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

King Sunny Adé - The African Beat

After exhausting the musical possibilities of rhythm and blues over the past 30 years, pop music is searching for ways to rejuvenate itself. The Police found success with their own brand of Jamaican reggae, and such bands as Talking Heads, the English Beat and Culture Club have eagerly borrowed ingredients from other Third World sources. Now musicians— including the Police—are turning to Africa for inspiration. Of all the sounds to come out of that continent recently the most influential—and exotic—is the juju music of Nigeria’s King Sunny Adé. Last week Adé played two triumphant concerts in Montreal and Toronto to coincide with Synchro System, his first album to be released in Canada. ...
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Maestro leads the big rap attack

It begins with one of the most recognizable riffs in Canadian music: a simple piano intro that goes “dum, da-da-dadum, da-dum, da-da-da-dum.” Written by CanRock legends Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings, it’s the introduction to “These Eyes,” the Guess Who’s massive international hit of 1969. But then a sliding guitar cuts in, followed by some thumping bass and drums. By the time a voice starts rapping about being “in this game a long, long time,” the song has been transformed into something entirely different. “It’s Stick to Your Vision,” the new hit by Maestro, the Canadian artist formerly known as Maestro Fresh Wes. “I’ve seen a lot of valleys, I’ve seen a lot of peaks,” he reminisces in ...
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Dream Warriors - A fresh spin on rap

The setting was a public-housing unit in the Toronto suburb of Willowdale. But the two young men were basking in an unmistakably Caribbean atmosphere. The townhouse was filled with the pungent smell of a West Indian fish fry, and a video of a Jamaican reggae dance was playing on the TV. It seemed an unlikely base for two of the fastest-rising stars in rap music, a musical style more associated with U.S. ghettos than Canadian suburbs. But Caribbean-born King Lou (Louis Robinson) and Capital Q (Frank Allert) have made a name for themselves, as the Dream Warriors, by revolutionizing rap music. Said Q: “Everyone’s accustomed to rap with guys swearing and bragging about themselves and violence. W...
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