Archive for parachute club

LORRAINE SEGATO: From Artist In Residence To Wild Woman

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 10, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

I first met Lorraine Segato in 1979, or was it 1980? It doesn’t matter, really. She was fronting Mama Quilla II, a local Toronto band, and I caught their show somewhere on  Queen St W, probably The ls1Cameron House, or The Horseshoe Tavern, she advised me. Recently, I had been informed that she was currently the Artist in Residence for Regent Park, a Toronto community in the midst of revitalization. Curious, I made arrangements to sit down with her, and learn more about the Residency.

Spearheaded by Mitchell Cohen, President of Daniels Corp., a Toronto developer actively involved in re-building Regent Park, the program is designed to enhanced the community’s arts and cultural scene. The unlikely union of Segato, a lifelong social activist, and Cohen, a corporate big wig, was made possible by Cohen’s dedication to the arts, and to Regent Park. As the first Artist in Residence, Segato’s 2 year term allows her to build the framework and template of a program, that all future Residents will follow.

Her mission includes finding new ways to enrich, celebrate, and draw attention to this changing neighborhood. Her vision is selflessly awe inspiring. While developing the cultural and artistic talent pool of Regent Park, Segato envisions turning this into an international venture, by offering Residencies to artists around the globe. To help achieve this lofty goal, she has created 3 projects. First, she has recorded a new version of her iconic song, ‘Rise Up‘, first recorded by Parachute Club in 1983.  ‘Rize Time‘ has a gospel arrangement, and an introduction  by Regent Park poet, Mustafah. Proceeds from its sale will ls2be donated to the Regent Park Artist in Residency program. She has created ‘The Legacy Salon‘, a 5 part series in which she interviews people who have contributed to the culture of Toronto. And finally, she is about to launch ‘Wild Women (Don’t Get The Blues)‘, a 5 part cabaret series in which she, and other artists perform the music of female singers who, she believes, impacted music significantly. The illustrious list includes Etta James, Amy Winehouse, and Annie Lennox. Segato informed me that there will also be a special guest from Regent Park performing. How cool is that?

Driven by her desire to give back, Segato states that she is looking to teach others from the mistakes she has made. Giving back is the key for her. She feels it is her civic duty to help. The sense that the more you give, the more you get seems to permeate her Residency. Given all that she has accomplished, and all that she has given, I believe it to be true. I am impressed. With the program, and with the woman. If the Artist In Residency was an elected position, Lorraine Segato has my vote.

So, if you live in Toronto, or live nearby, head down to Regent Park, and take a look at the transformation. Check out the PaintBox Bistro on Dundas St E., and catch ‘Wild Women (Don’t Get The Blues)’. 



To purchase ‘Rize Time”:

To find out more about ‘Wild Women (Don’t Get The Blues)’:







I, The Jury Or Rather, The Judge

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 23, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

ciwI was recently offered to be a judge at Canada Indie Week. I was honored and I was distraught. I have never believed that it was possible or even appropriate to have musical competitions. What is it that is being judged? It seems to me that it is just too subjective. I always believed that The Beatles were the greatest band ever. I still do. Yet The Beatles never released Dark Side Of The Moon. Pink Floyd on the other hand, never released Rubber Soul or Revolver. How do we accommodate for genre? Do we judge the material? Should more weight be given to the melody or the technical aspects? Do we consider commercial appeal and success? I have no idea! Yet I agreed to judge Indie bands in order to assist in determining the Indie Band of 2013. And so, I gathered my thoughts, and headed out to fulfill my duty as a Canada Indie Week judge.



My venue for Thursday night was Czehowski’s, a nice, non descript bar on Queen St. W. I signed in and was given a pen, and 4 score sheets. I was to judge 4 bands in areas of stage presence, performance, image, crowd response, song writing and ready for the next level. Who knew it would be this difficult? Could I be that objective? Isn’t objectivity subjective? But enough of my philosophical ramblings. Let the bands begin!! The night opened with J.J. and The Platters. A decent rock band with great energy and good songs. The crowd enjoyed them, and J.J. had good command of the stage. Something was missing though. There was nothing original, nothing unique in their music.  Nothing distinctive. Next up, Xprime. I had seen this Niagara Falls band on several occasions during the past 2 years and was amazed at how they had developed. They blew me away. They blew the crowd away. Their energy, intricate songs and amazing harmonies made them a tough act to follow. I will be writing a review on Xprime as soon as I hear their upcoming album. I spent the rest of the evening speaking with this band, getting a sense of where they were headed. Phil Taylor, the drummer, manager, booking agent and business manager is on top of it. These guys play bars, corporate gigs, and private functions and put their earnings back into the band to fund recording projects. Smart and talented.  Following Xprime was an unenviable place to be. So much so, that I cannot remember the other 2 bands who played that night.

As for the venue, there were not enough monitors for the bands and not enough lights to read the score sheet. The server was incredible, loaning me her flashlight so I could mark my scores. Thank you.

Friday night took me to The Silver Dollar Room, a venue I had played many times, a long time ago. Surprisingly it looked exactly the same. In fact, I think I recognized some of the stains. Its nice to know some things never change. I got my score sheets and pen and sat at the seat with the best vantage point in the bar. Once again I was to judge 4 bands.

Boy + Kite

Boy + Kite

Sue Newberry & The Law

Sue Newberry & The Law

Boy + Kite, an amazingly cool band out of Austin, Texas took the stage 1st.  I liked their music. They were innovative and had a unique edge. I chatted with them after their set and picked up an Ep and a full album. Very cool band. They are also due for a review. Next up, The Waxmen, a power trio with some nice songs, but nothing I haven’t heard before. Talented musicians who still need to find an edge.   Sue Newberry And The Law followed. A kind of Parachute Club approach to the music, but this girl can sing. Nice harmonies, and original, but lacking energy. Cool sound though. Finally, Maladies of Adam Stokes, an interesting band that supports a Dylanesque front man. Good songs, cool image, but lacking in uniqueness. All in all a pretty good night.

passesWhen I left The Silver Dollar Room I realized that it is impossible for me to be completely objective in my judging of music. I have my biases, my likes and dislikes. I have been around music long enough to know what I like and don’t like as soon as I hear it. It is not judgemental to prefer one genre over another. It is what makes music universal. There is something for everyone. I will not judge again. It is too stressful, too anxiety provoking. I have lost sleep and I have lost some sense of innocence. Next year, I will just go from venue to venue checking out the bands and writing about Indie Week. It is a lot simpler for me, and it does not wreck havoc on my conscience.

Radio That Doesn’t Suck. All the time.