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

Gordon Lightfoot - Just Like a Paperback Novel

I’m driving north up Toronto’s Bayview Avenue on a winter’s night in early January. I turn east on Post Road and into the Bridle Path neighbourhood, an ultra-posh enclave known as “Millionaire’s Row.” I slow down opposite Rapper Drake’s monster palace, complete with indoor basketball court, and turn toward the stately home that belongs to Gordon Lightfoot.Much had transpired since the publication of my book, Lightfoot. For one thing Lightfoot reached the milestone age of 80, celebrating with a benefit concert in his hometown of Orillia. For another, he was in the spotlight for a feature-length documentary that had him discussing his storied career and timeless back catalogue of songs, a...
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Music Feature: Irish balladeers Andy Irvine and Paul Brady

Any traditional music from the British Isles, when played well, can breathe history as if aged in wood. A pair of young Irish folksingers stopped briefly in Toronto to give listeners a taste of the bittersweet ballads and jaunty jigs from another era.Paul Brady and Andy Irvine are former members of Planxty, a now defunct Irish band whose versatile music won them fans all over Europe. As a duo, Brady and Irvine provide all the moods and memories of their homeland, captured in songs of classical splendour.Their performance at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Education Auditorium gave the audience tales as strange as the instruments to which they’re sung: “Wearing the Britches,” an admitt...
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Music Feature: Tarig Abubakar and the rise of African music in Toronto

On a cool June night in 1988, Tarig Abubakar found himself walking along a desolate highway near Montreal’s Mirabel Airport, a bewildered stranger in an even stranger land. The Sudanese-born musician had just arrived on a flight from the motherland seeking to start a new life in Canada. But, without a friend or relation to greet him, his luggage lost in transit and with only $10 in his pocket, he was a lost soul. Four Haitians spotted him—a weary black figure dressed in a disheveled white suit—and offered him a ride. When they learned his circumstances and that he had no destination, they took him to Ballatou, an African music club in downtown Montreal. Being English-speaking,...
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