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From the category archives:

The Shows

Q&A With Donovan Woods

Singer-songwriter Donovan Woods has had a busy 2016: He released his fourth album and a companion EP, toured across the country several times, topped a few charts, made the Polaris Music Prize Long List and more. We managed to find a couple minutes to catch up with him ahead of his concert at Trinity St. Paul’s Centre on Friday, October 28.

Donovan Woods_MasseyHall Donovan Woods performing at Massey Hall as special guest for Matt Andersen. (Photo: Jag Gundu for the Massey Hall archives)

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Kathleen Battle: Songs that Move

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On May 29, multiple Grammy-winner Kathleen Battle returns to Roy Thomson Hall for the first time since 2008. Her performance will feature the spirituals that have appeared in her repertoire for years, garnering wide acclaim, but which take on special meaning when brought together under the banner of Underground Railroad: A Spiritual Journey, a special afternoon of song featuring acclaimed pianist Joel A. Martin and Toronto’s own national treasure, the Nathaniel Dett Chorale.

That Battle returns to the Hall is cause for celebration. CONTINUE READING >

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Abida Parveen: Transcending Boundaries

Abida Parveen by Mobeen Ansari

 Photo: Mobeen Ansari

A pioneering artist in a form long dominated by males, Abida Parveen is one of the most prominent and influential Sufi musicians of our time. She has transformed the tradition of Sufi singing and inspired a folk, and feminist, renaissance, influencing countless musicians – from Pakistani rockers to Björk (who remixed one of her tunes). But though she is a part of a very specific tradition, her work transcends boundaries, linking her to great artists across the musical landscape.

Which is why the specifics shouldn’t get in the way of digging in to her music. Like the best art, it’s not about language, or what, exactly, the definition of “Sufi music” might be. As the BBC put it in an album review, “it’s clear that the best devotional music (whether Gregorian Chant, John Coltrane or Le Mystere de Voix Bulgares) has a power to communicate across racial and denominational divides.”And Parveen’s performances are nothing if not a physical and musical demonstration of that power: Both performer (who’s admitted to hallucinating while in the thralls of the music) and audiences (often sent into literal swaying rapture) become transported.

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Hayden: Everything I Long For Turns Twenty

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In 1996, an understated clearing of the throat not only kicked off the debut album by the then-twenty something Paul Hayden Desser, but announced the arrival of a unique talent and voice. With subtlety, simplicity, depth and a haunting quality that is no less affecting 20 years later, Everything I Long For is a classic record.

The upcoming 20th Anniversary Celebration of Everything I Long For is a unique opportunity to revisit the album’s songs with Hayden – many of which he stopped performing in the wake of the album’s release.

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The SFJAZZ Collective: Where Pop Meets Jazz

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Words like “cool” and “smooth” have come to be associated with West Coast Jazz, thanks to the late-40s and early-50s surge in popularity of a particularly Californian version. But the music of the SFJAZZ Collective, who perform at Massey Hall on Saturday, April 23, is of a different sort than that which came to be defined by folks like Stan Getz and Chet Baker.

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