jamaica, he moved to Toronto in 1973, married and became a citizen. That was then, now he is back living in Jamaica and visits The Big Smoke whenever he can.
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Where are our friends and fans of black music and black people when the partying stops and the subject turns to the reality of being black? When I attend concerts for some of these artists, non-blacks are the ones front and centre, filling more than half of the seats. Switch to a Black Lives Matter march... these folks are nowhere to be found
There has been a lot of praise across social media for Prince since the news of his death. Even as I write this, I can't quite come to terms with that phrase. As he would say, "something in the water does not compute."
No one can say for certain how many concert works by Canadian composers have been heard at the White House. We do know the University of Toronto's Matthew Emery was surprised in December to learn -- after the fact -- that he had written one of them.
In a cyclical way I feel music discovery now is like it was pre-internet, when people bought singles on 45. The internet and technology have made it easier than ever to record, release, download, stream, share, playlist, shazam, post and blog. There is so much music available -- it is really amazing.
Late in 2015 a band called Disturbed released their dark cover of Simon & Garfunkel's Sound of Silence, the song quickly took hold of me and I couldn't get enough of this dark and well done cover of a classic song. Listening to the lyrics I chose to divide each section of the song to a different type of sadness to be found in abandoned houses.
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Rihanna was once the world's preeminent pop star. And yes, I use past tense. Despite having her hit "Work" firmly ensconced at number one for the past two months, a stat that ties her with the Beatles as second only to Mariah Carey for most weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 chart, Rihanna has recently transcended pop stardom.
When Apple Music, Spotify and Tidal launched, they were hailed as digital prophets that promised new ways to monetize the experience. Thus far, their solutions have fallen short of fireworks. Just slightly over a quarter of Spotify's 75 million active users actually pay for the service. And, as The Guardian UK reports, despite pulling in €1.08 bn in revenue, its losses were €162.3m. So why are all these promising platforms sinking?
The City Harmonic
Truly great musicians defy categorization. They often defy adjectives as well, which makes them difficult to write about. That is where Art Bergmann lies: between the facts and the superlatives.
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One of the contenders in this category is Hamilton, Ontario's own band The City Harmonic. The band is composed of four worshipers from four small churches who began by singing hymns and spiritual songs. Since then, The City Harmonic is no stranger to success, having won its first Juno in 2013.
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I had it all figured out. I was going to move to New York or L.A., or wherever TB HQ was located, and I was going to stake my claim as the confessor and confidante to the stars. I was going to be besties with the Brat Pack. I was going to go clubbing with the Culture Club. I was going to discuss the literary merits of The Magus with Simon LeBon and be one of the few to know what The Reflex really is. Or not.
This is a model that Toronto's exports have seemed to follow for years -- when one artist breaks, so do the communities that have birthed them. While not entirely unique to Toronto, it's certainly a trend that has planted roots there and helped grow Canada's music scene immensely, one [Broken Social] scene at a time.
But after experiencing my first SXSW -- watching Generation Z up close, hearing panelists weigh forward on everything from how to make food cheaper and healthier to the prospects for virtual reality and Twitter -- I don't know if I've left Austin with higher hopes for humanity.
Alice in Wonderland continues its comeback streak with Hollywood star Scarlett Johansson's audio version of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland via Audible Studios, an Amazon company. Audible says, "It tells the story of the young and imaginative Alice, who grows weary of her storybook, one 'without pictures or conversations,' and follows a hasty hare underground -- to come face to face with a host of strange and fantastic characters."
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The Canada connection -- Christopher Plummer, who played the proud Austrian naval hero Captain Georg von Trapp -- was born in Toronto and raised in Senneville, Quebec, on the western tip of the Island of Montreal. Plummer is the great-grandson of John Abbott, who was Canada's third prime minister, and the Abbott family raised the young Plummer after his parents divorced.
Sexual assault against women is rampant. Thousands of women are subject to it, every day, all over the world. Here in North America, where we pride ourselves on fairness and justice, women who make claims of sexual assault are often denied justice and even more often, they're raked over the coals by the lawyers of the men who've been accused.
Edmonton Folk Music Festival by Diana Duzbayeva
The late Glenn Gould was a Canadian national treasure. One of the great pianists of the 20th century, his rare intellect, astonishing technique and unmatched individuality marked him as a phenomenon f...
Five incredible music venues in Alberta you need to visit now.
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Always on the go and up to a new and interesting project, David Ellefson -- legendary bassist and co-founding member of Megadeth -- has made a huge success out of his talents during a lifetime of work in the music industry.
Our jaws are still on the floor.
It was a night of career-firsts for these Canadians
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Lamar blew audiences away with a politically-charged performance about race and police brutality.
"We need to make every single thing accessible to every single person with a disability."
With Valentine's Day just around the corner I have a confession to make -- I love Calgary. I love the city that I got to grow up in and that I get to live in each and every day. A few weeks ago Calgary loved me back and I wanted to take a few minutes to send out the biggest of thank yous to everyone who helped me feel so wonderful.
"I would have loved to have talked to Amy Winehouse. Her music was an inspiration to me. And I remember my parents coming home from seeing her in a club and just raving about her. She came from the same background as me, growing up in North London."
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Brad, you taught me how to rock and now I am shedding a lot of tears tonight. You were as talented as they come; I'm going to miss you.
While the organizers took pains to lay out the background and chronology of the Beaver Hall Group, "jazz" and its social and cultural history never made an appearance. In a show dominated by portraits, and admittedly vibrant, stunning and accomplished ones, I failed to find even one black sitter.