Archive | June, 2016

Up Close and Personal at Burlington Sound of Music’s Grand Finale 2016

The Mohrs singer channeled Janis Joplin and the whole band was incredible. See and hear them here, they will knock you out of the park! http://themohrsband.com/home. Jackie Mohr fronts the band and has music running through her veins. Coolest chic EVER.http://www.newcanadianmusic.ca/releases/p/perfectly-sane-single/the-mohrs/2014-03-26

20160619_142105Unlike the local newspaper, I am not focused on the numbers that attended the free music festival. 200,000 fans is not too shabby over the course of 5 days. If you ask anyone how successful it was, just ask its fans! The atmosphere was so positive, so groovy, like minded music fans saw the Sound of Music Festival as a chance to celebrate Canadian music, show our appreciation for artists trying to change the world, one guitar strum at a time. Yes there was a heat warning. Did we find shade? Yes marvelous shade under the cherry trees, under canopies, at the city hall there were plenty of shady spots too.

The best part was getting up close and personal with the artists. Sean McCann formerly of Great Big Sea took fan photos after his set, and I was not more than 10 feet in front of the stage, sitting comfortably, with no one blocking my view.

Many of the acts were easily accessible, and for a few minutes here and there, you could approach the stage, take your awesome close up photos, get shooed out for not having a press pass, claim innocence, back out towards the gate and retreat victoriously to the shady trees at your leisure with smart phone photos galore. With the breeze coming off the lake, it was totally do-able.

The Mohrs offered original music, with lyrics reflecting modern poetry, like “nobody perfectly sane would want to be with you…” Super catchy, and we’ve all crossed paths with someone in our lives that fits just that bill. Which makes it so much fun to sing along and nod, yes, we love this song! We were very impressed with their energy and charisma and solid talent. Great to see you all perform in Burlington!

Jordan Haller performed on Brant street on Sunday and was very impressive. http://www.jordanhaller.com/#music-section (below, bottom, second from left). Definitely talented. Even a non-tween can appreciate his original music and pop-vibe. The Lighthouse (bottom center picture) may surprise you when you realize you grew up with their songs being played on your parents radio, their fan base was huge on the OLG stage and you can reminisce and enjoy their music here…http://www.lighthouserockson.com/history.html. They relive their glory days these days performing much to the delight of their appreciative fans.

Junkhouse https://www.facebook.com/JUNKHOUSEHAMILTON a band that has performed all over the world, showed that we were truly heart and soul, rock and roll. It was great to hear them praise Hamilton, just across the bridge, and tell their story about their humble beginnings. You see, Hamilton and Burlington are neighbors. We share the same air, the same Lake Ontario, we share the Royal Botanical Gardens, we share a love for music. Russ Wilson on bass below…20160619_153908

Not only is Junkhouse cool, interesting, and talented in an off the beaten track kind of way, lead singer Tom Wilson has that “smart kind of funny because it’s true”, story-telling personality. Unbelievably true! I laughed my head off at those inbetween song stories. Best part is, this is a cool guy with tons of presence, that actually cares not only about his fans, but about the world. Hamilton’s The Red Hill Valley http://theredhillvalleys.com/ fans below, attended the Junkhouse show which was fantastic. I happened to meet lead singer in a guitar shop in Oakville, then I see these fans sporting the t-shirt. That is a good enough reason to mention them in this Hamilton home grown section of talent. A victory for one Hamilton band can pave the way for more steel town talent to take on the world. http://theredhillvalleys.com/music20160619_155015

Tom Wilson of Junkhouse did not depart the stage without leaving a lasting impression by addressing the crowd to be proud of who they are, where they came from, about being nicer and more patient with the people we share this planet with, and that he had faith that this world can and will be a better place to live for all of us if we just start with that. Benevolence becomes Junkhouse, thank you for that.

The Burlington Sound of Music was a first hand experience of artistic musical expressions. As each artist took each fan into their confidence, they drew us closer. Many of the musicians understood that they had a medium to bring people together beyond language borders by entering through each and every one of our hearts.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0de2W97x_Yg, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-FuQ0h0zPo That you did, Junkhouse, keep shining.20160619_153859[1]

 

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Croatia, 24 hours in Action packed Zagreb and the Euro Cup

20160621_192442I just got back from 24 hours in Croatia which was preceded by 24 hours in Paris, where, many Croatians travelled to Paris, then Bordeaux by train, to attend the Euro Cup Games. I had the good fortune to be in Zagreb, Croatia where the streets and squares were adorned with Red and White checkered attire symbolizing the crest of the Croatian flag and the biggest TVs I have ever seen were setup all over the city.20160621_18152120160621_200710

I was lucky to be with an extremely knowledgeable Portugal-qualified soccer (or as they say in Europe) football fan on my crew who gave me the inside knowledge as Croatia played a very exciting game against Spain and ultimately won.

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We watched the game in the streets passing through Ban Jelacic square (pronounced Ban Yelachich). We also watched in the streets from our wooden booths in Kava Tava (Ulica=street, 10000 Ivana Tkalcica pronounced Tkalchicha) and sipped cappucinos to nurse our jet lag back to some semblance of normal. It was an emotional evening and ultimately celebratory and I really enjoyed the energy surrounding us.

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Scenes from Kava Tava Cafe…

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Nothing better than hugging and yelling and crying with strangers that are my brethren once removed. The street of Tkalicica is lined with wonderful outdoor tables, cafes, restaurants to cruise on a pedestrian street in the Upper Town of Zagreb.

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Kava Tava (www.kavatava.com) had many surprises, inside and out, with tea cups imbedded in the wooden booth outdoor seating and passenger airplane seating inside with all kinds of creative touches inside you will want to capture on film and say, you were there! Kava Tava appeals to the flight attendant in all of us, we can’t really put our finger on it, but the creativity of the decor is travel inspired, to say the least.

A very short, action-packed layover, and just a snapshot of Zagreb’s many cool places to be should you find yourself passing through. More exciting places will be added as my layovers in Zagreb progress into the summer.20160621_22064520160621_22191920160621_192546

Currently Air Transat (www.airtransat.com) flies direct to Zagreb, Croatia on your way to the most beautiful coastline and national parks like Plitvice’s turquoise lakes and hundreds of waterfalls which you can view in this blog as well as many wonderful places in the Bay of Kvarner and the island of Krk. See you there! Below, see the hand that beckons.

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The art and numerous hill inspired cafe’s that decorate simple, picturesque allies in Zagreb, Croatia. This is no stuffy, Croatian capital. The hills are alive with the sound of music, art, soccer and bustling evenings lived outdoors all summer long.20160621_20125220160621_19351520160621_20111420160621_19325720160621_19441420160621_222612In the words of Kava Tava Cafe, I could not have said it better, but only, after the Euro Cup Game. 🙂

Burlington Sound of Music 2016 Rejuvenates the Crowds of Fans

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Young Rivals rocked the TD stage on Saturday June 18,2016…all photos and article by Paula Erskine

Still one more day left for seeing free concerts in Burlington Ontario Canada have a look and listen to the jam packed list of talented acts that will make you proud to be Canadian or impressed by your Canadian neighbors who don’t all live in Igloos… http://www.soundofmusic.ca/schedule.

In no particular order in terms of talent, I can share some wonderful images and a commentary about one of the best FREE things to attend in this end of Ontario, which is the Burlington Sound of Music Festival, of which I was privileged to attend at least three partial days due to my limited time in Canada during the flying season.

I cannot hide the fact that I did not see all of the acts, so I am no judge, and nobody likes a critic, but, of the acts I did catch, I cannot deny that there were some favourites. In other words, the following acts will exceed your expectations and actually blew us away because their music emits tremendous heart, soul and talent. The three acts that we loved so far:

Leahy, a family from Lakefield Ontario that performs with a family of 10, with violins, accordian, irish dancing, guitar, drums, gorgeous harmony and a family of 10 brothers and sisters that came from musician parents. Music is in their blood, heart and soul, and if you know anyone who has an inkling for music, they hold a music camp http://www.leahymusiccamp.com. I have no pictures, but they won the entire crowd over, with many surprises, reminding us what it is to have both top notch yet down to earth performance skills as well as incredible talent. They were delightful to watch, what a show on the OLG stage!

Another favourite was Dylan Menzie whose cd I bought called adolescent nature. https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=dylan+menzie&view=detailv2&qpvt=dylan+menzie&id=48F237B3EBC74EC1BE9121F9DA7EBFC3A2D3BC24&selectedIndex=2&ccid=ikjuwZ6z&simid=608001154928674259&thid=OIP.M8a48eec19eb3746632131a31166a2df7o0&ajaxhist=0 Dylan Menzie blew us away, he is so talented, musically, vocally, he is the real deal, with terrific lyrics and great vibes. You have to hear this guy! He is young, with a finger on the pulse of the youth, yet somehow, a wise soul, singing his heart out. We feel you Dylan!https://www.facebook.com/dylanmenzieband. If you want your kids to listen to what talent really sounds like, he is it. And as an adult, I did not find it juvenile at all, only that it brought back memories and that youthful feeling we all hold in our hearts, which never ages.

Sean McCann, formerly of Great Big Sea, really poured his enlightened heart out, and bravely, boldly, shared personal details on his journey through sobriety, the friends he gave up, and the incredible soul searching journey that has given him a new perspective that took his already talented self to new heights in terms of musical giftedness. Sean McCann absolutely has emoted into a higher self that is very much down to earth, very deep, undeniably talented all on his own. His music, his presence poured vibrations out into the entire atmosphere starting from the Cogeco stage on Brant street in the city hall square. His music will make your hair stand on end! He is oozing with incredible vibrations, you can call it the X factor, and perhaps his journey of ups and downs made him who he is today. He is what we call a realized soul. His power, inspirations and talent were previously clouded, but now they pour out through his songs and presence, unimpeded, just free flowing, and without ego.He admitted that he was previously an angry man, but had discovered, that anger, just wants to hurt. Great music in my view, does not necessarily come from an uneventful life, but rather, can be a positive outlet to work out  painful situations that others can relate to. We feel you, Sean, and we can relate.Sean McCann at Burlington Sound of Music Festival 2016. All photos and article by Paula Erskine

It reminds me that there are people, and musicians out there, who have the power to touch our soul once they wake up from the material world and get back to the reasons they got into the music business in the first place. His music is authentically filled with reflection and beauty. Sean McCann also played some favourites from the Great Big Sea days for the crowd and encouraged everyone to sing, saying “we’re all on this path together.” http://www.seanmccannsings.com/ find his wonderful new self here.https://www.facebook.com/GreatBigSean.

Having named names in terms of favourites, and only because it is impossible to see all 100 concerts because many of them are happening simultaneously, I will share a few more acts that I curated from my limited time to attend the festival this year. Here we go…

Let’s talk about the Young Rivals! What most impressed me  and my friend Kathleen about the Young Rivals was the drummer who took turns seamlessly singing and drumming at the same time, try it, just the thought of it! Kathleen and I felt that they way they played was reminiscent of how the Beatles harmonized and sang and rocked. We enjoyed them in the afternoon under some shady cherry trees in Spencer Smith Park. Young Rivals can be found here if you want to watch and listen to their music https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-b8CwNHAx54 and are one of over 100 FREE concerts offered over a 4 day period every year around Father’s Day Weekend which is not to be missed! On second listen, they definitely have a Beatles vibe.

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Young Rivals above.20160618_145531

Enjoying shade under the cherry trees of Spencer Smith Park while breathing in Canadian music, and soaking up the summer.20160618_200016

The boats docked at Burlington’s inlet for some superb views as the music carried over the waves of Lake Ontario, Canada20160618_201223

A few of my favourite attendees…20160618_201744

The Fast Romantics infused the stage with talent, style, charisma, groove, with 6 members in chic rockin’ black and white. They are all so talented and good looking, if you will permit us to say, when the female keyboardist surprised us with playing the horn, we kind of wished all the arrangement had allowed us to hear only her playing, so she could shine a bit more. As it is, they are pretty great, but we would love to hear some musicians shine during different periods throughout the songs. When I heard they had  played with the Sheepdogs from Saskatchewan, I knew they must be talented, takes one talented band, to know another talented band. Well worth seeing, and you can see them here too http://fastromantics.com/

 

Hawksley Workman rounded out the evening talent at the Cogeco stage on Brant street with a huge crowd that spilled in to the streets. Hawksley it seems, is a poet, generally is very down to earth, has some interesting things he does with his voice, mostly at the end of his songs, which we would love to hear more of. But we didn’t mind his artistic, poetic ramblings about trees wrapped in decorative Christmas lights and Thomasville has a sale. His rantings were smoothly and poetically delivered, revealing a calm appreciation for life and a tough journey http://hawksleyworkman.com/. This is someone who was not shy about his spiritual ponderings and gratitude for quiet mornings drinking tea and filling up the bird feeder. Very pleasant and curious, we enjoyed his company. See Hawksley Workman working it in the pic below.

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Sean McCann at the Burlington Sound of Music Festival 2016-Heart and Soul

Sean McCann at Burlington Sound of Music Festival 2016. All photos and article by Paula Erskine

The Fast Romantics were super cool…20160618_20154620160618_201550

Glasgow, Scotland See, Do, Be

All photos and article by Paula ErskineGlasgow, Scotland all photos Paula ErskineKelvingrove Park beside Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum has some of the best trails and things to do in Glasgow, Scotland. Museums in Scotland, Ireland and England are almost always free to the public, which is a great incentive and quite an in-depth European education for travelers. I thoroughly enjoyed the Kelvingrove Museum which also had a great cafe inside check out http://www.glasgowlife.org.uk/museums/kelvingrove/Pages/default.aspx.

Trails along the river near the museum and along the park are shady with sun beaming through and glorious blooms, set against historical buildings, statues and fountains. Three days of sunshine did not go unappreciated by locals who gathered at parks, and shopping street steps to listen to exceptional buskers along Sauchiehall’s pedestrian shopping streets. We enjoyed our lunches, sometimes in the company of like-minded strangers. Side by side, we gather to thank the weather and soak up fresh air and rejuvenate our active selves. Marks and Spencer an Sainsbury have food halls which offer cheaper picnic lunches. A good tip for a cheap dinner is to visit Marks and Spencer 1 hour to 30 minutes before closing, where the yellow price tag gun comes out and discounts the sandwiches, salads, and casseroles before they expire for good. It is a frenzy of the fittest.

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Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow, Scotland above.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow where I will in the near future enjoy a java at this beautiful skylighted Saramago Cafe in a courtyard hidden inside the CCA. What a gem! It is located at 350 Sauchiehall street (which are wonderful pedestrian streets that are often full of locals and tourists milling about).  I enjoyed two award winning films there for free which were excellent!http://www.glasgowlife.org.uk/museums/kelvingrove/Pages/default.aspx

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The first free film at the CCA was called “Borrowed Time” by Alice May Williams and will be playing from May 28th-July 10th 2016. It is a film that won the JERWOOD/FVU awards. It has a very deep, meaningful, meditative narrative that is juxtaposed against an industrial landscape and I really enjoyed all 16 minutes of it. Indeed, it is a film that reflects upon our current actions and how they may impact our future, hence the name, “Borrowed Time.” The narrative will surprise you. 20160602_174026[1]20160602_161315[1]

The second film by Karen Kramer was centred around the Fukushima nuclear reactor and the consequences of the disaster. Images from nature float in front of the camera with plastics and refuse and Japanese wisdom translated into English subtitles tell a different story. Even though the images sometimes show dilapidated buildings and refuse, the narrative again, is like poetry, life lessons, something that must be re-visited because it is ancient and wise. The CCA is a treasure trove to visit and thought provoke, with a unique book store and gift shop for the curious shopper. 20160602_190305[1]

If that is not enough reason to visit Glasgow, let me tell you about an alternative theatre known affectionately as the GTF standing for Glasgow Film and Theater. I just saw one of the best films I have ever seen called Sing Street, an Irish award winning film set in the 80’s with fantastic music, great actors and great music.Here is the trailer, it is an irresistible film you will want to see again! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYk2Vx1z6lk. Wait till you hear the improvised songs they come up with, like “Riddle of the Model,” truly hilarious and feel good. The movie epitomizes the phrase “good vibrations.”The Theatre is also at one end of Sauchiehall street where the pedestrian part ends and meets with 12 Rose Street. You will clearly see it at this junction point where 60 seater cinemas treat the public to carefully curated films for about eight and a half pounds.http://www.glasgowfilm.org/theatre. There are also courses and different kinds of memberships you can have to lower your overall costs. If you love alternative and award winning films, and not always spoon fed Hollywood stuff, there are tons of great films to choose from. Enjoy Glasgow, Scotland, the land of the brave new hearts.

What I am planning for my next trip to Glasgow…

ps. Around the corner from the GTF are these interesting places to visit, next time, I will be sure to support some local, artsy places, including The Project Cafe, which has a terrace, poetry corner and is situated 2 blocks away on a quieter street, beside a fabric store. Up the street is St. Aloysius Church, which is sure to be interesting architecturally and house art in different forms. Until we meet again, Glasgow, keep up the great efforts, friendly dispositions and artistic endeavors.

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