Indian Summer Festival brings local & international arts together

The 9th annual Indian Summer Festival returns to Vancouver, from July 4 to 14, bringing locally and internationally renowned artists to venues around the city. With the provocative theme of ‘Tricksters, Magicians, and Oracles,’ the 2019 festival lineup features futurists, novelists, stand-up comedians, musicians and storytellers from around the world.

“What we need more than ever in the world today is a way out of the tumult that seems to surround us. For our ninth edition, we’ve invited an incredible range of artists who do that, and who are either tricksters, magicians or oracles in their own way. So they give us a way out through laughter, or conjure up a new reality for us to reach for, or light a path forward with their prophecies,” says Sirish Rao, Indian Summer Festival’s Artistic Director. “Our roster this year includes some of the most influential artists in the world. The festival, as always, is a model for what the world could look like, if we came together with all the power of human diversity, innovation, creativity, and wisdom.”

Indian Summer Festival

From Grammy award-winning classical guitarists to genre-bending DJs, razor sharp comedians, and award-winning novelists this year’s programming spans literary dialogues, debates, performance art, musical collaborations, interactive public art, and culinary experiences.

Indian Summer Festival has made its mark on Vancouver, becoming one of the city’s leading cultural events with a reputation for unusual pairings of the local with the international and the traditional with the contemporary. By creating a space in Vancouver for local and global conversations, and dissolving cultural borders, Indian Summer Festival challenges and invites artists and audiences to come together in the spirit of dialogue. 

The festival begins with much sought after Indian Summer Festival Opening Party on July 4th at Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre. Wrapping up July 14th with Transformation Tea Party at Museum of Vancouver. In between the festival packs in dozens of events, talks, art installations, concerts and more. 

Find out more details and the full schedule for Indian Summer Festival 2019 visit on line at indiansummerfest.ca

Discover New Releases From Shari Ulrich & Mike Bryden

This week finds a pair of artists with record release events, veteran singer/songwriter Shari Ulrich launches her 9th studio album while children’s entertainer Mike Bryden makes his debut.

First up, Shari Ulrich celebrates 45 years as a touring recording artist and player (violin, mandolin, piano, guitar, dulcimer and harmonica) with the Borealis Records release of her 9th solo album Back to Shore, and a special album release concert at North Vancouver’s Centennial Theatre on June 18th.

Back to Shore stands out as one of Ulrich’s finest recordings, featuring 12 new songs that touch on themes ranging from love, infidelity and space travel, to a joyous celebration of Canada, her adopted country. 

A multiple Juno award winner, Shari Ulrich’s rich warm voice, dynamic stagecraft and accomplished musicianship as a soloist and bandleader, as well as with the legendary Pied Pumkin, The Hometown Band, UHF, and BTU, among others, have garnered her enthusiastic fans, awards, and accolades from across Canada and around the world.

Join her for the Back to Shore release concert Tuesday June 18th at Centennial Theatre. Tickets are available online at centennialtheatre.com

Later in the week, children’s entertainer Mike Bryden releases his debut album, Sing Song Sayings at an event at Havana Theatre, Sunday June 23rd.

In Bryden’s previous life he was a successful creative director with his own Vancouver advertising firm. Seeking a new direction for his creativity, as a children’s entertainer he brings his passion for a strong metaphor and has found his calling in “kid-splaining” proverbs through storytelling.

Sing Song Sayings is a beautifully-crafted concept album for children that sets commonly-used expressions to music in a delightful new way. This unique collection of tunes will captivate young listeners and parents alike. Through creative storytelling and catchy melodies, each song sheds a playful light on the lessons hidden within every day sayings. Intelligent, witty (and bilingual), Mike Bryden’s debut album has found the balance between entertainment and discovery. Mike Bryan performances are not your typical children’s concert, entertaining blend of songs, stories, and live drawings that he brings to life through projections and an oversized sketchbook. Mike’s multi-disciplinary performances literally draw everyone in and keeps them humming long after the show is wrapped.

To celebrate the album release, Mike will be performing on Sunday, June 23 at the Havana Theatre with 2 shows, at 11am and 2pm, perfectly timed for family visits. Seating is limited at Havana Theatre so book early.  Find tickets and more information at mikebryden.com

2019 Global Soundscapes Festival opens May 31st.

The Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra’s (VICO) presents the 2019 Global Soundscapes Festival from May 31st to June 13th. A celebration of the intersection of Canadian cultures with musical traditions from all over the world through the creation and performance of intercultural music. 

VICO Orchestra

This year’s Festival, themed Chrysanthemums & Maple Leaves – celebrates Japanese & Canadian intercultural music.  VICO welcomes international guests Naomi Sato (sho), Harrie Starreveld (shakuhachi), Miyama Tokita-McQueen(koto), and Yuji Nakagawa (sarangi). The guests will perform alongside other esteemed musicians, composers, and guest ensembles from BC’s vibrant contemporary classical and world music scenes.

Naomi Sato photo: Robin Wong

The Global Soundscapes Festival features eleven concerts, many free, taking place at the Waterfront Theatre, plus other Vancouver venues, with a special concert performance in Ucluelet, BC.  The festival presents a rich diversity of intercultural works, unique collaborations and world premieres. Featured concerts include “Debris”, a new mini-opera by Rita Uedainspired by the 2011 tsunami and the debris that washed up along the west coast of North America, a special evening where the sounds and instruments of Japan mingle with those of India, a musical showcase co-presented with the Powell Street Festival Society, a gala evening featuring both world and Canadian premieres – and so much more!

Miyama McQueen-Tokita photo: Masanori Yoshie

From tradition to cutting edge innovation, the 2019 festival promises a stunning smorgasbord of sounds and rhythms with inspired connections across continents, cultures and centuries. 

 The Global Soundscapes Festival runs May 31 to June 13, 2019 at venue around Vancouver, plus Ucluelet. For full festival line-up and ticket details visit vi-co.org

Early Music Vancouver Announces Its 50th Season

Early Music Vancouver (EMV) recently announced its 50th Anniversary, 2019 Vancouver Bach Festival and 2019/20 Main Season programs. 

Dedicated to sharing period music using the instruments and performance traditions for which it was originally composed, EMV is celebrating the anniversary with a season of renowned masterworks and illustrious guest artists. The season’s program includes such diverse works as Benjamin Bagby’s one-man musical telling of Beowulf; masterworks for choir and orchestra by Bach, Handel, and Purcell; early romantic creations by Chopin, Faure, and Schubert; 20th century solo piano pieces by Shostakovich; and world premieres challenging contemporary composers to write for Baroque and period instruments.

As in recent years the 50th anniversary season will host a stellar line-up of returning favourites and international artists, and collaborations with similar music and cultural organizations from Vancouver and abroad. 

Chor Leoni presents Sea Songs & Shanties on February 22, 2020

“This season is a balanced reflection of both our past and future. It promises more opportunities than ever for engagement, enrichment, and education via time travel through almost a thousand years of rich musical history,” says Matthew White, Executive and Artistic Director of EMV. “With the support of our growing audiences, donors, staff, and volunteers, we have put together an offering overflowing with some of the world’s most esteemed artists specializing in period performance. The opportunity to program such diverse music, stunning talent, and ambitious collaborations is a rare privilege; one for which I continue to be deeply grateful.” 

Running July 30 to August 9, the fourth annual Vancouver Bach Festival will bring an all-encompassing celebration of classical music to downtown Vancouver’s Christ Church Cathedral and the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts. The 15-concert festival features evening and afternoon performances at Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Vancouver and Chan Centre for Performing Arts at UBC. 

The Pacific Baroque Orchestra presents Handel Messiah’s November 30 Photo: Jan Gates

EMV’s Main Season running from September 28, 2019 to May 3, 2020; includes the Masterworks Series, mainly performed at Chan Centre, and the Cathedral Series, presented at Christ Church Cathedral. 

On April 5, 2020, EMV hosts its 50th Anniversary Gala, offering a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1, Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony, and excerpts from Haydn’s Creation with the participation of the Vancouver Bach Choir and the Vancouver Cantata Singers. The concert will feature the largest-scale period instrument orchestra ever assembled in Vancouver, demonstrating the recent growth of the regional period instrument scene on the West Coast.

For the dates and details of all of Early Music Vancouver’s Bach Festival and 2019/20 Main Season visit earlymusic.bc.ca

Catch the ‘Queen of Fado’, Mariza at the Chan Centre

This Wednesday, the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at the University of British Columbia presents Portugal’s brightest star, Mariza.  The internationally lauded fadista — a performer of Portugal’s traditional soul music, fado — will showcase brand new material from her latest self-titled release, her seventh album. 

“From the moment she first steps on stage until the end of the show, Mariza has a knack for creating an extraordinary connection with audiences through her stunning artistry and stage presence,” says Joyce Hinton, Co-Managing Director of the Chan Centre. “Audiences ask us again and again to bring her back, and we can’t wait to hear the songs from her new album live in our hall.”

Born in Mozambique and raised in the historic quarters of the Mouraria neighbourhood in Lisbon, Portugal, Mariza was exposed to music from an early age, and began singing in a wide variety of musical styles, including gospel, soul, and jazz. Encouraged by her father to pursue fado for its cultural significance in the Portuguese community, the singer refined her craft at the local bars and tavernas which gave birth to the musical genre, quickly gaining a following amongst locals.

Mariza’s career took off when she gained national recognition when she performed at the televised memorial for legendary fado singer Amália Rodrigues.  Following the memorial, her first studio album, Fado em Mim, became an instant sensation, released internationally the album earned Mariza acclaim on the world stage and solidifying her role as a global phenomenon.

Fado is so integral to Portuguese culture that it is recognized as part of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.  Since the early 1800s, the genre has encapsulated the mystery, romance, and yearnings of the Portuguese people, balancing both resignation and hopefulness in light of the hard realities of life, love, and loss. 

Mariza returns to Vancouver in support of her seventh platinum-level studio recording, Mariza, on Wednesday, April 17th at 8pm at the Chan Centre for Performing Arts at UBC in the Chan Shun Concert Hall. For information and tickets visit chancentre.com

No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks comes to Chan Centre

In recognition of Black History Month, The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts is bringing No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks to the Chan Shun Concert Hall on February 24th. 

As part of the Beyond Words series, this multimedia work from innovative art-collective Manual Cinema in collaboration with Chicago-based poets Eve L. Ewing and Nate Marshall, featuring a live six-piece band and original score by Jamila Woods and Ayanna Woods, creates an inspiring biographical narrative, of Gwendolyn Brooks. The late poet was a radical and disruptive presence within the national literary scene, becoming the first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1950.

Photo of Manual Cinema by Julia Miller

“Manual Cinema creates magic, pure and simple. Through the unlikely pairing of high-tech digital equipment and old-school overhead projectors they are known for completely captivating audiences,” says Wendy Atkinson, Programming Manager at the Chan Centre and curator of Beyond Words. “Two years ago they performed here to rave reviews and when I heard about their most recent project — a biography of poet Gwendolyn Brooks that also includes a live band — I couldn’t resist inviting them back!”

Born in 1917 in Kansas and raised in Chicago, Gwendolyn Brooks worked for decades as an acclaimed artist, mentor to aspiring poets, and advocate for schoolchildren. Gaining much acclaim, she became one of the most widely read authors in America, using her poetic eloquence to convey the black experience.

No Blue Memories traces the political arc of her career and the development of her craft. Manual Cinema’s production uses a combination of shadow puppetry, vintage overhead projectors, multiple screens, actors, live feed cameras, multi-channel sound design, and live music. Written by Ewing and Marshall — also known collectively as Crescendo Literary, a name taken from a Brooks composition — the evocative performance poetically explores her legacy. Fellow Chicago-based soul singer Jamila Woods collaborated with multi-instrumentalist Ayanna Woods for the original score, which will be performed live. 

No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks takes the stage at The Chan Centre for Performing Arts at The University of British Columbia at 7pm, Sunday February 24, 2019. For information and tickets visit chancentre.com

Be Happy, Bobby McFerrin is coming to Chan Centre

The 10-time Grammy Award winning artist, Bobby McFerrin is coming to the The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at the University of British Columbia on February 17, 2019.  The genre-defying artist is joined by Gimme5; McFerrin’s newest band comprised of veterans from his a cappella Voicestra group Joey Blake, Dave Worm, Rhiannon, and Judi Vinar, as well local choral ensemble musica intima is on the bill. 

Bobby McFerrin
Bobby McFerrin photo: Carol Friedman

The concert supports Bobby McFerrin’s current Circlesongs tour centred on an Circlesinging, and improvised concert format based on McFerrin’s sweeping, soulful vocal language —a style encompassing elements from all genres including jazz, pop, R&B, classical, and world music. Requiring an innate sensitivity to surrounding participants the style results in a unique and spontaneous sound. Joined by the Vancouver-based eight-member choral group musica intima, McFerrin and Gimme5 will present an evening of sound that draws in the audience as co-performers.

“The music of Bobby McFerrin is rooted in his sheer joy of singing, and the delight he finds in the worlds of sound that exist within the human voice,” says Joyce Hinton, Co-Managing Director of the Chan Centre. “His passion for the art form really shines through in these one-of-a-kind performances that take listeners on an incredible musical journey.”

Bobby McFerrin
Bobby McFerrin photo: Petra Hajska

McFerrin was born to classically trained singers and into a world of music that took him from New York to Hollywood. His father, Robert McFerrin Sr., was the first African-American male to sing at the Metropolitan Opera and provided the on-screen singing voice of Sidney Poitier in the 1959 film Porgy and Bess. The younger McFerrin grew up playing piano and clarinet, surrounded by a hodgepodge of genres that ranged from Duke Ellington to George Gershwin, James Brown to Led Zeppelin. It wasn’t until he turned 27 that he discovered a passion for singing — as well as an impressive range and the uncanny ability to transform his voice. As NPR noted: “Listen to Bobby McFerrin and it’s like you’re listening to an entire orchestra bubbling up through one man’s body. He becomes a flute, a violin, a muted trumpet, a percussion instrument, a bird, you name it.”  The popularity and accolades of 1988’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” brought McFerrin worldwide attention and he has been collaborating, recording and touring ever since.  Performing with orchestra’s across the world, and artists like; Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Yo-Yo Ma, Dizzy Gillespie, and more.  

Join Bobby McFerrin, Gimme5 and musica intima for the spontaneous Circlesongs performance in the Chan Shun Concert Hall at Chan Centre for Performing Arts at UBC on February 17, 2019 at 7pm.