Gordon Lightfoot Book, Music and More!

The home of music journalist Nicholas Jennings, author of Lightfoot, the definitive new Gordon Lightfoot biography from Penguin Random House.

Music Feature: The sonic balm of Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Now that the turmoil of recent times has passed, Joseph Shabalala can look back fondly on those halcyon days nearly 10 years ago when his group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, first joined Paul Simon on tour.The South African vocal ensemble had sung two songs with Simon on his critically acclaimed Graceland album, but those had been in English. And Shabalala wasnt sure how audiences would respond to his group's Zulu material."It was a real culture shockk when we stepped onstage," admitted the modest, soft-spoken singer, during a tour stop outside Chicago. "I was so worried that people would be discouraged by our language."The shock was, of course, they weren't. From the moment audiences ...
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Music Review: Paul Simon - Graceland

Paul Simon’s new album, Graceland, opens with an accordion wheezing erratically, as if trying to catch its breath. Then, a thundering drumbeat and a pulsing bass gradually add a more certain rhythm. By the time Simon begins to sing, the strange music has cast a hypnotic spell. That first song, “The Boy in the Bubble,” is a stirring introduction to the colorful sounds of South African music, a topsy-turvy world where guitars play the role of percussion instruments instead of providing the melody, and voices create rhythmic accents. Simon recorded “Bubble,” like much of Graceland, in both Johannesburg and New York. By melding the traditional, vigorous urban sounds of black South Afri...
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Music Feature: Adrian Miller - Canada's King of Ska

Toronto loves ska music, the Jamaican-born style that’s a lot like reggae played at 78 rpm.Witness the large number of local outfits—including King Apparatus, Skaface, Hopping Penguins and One—playing that speedy, syncopated sound.Meanwhile, British groups like the Specials, Madness and English Beat have always enjoyed a huge following in this city. Last month’s Skavoovee show, featuring members of those bands plus veterans the Skatalites, drew over 1,400 devotees alone.Further proof of Toronto’s love affair with ska can be found at Harbourfront Centre’s massive New Year’s Eve celebrations tomorrow night. Headlining the bash is singer Adrian Miller, Canada’s own king of ska. And op...
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