Happy to hear the news that my band, Lemon Bucket Orkestra, was nominated for a JUNO in the category of "World Music Album of the Year" for our debut record "Lume, Lume". A lot of hard work from a lot of amazing people has gone into this project and it's great to see the recognition.
Another nomination to report, my other band Heavyweights Brass Band tracked horns for Dubmatix's "Rebel Massive", which got a nod for "Reggae Album of the Year". Listen below!
Happy new year everyone - now that 2014 is underway I'd like to take a second to reflect on what was an incredible year of good music making and adventures. Here's the highlight of each month:
January Began the year in New York City with Lemon Bucket Orkestra, where we played a crazy New Year's Eve show at Mehanata Bulgarian Bar in Manhattan. This was the tail end of a several week trip that had us doing a play at LaMama Theatre. Definitely a cool experience!
February I attended the Berlinale Talent Campus at the Berlinale International Film Festival, as one of 300 emerging filmmakers of all disciplines chosen from around the world. It was only a week long but definitely an energizing and inspiring week!
March I begain work in earnest on Pete Eastmure's new record which I co-produced with him and Marie McCann. Recordings were done at Green Door Studios and the record was released in June. Here's the video for the first release:
April The Heavyweights Brass Band performed our mainstage debut at Koerner Hall to a packed crowd, sharing the night with the city's top jazz players, the Terry Promane / Dave Young Octet.
May Lots of great shows with my band Lemon Bucket Orkestra at the Sound Academy, Lee's Palace, Pia Bouman Studio, and a weekly residency at The Local with the Boxcar Boys.
June I traveled back to New York to attend the two-week NYU/ASCAP Film Scoring Workshop in memory of Buddy Baker. The faculty included music editor Tim Starnes (Lord of the Rings) and composers Mark Snow (X-files) and Sean Callery (24, Homeland). In late June, Lemon Bucket Orkestra toured Ontario and Quebec.
July Lemon Bucket Orkestra embarked upon a month-long tour of Eastern Europe, hitting clubs and festivals all over Ukraine, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Romania and Serbia. Super fun! This promo video features footage from the tour:
August The Heavyweights Brass Band toured central Ontario for a week and then hit the studio to record our second full-length album, set for release on March 6th.
September I began my eight-month residency at the Canadian Film Centre as a Slaight Music Residency. I've since worked on films with many interesting up and coming directors. It's an amazing program!
October I scored my first two short films at the CFC - "Many Choices", a gritty crime drama, and "Safe Socks", a cute coming-of-age comedy.
The credits from "Safe Socks" is one of the favourite tracks I wrote in the year:
November Lemon Bucket hit Montreal for the Mundial conference which has resulted in many awesome festival bookings. We are planning a cross-Canada tour this summer. Lots of interesting classes and workshops at the CFC.
December Ended the year as it started - on stage with Lemon Bucket Orkestra, and right after repeating the same play from New York, this time in front of a home crowd at Harbourfront Enwave Theatre.
This coming year, 2014, is full of amazing projects, some of which are already underway and will be announced very soon. I'm very lucky to be busy making great music with great people. Onward and upward!
I've been selected to participate in the Slaight Music Residency at the Canadian Film Centre. This is a very excited program, the only educational program centred on film scoring in Canada that I know of, and it works very well for me because it's basically a part-time professional residency, rather than a full-time degree. The CFC is a small and highly focused film school, more like a conservatory, not at all like a university, and I've met some extraordinarily talented directors, writers, actors, editors and producers so far. It's really going to kickstart my career as a film composer and I'm very excited. Especially because I applied last year for the inaugural session, and was shortlisted.
Mychael Danna is returning as programme chair and I'm looking forward to meeting with him. But I've already had an amazing two week bootcamp with Toronto composers who generously shared their knowledge and expertise on every topic possible. I really feel like I'm being welcomed into the industry, and it's a good feeling.
Here's the gang, all outstanding musicians and lovely new friends:
Great news from two of my bands - I've been nominated for a total of FIVE Canadian Folk Music Awards. One from the Boxcar Boys (Instrumental Group of the Year), and four from Lemon Bucket Orkestra (Instrumental Group of the Year, Traditional Album of the Year, World Music Album of the Year, New/Emerging Artist of the Year).
Nice to see representation from many of my friends in the Toronto area too - Jaron Freeman Fox, Trent Severn, Good Lovelies, Jaffa Road, etc. etc. So much good music going on in this city!
My good friends in the Toronto world music band Ventanas asked me last year if I'd be interested in recording their debut album, having done a demo track at my apartment previously. There were many challenges associated with recording a five-piece acoustic band live off the floor in a basement apartment. But we managed to do it, and the results turned out really great.
Last night the debut self-titled CD was officially released to the world, it's my first full album credit as producer, engineer and mixer, and I'm very proud to have been a part of it.
As for the music, it's an absolutely spellbinding mix of Balkan folk, Flamenco, Sephardic Jewish song, Greek, Turkish, Persian and more. And the musicians are incredible, with Tamar Illana heading the band on vocals. Here are two of my favourite tracks from the record - listen for the flamenco dancer towards the end of "Una Hora"!