Caffè Lena and SPAC offer a free weekend of folk and world music – The Daily Gazette

After several months of live music under the towering pine trees at Saratoga Performing Arts Center, the SPAC season is now largely over for the year.

Highlights of the SPAC summer for me kicked off with British music legend Robert Plant and bluegrass figure Alison Kraus conjuring magic on tunes like the Everly Brothers’ “The Price of Love” and Led Zeppelin classics like “When the Levee Breaks.” And it concluded with Willie Nelson’s Outlaw Music Festival, as Nelson plucked his trusty guitar Trigger and brought his well-worn voice to classic Americana tunes like “On the Road Again.”

Fortunately, the SPAC season isn’t quite over yet, as the venue and legendary Saratoga Springs folk coffeehouse Caffè Lena are jointly curating two days of music this weekend, Oct. 1 and 2, on the smaller Charles R. Wood Gazebo Stage. The event and parking are free, and no reservations or tickets are needed. Just bring a chair or a blanket to the SPAC grounds and settle in for sets from global and American folk artists.

Saturday’s lineup includes Asheville, North Carolina, bluegrass and dark-folk band the Resonant Rogues, who draw inspiration from the Appalachian Mountains to the Balkans by way of New Orleans. Cocek! Brass Band promises dance music influenced by Eastern-European and New Orleans music as well as Afrobeat, Klezmer, reggae and Western classical. And Dreamers’ Circus is a string trio from Copenhagen, Denmark, that tours the world with inventive interpretations of Nordic folk and traditional tunes.

Sunday’s schedule includes indie folk minimalist vocal trio Hold on Honeys, social-justice lyricist Crys Matthews, and the Oshima Brothers, composed of siblings Sean and Jamie Oshima, raised in a musical family in rural Maine where they honed a harmony-rich blend of contemporary folk and acoustic pop. For more information and a full schedule, visit spac.org.

Bacchanalia Fest Takes Over Troy

James and Erin Kehoe, who own the Whiskey Pickle, one of Troy’s hippest bars, dreamt up the idea for a multi-venue music festival in downtown Troy in the spirit of South by Southwest (SXSW), the well-known music showcase in Austin, Texas. The Kehoes got a handful of downtown Troy bars and restaurants involved, and this weekend from Friday, Sept. 30 to Sunday, Oct. 2, the inaugural Bacchanalia Arts & Music Festival showcases talent from around the state and globe, with a main outdoor stage on Fulton Street and live performances in venues across the city.

For $75, a wristband gets you access to all the events, but single-event tickets will be available at the door of various venues for cheaper. Visit bamf.party for the entire schedule, which includes Chali 2na and Cut Chemist from hip-hop group Jurassic 5 on Saturday on the main stage, New York City soul DJ Jonathan Toubin on Saturday at No Fun, and the Nude Party and King Buffalo on Sunday on the main stage.

Yo La Tengo Thrill Fans at Lark Hall

After the lengthy hiatus during which COVID-19 put a halt to most live music, it seems that live music is back in the area—and better than ever. We now have the new venues of Empire Live and Lark Hall booking tons of shows in Albany, while Troy continues to add music venues (or bars with live music) like No Fun, the Whiskey Pickle, Rare Form Brewery and the El Dorado Bar at a fast clip. Meanwhile, area mainstays like Proctors in Schenectady, The Egg in Albany, and SPAC and Caffè Lena in Saratoga Springs have largely returned to full programming.

Of all the new spots, Lark Hall — located in a painstakingly refurbished former theater in Albany’s Center Square neighborhood on Lark Street — is one of the highlights for audiophiles and music fans all around. The sound and vibe there is great, as Yo La Tengo discovered on Monday night when the long-running indie rock group made a detour from their tour to play in Albany on the venue’s upstairs stage. The first set showcased their hushed, hypnotic side on tracks like “You Are Here” and “Deeper into Movies,” while the second set got much more raucous, with guitar freakouts from Ira Kaplan on tunes like “Shaker” and “Pass the Hatchet, I Think I’m Goodkind.”

The Week Ahead

— Massachusetts folk-pop group Darlingside bring their lush sound — characterized by classical strings, tightly-woven vocals and clever lyricism — to Universal Preservation Hall (25 Washington Street, Saratoga Springs) on Friday, Sept. 30. With Caitlin Canty. 7:30 p.m.
— Long-time audience favorite Cheryl Wheeler returns to the 8th Step stage at Proctors (432 State St., Schenectady) on Friday, Sept. 30, bringing her droll New England wit, alluring folk ballads and trenchant social commentary to the GE Theatre. With Kenny White. 7:30 p.m.
— The first-ever Wild in The Trees Music & Skate Festival takes place this weekend, Oct. 1-2, at the Lake George Skate Plaza (17 W. Brook Rd, Lake George). The two-day music festival and skateboarding competition, a fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House of the Capital Region, features indie, punk and jam bands, including Annie in the Water, Glass Pony, Neon Avenue, El Modernist, The Sugar Hold, The Hauntings and The Skunches. 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
— Singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright graces the stage of Troy Savings Bank Music Hall on Saturday, Oct. 1. One of the great vocalists and composers of his generation, the New York-born, Montreal-raised Wainwright tours on the back of “Unfollow the Rules,” his latest album, which finds him at his peak. With Carsie Blanton. 8 p.m.
— Catch a rare duo appearance on Sunday, Oct. 2, by instrumental greats Sonny Landreth  and  Cindy Cashdollar at the Egg (Empire State Plaza, Albany). Louisiana slide guitar master Landreth and Cashdollar, a dobro and steel guitar icon, will perform a mix of original songs along with contemporary and traditional blues and roots music. 7:30 p.m.
Reach Kirsten Ferguson at [email protected]

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German Jewish music festival brings global performers

Meshing Chassidic jazz, klezmer, opera and film, Germany’s International Days of Jewish Music are set to celebrate the coexistence of European Jews and non-Jews.

Running from Nov. 21-27, the fourth edition of the festival takes place at synagogues, Jewish community centers and gathering places across the country, including in Berlin, Würzburg, Potsdam, Stavenhagen, Görlitz and Usedom.

“It’s very important now in Germany to be clearly on the side of the Jewish people, not only in Germany, but also abroad and, of course, in Israel. So that’s our daily fight, to show what fantastic culture the Jewish people have,” Thomas Hummel, artistic director of the Usedom Music Festival and organizer of International Days of Jewish Music, told JNS.

Highlights of the events include the Nigun Quartet—a Chasidic jazz foursome based in Israel— performing in Berlin’s Pestalozzistrasse Synagogue, the only synagogue in the world whose rite still consists entirely of compositions by 19th-century composer Louis Lewandowski. The Nigun Quartet will be joined for an intermezzo by Berlin cantor Isidoro Abramowicz.

“The shows don’t feel like a jazz concert. It feels more like a gathering. The melodies are really simple and the combination of these simple nigunim [a form of Jewish religious song or tune sung by groups] with the harmonies that we bring, the jazz and complex rhythm, enables people to really focus and come inside and come together,” Nigun Quartet bassist Opher Schneider told JNS.

Austrian entertainer Roman Grinberg and his klezmer swing quartet are scheduled to perform traditional Yiddish tunes at the Görlitz synagogue. American mezzo-soprano Helene Schneiderman will sing songs from the Warsaw Ghetto at the Shalom Europa Jewish community and cultural center in Würzburg.

And, for the first time, the International Days of Jewish Music will feature a dramatic film. The 2019 movie “Song of Names,” the story of two boys who grow up in the London Blitzkrieg, will show at the Kaiserbädersaal resort in Heringsdorf, on the Baltic Sea island of Usedom. The film, starring Clive Owen and Tim Roth, is based on the award-winning novel of the same name, whose author, Norman Lebrecht, will present an opening reading.  

The festival is funded through the German government.

The city of Cologne held its first Jewish music festival earlier this year, while Berlin’s annual Days of Jewish Culture has long included jazz, soul, pop, rock, world and synagogal music performances.


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Wet Leg, Stormzy, Nova Twins among winners at AIM Independent Music Awards 2022

Newcomers Wet Leg and Nova twins are both winners at this year’s AIM Independent Music Awards.

The ceremony, which was held earlier this evening at the Roundhouse in London, saw the band’s walk away with awards for the UK Independent Breakthrough and the Best Independent Track.

The AIM Independent Music Awards celebrates the work of the independent sector and the talented artists, labels and outstanding individuals at the forefront of its success.

Nia Archives also picked up this year’s One To Watch award in association with BBC Introducing; she’s earmarked for stratospheric success given previous recipients include Arlo Parks and ENNY.

Other winners from the evening include Mitski, Jeshi, Blxst, TAAHLIAH, Cleo Sol, Nilüfer Yanya, Champion, Corey Johnson, Rough Trade, Local Action, and many more.

Stormzy, Rina Sawayama, Lethal Bizzle and The Libertines were also recognised for their achievements and contributions.

The Libertines also performed at the ceremony along with Lethal Bizzle and emerging artist Pixey.

The full list of nominees and winners are below:

Diversity Champion

Stormzy WINNER

Best Independent Album in association with Spotify

Boj – ‘Gbagada Express’ (Moves Recordings)

Children Of Zeus – ‘Balance’ (First Word Records)

Cleo Sol  – ‘Mother’ (Forever Living Originals) WINNER

Dave – ‘We’re All Alone In This Together’ (Neighbourhood Recordings)

Dave Okumu – ‘Knopperz’ (Transgressive Records)

Emma-Jean Thackray – ‘Yellow’ (Movementt)

Mustafa – ‘When Smoke Rises’ (Young)

Nilüfer Yanya – ‘Painless’ (ATO Records)

SAULT – ‘NINE’ (Forever Living Originals)

Walt Disco – ‘Unlearning’ (Lucky Number)

Best Independent Track in association with Meta

Anz – ‘You Could Be’ (ft. George Riley) (Ninja Tune)

Dave – ‘Starlight’ (Neighbourhood Recordings)

FKA twigs – ‘tears in the club’ ft. the weeknd (Young)

Jeshi – ‘Protein’ feat. Obongjayar (Because Music)

Knucks, SL – ‘Nice & Good’ (No Days Off)

Nova Twins – ‘Antagonist’ (Marshall Records) WINNER

Overmono – ‘So U Kno’ (XL Recordings)

Wet Leg – ‘Chaise Longue’ (Domino Recording Company)

Wu-Lu – ‘Broken Homes’ (Warp Records)

Yves Tumor – ‘Jackie’ (Warp Records)

UK Independent Breakthrough in association with YouTube Music

Children of Zeus (First Word Records)

Knucks (No Days Off)

Nova Twins (Marshall Records)

Warmduscher (Bella Union)

Wet Leg (Domino Recording Company) WINNER

International Breakthrough in association with Deezer

Amyl & the Sniffers (Rough Trade)

Blxst (Red Bull Records) WINNER

Kokoroko (Brownswood Recordings)

Mdou Moctar (Matador Records)

Mitski (Dead Oceans)

Best Live Performer

Ben Böhmer (Anjunadeep)

IDLES (Partisan Records)

Mitski (Dead Oceans) WINNER

Shao Dow (DiY Gang Entertainment)

The Hu (Better Noise)

Best [Difficult] Second Album in association with BBC 6 Music

Black Country, New Road  – ‘Ants From Up There’ (Ninja Tune)

Jana Rush – ‘Painful Enlightenment’ (Planet Mu Records)

Nilüfer Yanya – ‘Painless’ (ATO Records) WINNER

Ross From Friends – ‘Tread’ (Brainfeeder)

Tirzah – ‘Colourgrade’ (Domino Recording Company)

Innovator Award in association with Amazon Music

Rina Sawayama WINNER

Outstanding Contribution to Music in association with Merlin

Lethal Bizzle WINNER

Special Recognition

The Libertines (Rough Trade) WINNER

Best Independent EP/Mixtape

FKA twigs – ‘CAPRISONGS’ (Young)

Joy Orbison – ‘still slipping vol.1’ (XL Recordings)

Surya Sen – ‘At What Cost?’ (Skint Records)

TAAHLIAH – ‘Angelica’ (untitled (recs)) WINNER


Best Independent Remix

ATO / FLOHIO remix of ATO – ‘no caroline’ (MCMXCV)

Mura Masa remix of Erika de Casier – ‘Polite’ (4AD)

Champion remix of Ibeyi – ‘Lavender & Red Roses ft. Jorja Smith’ (XL Recordings) WINNER

Thom Yorke ‘Man on Fire’ remix of MF DOOM – ‘Gazzillion Ear’ (Lex Records)

Kaydy Cain remix of Shygirl – ‘BDE’ (Because Music)

One To Watch in association with BBC Introducing

Barry Can’t Swim (Technicolour / Ninja Tune)

Jeshi (Because Music)

Léa Sen (Partisan Records)


TAAHLIAH (untitled (recs))

Best Independent Video in association with VEVO

Arlo Parks – ‘Softly’ (Transgressive Records)

Ibeyi – ‘Made of Gold ft. Pa Salieu’ (XL Recordings)

Jeshi – ‘3210’ (Because Music) WINNER

Wesley Joseph – ‘Cold Summer’ (Secretly Canadian)

FKA twigs –  ‘tears in the club’ ft. the weeknd (Young)

PPL Award for Most Played New Independent Artist

Arlo Parks (Transgressive Records)

D.O.D (Axtone Records) WINNER

KC Lights (Toolroom Productions)

Rathbone Place (Good Company Records)

Wet Leg (Domino Recording Company)

Best Creative Campaign in association with Able

Fontaines D.C. – ‘Skinty Fia’ campaign from Partisan Records

Maylee Todd – ‘Maloo’ campaign from Stones Throw Records WINNER

Mitski – ‘Laurel Hell’ campaign from Dead Oceans

Obongjayar – ‘Some Nights I Dream of Doors’ campaign from September Recordings

Radiohead – ‘KID A MNESIA’ campaign from XL Recordings

Best Independent Label

Domino Recording Company

Ninja Tune

Partisan Records

Rough Trade Records WINNER

Soundway Records

Best Boutique Label

Chess Club

Edition Records

Finesse Foreva

Local Action WINNER

Rough Bones

Independent Champion in association with MCPS

Kenny Gates and Michel Lambot of [PIAS] WINNER

Music Entrepreneur Of The Year

Corey Johnson – CEO & Founder of Defenders Ent. WINNER

Jamie Oborne – Founder of Dirty Hit/All On Red Management

Karen Emanuel – CEO & Founder of Key Production

Laura Lewis-Paul – CEO & Founder of Saffron Music

Peter Adarkwah – Label Owner of BBE Music

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Greek Festival, Alasdair Fraser, and Masters of Hawaiian Music: 8 things to do this week

This week’s event highlights include the sounds of the islands when top Hawaiian musicians play in Hillsboro, as well as Scottish fiddling, Greek dancing, and the opening of a large-scale sculpture exhibit at the Portland Japanese Garden.

Although the state-wide indoor COVID-19 mask mandate has lifted, some venues or artists still have restrictions in place. Check website venue information for specific COVID safety requirements.

Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas

The critically acclaimed, award-winning Scottish fiddler and premier cellist take the stage at the Walters Cultural Arts Center. Their long years of touring together is evident in the seamless artistry that has entertained the world for nearly 20 years. The program spans a variety of music from intimate chamber works to ecstatic dance songs. The duo’s debut recording, “Fire & Grace,” won the coveted the Scots Trad Music “Album of the Year” award, the Scottish equivalent of a Grammy.

7:30 Friday, Sept. 30, Walters Arts Center, 527 E. Main St., Hillsboro; tickets $32 advance; Hillsboro-Oregon.gov/WaltersConcerts.

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The multimedia exhibit “The Born Project” will be on view in Lincoln Hall on the PSU campus through January 20, 2023.Image courtesy of Garrett Recker

“The Born Project”

Garrett Recker presents a multimedia art exhibition and film that challenges gender norms and body ideals in the fashion industry. The show uses personal stories and perspectives of LGBTQ+ adults from Oregon to highlight identities that have broken free from fashion into a new space. The exhibit features words, still images, sculpture and video. Opens with an artist talk and film screening.

Opening reception 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30, Lincoln Hall, PSU Campus, 1620 S.W. Park Ave.; free. The exhibit remains on view during Broadway Gallery’s regular hours through Jan 20, 2023; pdx.edu/arts/events

A close-up of two young dancers dressed in traditional Greek costume

Dancing groups are part of the annual Portland Greek Festival. Oregonian file photo. Drew Vattiat/The OregonianLC- The Oregonian

Portland Greek Festival

Celebrate Greek culture at the 2022 Portland Greek Festival. The festival was off for several years due to the COVID pandemic, but this year sees its triumphant return. Expect dancing, cooking demonstrations, imported crafts and gifts from Greece and, of course, traditional Greek food.

11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, noon-7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30-Oct. 2, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 3131 N.E. Glisan St.; $5 admission, ages 12 and younger free; portlandgreekfestival.com.

Body, Mind, and Spirit Expo

Portland’s festival of holistic living is back with live music, dance and spoken word performances as well as talks and learning sessions by psychics and mediums. Shop vendors offering everything from aroma therapy to relationship help, and handmade jewelry to nutritional supplements.

10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 1-2, Oregon Convention Center, 777 N.E. Martin Luther King Blvd.; $12; oregoncc.org/en/events

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Jun Kaneko’s large scale sculptures will be on view at the Portland Japanese Garden through Feb. 20, 2023.Photo by Takashi Hatakeyama

Jun Kaneko art show

Portland Japanese Garden’s final art exhibition of 2022, “The Garden of Resonance,” will feature the work of internationally acclaimed artist Jun Kaneko. Kaneko is the winner of the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Sculpture Center, and has made major contributions to the field of sculptural art on a global scale. The artist’s large outdoor ceramic pieces will be installed in the garden set against the backdrop of beautiful fall foliage normally seen this time of year. The exhibit also includes sketches and drawings spanning nearly 60 years of Kaneko’s career.

Opens Saturday, Oct. 1 and continues during garden hours through Feb. 20, 2023, Portland Japanese Garden, 611 S.W. Kingston Ave; free with garden admission $19.95; japanesegarden.com

Chavorucos Tour: Adrián Uribe and Adal Ramones

Two figureheads of the Mexican entertainment industry, Adrián Uribe, Mexican actor, comedian and television host and comedian Adal Ramones stop in Portland on a first-of-its-kind tour of the United States. Ramones was the host of a popular Mexican television show, “Otro Rollo,” produced by Televisa and televised in 53 countries, including the U.S. Come see the comedy show featuring monologues, music, and sketches with the comedy style that has made them famous.

8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, Keller Auditorium, 222 S.W. Clay St.; tickets $45-$150; portland5.evenue.net

Masters Of Hawaiian Music

George Kahumoku, Jr., Daniel Ho and Tia Carrere take the stage at the Alberta Rose Theater for an evening of slack key guitar and ukulele music that brings the island sound to Portland. Kahumoku is a four-time Grammy Award winner featured regularly at Maui’s popular Slack Key Show. Carrere may be familiar to fans of “Wayne’s World” and other big screen movies. She’s also an accomplished vocalist. Ho is also a Grammy winner and has recorded 18 solo albums.

7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 3, Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 N.E. Alberta St.; tickets; $25 advance, $30 at door; event.etix.com/ticket

Drunk Herstory

Shandi Evans and Dahlia Hearts host a night of queer history as told by Portland drag performers, who may have had a few drinks before the show. It’s a live sketch comedy show that highlights the people, places, and events that shaped the Portland LGBTQIA community.

7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6, Alberta Rose Theatre: 3000 N.E. Alberta St.; $25 advance, $30 at door; event.etix.com/ticket

– If you have live or virtual events you’d like to see highlighted at OregonLive.com or in the weekly printed A&E section of The Oregonian, please email submissions to events@oregonian.com at least three weeks prior to the start of your event. Digital images or links to videos are helpful.

— Rosemarie Stein

503-221-4376, events@oregonian.com; @trafficportland

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Music composed by charles-Henri Avelange "The Oeuvre of Léon Oury"

Album cover of “The Oeuvre of Léon Oury, Music composed by Charles-Henri Avelange

The nominee artist will be launching his new album during an event at LA Gallery XII, being admitted in 2 categories: Immersive & Contemporary Classical music.

I never really think of myself as ‘only a musician’ per se, but also as a filmmaker in charge of the music department,”

— Charles-Henri Avelange

SANTA MONICA, CA, UNITED STATES, September 28, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ — The nominee’s French artist Charles Henri Avelange is revealing his oeuvre in a Private Red Carpet Event that will be held in Santa Monica on Saturday, October 1st, 2022.

Avelange’s latest album release was inspired by the paintings of his ancestor Leon Oury. Recorded during the pandemic, the composer created themes inspired by various paintings from Leon Oury’s work. Featuring some of the best musicians in Los Angeles and France — including Ambroise Aubrun (Violin), Virginie d’Avezac (Viola), Cecilia Tsan (Cello), Judy Kang (Cello), Sara Andon (Flute), Anthony Parnther (Bassoon), Jonathan Sacdalan (Clarinet), Michael Ripoll (Guitars) and Jacques Pellarin (Accordion) — the exhibit will showcase paintings by Leon Oury, as well as an immersive room surrounded with sound, to experience Avelange’s music as it was intended and to transport you to Leon Oury’s beautiful and simpler times of rural France of the late 1800s and early 1900s.

When: Saturday, October 1st, from 2 pm to 6 pm…

Where: The Barker Hangar, Gallery XII, (Bergamot Station Art Center) | 2525 Michigan Ave, Unit B2, Santa Monica, CA 90404.

What: Red carpet event for the immersive Art & Music exhibition and album release of Charles-Henri Avelange’s latest album. Personalities from the film and music industry will be expected and will appreciate the exhibition of a selection of works by the painter Léon Louis Oury, at the same time as they will be merged completely in the compositions of Charles-Henri Avelange made especially for the artist.

Who: Charles-Henri Avelange is an award-winning composer of music for film and television residing in Los Angeles, CA.

“I never really think of myself as ‘only a musician’ per se, but also as a filmmaker in charge of the music department,” he says.”

His most recent work includes scoring the one-hour Sci-Fi TV Pilot RENEGADES OMINARA starring the late Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek) on her last onscreen appearance and directed by Tim Russ (Star Trek: Voyager), as well as the one-hour Sci-Fi TV series pilot NOBILITY, starring Doug Jones (Star Trek: Discovery), Chris Judge (Stargate: SG-1), Cas Anvar (The Expanse), Star Trek’s original Chekov Walter Koenig, and many more Sci-Fi luminaries; the score for the contemporary Sci-Fi drama feature film SIMPLE CREATURE starring Russell Hodgkinson (Z-Nation) and the supernatural western SIX GUN SAVIOR starring Eric Roberts (Expendables), Martin Kove (The Karate Kid) and guest starring Tim Russ (Star Trek: Voyager). Charles-Henri grew up in the French Côte d’Azur, a stone’s throw from the Cannes Film Festival. Son of a colonel in the French army and diplomat for the French government, his parents’ activity led him to live in various places around the world, including four years in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the last year of which was during the first Gulf War. He spent seven years in a 12th-century Knight Templar castle in Southwest France, the dungeon of which harbored the last species of giant bats in Europe. It’s in this setting that Charles-Henri’s passion for creating music started. At first, using digital keyboards available at home, his dedication to the craft led him into discovering the world of analog synthesizers used by some of his heroes such as Vangelis and Jean-Michel Jarre.

He often performed live at private events and parties, being the one-man orchestra surrounded by a sea of keyboards and mixing consoles. His music was always inspired by his favorite TV shows, films, and video games, which led him to go yet into another realm of composition: orchestral music. He fell in love with the power produced by a large ensemble of musicians and became a master at merging seamlessly his first love of MOOG-type analog synthesis with the organic and acoustic sound of a symphonic orchestra.

He studied at the renowned private film school ESRA Nice Côte d’Azur, in Nice, France. He holds a Master’s degree in sound engineering, sound design, music & film production, and business from the Institut Supérieure des Techniques du Son (Higher Institute of Sound Techniques).

Charles-Henri was also taught all the various aspects of filmmaking, getting to work with cameras. For more information, click on BIO.

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Vinegrass, Carmichael, Balin, Louis Armstrong tribute

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2022 Polaris Music Prize Winner, Pierre Kwenders, Announces North American Tour Dates @ Top40-Charts.com

New York, NY (Top40 Charts) Last week, Congolese-born, Montreal-based musician, songwriter, and DJ Pierre Kwenders (he/him) won the coveted Polaris Music Prize awarded to the Best Canadian Album for his deeply personal, innovative, and undefinable album José Louis And The Paradox Of Love (out now via Arts & Crafts). In celebration, he announces a run of North American tour dates – including his first shows in Los Angeles and New York since the record’s release – plus live video for album standout, “Kilimanjaro.” A storyteller at his core, a joyful and reflective Kwenders at the Polaris Music Prize gala thanked family, friends, and collaborators who contributed to the telling of his journey: “This is for all the kids from the diaspora… This is my story. This is my African story, my Congolese story, my Canadian story. This is your story if you want to take it as yours.” Motivated by the intricacies of love, the songs of José Louis And The Paradox Of Love weave together narratives from memories of the past, sketches of his hometown, and reflections on the future.

The live video for “Kilimanjaro” is captivating, as Kwenders sings under a moody spotlight. It captures how entrancing Kwenders is as a performer, giving a glimpse of what to expect during his live shows. The song feels like a throwback to another era with its unique mix of smooth jazz, Congolese rumba, contemporary electronic pop, 1980s retro, and ’70s funk, emanating from Kwenders’ reverence of African greats like Fela Kuti, Tshala Muana, and more.

Born in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kwenders borrows his stage name from his late grandfather, a widely respected businessman and community figure. Following his mother’s footsteps, in 2001 Kwenders immigrated from Congo to Montreal. José Louis and the Paradox of Love is a culmination of personal growth and the musical dexterity Kwenders has honed over the years, converging his strong songwriting capabilities with the bravado he possesses as a DJ. The album explores an ongoing search to grasp the universal complexities of romance, sometimes through the lens of Kwenders’ own intimate experiences. The songs were written and recorded over the span of four years, and the album is symbolically titled after his birth name, José Louis Modabi. Through different moments of tension and release, romantic narratives of beauty and disaster are packed into powerful poetic musical vignettes.

Kwenders will play select dates in support of José Louis and the Paradox of Love over the next few months, including his first shows in both Los Angeles and New York since the album’s release.

Pierre Kwenders Tour Dates:

Wed. Oct. 26 – Los Angeles, CA @ Gold Diggers

Sat. Nov. 12 – Utrecht, NL @ Le Guess Who?

Thu. Dec. 8 – New York, NY @ Nublu

Wed. Feb. 8 – Victoria, BC @ Capital Ballroom

Thu. Feb. 9 – Vancouver, BC @ Fox Cabaret

Thu. Feb. 16 – Ottawa, ON @ SAW Centre

Fri. Feb. 17 – Toronto, ON @ Adelaide Hall

Fri. Feb. 24 – Montreal, QC @ Ausgang

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Music preview: Autumn season brings new music from The 1975, Taylor Swift and more

As the crisp fall air blows in, releases from returning titans are warming listeners’ ears.

Whether they be indie icons or pop legends, artists have returned for the autumnal season with new albums. With inventive blends and uplifting instrumentals, musicians have their sights set inward as they seek to tackle themes of loneliness, heartbreak and existentialism.

Keep reading for the Daily Bruin’s recommendations on introspective musical additions fit for fall.

A man dressed in black stands on a car in a barren landscape on the cover of the 1975&squot;s "Being Funny in a Foreign Language." The indie-rock bands fifth album will debut Oct. 14.(Courtesy of Dirty Hit)
A man dressed in black stands on a car in a barren landscape on the cover of The 1975’s “Being Funny in a Foreign Language.” The indie-rock band’s fifth album will debut Oct. 14. (Courtesy of Dirty Hit)

“Being Funny in a Foreign Language” by The 1975

The 1975’s new album is all we need to hear.

After taking a break from releasing music for two years, the English alternative band has returned with four new singles in anticipation of its 11-track fifth studio album, “Being Funny in a Foreign Language,” set to release on Oct. 14. The album’s first single, “Part of the Band,” is a lyrically dense track accompanied by the band’s signature synth sounds. Continuing its tradition of self-aware lyricism, frontman Matthew Healy comments on his previous struggles with addiction, as well as the Internet and its effect on society.

In “Happiness” and “I’m in Love With You,” the band pivots to a more upbeat tone with groovy sounds. However, as is typical for The 1975’s discography, the tracks’ happy melodies are contrasted with the overall depressing themes expressed in the lyrics. Speaking in absolutes, Healy sullenly pronounces that he is “never gonna love again” in “Happiness.” Returning to a more sorrowful sound in the latest single, “All I Need To Hear,” a forlorn Healy sings about a tragic romance to a melancholic piano. These songs feature themes characteristic of the band’s past work such as love, heartbreak and failed relationships – all wrapped up in lyrically complex songwriting.

Following its break, these new singles prove The 1975 still find happiness in being part of the band.

– Jessica Gonzalez

[Related: Music preview: Summer music releases suggest promising mix of themes from older, newer piece]

Taylor Swift holds a lighter on the cover of "Midnights." The singer-songwriter&squot;s tenth studio album is set to release Oct. 21. (Courtesy of Republic Records)
Taylor Swift holds a lighter on the cover of “Midnights.” The singer-songwriter’s 10th studio album is set to release Oct. 21. (Courtesy of Republic Records)

“Midnights” by Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift’s 10th studio album will have everyone staying up until midnight.

After taking home the Video of the Year Award at the MTV Video Music Awards, Swift stunned fans by announcing that her upcoming 13-track album “Midnights” would be released on Oct. 21. Although the pop star released two re-recorded albums in 2021 – “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” and “Red (Taylor’s Version)” – “Midnights” marks the artist’s first album composed entirely of new music in two years. In an Instagram post, Swift revealed that the album would be a collection of music written about 13 sleepless nights throughout her life.

The official album cover art for “Midnights” depicts Swift igniting her lighter, and she has also debuted three alternative vinyl art covers inspired by the ’70s. The artist, who is widely known for dropping mysterious Easter eggs about her music, also unexpectedly announced that the vinyls can be assembled to form a clock with the hand striking midnight.

In another astounding revelation a month before the album’s release date, Swift launched a social media segment entitled, “Midnights Mayhem With Me,” in which she unveils a random song title from the track list on random midnights. “Mastermind,” “Question…?” and “Vigilante Shit” – tracks 13, seven and eight, respectively – are the only titles divulged so far.

With surprise announcements and cryptic clues, Swift has proven that she has always been a mastermind – and it’ll be exciting to see what other tricks she has up her sleeve.

– Lex Wang

Set to drop Oct. 21, the warm-toned cover for Carly Rae Jepsen&squot;s "The Loneliest Time" features the singer alongside decorative fruit. (Courtesy of Interscope Records)
Set to drop Oct. 21, the warm-toned cover for Carly Rae Jepsen’s “The Loneliest Time” features the singer alongside decorative fruit. (Courtesy of Interscope Records)

“The Loneliest Time” by Carly Rae Jepsen

It was a lonely time without Carly Rae Jepsen.

The pop singer’s fifth studio album is set to release Oct. 21, three years after she launched her last record “Dedicated.” Described by Jepsen as an album about loneliness, “The Loneliest Time” will likely be an introspective project that dives into the various facets and beauties of human emotion. On Aug. 22, Jepsen revealed the track list, teasing 12 songs with titles that evoke images of nature and finding oneself in the outdoors, such as “Beach House” and “Talking to Yourself.”

The album’s cover art features Jepsen looking over her shoulder at the viewer next to what appear to be ornamental fruits, flowers and pearls. The cover’s composition and coloring are reminiscent of the oil paintings of centuries past, hinting at themes of memory and historicity within the album. Released in May, the lead single, “Western Wind,” features lyrics that capture this blend of wistfulness and isolation through which the speaker looks back on a first love, comparing it to a beautiful western wind.

While Jepsen will explore themes of loneliness, her listeners will feel anything but.

– Ashley Kim

[Related: Rising Artists: New musicians to keep summer playlists hot]

Weyes Blood is lit by blue and pink tones on the cover for her sophomore album, "In the Darkness, Hearts Aglow," which will release Nov. 18. (Courtesy of Sub Pop Records)
Weyes Blood is lit by blue and pink tones on the cover for her sophomore album, “In the Darkness, Hearts Aglow,” which will release Nov. 18. (Courtesy of Sub Pop Records)

“And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow” by Weyes Blood

Weyes Blood’s new album will set hearts alight this autumn.

The artist Natalie Mering, who goes by variations of Weyes Blood, will release her fifth studio album Nov. 18. The LP, titled “And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow,” will be the second album in a trilogy that began with “Titanic Rising,” which was released in 2019. The album cover features Weyes Blood looking serene in a hazy wash of blue light as her heart appears to glow from within. The cool-toned colors and hazy atmosphere reminiscent of underwater photography parallel the memorable cover of her 2019 album.

Along with the album announcement, Mering released a letter explaining that whereas the first installment in the trilogy was a foreshadowing of doomed events, the second dwells within said seemingly inescapable doom. The first single, “It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody,” has been described by Mering as a song that laments individualistic contemporary culture for fostering isolation in an increasingly technological world. These themes, along with others such as narcissism and disillusionment, reveal Mering’s cultural and social acuity in addition to her musical ability.

After three years of darkness, Weyes Blood will shine a bright light on an imperfect world.

– Ashley Kim

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Producer JonFX Says New Dancehall Lacks Basic Elements Of Music Structure

Award-winning music producer JonFX says new-day Jamaican Dancehall songs are failing to rack up numbers on streaming platforms such as Spotify, as the majority are improperly produced, and lack “the basic rudiments of music structure”, particularly melodies.

Speaking during an interview with Television Jamaica’s Anthony Miller, the St. Andrew native who produced XXXTentacion’s platinum-selling Jocelyn Flores, Gyptian’s Hold Yuh album, and Sizzla’s I’m Yours, said that at the heart of Dancehall’s dilemma, was that beatmakers, who do not know the rudiments of song production or songwriting, were the ones assuming the role of producers.

“I used to be a beatmaker growing up.  I have evolved into a producer.  What we have (in Jamaica) is mostly beatmakers.  Guys who just take beats, take some loops, splice or whatever, and then just give you some beats,” said the producer, who also produced the Gun Session single which featured Shabba Ranks, Vybz Kartel, Sizzla and Akon.

“What we need is producers who can sit and say: ‘send me that vocal, let me find that vocal; let me find that chord structure; let me find what works around the voice’.  But what artistes are doing, they are writing to the beat.  But the song- it’s about the song.  We as musicians should write to the song.  Not you geta bunch of beats and you have to write the songs to the beat, because then it takes out the musical elements out of it,” he added.

Jon FX pointed to songs such as Shaggy’s It Wasn’t me, Wayne Wonder’s No Letting Go and Chaka Demus and Pliers’ Murder She Wrote, whose seasoned producers were able to ensure that these songs had melodies and followed the tested and proven structure for music.

“Intro, pre-hook, chorus, bridge: those were all in Dancehall records enuh.  All the Dancehall records that we knew over the years enuh…  All these records have the structure… and then the verses come een, then there’s the pitch,” he explained.

“Producers in Jamaica listened to a larger variety of music. That’s what a producer does.  So he knows that… the world is hooking to the melody.  They don’t know what the verses are saying…  Shaggy  they don’t know much of what he is saying but they are hooked on the chorus,” he added.

At the same time, the US-based producer pointed out that ‘although the songs that the young people are doing are great’, the requisite expertise to get them to international standards are lacking.

“So the younger guys, are a bunch a bad artistes, and they deserve it, the problem we have now is that they don’t have any melody… A bunch a words and no melody… Your ears get tired of records after a while if they don’t have the basic rudiments of music structure,” he explained.

“So we need producers who have a wider span of music.  That’s where production comes in.  We as producers would be like: ‘I need a musician; I need a musical vocal coach to help me to translate more melodies in the song’”, he added. 

Continued JonFX: “So although we are doing Reggae, we have lost the way how to appeal to the international audience, because there are some rudimentary elements that are needed in  the songs.  That is where real producers come in.  Not beatmakers, or beat-buyers.”

The producer, whose given name is John Alexander Crawford, also explained that when the Jamaican Dancehall and Reggae music were dominant globally, there were quality checks and balances at every stage of the music writing and production process, as opposed to nowadays.      

“There was a big old studio at Anchor; there was a mixing engineer; there was a producer sitting there; there were musicians there and there were people also helping with the artiste and the vocals and all that stuff… Many songs were structured properly, so they were surer to hit,” he said, recounting his early studio experience.

“Now you in studio, with your little artiste fren saying ‘yeh man, dat bad’.  That’s not enough – because you are not experienced…,” he added.

As for the performance of Dancehall songs on Spotify, JonFX said in order to attract attention, the songs coming out of Jamaica, ought not to all sound similar.

“When we do records, we should do it in a way that it is welcoming to the streaming audience. It has to be different.  We all tied up with the same drum sounds, same sounds.   You have to create your own new audience on Spotify.   It’s hard because most of our fan base is from Jamaica and Spotify doesn’t work as well as I think here on the island…,” he said.

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OneMusic Partners With Audoo for Music Recognition

APRA AMCOS has announced plans to roll out Audoo in Australia and New Zealand, the music recognition technology backed by ABBA’s Bjorn Ulvaeus.

The PRO said it hopes to achieve “never-before-seen levels of accuracy” when recognising the music played in venues with OneMusic licences, in realtime.

For OneMusic-licensed businesses where APRA AMCOS does not already collect music plays, the song data recognised at this micro level may have a macro effect on who receives royalties and how much they receive, according to a statement.

Catherine Giuliano, OneMusic Australia director, said the PRO is inviting its customers to play a part in music history while supporting their favourite artists.

“For all the times you have wondered if your fees are going to the makers of the exact songs you play in your business, this is the chance to move the dial,” she said. “Broadcasters, background music suppliers and digital music streaming services provide an enormous amount of data to us on a regular basis.

“Having these Audoo Audio Meters in place will now provide additional public performance data from small businesses, giving our customers the chance to have an even greater impact on where their licence fees go,” Giuliano added.

Early trials in Australia showed a 95-98% success rate in matching, with more than 100 million songs already in Audoo’s database.

Once an Audio Meter is installed, it will recognise the song and then securely fingerprint it, with no audio ever being stored on, or sent from, the device.

Audoo CEO, Ryan Edwards, said the startup is delighted to partner with APRA AMCOS.

“Our vision is to have our Audio Meter technology in place in licensed premises across the globe and Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand are world-firsts, he said”

“We will know – with certainty and in detail – exactly what music people are listening to, and in doing so, we will collect and report the biggest set of public performance music data ever created.”

In August, OneMusic named Mango Communications as its PR agency of record to lead an awareness campaign for the one-stop licence gateway.

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