Debut Single by Chris Sunfield “The Little Things” Out Now!

Reinvented, former consultant teams up with Juno-Award winning producer for later-life debut single!

Chris Sunfield

“The Little Things” Chris Sunfield
OUT NOW!

15 OCTOBER 2020 (TORONTO, ON) – “The Little Things” is the debut single by Chris Sunfield on Radar Love Records. The song, written by Sunfield, is a modern, sunshine pop song on steroids, with a wall-of-sound arrangement that’s reminiscent of the pop mini-symphonies of a bygone era. Sunfield handles lead vocals, guitars, and keyboards, with support by fellow Radar Love Records artist Vicky Rai on backing vocals. Michael Hanson (Glass Tiger), who produced the song, plays bass and drums. The song is unabashedly campy, retro, and infectious, with space-themed lyrics that urge us to appreciate the simple things in life while continuing to reach for the planets, stars, and moons above. “The Little Things” is the opening shot in Chris Sunfield’s music career – a career that will explore more progressive territory in future releases. 

Listen and watch “The Little Things”


BIO – Chris Sunfield is a new figure on the Canadian music scene who will confidently defy labels. His songs bridge genres such as progressive pop, symphonic pop, and epic pop, and often show classical and ambient stylings. He writes and arranges all songs, sings, and plays all guitars and keyboards. Then there’s the lyrics. In a world where many songs are not meant to be ‘read’, Sunfield’s poetics explore thought-provoking, existential, and cosmological issues. Chris has only recently returned to a life of music-making after living much of his life as someone else. Not surprisingly, themes of re-awakening and authenticity permeate some of his future singles and EP’s on Radar Love Records. 

(Chris Sunfield Press Images HERE)

Follow Chris Sunfield:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Chan Khamp – SG MUSIC MANAGEMENT & PR
Telephone: 416.949.3319
Email: hello@chrissunfield.com
Website: www.chrissunfield.com

The Great Switch by Boris Glikman

THE GREAT SWITCH

by Boris Glikman

Art by Michael Cheval

Division of Prime Cause by Michael Cheval

After the cataclysm took place, people, or rather the beings that people transformed into, would refer to it as The Great Switch. When these beings recalled how the world had been before The Great Switch, what struck them above everything else was how blind they’d been in those times.

Back then, religious teachings and scientific theories kept mankind obedient, cowed through ominous prophecies of apocalypses and armageddons, when all life on Earth or indeed the Universe itself would come to an end. What no one had foreseen was that there could be far greater calamities than universal annihilation.

The Great Switch was a process which caused the inner and outer selves of human beings to swap places, so that the emotional, mental, and spiritual characteristics now became external and vice versa. It must be stressed that it wasn’t just a case of the intangible inner characteristics becoming visible; rather, the inner selves now literally became the outer physical bodies, while the physical bodies became invisible internal entities.

Naturally, the consequences of this event were momentous and far-reaching. No longer could anyone conceal their true inner self; it was exposed in all its glory and disgrace, in all its beauty and ugliness. Many lives were wrecked, relationships destroyed, and careers ruined, as a person’s internal neuroses, anxieties, delusions, hatreds, prejudices, insecurities, and character flaws were revealed to their partners, family, friends, work colleagues and strangers. The very structure of society was threatened, for its smooth running was greatly dependent upon people suppressing and hiding their true natures and feelings.

After The Great Switch, a large proportion of the world’s population disappeared completely. Of all the competing theories about this vanishing, the most popular one was that the superficial, soulless lives led by many had made them emotionally, mentally, and spiritually vacuous. Consequently, once the Great Switch had taken place, those people were rendered externally empty and became invisible.

Yet, for some, this turn of events proved to be a godsend. Before the Great Switch, physical appearance was of paramount significance; people’s impressions and opinions of you were predominantly based upon how you looked. In your daily interactions you were constantly, indeed instantly, judged on your looks. Your inner essence, being imperceptible to others, required much more time and effort to uncover.[1] Few were interested or willing to do that, as, in those fast-paced times, people hardly had the time to discover their own inner selves, let alone the inner selves of others.

And so, it was especially touching to witness the pride and joy of some of those who had been physically ugly before this event, those who, despite all the slights and the disregard meted out to them by the world, maintained their dignity and self-respect, their souls not begrimed by bitterness, self-loathing or envy. Now, their inner purity sparkled brilliantly for all to see and marvel at.

On the other hand, it was rare to come across someone who was strikingly good-looking both before and after The Great Switch. Maybe it should not have been surprising for, given the ceaseless attention, admiration and favouritism that was lavished upon those of great physical beauty, it was inevitable that they would become self-absorbed and incapable of empathy. And so, after this cataclysm, a large proportion of the blindingly gorgeous turned into some of the most hideous beings around, their ugliness causing others to turn away in shock and disgust. Yet there was pity for them too, and a desire to help somehow. 

It was particularly ironic how the mirror, once the most treasured possession of the beautiful people, now became the bane of their existence—something to avoid at all costs, lest they catch sight of their transformed selves. Indeed, mirrors and other reflective surfaces became horrifying and loathed objects for many in this post-Switch world. Few had the courage to see themselves exactly as they are. Perhaps they were terrified of facing the stark truths their reflections might reveal. Or, maybe they were afraid of what they might not see, given how easy it had been in the pre-Switch world to delude yourself about possessing undiscovered talents and untapped potential, and to convince yourself that all these marvellous gifts were supposedly hidden in the depths and shadows of your mind and soul. 

It should be mentioned at this point that The Great Switch was so all-encompassing that its effects were not limited to mankind. All living organisms, from bacteria to whales, and everything in between, were affected too. However, unlike many human beings, none of the other living organisms disappeared after this event, thus settling once and for all the age-old question of whether it was only man who possessed a soul. It was now indisputable that all microrganisms, plants and animals had an inner self too. Moreover, in stark contrast to the prevalence of ugliness in post-Switch mankind, they all became beings of simple yet distinct beauty. From this it could be concluded that every non-human living creature, no matter how loathsome or harmful it might have been in the eyes of humanity, no matter how devoid it might have seemed of any redeeming features, had a pure, beautiful soul. Regardless of how much suffering and death such organisms as typhoid bacteria, malarial mosquitoes and lice have caused to mankind over the eons, their inner selves all shone with the same plain, steady radiance.

How exactly did The Great Switch come about and what had caused it is still being fiercely debated: Was it God’s doing? Or was it a hitherto unknown, yet completely natural stage of the evolutionary process? Perhaps it was something else entirely; a singular, unprecedented phenomenon that neither science nor religion could explain. What is not debatable is the radical transformation this upheaval wrought upon the Earth, for it had affected each and every living entity. Even embryos and foetuses gestating inside their expectant mothers were not immune from its effects.

Perhaps the scenario that I have painted seems implausible and utterly preposterous. Yet, who is to say that our current reality is not actually a temporary aberration from the state of being described above? What if it is only during this period of existence that we briefly possess physical features on the outside, and emotional, mental, and spiritual features on the inside? And what if, once in the Afterworld, we exist for all eternity with our inner selves externalised?

Is that as good a reason as any for us to start working on our souls, to start devoting as much time to developing and improving our emotional, mental and spiritual selves as we devote to bettering and beautifying our physical bodies? For, after all, these fragile corporeal bodies belong to us but for an instant of time while our inner selves may live on forever.

I leave you to ponder these questions. And if you choose to dismiss my suggestions as absurd nonsense, let’s catch up again to talk about them when we are both dwelling in the Afterworld. I will then say to you, without a trace of smugness or schadenfreude in my voice: “I told you so!”

seeing souls

__________________________________________________________________________________

[1] Indeed, given that one’s inner self was invisible, it was easy for others to ignore, if not deny its existence altogether. And this sort of repudiation was not limited to amoral types like ruthless criminals and callous psychopaths. Entire philosophies, such as solipsism, were based on the premise that it is impossible for an individual to determine whether other people have souls and minds.

 

 

Canadian Singer-songwriter David Leask Releases “Voyageur in Song”

Republished with permission from David Leask

Voyageur in Song

Today is the release of my new record, “Voyageur In Song”, songs written on and with the Six String Nation guitar, nick-named Voyageur.  This incredible instrument is made of 64 pieces of Canadian history and culture.  I have written songs about a group of those pieces and their inspiring stories.  There’s a reason they call this record “release” day.  It’s a time to finally let the songs go, to let them make their own way in the world and have all those vibrations, melodies and lyrics slowly land on people’s ears.  Find out more about the project and order a copy or download here.

GOOD VIBRATIONS
Speaking of vibrations, one interesting fact about the new record is that every song was recorded at A = 432 Hz.  What does that mean, I hear you say? Well, every instrument on this recording is tuned 8 cycles per second lower than regular concert pitch which is A = 440 Hz. It’s a tuning that apparently was used for thousands of years by Egyptians, Greeks, Tibetan monks and indeed, Verdi composed his operas in A = 432. I first heard about it from world renowned bassist, Victor Wooten at a camp he held outside of Nashville. I decided to try it out and have been using it frequently while playing live. It always feels good to me, something different, more relaxed than regular pitch. I guess you’ll have to have a listen to the new record and find out for yourself!

Six String Nation guitar

NOTHING BUT A STREAMER
If you’re wondering if the new record is available on streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, the answer is yes and you can find links here. I do understand the convenience of these services but I would be remiss if I didn’t say they have gone a long way to gutting music sales for independent artists like myself, making it harder to survive.  If you stream my music, please consider making a donation directly to me at paypal.me/davidleaskmusic or order a CD for yourself or as a gift.  It’s a beautiful package wrapped in an original painting and colourful booklet with background stories and lyrics.

IN THE NEWS
The press machine is in full swing and I’ve done a couple of regional CBC interviews in BC & PEI that will air on Monday.  If you want to keep tabs on where the music is taking me, please consider following me on Facebook @DavidLeaskMusic on Twitter & Instagram @LeaskExpected.

Thanks as always for reading and listening.

Meet you in the music,
David

https://lnk.to/VoyageurInSong

Six String Nation guitar image by Doug Nicholson

Mary’s Meals releases Love Reaches Everywhere featuring Gerard Butler

For those of you that miss Gerard Butler, LOOK what he’s up to!

Love Reaches Everywhere

You may be wondering why I’m blogging about Gerard Butler. Anyone who knows me will understand but the truth is, I’ve been a big fan since 2003 when I first saw him in the movies Timeline and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life. The tall, handsome, Scot with the piercing blue-green eyes, immediately captivated me with his talents and I made it my mission to look for his acting work. I bonded with one of my closest friends, Gaye, who is an avid movie buff, when we met in 2005 and I turned her on to Gerry’s work. We watched a lot of his films together, even some that we weren’t all that keen about, and we still talk about him to this day. I have seen 35 of his films and continue to follow his career. The thing that makes Gerry so special is not his good looks or his acting talent, but rather, the size of his heart.

I learned about Mary’s Meals because of Gerard Butler and it is because of him that I have made it my number one charity. I was fortunate to be among the first people in Canada to view the exclusive premiere of Love Reaches Everywhere on Tuesday, June 23, 2020 and the documentary, which is so full of joy, hope and beautiful children, left me with a huge smile on my face, a lump in my throat, and a renewed commitment to do what I can to support Mary’s Meals. Today, Thursday, June 25, 2020 is the day that Love Reaches Everywhere launches in Canada.

******

TORONTO, Canada.

Mary’s Meals, the school feeding charity, has teamed up with longstanding supporter and Hollywood star Gerard Butler to release a new film Love Reaches Everywhere, which follows the actor and producer as he travels to Liberia and Haiti with the charity’s founder, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, to experience the charity’s work.

Filmed before the Covid-19 crisis, Love Reaches Everywhere shows the transformative power of education and the desperate need for food in school for some of the most vulnerable children in the world. These children continue to need support even though Covid-19 has closed many of their traditional places of education.

“We are in a time of unprecedented global crisis that is impacting the way people around the world are living, working and being educated,” said Magnus. “Children are especially vulnerable and at risk in this situation and there is a significant danger that they are forgotten amid the fear and confusion of this new world.”

“As a charity that is committed to feeding children in some of the world’s poorest communities, it is more important than ever for Mary’s Meals to keep its promise and support those children by delivering food to them in their communities and homes, which are their new places of education.

“By sharing his experiences with Mary’s Meals through this film, Gerry is helping us to shine a spotlight on the children we feed and ensure their voices aren’t lost.”

Gerard Butler, who has starred in films such as 300, Angel Has Fallen and P.S. I Love You, was able to meet some of the real-life heroes at the heart of Mary’s Meals. In the film, Gerard says:

“Going on this journey hit me from so many different angles – emotional, spiritual and physical. I make movies about heroes, but often they’re in big, over-the-top settings … and then you go to Liberia and Haiti and you see that the teachers in the schools are heroes, and the kids are all heroes that come here on empty stomachs every day to get an education.

“Every meal served by Mary’s Meals is a piece of charity and a little piece of love. And that all passes down into the families and communities and gives that sense of hope. It’s the difference between a kid saying, ‘I want to survive tomorrow’ and ‘I want to be a doctor.’”

The film shows Butler immersing himself in community life – teaching a math’s lesson, dancing, planting crops in a school garden, preparing food, carrying water from a local well, and even sharing acting tips with some children ahead of a school nativity play.

The global launch of LOVE REACHES EVERYWHERE is now available.

For More Information:
www.marysmeals.ca
Irene Carroll | Irene.carroll@Marysmeals.org | 416-366-5473 

Kindly Note:

  • Mary’s Meals feeds over 1.6 million children a day through school feeding programmes in 19 countries: Malawi, Liberia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Haiti, Kenya, India, South Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia, Benin, Lebanon, Syria, Myanmar, Thailand, Ecuador, Niger, Madagascar and Romania.
  • It costs $26.40 (CDN) to feed a child for a whole school year or .13 cents a day
  • Mary’s Meals is owned and run by local communities in the countries in which it operates. Where possible, meals are prepared using food that has been grown locally. This helps to support families and boost the local economy.
  • While schools are closed because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the charity’s work continues. Through community distributions of food parcels and essential hygiene items, Mary’s Meals is continuing to reach almost every child enrolled in its feeding programs, enabling parents or guardians to cook daily meals for the children at home, in their temporary place of education.
  • Mary’s Meals began in 2002 when Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow visited Malawi during a famine and met a mother dying from AIDS. When Magnus asked her eldest son, Edward, what his dreams were in life, he replied simply: “I want to have enough food to eat and to be able to go to school one day.”
  • In 2010 Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow was named a TOP 10 CNN Hero
  • In 2015 Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow was named one of TIME MAGAZINE’S 100 Most Influential People

Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow and Gerard Butler for Mary's Meals

Timeline of a Friendship
The Background to Love Reaches Everywhere

2010: Gerard Butler presents Mary’s Meals’ Founder and CEO, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, with a ‘CNN Heroes’ award in recognition of Mary’s Meals’ work, feeding hundreds of thousands of children in some of the most impoverished communities around the world. Gerard has already heard a lot about the charity from his mum, who is a big supporter of Mary’s Meals and has always wanted Gerard to get involved too.

After chatting with Magnus backstage, Gerard says, “I just thought, ‘dude, you’re amazing!’ and, from that moment on, we became fast friends.”             

2013: Magnus invites Gerard to travel with him to Liberia to see Mary’s Meals in action and visit some of the schools where feeding is happening. The trip sees Gerard pitching in to help volunteer cooks prepare and serve up Mary’s Meals. He also teaches a class of orphans, plays football with kids, loads a truck with sacks of rice, plants pepper seeds and pineapples at a school garden and dances with villagers.

During the trip, Gerard says: “I have been struck by the strength of peoples’ dignity – Mary’s Meals is all about respecting and promoting the lives and cultures of people and showing just what they’re capable of.”

Magnus says: “Gerry has a great gift with kids and I hope that through his commitment to raise awareness of our work, we can reach many more children with Mary’s Meals.”

2014-17: Gerard continues to support Mary’s Meals and features in one of the charity’s key film releases, Generation Hope.

2018: Gerard calls Magnus to ask if he can accompany him on another trip to a Mary’s Meals programme country. Together they set off for Haiti, where they visit schools where feeding is already taking place and others where no food is yet available. They meet an inspirational array of people including children and teachers, programme staff and volunteers, all with their own stories to tell. Gerard witnesses first-hand the dire need of some communities and the difference it makes when Mary’s Meals finally reaches them. The trip has a profound effect on Gerard and he says: I make movies about heroes, but often they’re in bigger, over-the-top settings. And then you come here and you see there’s a hero right there… the teachers in the school are heroes, the kids are all heroes that come here on empty stomachs every day to try and get an education.” 

Gerard Butler Mary's Meals
Feb 2020: Magnus and Gerard meet again at another awards ceremony… but this time it’s Magnus handing out the honours to Gerard, as he is recognised for his work with Mary’s Meals at the ‘Cinema for Peace Awards’ in Berlin. Previous winners of the accolade include Angelina Jolie, George Clooney and Leonardo Di Caprio. Magnus says: When Gerry speaks about our mission, and those we are serving, he does so with deep understanding and compassion, and because of that, he has inspired so many around the world to take action in support of Mary’s Meals. I could not be more thrilled that he is being honoured and recognised in this way!”

June 2020: Love Reaches Everywhere is released – a film which captures both of Gerard and Magnus’ trips (to Liberia and Haiti) and explores themes from friendship and community to love, hope and everyday heroes.

CONNECT WITH MARY’S MEALS: https://linktr.ee/marysmeals.ca

Sultans of String featuring Béla Fleck and Robi Botos release “The Grand Bazaar” from the New Album REFUGE

Artist: Sultans of String
Single: The Grand Bazaar, featuring Béla Fleck and Robi Botos

From the new album REFUGE

Béla Fleck and Robi Botos

“Refuge is a fantastic, moving, dreamlike, epic, timely album.”
~ Ken Micallef (Jazz Times, Stereophile, Downbeat)

New York, NY – Sultans of String release gorgeously evocative and powerful single The Grand Bazaar, featuring 15 time Grammy Award winning American banjo master Béla Fleck and JUNO Award winning Canadian pianist Robi Botos. This song has been awarded Best Instrumental Song by the Independent Music Awards, as well as World Producer Award for the album Refuge, produced by Sultans of String bandleader Chris McKhool and John ‘Beetle’ Bailey.

“This is a project that is centred around the positive contributions of refugees and new immigrants to U.S.A. and Canada,” says McKhool, whose Lebanese grandfather stowed away on a ship bound for North America a century ago. “We are bringing in special guests that are newcomers to this land, as well as global talents that have been ambassadors for peace.  We wish to celebrate the successes of those who make the journey here, and bring their extraordinary talents with them”

Béla Fleck reflects: “My family’s story involves immigration. Of course, we came in through Ellis Island, my grandparents on my mother’s side, Jewish-Russian refugees… I was really fortunate that they were able to get out of a dangerous part of the world, and that America took them in at that time. The banjo is a story of immigration. It’s a perfect story of immigration, involuntary immigration. The slaves came to the Americas, not of their own free will, but when they got there, they brought their culture. They built banjos and they played their music, and it got incorporated into what would become American music, and became a major part of it. Yeah, if the banjo isn’t going to welcome people from different countries, I don’t know who would.”

Robi Botos reflects: “I came to Canada in 1998 as a refugee. But my case was rejected and I was nearly kicked out. With the amazing help of musicians, and fans, and people from all kinds of places from the music industry, supported me.  Basically, I’ve almost faced deportation. It was very, very tricky and very hard for me to manage to stay in Canada. But it all worked out. I feel like just like any refugees, I always look at any refugees with those eyes, thinking about my case and my situation. I’ve been very blessed and fortunate in the music industry, too. Considering that I’m an instrumental artist who’s raising four kids.  We have to look at refugees through those eyes where all of us came here from somewhere else. If it’s not us, it’s our parents or grandparents. I just think it’s amazing what a lot of refugees contribute.”

For further info about the REFUGE project, view EPK: https://spark.adobe.com/page/nTMPzB2pbSPyP/

REFUGE ALBUM LISTEN/BUY LINKS: http://smarturl.it/RefugeAlbum

OFFICIAL BAND WEBSITE: http://sultansofstring.com

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/sultansofstring

SPOTIFY https://tinyurl.com/y5kxh96c

TWITTER: http://twitter.com/sultansofstring

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/sultansofstring/

MORE ALBUM INFO

Sultans of String are sharing the wealth. In more ways than one.

“We love to expose people to sounds they might not have heard before,” explains violinist and bandleader Chris McKhool, summarizing the mission statement of the groundbreaking and acclaimed world music ensemble. “And we love collaborating with other artists.”

Over the past dozen years and six albums, McKhool and his bandmates — co-founding guitarist Kevin Laliberté, bassist Drew Birston, Cuban percussionist Rosendo ‘Chendy’ Leon and second guitarist Eddie Paton — have excelled at both. Thrilling listeners around North America with their genre-hopping fusion of Celtic reels, flamenco, Gypsy jazz, Arabic, Cuban, and South Asian rhythms, Sultans of String celebrate diversity and creativity with warmth and virtuosity. And they often do it with artists such as Paddy Moloney and The Chieftains, Richard Bona, Benoit Bourque (Bottine Souriante), Nikki Yanofsky, Alex Cuba, Ruben Blades, Crystal Shawanda and Ken Whiteley.

With their historic and visionary seventh album Refuge (Released March 20, 2020), McKhool and co. bring their unique brand of musical synergy and collaboration into the studio like never before. Their most ambitious, diverse, inclusive and passionately political album, Refuge puts the Toronto-based Sultans face-to-face with a VIP roster of artists from around the globe — including American banjo master Bela Fleck, Israeli vocalist Yasmin Levy and others, like Iraqi violinst Imah Al Taha and Iranian santur master Amir Amiri, who have fled the peril and persecution of their homelands for the safer shores of North America.

Sultans of String have never taken the easy road. Since releasing their debut album Luna in 2007, they have continually strived to make each chart-topping album more original and meaningful than the last. That includes working with an orchestra (2013’s Symphony), teaming with Pakistani sitarist Anwar Khurshid (2015’s Subcontinental Drift) and even crafting a world-music holiday album (2017’s Christmas Caravan), which landed them on the Billboard charts and the New York Times. Their ambition and work ethic have garnered them multiple awards and accolades, including three Juno nominations, first place in the International Songwriting Competition (out of 15,000 entries), three Canadian Folk Music Awards, and countless other honours.

Their live resumé is similarly stellar. Equally at home in a concert hall, jazz club or festival setting, the Sultans have gigged at the legendary club Birdland in New York, the renowned Celtic Connections Festival in the U.K. and the San Jose Jazz Festival. They have performed with symphonies across Canada and the U.S., and played live on BBC TV, Irish National Radio, World Cafe and SiriusXM in Washington. No matter the venue, the goal is the same, McKhool says.

“I’ve always wanted our concerts to be a place where everyone feels welcome. I want to reach out to diverse communities to say, ‘Come out and enjoy music with us — you’re going to have a really good time.’ And it’s great to see people from, say, the South Asian community mixed in with the hipster crowd. Or to play some very small towns where they might not have heard a sitar played live before. It benefits society as a whole, to have people from around the world blending their ideas, mixing their cultures.”

And sharing the wealth.

RECENT AWARDS:

• New York Times Hits List
• 3x BILLBOARD World Music Charts
• Canadian Nielsen World Charts #3
• 3x JUNO Award Nominees – Instrumental
/World
• 4x Canadian Folk Music Awards winners – World Group
• SIRIUSXM Indep. Music Awards Winner- World Group
• Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for bandleader McKhool
• Hit #1 on Earshot National International/World & Jazz Charts
 

Featuring:
Ahmed Moneka  – IRAQ / CAN
Amir Amiri – IRAN / CAN
Anh Phung – VIETNAM / CAN
Anwar Khurshid – PAKISTAN / CAN
Béla Fleck – USA
Demetrios Petsalakis – GREECE / CAN
Donné Roberts – MADAGASCAR / CAN
Duke Redbird – OJIBWE ELDER / CAN
Edmar Castaneda – COLOMBIA / USA
Fethi Nadjem – ALGERIA / CAN
Gundem Yayli Grubu – TURKEY
Ifrah Mansour – SOMALIA / USA
Imad Al Taha – IRAQ / USA
Majd Sekkar – SYRIA / CAN
Marito Marques – PORTUGAL / CAN
Matias Recharte – PERU / CAN
Meg Contini – CAN
Mehmet Akatay- TURKEY
Michel DeQuevedo – MEXICO / CAN
Naghmeh Farahmand – IRAN / CAN
Ravi Naimpally– INDIA / CAN
Rebecca Campbell – CAN
Robi Botos – HUNGARY / CAN
Sammy Figueroa – PUERTO RICO / USA
Selcuk Suna –  TURKEY / CAN
Suat Suna – TURKEY
Twin Flames – INDIGENOUS / CAN
Waleed Abdulhamid – SUDAN / CAN
Yasmin Levy – ISRAEL

Reality and “Reality”: A New Perspective by Boris Glikman

REALITY AND “REALITY”: A NEW PERSPECTIVE
by Boris Glikman

 

Part I

Imagine if you had a friend who had the following characteristics and personality traits and behaved in the ways described below. 

Suppose that this friend considered it his sacred duty to visit you daily at your home and make a report to you of the day’s events, regardless of whether you asked for them or not. Out of the billion things that happen in the world each day, he would choose a minuscule number to tell you about. He would always be the one to decide, according to his own subjective preferences and whims, what are the most important stories of the day, and you would have no say whatsoever in those decisions. Inevitably, the stories would always be those that show the worst side of things, the worst side of life, the worst side of humanity. He would be determined to always discover and report back to you the lowest, vilest, most despicable acts of human behaviour and the most harrowing, most tragic, most horrible events that occurred that day.

In his reports, he would always interpret things in the most negative and alarmist way possible, not unlike a paranoiac who sees dire threats and perils everywhere. Not satisfied with indulging in his own paranoia, he would be intent on inculcating and infecting you too with his deranged fears and anxieties, thereby hoping that in such a way he would appear as sane. For in a world in which everyone has gone mad, it is the sane who would be considered insane.

He would pry, without any reservations, hesitations or scruples, into anyone and everyone’s business, and especially into every tragedy, every calamity, every catastrophe that befalls humanity, whether that tragedy be on an intimate, personal scale or on a larger scale. He would be fascinated and driven into raptures by natural and man-caused disasters, atrocities, massacres, explosions, crimes, fatal accidents, car crashes, murders, and fires. The more catastrophic the event and the greater the number of fatalities, the more excited he would become, the more frenetically he would talk about it, and with more enthusiasm he would pry into it. In his fascination and preoccupation with death and sufferings, his reports would bear a striking resemblance to the way Roman emperors entertained the masses with gladiator games. 

He would lack any morality or decency and would not think for one moment that he may be invading the privacy and exacerbating the suffering of those stricken by misfortune; there’d be no limits as to what he would do in order to sate his insatiable morbid curiosity. Indeed, if challenged about this, he would strongly insist that it is his God-given right to intrude into other people’s tragedies. He would then go as far as to claim that he is, in fact, providing you with a great and unique service that you should be grateful for, as otherwise you would have no idea what is happening in the world. 

Furthermore, he would be irresistibly drawn to and intrigued by power, wealth and fame, and, when not talking about the calamities and the tragedies, he would give much of his time and attention to telling you about the words and deeds of politicians, the very wealthy and the very powerful, the upper classes, royalty and celebrities.  Through the unceasing favouritism that he would show towards them in his reports, he would create an ambience of celebrity worship. Celebrities and their ilk would be portrayed by him as deities for ordinary mortals to look up to and revere, demigods whose every word and every action are heard and seen across the world.

Common people and their deeds and lives would be of little interest to him, except perhaps when they are struck by some great misfortune or when their lives end in unnatural circumstances, in which case he would condescend to giving them a few minutes of his time and attention, while displaying feigned sympathy and compassion. He would then quickly forget about them and never mention them again in his reports. If questioned about this approach, he would justify it by asserting that, no matter how cynical it may sound, the brutal reality is that it is only the deaths of ordinary people that merit mention in his reports, whereas the everyday lives of the common people are of no particular interest or importance to anyone.

This Modern World Cartoon Strip

If you were ever to ask him to not tell you about the doom and the gloom, the celebrities and the politicians, he would self-righteously retort that those are the important stories that must be told, adding as an emphatic argument clincher that in any case that’s what you really want and need to hear, even if you haven’t realized it yet. He would then accuse you of not caring about the humanity and characterize you as an egotistical, self-absorbed misfit who is out of touch with society and its values and morals.

In his reports, everything would be oversimplified and presented in dumbed-down terms. He would always depict reality in black and white terms and portray people as either heroes or villains, or as either victims or culprits, with no alternatives in between. He would never have the time nor the inclination to analyse the nuances of the events or to explore the complexities of people’s characters. His aim would never be to make you think or to make you question things; rather, it would always be just to make you accept as gospel truth the things he is telling you, to make you agree unquestioningly with his simplistic, binary views and judgements of people and events and to make you feel whatever feelings he is feeling—be it outrage, hatred, fear, anger. There would be no room left for any disagreement with his views; indeed, eventually, he would even go as far as to take it for granted that you must feel and think the same way as he does.

He would have no sense of proportion: he would blow up trivial matters as if they had global significance and would treat matters of global importance as if they were trivial matters of no consequence, if not ignore them altogether. Nor would he have the ability to look at things from a historical perspective—he would make no effort to connect the current events to events of the past or to put the current events into any kind of context. His overriding interest would be in the things happening at the present moment or which happened that very day, and that would be all he would talk about in his daily reports to you.

Sport would be seen by him as an absolutely vital and crucial part of the human existence and, regardless of what else occurred in the world that day, he would be sure to devote a good portion of his report to telling you about the latest developments, no matter how minor, in the world of sports.

Sometimes he would end his report with some lighthearted and offbeat story about the whimsical side of life, as if trying to reassure you that, despite all the tragedies and calamities, everything is still all right with the world.

He would be blind to the horrible inappropriateness of including stories of atrocities and disasters in the same report as sports stories and droll, quirky stories, and eventually you would become blind to it as well, not thinking twice about the inherent appalling incongruity of it all.

From what has been described above, it can be seen that this person would lack any emotional or intellectual maturity; be exceedingly morbid; preoccupied and obsessed with death, crime, disasters, tragedies, scandals, wealth, power, fame and sex; have no conscience or sense of objectivity; have a short attention span; be quick to anger and judgement, but would just as quickly forget about the things that were angering and upsetting him, and would move on to new things to satisfy his curiosity and titillate his nosiness. Any morality or principles this person might display would be just an act put on for his own ulterior purposes.

It would not be an exaggeration to describe his behaviour patterns as those of a voyeuristic sadist, given the way he would get big kicks from witnessing other people’s tears, pain, sufferings. Yet, not content with feeding off the misfortunes, agonies and adversities of others, he would then revel in describing them to you in great detail, taking particular delight in making you feel shocked, alarmed, fearful, outraged, angry, distressed, anguished, as well as impotent and small due to your inability to do anything about those events.

Still, he would be astute enough to realize that he cannot just keep hitting you with a metaphorical stick, and that he also has to offer you, via his reports, a metaphorical carrot. He would be aware that the way most people judge their life’s quality is by comparing it to the lives of others. And so, no matter how much you might deny it and no matter how abhorrent and unacceptable it might be to your moral values, his reports of the sufferings and misfortunes of others would, deep down (perhaps as far down as on the unconscious level), reassure you that by comparison your life isn’t so bad and inevitably make you feel better about your own life. That would serve as a strong incentive for you to keep listening to him, day after day, regardless of whether you are consciously aware of that motivation.

Through the steady, relentless barrage of his daily reports and because of his unvarying predilections for particular types of stories he would, over time, instil in you a certain underlying view of the world and man’s nature, eventually making you believe that his subjective, highly skewed, paranoid portrayal of reality is how reality actually is. In fact, you would become doubly confused: not only would you be unable to distinguish whether it is just his interpretation of reality or if it’s how reality really is, but additionally, due to you becoming so deeply ingrained with his portrayal of things, you would be unable to distinguish whether it is his view of reality or your view of reality. Effectively, the boundary between reality and interpretation of reality would become just as blurred for you as the boundary between his view and your view of the world.

You would be ill-advised to take this friend of yours at all seriously; his opinions and beliefs should be scoffed at and scorned, if not ignored altogether. He should be considered to be a hysterical fear-monger and scandal-monger; someone who should be avoided at all costs because of his unalleviatingly gloomy, depressing, paranoid and even apocalyptic perspective of things; because of his shameless snooping into the sufferings of others; for being emotionally unstable and having no control over his emotions; for being judgemental and subjective about everything; for having no sense of balance, no sense of reason and no sense of boundaries; for having the concentration span of an infant, quickly becoming bored with one story and turning to another to occupy his attention; for his unbounded and absurd obsession with power, wealth and fame, and for hypocritically pretending to care about the common people.

You would never accept his portrayal of reality or regard him to be a trustworthy authority figure who should be listened to when it comes to finding out about the world and what goes on in it, for you would clearly see how completely irrational, non-objective, opinionated and narrow-minded he is, and what a thoroughly unpleasant and dishonourable character he is, without any  principles, morals or personal standards. You would never want to be around this person, let alone allow him to visit you daily in your home, giving you his report each and every day.

Yet we all have just such a “friend” whom we welcome to our homes each and every day. We rely on this “person” for the vital information that informs our daily lives; information that influences our important decisions; information that determines our views of the world and of other people, cultures and countries, and indeed even our perception of ourselves. By willingly letting “him” tell us what to think and how to live, by readily swallowing up all that “he” tosses to us, we allow this “person” to turn us into bloodthirsty or indifferent voyeurs of tragedies and sufferings, we allow “him” to compromise our integrity and morality, and we let “him” shape our reality. It could even be said that we trust this “person” with our very lives, never seeing how blind we are to “his” methods and never realizing that “he” has us all fooled.

James Scott quote on mainstream media

Part II

In this section the issues discussed in the previous section are explored in more detail, and further questions are raised about the way mainstream mass media operates.

The first question that must be asked is: How does the media determine which stories to report to its audience? How does the media decide, out of a myriad of events that happen in the world every day, which are the important, newsworthy stories that must be told, and which stories can be ignored? What is the reasoning behind their decisions?

Given that the media either has a limited time span (in case of TV news programs) or a limited page span (in case of newspapers), the thousands of news stories that take place every day around the world need to be culled down to just a small number, so that the remaining news stories will fit exactly into a half-hour or one-hour news program, or into a newspaper of X number of pages. A very thorough elimination process must take place, during which the great majority of news is discarded; thus, the media must obviously have a method through which it winnows out the unnewsworthy stories from the newsworthy stories.

Yet has this method ever been made transparent by the media and shared with its audience? Or have its details been purposely kept secret, out of the concern that if the public were informed of it, they would find it completely unacceptable? Or could it indeed be that the media chooses which stories to report in an erratic and arbitrary manner, and that there is no rhyme or reason to its decisions, other than its own subjective, idiosyncratic criteria as to what constitutes an important story?

The next question that needs to be asked is: Does the media actually give its audience what the audience want to see and read about? Does the media provide the audience with what the audience believes to be the important stories, or is it the case that the media convinces its audience that what it provides are the important stories the audience wants and needs to see? Is it the case that it is the media that makes its audience become interested in and concerned about those issues in the first place, so that the audience now believes that the media only reflects their views as to what are the important and interesting stories, whereas it is the media that originally created those views in the audience? Has the media, through its unchanging, persistent preference for a particular type of material, made its audience believe that those are the issues that are important, vital, and fascinating? Consequently, does the audience accept without question that those are the stories the media must report and that they, the public must watch and read? Or perhaps it is a two-way process, with both media and audience influencing, reflecting, and reinforcing each other’s views?

propaganda

The third question that needs to be asked is: What kind of message does the media send when it treats only the deaths of ordinary people as newsworthy, but not their lives? What view of humanity does the media convey when it devotes most of its time to the lives of the wealthy, the powerful and the famous, and only becomes interested in ordinary people’s lives when those lives end tragically or unnaturally? Surely this is an extremely elitist, harsh and unjust perspective on the worth of human life, and it seems obvious that such an attitude would never be accepted or tolerated in our ostensibly egalitarian society, yet the media gets away scot-free with propagating just such a view each and every day.

Another question that needs to be considered is: What does the media expect to achieve by repeatedly and incessantly thrusting reports of deaths, tragedies, and disasters into our faces? Why are they so intent on reporting those kinds of stories? What is it that we are supposed to feel, think, and do when confronted by stories of tragedies and deaths of people of whose existence we weren’t aware until that point? What can we do? How can we help? How can we change death? There are a number of possible answers to these questions.

The bleakest and most radical, yet not an entirely implausible, explanation is that the media is possibly doing it for its own twisted, sadistic purposes in order to induce pain, panic and sorrow in the audience, while hypocritically pretending to feel sadness. Yet surely the only thing the media feels is faux sorrow, because for the media it is just another news story, part of their job, and they quickly forget all about that story and shift their attention to another story. So, bizarrely, in that potential scenario, the media would try to make its audience feel authentic emotions, while media itself would only feel fake feelings.

An equally bleak and extreme, yet also not an entirely implausible, explanation is that the media is possibly doing it in order to allow its audience to indulge in sadistic schadenfreude at others’ misfortunes and pain, and in order for the audience to be reassured that their lives are not so bad by comparison. If this seems to be an overly dark and cynical view of human nature, it should be pointed out that even though a person might not evince such callous behaviour publicly, it is entirely possible that in the privacy of their homes and in the privacy of their minds they would act, think and feel that way. And besides, the realness of those who appear on TV news programs or in newspapers is intrinsically diminished by that very fact, for they are automatically more remote and less tangible than the people one interacts with in the outer world. That potentially gives one the license to be indifferent and uncaring towards the plight of the people in news reports.

Another possible explanation (and one that is obviously related to the explanation immediately above) is that the media is only providing its audience with what the audience itself desires. If that is the case, then it is a sad indictment indeed upon the modern society, for it means that our society wants and needs those stories of violence, murder, catastrophes to satisfy its morbidity and bloodthirstiness. It would then follow that while our society prides itself on being law-abiding and highly civilized, its citizens actually behave in ways no better than those barbaric ancient Roman crowds that avidly watched the fights to the death in the arenas.

A more moderate explanation would be that the media is possibly doing it as a way of keeping the masses law-abiding and in fear—by showing them what happens when laws are not obeyed. For example, a very common news story is that of fatal car accidents. Surely, by reporting this kind of a story, the media is also conveying, directly or indirectly, a warning that if the road rules are not followed then this is what happens. Yet, even if this is a valid explanation, it is still only a partial answer as to why the media feels impelled to keep telling you those stories of deaths, tragedies and disasters, for surely the media plays a much bigger and more complex role than just being a broadcaster of public warnings. (Exactly what that role is would, however, require another article to address.)

It should be noted that this article is not about the bias the media may display in its reporting of news, overtly or otherwise. Rather, it concerns itself with deeper and more fundamental issues: What exactly is the connection between reality and the way the media interprets and portrays it? How does the media’s interpretation of reality shape the way its audience perceives reality? How does the media affect our views of the world? Does the media have a hidden agenda to influence the minds of its audience, and if so, what are the methods they use to instil their opinions into us?

If it appears by this point that the media has interwoven itself inextricably into the very fabric of our lives, and that we have no chance of ever liberating ourselves from its insidious grasp and its inflexible power over us, then imagine if you will a utopian scenario whereby we live in a world in which the media no longer exists; a world in which the media no longer intrudes incessantly into our lives; a world in which we are no longer ceaselessly bombarded by its paranoid ravings and no longer confronted at every turn by their reports of disasters, tragedies, catastrophes; a world in which we are able to form our own view of the world based solely on our own direct, personal experiences, rather than experiencing the world vicariously via the TV news programs and newspapers and having our opinions, beliefs, attitudes and our very reality moulded by the media; a world in which we no longer sacrifice our principles, our integrity, our morality, our decency on the altar of mainstream mass media; a world in which we are free to just live our own lives and die our own deaths.

Sure, such a scenario may sound hopelessly naive and unrealistic. Yet, perhaps hundreds or thousands of years from now, it will finally be realized how the media are just carrion flies that feed off tragedies and spread the diseases of meaninglessness and misery, and how gullible and short-sighted people were in allowing the media to interfere into and mar their lives each and every day.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The final version of this piece is still to come, as I still want to work more on its language, wording, expression, structure, etc. and there are still some other ideas that I haven’t yet added to the piece. (For example, there’s my idea that, in some ways, news programs and newspapers serve the same function that memento mori served in medieval times, for they keep reminding you of death, over and over again. But whereas the medieval memento mori had a definite function in imbuing people with theological and moral lessons, the aim that the media has in talking about death over and over again is less clear and certain. It is entirely possible that even the media itself has not formulated clear and lucid reasons as to why it is always talking about death. But of course the modern man would recoil at the thought of such macabre, morbid and gruesome concept as a memento mori in our modern lives. The concept of a memento mori would be seen as macabre and overly superstitious by modern man. And yet, the modern man accepts with equanimity and without any argument the disguised memento mori that he is confronted with daily via the news. Seemingly, we live in an enlightened, modern, progressive society and yet, still, we have memento mori all around us, constantly confronting us and assaulting us via the mass media, so that their presence in our lives is even more ubiquitous than the presence of memento mori in the life of the medieval man.)

Book Review: Burt Reynolds on Screen by Wayne Byrne (Featuring Q&A with Author)


BOOK REVIEW

Title: Burt Reynolds on Screen
Author:  Wayne Byrne
Publisher: McFarland & Company Inc.
Released: December 19, 2019
Pages: 314
ISBN: 978-1476674988
Stars: 5

In 1972, Burt Reynolds became famous with his breakthrough role in Deliverance. The actor also posed as Cosmopolitan’s first-ever nude male centerfold in 1972, “marking a milestone in the sexual revolution.” From 1977 to 1982, Reynolds was Hollywood’s top box office-grossing movie star, appearing in the hits Smokey and the Bandit, The End, Hooper, The Cannonball Run, Sharky’s Machine, and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas among other notable films that made him a household name. Anyone who was watching movies in the 70s and early 80s knew who Burt Reynolds was and they were reminded again in the 90s through his hit television series Evening Shade and 1997 comeback film, Boogie Nights.

Burt Reynolds on Screen by Wayne Byrne is the definitive work of film criticism and long-form tribute to one of Hollywood’s most enduring and well-liked actors. It discusses, in-depth, “many films which haven’t been previously covered in critical, historical or aesthetic contexts of any great scope or consideration” and covers his most popular films as well as some of his “most interesting works which have been grossly overlooked or forgotten.” The book “analyzes Reynolds’ films and television series in chronological order, relating behind-the-scenes production information and discussing their respective places in history, while making sub textual allusions between the man and the characters he played.” It also features exclusive behind-the-scenes photos and many films’ stills in black and white.

Its Foreword was written by American cinematographer Nick McLean, Sr. who worked with Reynolds as his camera operator and director of photography on several movies as well as his television series B.L. Stryker and Evening Shade and went on to be DOP on the television series Cybill, Friends, and Joey among other well-known shows. Byrne has since written a book about him, too, entitled Nick McLean, Sr. Behind the Camera.

Cinematographer Nick McLean and author Wayne Byrne in Naas, Co. Kildare, March 2019


Burt Reynolds on Screen
features an Afterword by C. James Lewis, who, as well as being an actor who graduated from the Burt Reynolds Institute of Theater Training (BRITT), also worked as Burt’s stand-in, photo double and stunt double for many years. It’s this kind of insider knowledge as well as the author’s remarkable attention to detail that establishes the validity of this book.

Although you’re probably aware that Burton Leon Reynolds Jr. was best known for being an action star, you might not know that Reynolds was originally typecast as a Native American in many of his early films or that he gave successful performances in almost every genre of film from romantic comedy to satire to film noir.

Film historian Joe Baltake was quoted in the Introduction for his “astute estimation of the actor’s appeal”:

Burt Reynolds, in a nutshell, is the movie star who’s a pal…but there’s something else, something deeper, something sad that makes Reynolds’ playfulness and flippancy wrenching…In his eyes, we see Reynolds’ integrity. They’re what make him original in a business full of clones. We look at Reynolds and we see a man who’s believed in old movies, the American Dream and loyalty; we look in his eyes and we see how difficult it’s been. Today’s devoted film aficionados and even our critics can’t fully appreciate what Burt Reynolds represents. Yes, he’s out of joint. He may be too good for today’s movies. His secret with audiences is that he’s one of us.

Wayne Byrne grew up a child of the 80s and first saw Burt Reynolds in a trailer for the film Heat in 1988 when he was “roughly six years old.” He spoke to numerous friends and collaborators of Burt Reynolds for this book, and one word recurred more than most: generous. Many of them recall with wonder the actor’s resolutely giving nature – giving of his time, talent and experience; giving financially, emotionally and morally. These interviews are absolute gems for Reynolds’ fans, and one which particularly surprised and delighted me was with actress Rachel Ward, Burt’s co-star in Sharky’s Machine and the made-for-TV movie Johnson County War. I became a fan of Rachel’s when I saw her in Against All Odds and The Thorn Birds in the 80s. Rachel’s career might have never taken off without the influence of Reynolds who cast her in Sharky’s Machine which he also directed. Byrne also interviewed Bobby Goldsboro, Bill Bennett and Adam Rifkin, among other Hollywood producers and directors.

Reading this book completely reinforces what kind of man Reynolds was. Throughout his career as an actor and a director, he often worked with friends (Jerry Reed, Dom DeLuise, Charles Durning, stuntman turned director, Hal Needham, Nick McLean, Sr.) and was loyal, kind, good-natured and unfailingly generous which is something one doesn’t hear much these days about the movie stars of the 21st Century.

I considered myself to be a fan of Burt Reynolds to a moderate degree, but after reading this book, I fully understand his appeal as an actor and how very talented he really was. I find myself wanting to make a trip to our local video store to rent some of his most distinguished, memorable films and watch them (some for the first time) to experience the genius that Wayne Byrne has so reverently and respectfully reviewed in this exceptionally well-written book. However, if you are a big fan of Burt Reynolds, this book is a must-read, must-own treasure for your collection.

Nick McLean and Wayne Byrne

Q&A with Wayne Byrne


Wayne, why did you choose to write a book about Burt Reynolds for your second book?

My first book, The Cinema of Tom DiCillo: Include Me Out, was written out of absolute necessity. Tom is my favourite director and I really wanted a book on his career. I couldn’t buy one, so I wrote one. I never set out on a path to become a writer of books but working on that book and seeing it be published was the greatest thing to me. So, I wanted to write more, but the question was ‘what do I want to write about?’ I couldn’t ever imagine writing about a filmmaker, a film, or any art or artist, which I don’t adore. I’ve experienced that in shorter form when writing for magazines and newspapers and you are profiling someone you aren’t particularly interested in, or they aren’t particularly interesting, and it’s a drag; I definitely couldn’t imagine writing something in book-length on something or someone you aren’t in awe of. So, I thought, ‘okay, that’s my favourite director taken care of, how about my favourite actor?’

And I’m not really a “film star” kind of guy, as in I’m not usually overawed at film stars, I am usually much more interested in the people behind the scenes – directors, cinematographers, editors – those guys are the heroes of cinema, they craft what we experience. Which is all to say I have a very short list of ‘favourite’ actors, and in that I would include Burt Reynolds, Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, Dennis Hopper, Steve Buscemi, Groucho Marx, and maybe a few more. But at the very top of that list is Burt Reynolds. I guess I had more of an emotional connection to Burt. While Eastwood and Wayne can make you excited and rouse the senses with their heroic feats, they would rarely make you laugh or cry. Burt can rouse excitement and make you laugh and cry, sometimes all in the same film. I’ve been aware of Burt’s presence since I was very young, he has always been there, even when I wasn’t fully paying attention, and then when I began to pay attention I just fell in love with this absolutely compelling performer whose mere presence commands your attention.

I understand how you feel about not being able to write about someone or something that you’re not in awe of as it is very difficult! As a big fan of Tom DiCillo as well, I thank you again for writing such a fantastic book about his films! One can certainly tell from reading this book that you truly love Burt Reynolds. 

How hard was it to write a film synopsis for every film?

Plot synopses are always a grind, and there are a hundred-plus films covered in this book. They are the most laborious thing about writing on film, whether you are reviewing for a magazine, speaking on the radio, or writing in a book. I mean all you are doing is hammering out the plot and trying not to reveal too much or to simply explain the film to people. And that inevitably ends up happening, because in the case of a book like this, you know most of your readers have not seen every film in there, so you do have to offer a lot more than a brief overview; you want them to feel that they have a substantive enough idea of the film so that they can appreciate the author’s commentary and criticism. Although, admittedly, some of the films only needed a cursory account of the plot.

Did you watch every single movie and television series that Burt starred in? 

You could say I re-watched 99% of them all. I had already seen and owned them before the book began. There weren’t that many films that I had to track down specifically for this book. There were a small handful of films he did in the last few years of his life, in which he mainly provided a cameo, and I literally couldn’t get my hands on them to see them. In most cases, they hadn’t yet received official releases in theatres or on DVD. So those few are the only films with Burt that I haven’t watched. And for the TV shows, I went back and watched the ones he was the star or co-star of, which are the ones which have chapters devoted to them – Riverboat, Gunsmoke, Hawk, Dan August, B.L. Stryker, Evening Shade. But for my own sense of completion, I also watched the shows where he is in one episode, such as Route 66, M Squad, The Lawless Years, The Twilight Zone, The Lawless Years, Naked City.

Wow, that is truly impressive and a major commitment on your part, as well!

How long did it take you to write the book?

From signing the contract to publication, I would say that was a little less than two years. The writing took around fourteen months. It was a very intense time. I was working two jobs – librarian and journalist – and halfway through the Burt Reynolds book, I signed a contract for another book, which I began work on during this period. Then I went on a nationwide tour of Ireland with my subject, Nick McLean, appearing at events all over the country celebrating his career. Nick has a lot to do with Burt’s career as well, so it tied in nicely. So, I had all of this going on, plus interviews with directors, actors and friends of Burt’s, and re-watching every film and TV show again, sometimes repeatedly. They were the busiest two years I’ve ever experienced, and I loved it. I came out of it with two books and some wonderful friends.

How did you choose which quotes to use from Reynolds’ characters in each specific film?

They had to tickle me somehow, if they were funny or if they encapsulated some intrinsic characteristic of the film. One of my favourite quotes is from The Last Movie Star, “You were the one who loved me before anybody even knew my name,” because it is loaded with a sense of history and a lifetime of regret, tinged with the melancholy and wisdom of someone who experienced the zenith of fame, fortune, and adoration, that which came at the price of losing people who cared for them long before the stardom and stature. I also love the quote from A Bunch of Amateurs – “Richard III it is! – What’s that about again?” – because it speaks to the absurdity and irony of Burt’s humour. He was so playful. I don’t know anybody in today’s Hollywood who has such a mixture of beauty, humour, grace, volatility, masculinity, and humility all in one package.

You interviewed some very interesting people for this book. How did the interview with actress Rachel Ward come about?

I was lucky to get Rachel because she was hard enough to find. She didn’t have any social media, so I couldn’t make direct contact with her, and none of my Hollywood friends or acquaintances knew her personally anymore, so it seemed like a dead end. But then I remembered that she is now a producer and director, which means she must have a company listing. So, I found out the name of her production company and approached them. My letter eventually found its way to Rachel through that avenue and we arranged some Skype chats, which were fun. These things can be a little surreal at times, and one instance of that with Rachel was when we were chatting it was breakfast time over in Australia and at one stage in our conversation her husband came into view bringing her a cup of coffee. I’m just sitting there thinking, “That’s Bryan Brown from that movie F/X!” She is gorgeous and graceful and all the things you would expect of her. I know many people fell in love with her in Sharky’s Machine, and it’s very hard not to, though I think she was even more beautiful and brilliant in Johnson County War twenty years after Sharky’s Machine.

Your interview with Tempted director, Bill Bennett, was also quite fascinating because of his unusual method of filmmaking and what he asks his actors to do. Can you tell us a bit about that? 

Bill was a very intriguing guy to talk to. He made some really interesting Australian films throughout the eighties and nineties and then he made a Hollywood rom-com with Denis Leary and Sandra Bullock called Stolen Hearts (which is titled Two if by Sea in North America) which seems entirely random in the middle of his filmography, and then made another cool Aussie film called Kiss or Kill before doing Tempted. Anyway, he is the kind of filmmaker I love to talk to. Someone who has experienced both sides of the industry: the indie hustle and the studio system, and he has ideas on doing things differently, and one of those was to shoot his film using only improvisation. His “script” laid out scenarios and had a structure, but he wanted his actors to create their own dialogue based on the relationships which they built early in rehearsals. Given that he was working with a star of the old studio system in Burt, and with some hot, young up-and-comers, it was interesting to hear how they reacted to this method and how Bill made it all work. Tempted is a fiercely underrated film in the Burt canon, a very well-made contemporary noir.

Was Charles Durning, Reynolds’ most frequent co-star? Were they close friends in real life? 

Charles was certainly one of Burt’s most frequent co-stars. Then again, there were a few people who worked with Burt just as often. Burt and Charles had immense love and affection for each other, and I think you can see that throughout the work. It took on a bittersweet note in the later films when you see them as older men; you could see Charles wasn’t in the best of health in some of the films, but they still have an immense spark between them, amazing chemistry. My favourite story of their friendship was one Burt told about Charles being a brilliant dancer and dance teacher – which not a lot of people knew about – and one night at Burt’s house, during one of his famous shindigs, Fred Astaire and Charles Durning danced the night away. The way Burt described it; it was magical. They sounded like good nights at Burt’s place.

Many people may not know that Reynolds taught acting for many years. Can you tell us about what you know about that?

A lot of people that I spoke to for the book told me that, first and foremost, Burt was a teacher. At the height of his fame, in the midst of him being one of the world’s most famous film stars, he opened an acting institute in Florida and a dinner theatre. It became an apprenticeship program for many people who would go on to have great careers, and many established stars and Hollywood legends would grace his theatre stage or go and coach the students. Burt was hands-on in the early days, he would nurture and develop the talent, offer them a chance at acting in his films if they succeeded at the audition, of course, it wasn’t just handed to them. They had to work hard, and when they did, Burt offered them a chance at something great. I think Jim Lewis, who wrote my afterword is a great example; while he was at the acting program he ended up with roles in The Cannonball Run and Sharky’s Machine, which meant he got his union card, but Burt insisted he still go back and finish his apprenticeship. Jim then became Burt’s stunt man and stand-in, was offered even more substantial roles, and later became a camera assistant. And they remained close friends until Burt passed away. That’s an amazing career, and amazing life, all because of Burt. But Burt really gave himself to people, both onscreen and off.

What did you find out about Reynolds during your research that you didn’t already know as a fan of his work? 

The extent of his teaching work, and the sheer scope of his generosity. And that he made a really lovely album in 1973 called Ask Me What I Am. It’s now one of my favourite records, but I had never been able to find a copy of it until halfway through writing the book, and I ended up interviewing its producer, the legendary Bobby Goldsboro because of it. It went from something I had only ever heard about, to something I was digging deep into with Bobby.

I found Ask Me What I Am on Spotify so I’m happy to have a chance to listen to it. 

Reynolds died before your book was published. What do you wish you could have asked him if you’d had the chance?

I would have asked him if I could shake his hand.

What do you think Reynolds was most proud of in his career?

His students. I would imagine that seeing his students become successful actors and writers and directors was a great source of joy to him.

What do you think he regretted most? 

He has famously regretted several things publicly, such as his failed relationships with Dinah Shore and Sally Field, and he has also regretted not taking roles in big movies such as Star Wars and Terms of Endearment, but I think – and this is only me speculating – that his biggest regret may have been not having had the chance to enjoy a solid life with a family of his own, a life that he clearly yearned for. It is there all through his films, it is in his books, and it is on his musical album. Just when it looked like he had found that life with Loni and their adoptive son, Quinton, it was ruptured through the divorce; it is unfortunate that it ended the way it did and that all the upheaval was documented in a very messy and very public way. I think he must have been heartbroken to see it all come apart. But that’s only my observation; he may have said that he regretted something else entirely different. Perhaps not having had the chance to become the professional football player that he seemed destined to become. To have that taken away after an injury hurt him immensely. But then again, without that injury and his subsequent embrace of acting, he never would have become the greatest movie star in the world. 

What are your Top 5 favourite Burt Reynolds films?

I’m terrible at this question, which is one most interviewers ask of me. It depends on what day of the week it is, but today is Monday, so here goes, in no particular order…

Stick – Objectively speaking, it’s not exactly a classic film, but I’m not being objective, and I love it dearly. I think some of Nick McLean’s best cinematography is in there; I love the score; Burt nails the image of Elmore Leonard’s character of Ernest Stickley, and the villain Moke (played by Dar Robinson) is so menacing. Just a great 1980s action film. Candice Bergen and Burt make for a hot on-screen pairing.

White Lightning – Burt just as he was taking off into the stratosphere. He could be effortlessly charming and loveable while being mean and uncouth, as he is here as the iconic Gator McClusky. I love both this and its sequel Gator, which is a completely different film, it’s loud, brash, and big whereas White Lightning is taut, lean, gritty, and suspenseful. And Ned Beatty is a beast in it. I just gave you a two-for-one there: White Lightning and Gator. I’m feeling generous today.

Hustle – Now this is what you call a classic neo-noir. Directed by Robert Aldrich, who he worked with on the brilliant The Longest Yard, but this is a serious film, a great murder mystery with political intrigue and a sleazy journey into the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles. Aldrich’s visual style is superb, and Burt gives a brilliant performance as the fatalist, cynical, morally questionable anti-hero detective. As a neo-noir film, I much prefer this to the likes of The Long Goodbye and Body Heat, both of which tend to be much more lauded than this. Hustle needs to be rediscovered.

Stroker Ace – Most people, including Burt, didn’t think too fondly of this, but for me, it encapsulates that period where Burt had this great Saturday matinee thing going that I recall fondly and nostalgically, where it was all about silly gags, fast cars, wild stunts, and some beautiful women. It is totally lowbrow stuff, but it helps when you have Burt being Burt, Loni looking gorgeous, Hal Needham directing, and Nick McLean shooting it.

Starting Over – For when I’m feeling a little bit more sophisticated, I put away Stroker Ace and reach for Starting Over, which is a classy melodramatic comedy featuring Burt as a down-on-his-luck loser-in-love, cast aside by Candice Bergen and embraced by Jill Clayburgh. Burt is playing against type here, a comfortably middle-class and urbane writer, shorn of moustache and masculine virility, and he really fought to get this role, because nobody would believe that he could play such a churlish loner who couldn’t find love. Alan J. Pakula directed it, and erstwhile Ingmar Bergman and Woody Allen cinematographer Sven Niekvist shot it, which means it looks stunning. A beautiful, warm, funny, and tender work, featuring some of Burt’s finest acting.

And a bonus sixth film – Sharky’s Machine – because it’s Sharky’s Machine and needs no other reason.

Multi-JUNO Award Nominees Canadian World Collective Sultans of String Send Special Birthday Wish to Neil Young by way of “Heart of Gold” 

Sultans of String Heart of Gold

TORONTO — November 12, 2019 — To celebrate Neil Young’s birthday, multi-award-winning and New York Times and Billboard Magazine charting Canadian world music collective Sultans of String could have gone with the classic well-wisher tune. 

Instead, the Internationally critically acclaimed five-piece have released their live rendition of Young’s 1972 classic, “Heart of Gold” — available now! 

Sultans of String are currently marking their 12th year with an extensive national tour and, additionally, the release of their forthcoming album — their seventh and most historic to date, Refuge (Spring 2020). 

While not on the album, the Neil Young cover lands on Neil Young’s birthday — today — as a fitting tribute to both the iconic artist, and the song’s full-circle meaning for Sultans of String co-founder Chris McKhool, in particular. 

“‘Heart of Gold’ has a lot of meaning to me personally,” McKhool shares of the track. “For context, I grew up in a ‘classical music-loving’ house; my mother was a piano teacher and all the kids from the neighbourhood would come to our living room for lessons. My first instrument was a classical violin which was amazing for ear training. I was even in a string orchestra called the National Capital String Academy, and I loved it. 

“But by the time I was a teenager, violin was kind of a ‘square’ instrument,” he continues. “When I got to high school, I had learned enough about music already that I could teach myself how to play guitar. I bought my first steel string guitar from Steve’s Music in my hometown of Ottawa — a plywood model by Yamaha! 

“Neil Young’s ‘Heart of Gold’ was the very first song I learned on it.” 

At the time McKhool worked as a short-order cook at a place on Holland Avenue — TJ’s Speakeasy Café. “It had a great open stage night,” he recalls. “I saw some amazing Ottawa folk performers there. 

“One night during my shift at TJ’s, I came out from the back and played ‘Heart of Gold.’ I didn’t have enough money for a guitar strap so I was just kind of clutching the guitar under my arm as I strummed away. I was so nervous in my first public singing/playing appearance that my arms were trembling a little bit, and halfway through the song I literally dropped the guitar. The crowd went wild with applause!  

“So, I decided that was a good place to leave it. They all knew and loved me at TJ’s — it was a very supportive place. But I slinked away back to the kitchen and practiced a lot more before I tried that again.

“Now I play violin in this band, but I still own that old Yamaha guitar and love singing this song!  I hope Neil gets a chance to hear this — a birthday present from me and Sultans of String!”

Sultans of String are McKhool (has collaborated with Richard Bona, Béla Fleck), Kevin Laliberté (Jesse Cook), Drew Birston (Chantal Kreviazuk), Eddie Paton, and Rosendo Chendy Leon (Alex Cuba). Together, their musical synergy strikes inimitable, explaining their three JUNO Award nominations, four Canadian Folk Music Awards, plus many more, as well as International touring at notable venues (including JUNOFest, Glasgow’s Celtic Connections, NYC’s Birdland, and selling out Koerner Hall several times over), and appearances on BBC, CBC, Irish National Radio, NPR, SiriusXM, and then some.

Set for Spring 2020, Refuge is Sultans of String’s seventh and most historic album, and features talent that arrived to Canada and the U.S. as immigrants and refugees — many of whom are GRAMMY and JUNO Award winners as well. 

“Heart of Gold” is available now. https://orcd.co/heartofgoldlive

// ABOUT SULTANS OF STRING 

Since releasing their debut album Luna in 2007, Sultans of String have continually strived to make each chart-topping album more original and meaningful than the last. That includes working with an orchestra (2013’s Symphony), teaming with Pakistani sitarist Anwar Khurshid (2015’s Subcontinental Drift) and even crafting a world-music holiday album (2017’s Christmas Caravan), which landed them on the Billboard charts and the New York Times. Their ambition and work ethic have garnered them multiple awards and accolades, including three JUNO Award nominations, first place in the International Songwriting Competition (out of 15,000 entries), three Canadian Folk Music Awards, and countless other honours. 

Their live resumé is similarly stellar. Equally at home in a concert hall, jazz club or festival setting, the Sultans have gigged at the legendary club Birdland in New York, the renowned Celtic Connections Festival in the U.K. and the San Jose Jazz Festival. They have performed with symphonies across Canada and the U.S., and played live on BBC TV, Irish National Radio, World Cafe and SiriusXM in Washington.  

// TOUR:

November 23 @ Fergus Grand Theatre, Fergus ON
November 28 @ Banff Centre for the Arts, Banff AB
Christmas Caravan w/ Guest Rebecca Campbell November 29 @ Fish Creek Concerts, Calgary AB
Christmas Caravan w/ Guest Rebecca Campbell November 30 @ Festival Place, Sherwood Park AB
Christmas Caravan w/ Guest Rebecca Campbell December 1 @ Beneath the Arch Concerts, Turner Valley AB
Christmas Caravan w/ Guest Rebecca Campbell December 5 @ Wolf Performance Hall, London ON
Christmas Caravan w/ Guest Rebecca Campbell & Lynn Miles December 6 @ Live Wire Music, Kingston ON
Christmas Caravan w/ Guests Rebecca Campbell & Lynn Miles December 8 @ Concert Hall at Victoria Hall, Coburg ON
Christmas Caravan December 12 @ Empire Theatre, Belleville ON
December 13 @ Sanderson Centre, Brantford ON
Christmas Caravan w/ Guests Rebecca Campbell, Donné Roberts & Ken Whiteley December 14 @ Oakville Performing Arts Centre
Christmas Caravan w/ Guests Rebecca Campbell, Lynn Miles, Donné Roberts & Ken Whiteley
December 15 @ Kingston Road Village Concert Series
Christmas Caravan w/ Guests Rebecca Campbell, Lynn Miles, Donné Roberts & Tamar Ilana December 19 @ Shenkman Arts Centre, Ottawa ON
Christmas Caravan w/ Guests Rebecca Campbell, Lynn Miles, Kellylee Evans & Kristine St-Pierre

// CAREER HIGHLIGHTS:

  • 2018 Canadian Folk Music Awards nominees– Producer of the Year 
  • 2018 Music featured in the acclaimed film, “Hotel Mumbai” 
  • 2017 Billboard World Music Charts  — # 6 
  • 2017 JUNO nominees – World Music Album of the Year 
  • 2017 New York Times Hits List 
  • 2017 Billboard World Music Charts  — # 15 
  • 2016 Canada’s High Commission in London UK presents SOS at Trafalgar Square
  • 2016 Canadian Folk Music Awards winners– World Music Group of the Year
  • 2016 Global Music Awards– World Music / Beats  
  • 2016 ISC – Honorable Mention
  • 2015 JUNO nominees – Instrumental Album of the Year     
  • 2015 TIMA winners – Best World Album
  • 2014 SiriusXM Independent Music Awards Winner- World Group of the Year   
  • 2014 IMA Independent Music Award Winner – Instrumental 
  • 2013 ISC  International Songwriting Competition Winner- Instrumental 
  • 2013 Festivals & Events- Performer of The Year  
  • 2013 Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for bandleader Chris McKhool
  • 2012 Canadian Folk Music Awards winners– World Music Group of the Year
  • 2012 Festivals & Events- Entertainer of The Year  
  • 2011 International Acoustic Music Awards Finalist – Instrumental 
  • 2011 Independent Music Award 2x Finalist – Instrumental & World Beat Album 
  • 2011 ISC International Songwriting Competition 2x Finalist-  Instrumental & World Music 
  • 2010 JUNO Award Nominees –  “Instrumental Album of the Year” 
  • 2010 Canadian Independent Music Awards nominees- Favorite World Group 
  • 2009 International Songwriting Competition (ISC) First Place – Instrumental 
  • 2009 Canadian Folk Music Award triple nominee winning Instrumental Group of the Year also nominated for Ensemble of the Year and Pushing the Boundaries)
  • 2008 International Songwriting Competition Winner (ISC) – Instrumental 
  • 2008 Festivals & Events Ontario- Best Variety Act

For more information, please contact:

Eric Alper
Publicist  I  Music Commentator  I  Shameless Idealist
647-971-3742

www.ThatEricAlper.com
Eric@ThatEricAlper.com
www.Twitter.com/ThatEricAlper
www.Facebook.com/EricAlperPR
www.Instagram.com/ThatEricAlper

 

Singer-songwriter David Leask Releases New Music Video for “When You Think No One Loves You”

Canadian Singer-songwriter David Leask Releases New Music Video for
“When You Think No One Loves You”

David Leask When You Think No One Loves You

“Six of the best from the award-winning wordsmith…All the songs are superbly crafted and David Leask possesses fine vocal talents.” ~ Maverick Magazine

As someone who often struggles with loneliness, when I first watched the new music video for “When You Think No One Loves You” by David Leask from his album Six in 6/8, I was moved to tears. I can’t imagine how this video could NOT touch people emotionally if they take the time to watch it. David Leask and Daryl Burgess have written a really beautiful song and the music video conveys scenarios that most of us are all too familiar with. It shares a very important message that loneliness IS an epidemic and we need to be mindful of that and treat people with kindness and compassion. Please watch and share if the spirit moves you.

David Leask: There’s an epidemic of loneliness out there and a large number of people on this planet who at some point in their lives feel unloved. This song and video is for them. I hope it moves you in a way to share it widely and spread some hope around the world.

Big thanks to my co-writer Daryl Burgess, producer Justin Abedin, Jonathan Goldsmith on piano & B3 Organ, Quisha Wint on BG vocals, engineer Jeremy Darby for capturing the tracks live off the floor, Chad Carlson for mixing, Peter Moore for mastering, Lee De Lang & the video production folks Big Red Oak for doing such a great job telling the story including, Producer: Will Murphy; Director: Alistair Simpson; Production Manager: Tejasvi Bhalla; DoP: Tyson Burger; Gaffer: Nikita Brusnitsyn; Production Designer: Eunice Hung; Art Director: Alexandra Hutton; Production Assistant: Ernesto Travieso and the actors, Teenager: Janet Tung; Elderly man: Daniel Coo; Single mother: Marta Pozniakowski: Child: August Pozniakowski

Finally, special thanks to FACTOR, the Government of Canada and Canada’s private radio broadcasters for their generous support to help make this video possible.  

“the 6/8 time signature..underpins six beautifully mature songs, naturally & ingeniously”
Rock n’ Reel Magazine – 4 STARS for “Six in 6/8”

“Indescribable is top down, hot day on the highway Nashville Music, with Leask’s vocal a masterclass in emotional major league Rock.  Caught In The Tide and When You Think No One Loves You feature that voice, in Prog mode against squalling guitars or gutsy soulful like a Mark Cohen or Liam O Maonlai from The Hothouse Flowers, but always interesting.”
Northern Sky Magazine – 4 STARS for “Six in 6/8”

Connect with David Leask at www.davidleask.com or on:

Facebook
Instagram
Twitter
YouTube

3X JUNO NOMINEES/3X CFMA WINNERS SULTANS OF STRING’S new single The Power of the Land out TODAY!

SOS_POWER_OF_THE_LAND_COVER_3000x3000_300DPI

3X JUNO NOMINEES/3X CFMA WINNERS SULTANS OF STRING’S new single
The Power of the Land out on October 25, 2019, ON MCKHOOL/CEN/THE ORCHARD,
A DIVISION OF SONY MUSIC

Sultans of String – The Power of the Land
Available now here: https://smarturl.it/PoweroftheLand
Artist:  Sultans of String
Song: The Power of the Land (feat. Duke Redbird & Twin Flames)
Upcoming Album: Refuge

“Energetic and exciting music fest from a band with talent to burn… the very epitome of world music: no boundaries, no rules!” – Maverick Music Magazine

NY Times and BILLBOARD charting band Sultans of String are releasing their new single on October 25, 2019. Entitled The Power of the Land, it features Ojibway Elder Dr. Duke Redbird and Indigenous artists Twin Flames.

Sultans of String are 3x JUNO Award nominees (Canada’s Grammys) and 4x Canadian Folk Music Award winners. They recently celebrated their 10th anniversary as a band, criss-crossing North America and UK, and performing at many taste-making forums such as JUNOFest, Celtic Connections in Glasgow, Birdland in NYC, and California’s hip music scene, including the San Jose Jazz Festival. They have sold out Koerner Hall three times (Toronto’s Carnegie Hall) and performed with Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton Symphony Orchestras. Sultans of String were recently recorded live on BBC TV, Irish National Radio, and internationally syndicated shows including SiriusXM in Washington DC.  At the core of the band’s sound is Chris McKhool’s (Jesse Cook, Pavlo) bold and fiery fiddle, melded seamlessly with founding guitarist Kevin Laliberté’s (Jesse Cook) rumba rhythm- together their musical synergy created Sultans of String’s signature sound – the intimate and playful relationship between violin and guitar. Added to this rich foundation are bass master Drew Birston (Chantal Kreviazuk), guitar wizard Eddie Paton, and Cuban percussion master Rosendo Chendy Leon (Alex Cuba).

This collaborative single The Power of the Land, with lyrics by Duke Redbird and music by Sultans of String band, will be part of a larger upcoming album entitled REFUGE to be released in 2020, featuring incredible talents from the USA/Canada, many of whom arrived as recent immigrants and refugees. We feel it is important to highlight the extraordinary contributions of those that have arrived here from around the globe, as well as global talents that have been ambassadors for peace. Each one of us has a remarkable story to tell, and we are excited to share the beauty of these collaborations with you, featuring special guests from First Nations, Turkey, Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Greece, Syria, Mexico, Portugal, Cuba, and Sudan.

Refuge’s potent and poetic single The Power of the Land features the interwoven vocals of Indigenous spoken-word artist Duke Redbird and married Ottawa folk duo Twin Flames. “I actually heard Duke recite that poem years ago,” McKhool says. “I was so moved that I introduced myself to him after the performance and said, ‘Have you ever thought about putting this to music?'” Fast-forward three years, to the day when McKhool realized he had finally written the right backdrop for Redbird’s stirring words. “It was just one of those beautiful moments where I realized those lyrics might work perfectly.”

This single is co-produced by the multiple award-winning team of bandleader Chris McKhool and John “Beetle” Bailey.  The beds were recorded on First Nations land at the Indigenous-owned Jukasa Studios. Founded by Ohsweken’s, Kenneth Hill & Jerry Montour, Jukasa Studios is a multi-million dollar studio created for world-class and developing artists to make music in surroundings rich in spirit and tradition. The legendary 8072 G Series Vintage Analog Console which spent 12 years of its life in studio 3 at Abbey Road Studios in London England, was purchased and moved to Jukasa Studios in 2009.  Overdubs and mixing were done at The Drive Shed with John “Beetle” Bailey and mastering by Harry Hess at HBomb Mastering.

“It seems that Sultans of String can’t get out of bed at the moment without finding themselves nominated for one award or another. In a word: Magnificent!”
– Rock n Reel – UK Music Magazine 5* review

TEAM:  We are working with an amazing team to promote this single/tour

US Agent: Kevin Peters, GL Berg
US Management: Dave Wilkes
US Radio: Max Horowitz, Crossover Media
CDN PR: That Eric Alper
CDN Management/Booking: LW Communications
Social Media: Scully Love Promo

BAND: Sultans of String
Chris McKhool – LEBANON / CAN
Kevin Laliberte – CAN
Eddie Paton – CAN
Drew Birston – CAN
Rosendo Chendy Leon – CUBA / CAN

Extraordinary special guests on REFUGE include Grammy and JUNO Award winners:
Béla Fleck – USA
Edmar Castaneda – COLOMBIA / USA
Ifrah Mansour – SOMALIA / USA
Imad Al Taha – IRAQ / USA
Yasmin Levy – ISRAEL
Gundem Yayli Grubu – TURKEY

Ahmed Moneka  – IRAQ / CAN
Amir Amiri – IRAN / CAN
Anh Phung – VIETNAM / CAN
Anwar Khurshid – PAKISTAN / CAN
Donné Roberts – MADAGASCAR / CAN
Demetrios Petsalakis – GREECE / CAN
Duke Redbird – OJIBWE ELDER / CAN
Fethi Nadjem – ALGERIA / CAN
Majd Sukar – SYRIA / CAN
Marito Marques – PORTUGAL / CAN
Matias Recharte – PERU / CAN
Michel DeQuevedo – MEXICO / CAN
Nagmeh Faramand – IRAN / CAN
Ravi Naimpally – INDIA / CAN
Robi Botos – HUNGARY / CAN
Rosendo Chendy Leon – CUBA / CAN
Sammy Figueroa – PUERTO RICO / USA
Selcuk Suna –  TURKEY / CAN
Twin Flames – INDIGENOUS / CAN
Waleed Abdulhamid – SUDAN / CAN

LINKS:

YOUTUBE EPK https://youtu.be/fnog2CowXqQ

INDIEGOGO CAMPAIGN https://igg.me/at/sultans

http://www.sultansofstring.com
http://twitter.com/sultansofstring
https://www.facebook.com/sultansofstring
http://www.instagram.com/sultansofstring

DISTRIBUTORS:
Canada – Fontana North
USA – C.E.N. (SONY/Red)
UK/EUROPE – Proper Distribution

UPCOMING TOURING PLANS:

01 Nov 2019 – Warren, PA (US) – Struthers Library Theatre
02 Nov 2019 – Stroudsburg, PA (US) – Chester Concerts
04 Nov 2019 – Durham, NC (US) – ArtsMarket Official Showcase / Showcase A6
08 Nov 2019 – Toronto, ON (CA) – OMEA Showcase / Quartet
23 Nov 2019 – Fergus, ON (CA) – Fergus Grand Theatre
28 Nov 2019 – Banff, AB (CA) Christmas Caravan – Banff Centre for the Arts / with special guest vocalist Rebecca Campbell
29 Nov 2019 – Calgary, AB (CA) Christmas Caravan – Fish Creek Concerts / w/ special guest vocalist Rebecca Campbell
30 Nov 2019 – Sherwood Park, AB (CA) Christmas Caravan – Festival Place / w/ special guest vocalist Rebecca Campbell
01 Dec 2019 – Turner Valley, AB (CA) Christmas Caravan – Beneath The Arch Concerts / w/ special guest Rebecca Campbell
05 Dec 2019 – London, ON (CA) Christmas Caravan – Wolf Performance Hall / w/ special guest vocalist Rebecca Campbell
06 Dec 2019 – Kingston, ON (CA) Christmas Caravan – Live Wire Music / Double bill– 1st show w/ special guests Rebecca Campbell & Lynn Miles; 2nd show featuring Lynn Miles
07 Dec 2019 – Oswego, NY (US) Christmas Caravan – Oswego Music Hall / w/ special guest vocalist Rebecca Campbell
08 Dec 2019 – Cobourg, ON (CA) Christmas Caravan – Concert Hall at Victoria Hall / pres. by Les AMIS Concerts & The Loft
13 Dec 2019 – Brantford, ON (CA) Christmas Caravan – Sanderson Centre / w/ special guests Rebecca Campbell, Donné Roberts, Ken Whiteley
14 Dec 2019 – Oakville, ON (CA) Christmas Caravan – Oakville Performing Arts Centre / w/ special guests Rebecca Campbell, Lynn Miles, Donné Roberts, Ken Whiteley
15 Dec 2019 – Toronto,  (CA) Christmas Caravan – Kingston Road Village Concert Series / w/ special guests Rebecca Campbell, Lynn Miles, Donné Roberts, Tamar Ilana
19 Dec 2019 – Ottawa, ON (CA) Christmas Caravan – Shenkman Arts Centre / w/ special guests Rebecca Campbell, Lynn Miles, Kellylee Evans, Kristine St-Pierre
20 Dec 2019 – Nelson, NY (US) Christmas Caravan – Nelson Odeon / w/ guest Campbell, at Catherine Cummings Theatre
21 Dec 2019 – Saratoga Springs, NY (US) Christmas Caravan – Caffe Lena – by invitation only – become a Caffe Lena member today!
08 Feb 2020 – Mississauga, ON (CA) Symphony show – Living Arts Centre / w/ Mississauga Symphony Orchestra
07 Mar 2020 – Cobalt, ON (CA) – Classic Theatre / Quartet
19 Mar 2020 – Ely, MN (US) – Mesaba Concert Assn @ Washington Auditorium /
20 Mar 2020 – Thief River Falls, MN (US) – Thief River Falls Concerts / – Lincoln H.S. Auditorium
22 Mar 2020 – Redwood Falls, MN (US) – Estebo Performing Arts Center /
24 Mar 2020 – Dixon, IL (US) – Historic Dixon Theater /
27 Mar 2020 Concordia, KS (US) – Brown Grand Theatre /
28 Mar 2020 – Pratt, KS (US) – Pratt Community Concerts @ Carpenter Auditorium /
29 Mar 2020 – Lamar, CO (US) – SouthWest Colorado Concerts / Trio – Lamar High School Auditorium
30 Mar 2020 – Columbus, NE (US) – Nantkes Performing Arts Center /
31 Mar 2020 – Rapid City, SD (US) – Rushmore Plaza Civic Center /
02 Apr 2020 – Anaconda, MT (US) – Washoe Theatre /
21 Apr 2020 – Burlington, IA (US) – Burlington Memorial Auditorium / Quartet
02 May 2020 – Gravenhurst, ON (CA) – Gravenhurst Opera House / Quartet

RECENT AWARDS:

  • 2018 Canadian Folk Music Awards– Producer of the Year nomination for McKhool
  • 2017 New York Times Hits List
  • 2017 Billboard World Music Charts – Christmas Caravan CD hits #6
  • 2017 Canadian Nielsen World Music Charts – Christmas Caravan CD hits #3
  • 2017 Folk Music Ontario- Songwriting Award for “Sing For Kwanzaa” from Christmas Caravan
  • 2017 Folk Music Ontario- Songwriting Award for “Road to Kfarmishki”
  • 2017 ISC International Songwriting Competition- World category – “Sing For Kwanzaa”
  • 2017 JUNO Award Nominees for “World Music Album of the Year” – Subcontinental Drift
  • 2017 Billboard World Music Charts – Subcontinental Drift CD hits #15
  • 2016 Canadian Folk Music Awards– World Music Group of the Year
  • 2016 Global Music Awards– World Music / Beats
  • 2015 International Songwriting Competition (ISC) – Subcontinental Drift
  • 2015 JUNO Award Nominees for “Instrumental Album of the Year” – Symphony!
  • 2015 Toronto Independent Music Award – World Music
  • 2014 SIRIUSXM Independent Music Awards Winner- World Group of the Year
  • 2014 IMA Independent Music Award Winner – Instrumental Song – “Josie”
  • 2014 IMA Independent Music Vox Pop Award – Music Producer – Symphony! -Chris McKhool
  • 2013 ISC International Songwriting Competition- Instrumental category – “Monti’s Revenge”
  • 2013 Folk Music Ontario- Songwriting Award for “Monti’s Revenge”
  • 2013 Festivals & Events- Performer of The Year
  • 2013 Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for bandleader Chris McKhool
  • 2013 SiriusXM Canadian Indie Awards Nominee for World Group of the Year
  • 2012 Canadian Folk Music Awards winners– World Music Group of the Year
  • 2012 Canadian Folk Music Awards nominees – Instrumental Group & Pushing the Boundaries
  • 2012 Canadian Folk Music Award nominee- Producer of the Year for Chris McKhool
  • 2012 Folk Music Ontario- Songs From the Heart Winner
  • 2012 Festivals & Events- Entertainer of The Year
  • 2011 Ontario Contact – Artist of the Year
  • 2011 International Acoustic Music Awards Finalist – Instrumental
  • 2011 Independent Music Award 2x Finalist – Instrumental Album & World Beat Album – Yalla Yalla!
  • 2011 ISC International Songwriting Competition 2x Finalist- Instrumental & World Music categories
  • 2010 JUNO Award Nominees for “Instrumental Album of the Year” – Yalla Yalla!
  • 2010 Canadian Independent Music Awards nominees- Favourite World Artist/Group
  • 2009 International Songwriting Competition (ISC) First Place Winners – Instrumental
  • 2009 Canadian Folk Music Award triple nominee winning Instrumental Group of the Year (also nominated for Ensemble of the Year and Pushing the Boundaries)
  • 2009 Toronto Exclusive Magazine Award 2x Winner- Best Toronto World CD & Artist of the Year
  • 2008 International Songwriting Competition Winner (ISC) – Instrumental
  • 2008 Festivals & Events Ontario- Best Variety Act
  • 2008 Canadian Independent Music Awards Finalists- Favourite World Music Band
  • 2008 International Independent Music Awards Finalists- Best World Fusion Song
  • 2007 Musique du Monde Award
  • 2007 Canadian Folk Music Award nominees – Best Instrumentalist Group
  • 2007 Ontario Independent Music Award winner- Best Song & Best Instrumental
  • 2007 Toronto Independent Music Award nominees – World Music Category

This recording was produced with the support of the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council. We would like to acknowledge funding support from the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario, and Canada Council for the Arts.