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.

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Obituaries, Books

Gil Scott-Heron - The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

He has been called the godfather of rap, but Gil Scott-Heron steadfastly refuses to bask in any hip-hop glory. It isn’t that the writer of such classics as “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” doesn’t see any relationship between his jazz-poetry and today’s rap music. Nor is it that the 44-year-old artist isn’t flattered by all the attention from the hip-hop generation. It’s just that Scott-Heron—who performs at the Phoenix Concert Theatre with local rappers Nu Black Nation opening—wants people to make other connections. With his music, for one thing. “I was a pianist before I was a poet,” says Scott-Heron, “and music is as much a part of what I do as poetry. “Rappers seem to be more rhyth...
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Sheila Chandra - Drone Sweet Drone

One of the most beguiling albums of the summer of 1994 is Sheila Chandra's The Zen Kiss (Real World/Virgin). Like Chandra’s previous Weaving My Ancestors' Voices, it's a recording of solo voice with simple drone-note accompaniment. But the songs are so rich and the vocal techniques so entrancing that the album comes across as a deep, full-bodied work. The Zen Kiss draws on influences as diverse as Islamic, Andalusian, Bulgarian and Celtic musics. And, of course, being of East Indian heritage, Chandra also employs ragas and classical Indian musical ornamentations—always anchored by the incessant drone. As she writes in the liner notes: "The concept of drone has been important in bringing thes...
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k-os and the changing sound of hip-hop

Pigeonholing is an act of laziness, while stereotyping stems from ignorance and prejudice. Either way, for those targeted, it’s a cultural straitjacket—something that Kevin Brereton knows all too well. Growing up black in middle-class Whitby, Ontario, Brereton discovered that corner-store owners only suspected him of shoplifting, never his white friends. As k-os, Brereton learned that narrow musical definitions would restrict him from singing as well as rapping, and from adding acoustic guitar and piano to hip-hop’s usual soundscape. But he did it anyway. “It’s just how I express myself,” says Brereton modestly. “It doesn’t make me a revolutionary.” Modesty aside, k-os is in the vanguard of ...
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