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

Black History Month - African-Canadian divas

African-Canadian performers have long faced prejudice and deeply ingrained racial stereotypes within the entertainment world. These six women, singers who sometimes also worked as stage actresses and TV performers, overcame those challenges to become stars in Canada and around the world. The trails they blazed created pathways for other Canadian black female entertainers to follow. Portia White Canada’s first black concert singer to gain international fame, Portia White came from a family steeped in African-Canadian history: her mother was a descendant of Black Loyalists in Nova Scotia, while her father was the son of former slaves from Virginia. Born on June 24, 1911 in Truro, Nova Scotia, ...
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Liner Notes: True North at 50

Everything has to start somewhere. For True North Records and Bruce Cockburn, the beginning can be traced to April 7, 1970. On that spring day in Toronto, a remarkably mild and sunny one, by all accounts, True North was auspiciously born with the release of Cockburn’s first solo album. The reviews for the record were universally ecstatic. One newspaper said it deserved “nothing but praise,” while another called the album “quite simply the best thing to happen in Canadian music since Joni Mitchell.” It was the start of a long and fruitful partnership between label and artist. Over the next 50 years, True North would issue another 33 albums by the acclaimed singer-songwriter (along with hundre...
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Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan: Musical Missions and Spiritual Highs

When Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan performs, people get high. They break into tears, fall into trances and feel like they’re flying. They may even see God. It’s something the Pakistani singer’s proud of—actually it’s his mission in life. Yet Khan, who performs Sunday with his seven-member “Party” at Roy Thomson Hall, has nothing to do with drug-induced states of ecstasy. As the world’s leading performer of qawwali, the devotional music of Sufi Muslims, his approach is purely spiritual. It’s a tradition that dates back to the 12th and 13th centuries. Sufi poems, praising Allah and his prophets to music, are sung in Urdu, Punjabi or the original Persian language. And a qawwali ...
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