The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom

Mitch Albom the magic strings of frankie prestoBook Review

Title: The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto
Author:  Mitch Albom
Imprint: Harper Paperbacks
Released: October 25, 2016
Pages: 368
ISBN-10: 0062294431
ISBN-13: 9780062294432
Stars:  5.0

Once in a very blue moon a book comes along that is so unique and wonderful, no – downright magical – that it immediately becomes one of the best books you’ve ever read. Those books are what I call five-star desert island classics; books I want to have with me for the rest of my life because I know I will read them again and again.

Recently, my client and dear friend Deborah Ledon recommended a book for me that she said she loved and was certain that I would love too. I bought the book, called The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom, whose work I had read previously and especially adored in The Five People You Meet In Heaven (which I’ve so far read twice). Albom is a maestro of the rhythm of storytelling and I believe he has created his magnum opus with The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto, a book narrated by Music itself.

Francisco de Asís Pascual Presto was born in Villareal, Spain in August 1936 in a church where his mother had sought refuge from El Terror Rojo – the Red Terror – revolutionaries and militiamen who were angry with the new government. Francisco’s mother Carmencita was aided by a young nun as she gave birth to her son, and we later learn that she died after childbirth and the nun took care of the newborn, who would not cry, in his early days as an infant. Before Carmencita dies, she sings a melody to her baby, a song called “Lágrima” (teardrops) by the renowned Spanish guitarist Francisco Tárrega, and the song is immediately ingrained in baby Frankie’s memory.

On the boy’s first birthday his guardian takes him into town to its largest store where Frankie hears a song by Spanish guitarist Andrés Segovia on a wind-up gramophone for the first time, and he finally cries. In fact, he continues to cry constantly and the only thing that will ease his torment is music.

Frankie is raised by a blind guitar teacher in Spain, known to him as El Maestro, who gives him six mysterious blue strings and a beautiful acoustic guitar, educates him in music, and allows Frankie’s magnificent talent to blossom.

Throughout this extraordinary story, we travel back through Frankie Presto’s illustrious history from the 1940s jazz scene to the Grand Ole Opry, to the birth of rock and roll and Woodstock, while Frankie (accompanied by his hairless dog with no name) searches for his childhood sweetheart, Aurora York. We meet some of the great artists who influenced him and were influenced by him along the way, including Django Reinhardt, Duke Ellington, Elvis Presley, Darlene Love, Tony Bennett and Paul Stanley to name a few, who help Music to narrate the tale.

I couldn’t believe it when in Part Five of the novel, Albom wrote about Paul Stanley‘s reminiscences of Frankie Presto, at the end of which he recalled:

“It’s funny. In 1999, I got a chance to play the lead in Phantom of the Opera in Toronto. I’ve never tried anything like that. But I went for it, partly because my son at the time was about five years old. And I remember thinking, “I want him to see me in this.”

Well, I saw Paul Stanley, guitarist and founding member of KISS, in 1999, in Phantom of the Opera in Toronto, and he was absolutely brilliant!

I was mesmerized by Albom’s story from the very first chapter and found myself smiling a lot, although sometimes tearing up too while reading Music’s epic tale about Frankie’s journey to discover what matters most in life and how the power of talent can change our lives. Music, fame, true love and the inevitable fall from grace shape the melody and harmonies of Frankie’s soundtrack and like all great soundtracks, leave us thinking about our own.

Like most of us, Frankie doesn’t get through life unscathed and has to deal with more than his fair share of tragedy, but music, love, and the magic of synchronicity save him, again and again.

This passage brought tears to my eyes with its simple truth:

He recalled a conversation with his teacher.

“Why do the strings make different sounds, Maestro?”
“It is simple. They work like life.”
“I don’t understand.”
“The first string is E. It is high pitched and quick like a child.
“The second string is B. It is pitched slightly lower, like the squeaky voice of a teenager.
“The third string, G, is deeper, with the power of the young man.
“The fourth string, D, is robust, a man at full strength.
“The fifth string, A, is solid and loud but unable to reach high tones, like a man who can no longer do what he did.”
“And the sixth string, Maestro?”
“The sixth is the low E, the thickest, slowest, and grumpiest. You hear how deep? Dum-dum-dum. Like it is ready to die.”
“Is that because it is closest to heaven?”
“No, Francisco. It is because life will always drag you to the bottom.”

I love the messages in this story that tell us with perseverance, practice, and determination, we can overcome the largest of obstacles in our lives…and the loyalty of a good dog can sometimes save us. But ultimately, true love and leaving a positive legacy for our children, is what matters most in life, and for this die-hard romantic, no truer words have ever been written.

With this book, Mitch Albom has become one of my favourite authors. I hope that you will read it so that he will become one of your favourites too.

 

Waiting For John / An Ode To The Century Past / Imagine by Boris Glikman

The Dakota NYCWell, I finally made it to the city that never sleeps.  Of course the very first place I go to is The Dakota. I spent so many years reading about it, picturing it in my mind, dreaming about visiting it and now I am actually standing right outside its famous wrought-iron gates!

It is October the 9th, 2009. I have specifically timed my very first visit to New York City to coincide with his birthday. Surely he must come out and acknowledge his fans on a day like this, accept their greetings, perhaps even blow out the candles on the cakes some of his admirers will undoubtedly bring along.

Within five minutes of arriving at The Dakota—and what a thrill it is to see it for the very first time—Yoko walks right past me. Strangely, she carries no presents in her hands and looks rather melancholy on this joyous occasion. No, not just melancholy, more than that, she looks completely disconsolate and deflated, shrunken almost, as if some vital part of her has been amputated. But surely, once she walks into their apartment on the 9th floor, his famous wit will cheer her up and his cheeky smile will make her smile, too.

Meantime, I will stand here and wait for him to come out. I have flown across oceans to see him and see him I definitely will, despite those ugly rumours I overheard some time ago about something horrifying that apparently befell him a while back. What nonsense! Crazy things like that just don’t take place in our world. Surely fate would take extra-special care of such a man to ensure nothing bad happened to the creator of such sublime and immortal beauty. Why, I am certain he is half-lying, half-sitting on his bed right now, as I’ve seen him do in photos, picking notes on his guitar and creating more sonic jewels of ineffable wonder.

And so I will stand here and wait for him to come out, till nightfall if necessary, for I have to prove to myself that he is in fact a real person and not just an idealised construct created by mankind to satisfy its insatiable need for heroes. For it is almost impossible to believe so many timeless masterpieces could inexhaustibly flow out of one man. What if he is just an archetypal symbol of our hopes, our dreams, our aspirations for a utopian existence and so all my waiting is in vain? But no, that can’t be!

And so I will stand here and wait for him to come out, till nightfall if necessary, to wish him a happy birthday and to press into his hands some of my own poems and stories, so that he can see for himself that we both share the same ideals and beliefs.

And I will grab the opportunity to tell him how much his music has meant to me over the years, how his music gave me the inspiration and the courage to reach for peaks in my own creative endeavours, how music for me is the loftiest form of art and the most sublime means of expression. Alas, not being gifted with having celestial sounds divine arising and frolicking in my mind, I instead am constrained to convey my inner being through lame, unwieldy, coarse lumps of words.

I will let him know how I have tried to continue his mission of spreading hope and light around the world through my own writings, my own actions, my own conduct and interactions with people, for even one small candle can destroy the infinite darkness of the entire night.

Until then, I will wait, for I know if I wait long enough, he will come. He just has to come, for New York City is the place where everything is achievable, the place where impossible, ineffable dreams come true. And so if I just close my eyes and wish hard enough, surely he must appear!

“Waiting for John” comes from a series of pieces written by Boris Glikman titled “Impressions of America” after he visited the USA. This series takes a surreal and unusual look at America. Read more about Boris’ adventures here.

AN ODE TO THE CENTURY PAST

That was the age of despair, disrepair
of the damned and the condemned
but this is now, the New Utopia.

That was the time when we killed off our muses,
throwing their remains to the ravenous dogs;
our innocence disembowelled,
our hopes quartered
with five hollow-point bullets
on that cold December night. 

When six million replaced six-six-six
as the accursed number of all eternity and
six million nameless faces,
six million faceless names
were extinguished for that greatest crime of all –
Existence.

But this is now, the Neo-Utopia.

That was the age of despair, disrepair
when raven-black sun
threw rays of shadow upon the Earth
and giant bullfrogs ate pygmy antelope
bones, hooves and all.

But still we fought on, hoping for meaning to appear.
Yet when it arrived, it was only in our dreams,
dissipating the moment we awoke
and grabbed at its gossamer threads
with our crude, clumsy hands.

And this is now, the Last Utopia.

Imagine by Michael Cheval

“Imagine” by Michael Cheval


Imagine

When the city that never sleeps finally retires to bed, exhausted by its own exuberance and hyperactivity, then and only then does John appear at the memorial dedicated to him in Central Park.

Betrayed and forsaken by God, Fate and Mankind on that cold December night, John now performs for no one but himself, singing softly the sonic jewels of wonder he has composed posthumously, and still believing, despite everything that had happened, love is all you need.

He wears a hat made out of a mincer which is filled not with dead meat but with living strawberries, his favourite fruit, and his piano is a zebra-girl hybrid who died young, at the very same instant John passed into eternity.

If all this seems to be quite bizarre and beyond belief, one must remember this is New York City after all, a place where impossible and ineffable dreams do come true, if only one imagines them hard enough.

@Boris Glikman

Introducing Music Business Mentoring

Music Business MentoringI’m very pleased to announce that I’m now available as a music mentor specializing in Crowd Funding, Marketing Your Music, Creating Marketing Tools, Branding, Marketing Plans and of course, Social Media through Music Business Mentoring, a new business founded by three singer-songwriters who have worked in the industry for many years: Wyatt EasterlingMarlene D’Aoust & Jennifer Ferguson Smith (a.k.a. Jen Smith).

If you’re a musician or you know of someone who is involved in the music industry who would like to be aware of this incredible resource of leading professionals who can help you navigate through today’s music business, please feel free to share this info with them. Just go to www.musicbusinessmentoring.com and browse through the mentors on the Home page to find out about the topics they cover or use the Search box to search for a topic.

Topics areas include:

  • Relationships/Agreements
  • Music Publishing
  • Touring
  • Recording/Production/Engineering
  • DIY Album Releases
  • Promotion & Marketing
  • Songwriting
  • Performance
  • Funding Sources
  • General Career Advice

and there are many sub-topics included within those areas.

Read our FAQs here.

Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/musicbusinessmentoring

Develop your craft.

Grow your career.

Find your direction.

Need to know? Ask a Pro!

Music Business Mentors are ready to help you!

Congratulations! Anslem Douglas Winner of Black Canadian Award for Best Caribbean Style Artist

Anslem Douglas at Black Canadian AwardsAnslem Douglas, songwriter of the internationally-acclaimed and Grammy Award-winning hit “Who Let The Dogs Out?,” has won the Black Canadian Award over five other nominees AMMOYE, JAHSMIN DALEY, SHALLI, SOCA EMPEROR and MS PAIGE for Best Caribbean Style Artist.

The awards, which took place in front of a full crowd at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre this past Saturday, June 7, is the first of its kind in Canada and was jam-packed with the highest quality of entertainment. Not just a music awards show, the program included many honorees from all walks of life in the Black community in Canada, including fashion and business.

WEBSITES: www.anslemmusic.com /www.BlackCanadianAwards.com

Anslem performed his 2000 massive internationally-acclaimed hit and Grammy Award-winning single “Who Let The Dogs Out?” made famous by the Baha Men, but was written and recorded two years before, in the very exciting and traditional soca style by the Trinidadian-born and now Toronto-based singer-songwriter. It was originally, affectionately called “Doggie” and here is the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O27fagObxaM to that first recording, which was a huge hit in the Caribbean initially. The covered version was a chart success in many countries, and also became a popular song at U.S. sporting events and was featured in the 2009 hit comedy The Hangover.

Anslem has a new album out called Project A.D. released in the spring of 2012, and it has been on heavy rotation in the U.S. and offers much more than just the traditional style soca.

This hip, upbeat album winds its way around energetic dance mix riffs and mellow grooves. The unique, husky yet sultry sound of Anslem’s vocals fit like a glove, especially on some of his more sizzling x-rated tunes like “The Sex You Give To Me,” I Ain’t Gettin’ None,” and the funkadelic and very danceable “Slap-It.” Arrangements and production is slick yet raw at the same time as evidenced in the beat-driven, house-styled tracks “Love Making” and “Forever” (where his voice sounds very reminiscent of early Seal recordings). The more psychedelic-inspired “Tony Needs a Daddy” and the soul-baring “Mrs. Brady” shows off the softer melody and lyrics from Anslem’s arsenal.

Anslem’s other contributions for 2013 include the single, “Do You Think He Will Understand”, a power Soca called “Bacchanal”, a neo-Calypso single, “Dancing With You”, and a piece written specifically for women “When You Wine.” Project A.D. and the singles are all now available on iTunes and CD Baby.

The Black Canadian Awards ceremony is an event that reflects a commitment to showcasing and celebrating achievements of Black Canadian professionals, artists, trailblazers and leaders within the community.

For more information, photos, mp3s, advance CD copies, interviews, please contact:

Beverly Kreller
SPEAK Music
www.speak-music.com
bev@speak-music.com
416-922-3620
Twitter: @SPEAKMusicPR
Facebook: www.facebook.com/beverly.kreller

Live Wire Music Series Presents Latin Grammy Winner Alex Cuba at The Octave Theatre on Mar. 29, 2014

Alex CubaLive Wire Music Series Kingston is wrapping up this year’s season with a concert at The Octave Theatre on Saturday, March 29 featuring the spectacular Cuban-Canadian guitarist and singer Alex Cuba and his new band. Alex sings in both Spanish and English and has won two Juno Awards for World Music Album of the Year in 2006 for Humo De Tabaco, and in 2008 for his second album, Agua Del Pozo. In 2010 he won the Latin Grammy Award for Best New Artist. On his newest album Ruido En El Sistema he continues his exploration of rock, soul, pop and Latin funk, and solidifies his stature as one of North America’s most critically acclaimed musicians.

Alex’s first stage appearance on national TV was age of four, playing claves in a group directed by his father. Alex went on to study guitar, tres, percussion and bass. He was born in Artemisa, Cuba (1 hour west of Havana) and now lives in Smithers, B.C. (14 hours north of Vancouver). Musically, he lives everywhere in between. His trademark sugarcane-sweet melodies, pop-soul hooks and rock chords subtly subvert commonly held notions of what Cuban music is. With his vintage Gibson electric guitar and forgoing conventional stereotypes that typify much of the Latin music landscape, Alex is defining his own “Latin Soul” genre and crafting brilliant songs that cut through linguistic and cultural barriers.

 

Live Wire Music Series presents
Alec Cuba  www.alexcuba.com
Saturday, March 29, 2014  7:30 pm
Octave Theatre, 711 Dalton Ave., Kingston

Tickets: $20 in advance, $25 at the door (if available) on sale now at Brian’s Record Option (613 542-2452), Tara Foods and online at www.livewiremusicseries.ca

Press for Alex Cuba

“HE’S LIKE MARVIN GAYE, SINGING SOUL TO A NEW GENERATION…” –  Boston Globe

“BEST PERFORMANCE: ALEX CUBA.” – National Post

“STAYING TRUE TO HIS SPANISH-LANGUAGE FOLK-FUNK-ROCK HYBRID HAS PAID OFF.” – Billboard

“ROARING WITH ROCK GUITAR LICKS, UNDERPINNED BY A LACY AND OBLIQUE BUT STEELY CUBAN RHYTHMIC STRUCTURE, ALEX CUBA’S MUSIC SUPPLIED PROVERBIAL TROPICAL HEAT IN THRILLINGLY UNEXPECTED WAYS.” – Miami Herald

“…A HIGH-QUALITY ALBUM—SHINY, SMART, AND AS SHARP AS CUBA’S RAZORED SIDEBURNS.” – Georgia Straight

“WICKED GUITAR, UNDENIABLY SOULFUL VOCALS. HIS PACKAGE IS SIMPLICITY, AND HE WEARS IT WELL” – popmatters.com 

“…LIKE GETTING A COAT OF SUNSHINE APPLIED TO YOUR EARDRUMS…” – Halifax Chronicle Herald

April Wine Co-Founder & Juno Hall of Fame Inductee Jim Henman to Play Ben’s Pub on Thurs. Nov. 28

Jim Henman at Ben's Pub in KingstonApril Wine co-founder and Juno Hall of Fame Inductee Jim Henman will be performing a solo show at Ben’s Pub in Kingston on Thursday, November 28, 2013 at 7:30 pm. Jim’s country blues solo work is featured on his latest album, Same Old Feeling, (Ravenwood Records) and can be streamed here. 

Tickets for Jim’s Ben’s Pub appearance are $15 and available by contacting jill_relyea@hotmail.com.

Somewhere between the rhymthic yodeling of “The Singing Brakeman,” Jimmie Rodgers and the flavorful grooves of ragtime guitarist/singer, Blind Blake lies the roots of Jim Henman’s musical beginnings. Writing his first tune, at age 12, Jim spent much of his youth strumming a Stella acoustic guitar on the sandy shores of Clam Harbour, Nova Scotia. By the mid-60s, Jim, with high school friends Myles Goodwyn, Greg Stephen, Dave Dodsworth & Doug Grace started the top 40 band, “Woodies Termites.” Jim and Myles went on to co-found the Canadian rock band, April Wine, in the fall of 1969 with Jim’s cousins, David and Ritchie Henman. Jim, David and Ritchie, along with George Mack, had formed the band Prism from late 1968 until summer 1969.  April Wine moved to Montréal in 1970, signing with Aquarius Records.

Shortly after the release of their debut album in 1971, Jim decided to leave the band, moving back to the East Coast to start a family and pursue a career in Medical Technology. While his career as a professional musician may have been put on hiatus, Jim remained connected to the musical community in Halifax, continuing to write music and performing locally.

Jim officially re-emerged onto the East Coast music scene in the 90s, co-writing and co-producing the album, More Than My Share for Cape Breton singer, Jeannie Beks. He also co-wrote the music for “Death the Musical,” a stage production performed both at Halifax’s Neptune Theatre and in French, at Théâtre Génération in Montréal. This musical score was later released on CD. In addition to writing and producing, Jim also began performing in songwriters’ circles throughout Nova Scotia, alongside artists such as Terry Kelly, Laura Smith and Cheryl Gaudet.

Despite the mainstream success of April Wine, Jim’s contribution to the band can hardly be deemed his greatest musical accomplishment. Over the past thirty years, Jim has dedicated his passion, enthusiasm and expertise to numerous projects, much of which hold special meaning in his life. One such project, “Night to Remember,” was a musical event (held annually for four years) that Jim co-produced along with Halifax entrepreneur Joe Graves, in support of recovery homes for men and women in Halifax.

In keeping a promise to his late friend, Canadian blues artist, Rick Jeffery, Jim completed and produced Rick’s final album, 13 Vultures in 2009. The CD/DVD was released at the Dutch Mason Blues Festival in July 2009 with a twenty member tribute band who performed select tracks from the album. The tribute band included various artists from the Maritime Blues scene, including, Joe Murphy, Thersea Melenfant, Pam Marsh, Wayne Nicholson, Carter Chaplin, A. Jardine, Charlie Phillips, Mike Legget, and Shirley Jackson.

In 2009 Jim was installed along with April Wine in to the Canadian Music Industry Hall Of Fame and in April 2010, Jim had the great honour of receiving a Juno award, commemorating April Wine’s induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. Indeed, this is the ultimate achievement for any musician.

For Jim, this award has been somewhat bittersweet; prompting sentiments of accomplishment and nostalgia. Yet, in many ways, this award has also provided a sense of closure on this chapter of his musical career, while  providing the ideal momentum for propelling him into new directions and establishing new beginnings as a solo artist.

Georgette Fry – AT LAST: A Tribute to Etta James

Georgette Fry Sings Etta JamesAT LAST! After a sold-out show at the 2013 Kingston Jazz Festival, Juno-nominated Georgette Fry, winner of the 2013 CBMA Blues Awards for Singer of the Year  will take to the stage at The Octave with her amazing “Georgette Sings Etta” concert.

Appearing with Georgette: Kevin Head, Mariko Ohtake, Anna Sudac (Vocals), Jon Stewart (Sax), James Wannamaker (Sax), Janet McRae (Trumpet), Dave Barton (Guitar), Zak Colbert (Bass), Ken Hall (Organ), Al McCain (Piano), Duncan Holt (Drums), Shout Sister! Choir (Gospel Back-up)

“I just want to say that I saw Georgette Fry’s tribute to Etta James at the Grand Theatre in Kingston last night and it was, without a doubt, the best show I’ve seen this year!

Georgette was SENSATIONAL and she received two standing ovations! This is definitely a MUST SEE show! …This show isn’t just for Etta James fans (of which I am)

but for anyone who wants to witness a spectacular night of blues, R&B, jazz, soul and gospel music.” C. Bode, Scully Love Promo

Watch Georgette sing “Something’s Got A Hold On Me” live on Vimeo, here

October 5th at 7:30 pm
The Octave Theatre (711 Dalton Ave)

Tickets $30 at Brian’s Record Option, Novel Idea, Renaissance Music, Tara Natural Food and at the door.For more information contact:

Nancy Greig at 613-453-6570
njgreig@absolutelymusic.on.ca

Stephen Fearing Presents Roots on the Wire – 3 Live Streaming Concerts

Stephen Fearing Roots on the Wire Live Streaming Concerts

I’m a big fan of multiple Juno winning, Canadian singer-songwriter Stephen Fearing, (Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, Fearing & White) so it is a real thrill for me to be able to work with him and to help him promote this fantastic gift to his fans and to music lovers in North America.

Roots on the Wire allows you to enjoy Stephen Fearing in a live-streaming format from the comfort of your own home, cottage, or wherever your computer takes you. The online series will be broadcast (in real-time) in three parts. Concert #1 (June 26th) – Features Fearing’s current touring show. Concert #2 (July 31st) – A complete solo performance of the Juno Award winning album Yellowjacket. Concert #3 (August 28th) – will be a set of songs chosen and voted on by you, the fans.

All shows will take place at 9:30 pm EST.

Each show is available to anyone, anywhere. For more details, visit www.stephenfearing.com

You can join the Facebook events for these concerts at the following links.  Be sure to invite your friends!

Concert #1 – June 26, 2013 – Fearing’s current touring show including songs from his new album, Between Hurricanes.

Concert #2 – July 31, 2013 – A complete solo performance of the Juno Award winning album Yellowjacket.

Concert #3 – August 28, 2013 – A set of songs chosen and voted on by the fans.

In a very stressful, busy world we don’t often take time to enjoy the little things and yet it’s so important to focus on beauty and those things that bring us joy. Stephen’s music brings me joy and I hope that if you listen in, that you will feel the same way.

Sultans of String SYMPHONY! CD Release with Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra at Koerner Hall on Dec. 1st

Sultans of String SYMPHONY! CD Release at Koerner Hall on Dec. 1, 2013Hello friends, my clients Sultans of String are thrilled to announce that advance tix are now on sale for their biggest show yet, their SYMPHONY! CD release with the Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra.

This will take place Sunday, December 1, 2013 at 7:00 PM at Toronto’s prestigious Koerner Hall. If you have not had the opportunity to see a concert at Koerner come experience this gorgeous space with this exciting show.

Koerner Hall has just announced their upcoming season and have given Sultans of String the opportunity to reach out to their fans early so you can all get great seats, starting at $25.

For those of who who have sponsored and pre-ordered albums, they are mailing them on Sept 1.  Thanks for your support!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WHO:  Sultans of String with the Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra “Symphony” CD Release Concert

WHEN:  Sunday, December 1, 2013, 7pm

WHERE:  Koerner Hall, TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning, 273 Bloor St W, Toronto

INFO/TIX:  http://performance.rcmusic.ca/event/sultans-string-cathedral-bluffs-symphony-orchestra ~ Tickets start at $25

BAND WEB:  http://www.sultansofstring.com
https://www.facebook.com/sultansofstring
https://twitter.com/sultansofstring

_____________________________________________________________

Sumptuous. Sizzling. Symphony!

On Sun. Dec 1, JUNO Award Nominees and 2x CFMA winners, Sultans of String, launch their dazzling orchestral CD, simply and perfectly titled, “Symphony!”, at Koerner Hall!

Kicking things off as a dynamic duo playing tiny cafes in 2007, this fiercely talented and hardworking indie act has been on a meteoric rise, with an astonishing number of awards and accolades in tow, and now, invitations to play the world stage and with such legendary artists as The Chieftains (whose very own Paddy Moloney appears on the new “Symphony” disc!).

Known for dizzying world music jams, polyrhythms and revved up riffs, Sultans of String can’t be pinned down — it’s Sable Island meets the Silk Road, with detours through the Gypsy-Jazz coffeehouses of Eastern Europe, the streets of Havana, next an East Coast Kitchen Party, then over to the majestic Arctic.

Sultans of String’s symphony Pops show was developed under the direction of luminary John Morris Russell, (Conductor-Cincinnati Pops Orchestra), and was scored by illustrious arranger/composer Rebecca Pellett (Toronto Symphony Orchestra, IMAX & Hollywood film productions, Barenaked Ladies).  They recently performed a triumphant 8 show run with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at Roy Thompson Hall for their Education Series, and have release concerts with SOs already scheduled into 2015.

Since their formation only 6 years ago, Sultans of String have hit #1 on world/international music charts in North America, to their quadruple 2012 Canadian Folk Music Award nominations, winning World Music Group of the Year. They also took home 1st place in the International Songwriting Competition out of 15,000 entries! The band has been recorded live for broadcast on BBC Television, SiriusXM in Washington DC, and CBC’s Canada Live.

With Symphony!, Sultans of String have brought the glorious and majestic sound of a full orchestra to their world music compositions, to create the ultimate crossover concert and recording. Due to the cost, orchestral CDs are rarely recorded on Canadian soil, but in such faraway places as Russia or Prague. “But our Canadian musicians are the best on the planet,” McKhool says, “so we put together an all-star orchestra comprised of our favourite players from the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Canadian Opera Company, Canadian Ballet Orchestra, all with no label support. We are super proud of what we achieved!”

Thanks to — Canada Council, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, FACTOR, RCM, Small World Music, Long & McQuade

Grammy Winning “Who Let The Dogs Out” Songwriter Leaves Canines Behind

Anslem DouglasFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Soca Soul Man Anslem Douglas Unleashes New Music At @ NXNE June 15th

WHO: Anslem Douglas
WHAT: Showcasing latest CD PROJECT A.D. at NXNE
WHERE: Crawford Bar718 College St. Toronto, ON / 416-530-1633
WHEN: Saturday, June 15 @11:00 pm
TICKETS: For full info please visit http://nxne.com/tickets
WEBSITES: www.anslemmusic.com  /www.crawfordbar.com
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/AnslemDouglas

TORONTO – TUESDAY, MAY 28, 2013 – Grammy Award-winning artist for the internationally acclaimed hit, “Who Let The Dogs Out” is unleashing his latest musical gems from his CD Project A.D. Trinidadian/Canadian singer-songwriter ANSLEM DOUGLAS will showcase his more soulful and funky soca self at this year’s NXNE on Saturday, June 15, with an 11:00 pm set at Crawford Bar on College St.  For more information please visit www.anslemmusic.com     

Who hasn’t heard of the 2000 massive internationally acclaimed hit and Grammy Award-winning single “Who Let The Dogs Out”? Sure it was made famous by the Baha Men, (an English band that utilized a popular style of Bahamian music called Junkanoo), but did you know it was written and recorded two years before, in the very exciting and traditional soca style by Toronto-based singer-songwriter Anslem Douglas? It was originally called “Doggie” and here is the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O27fagObxaM to that first recording which was a huge hit in the Caribbean initially and which is very different from the version that most of us know. The covered version was a chart success in many countries, and also became a popular song at U.S. sporting events and featured in the 2009 hit comedy The Hangover.

Music has always been at the core of this Trinidad-born Canadian, and the accolades that Anslem Douglas has received prove that he has made an indelible mark on the musical world stage. But his taste of the spotlight had come much earlier in his career where at 16 he cut his teeth singing in his local Pentecostal church as well as a group that formed from there called Exodus. He served and performed for the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard Band where he honed his skills further and began to incorporate his many diverse influences such as Soca greats Blakie and Lord Kitchener and international R&B superstars like Peabo Bryson and James Ingram.

It did not take Anslem very long to establish himself and be recognized as a true artist of exceptional talent. He performed with some of the biggest bands out of Trinidad like Fire Flight (with whom he recorded his first song in 1988) and Atlantik. During this time he delivered some other mega hits like “Ragga Poom Poom” and “Good Music To Dance.” Anslem has musically delved into the entire gamut of human experiences from “Friend” on the Soul Island album and “Ooh Ahh”, the smooth jazz hit produced by Eddie Bullen and written by Anslem on the same record, to the social outrage of “Abuse” featured on his Sir Anslem Douglas album released in 2000.

Fast forward to 2013. Anslem Douglas is set to “bring it” with new music to Anslem Douglasnew audiences at NXNE and more dates currently in the works for this summer. With the aim of keeping his music relevant and the desire to challenge himself, he has recorded a ten-track neo soul/pop album entitled PROJECT A.D. with most of the songs written by himself and produced by Eddie Bullen with his son Quincy Bullen. Released in the spring of 2012, it has been on heavy rotation in the U.S. and offers much more than just the traditional style soca.

This hip, upbeat album winds its way around energetic dance mix riffs and mellow grooves. The unique, husky yet sultry sound of Anslem’s vocals fit like a glove, especially on some of his more sizzling x-rated tunes like “The Sex You Give To Me,” I Ain’t Gettin’ None,” and the funkadelic and very danceable “Slap-It.” Arrangements and production is slick yet raw at the same time as evidenced in the beat-driven, house-styled tracks “Love Making” and “Forever” (where his voice sounds very reminiscent of early Seal recordings). The more psychedelic-inspired “Tony Needs a Daddy” and the soul-baring “Mrs. Brady” shows off the softer melody and lyrics from Anslem’s arsenal.

Anslem’s other contributions for 2013 include the single, “Do You Think He Will Understand”, a power Soca called “Bacchanal”, a neo-Calypso single, “Dancing With You”, and a piece written specifically for women “When You Wine.” Project A.D. and the singles are all now available on iTunes and CD Baby.

UPCOMING PERFORMANCES:

June 15 @ 11:00 pm – Crawford Bar – 718 College St. Toronto, ON / 416-530-1633

More dates soon to be announced!

For more information, photos, mp3s,  advanced CD copies, interviews, please contact:

Beverly Kreller
SPEAK Music
www.speak-music.com
bev@speak-music.com
416.922.3620
Twitter: @SPEAKMusicPR
Facebook: www.facebook.com/beverly.kreller