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Music

Bytown’s Best Beers

By Matt Harrison

It’s a golden age of sorts. Golden suds that is. Awash in beer, the capital’s not quite drowning but rather happily drifting along in a frothy sea of microbrews. Last count finds the area home to at least two-dozen breweries and growing.

Not confined to area pubs and bars, the breweries themselves have become tourist destinations such as Beau’s Oktoberfest in September (less chance of snow!), or Les Brasseurs du Temps, a beautiful stone brewery located in Hull’s former waterworks building with patios overlooking — fittingly — Brewery Creek, an arm of the Ottawa River.

What’s driving this industry? The answer is found in the hardworking brewmasters who pride themselves in being natural and authentic. But to stand out, you also have to be a little quirky (the Broadhead team brags about giving up shaving for its craft) or take a mad-scientist approach to experimenting (an Earl Grey Marmalade Saison anyone?), or get creative with naming beers (Bog WaterPink FuzzHeller Highwater).

We asked some of the city’s top brewers to talk about what makes this city’s suds scene so great.

Father-son team, Tim and Steve Beauchesne of Beau’s Brewery. Photo courtesy of Beau’s.

Beau’s Brewing Co. (Since 2006)
Steve Beauchesne, co-founder, and CEO

What makes your brewery unique?
Our close-knit family and friends, company culture, and each of the beers we brew.

What is your favourite beer?
Bog Water. It started us on a path of experimentation, and has spawned so many interesting projects. When we decided to brew a Gruit beer [brewed with herbs other than hops], I don’t think we fully realized how much it would impact our brewery. Now with a full-time Gruit program, and as originators of International Gruit Day, it is something that many brewers [worldwide] look to us as experts on.

Les Brasseurs du Temps (Since 2009)
Alain Geoffroy, president

What makes your brewery unique?
BDT is the first craft brewery established on the Quebec side of the Outaouais. It is literally a temple of beer brewing more than 35 different types of beer [always 17 fresh beers on the menu], located in a heritage centennial building and featuring a self-guided beer museum.

What are your most underrated and favourite beers?
Underrated: L’Allumante is our nut brown ale. Despite the fact that it is our second best-selling beer [OK, not really underrated!], it remains, to my point of view, one of the best American-style nut brown ales you can find: a subtle nutty flavour sustained by a long and smooth bitterness. Favourite: La Framboyante, our raspberry pale ale. Fruit beers tend to be oversweet to my taste. La Framboyante has a perfect balance of bitterness [like biting into the raspberry seed] and sweetness of the fruit.

Brewery Kichesippi Beer Co. (Since 2010)
Paul Meek, co-owner and president

What makes your brewery unique?
Our commitment to brewing rare global styles and making them available to our customers. Logger (Pennsylvania Porter), Wuchak UK (British IPA), Donny’s Dort (Dortmunder), Phoenix and the Cat (Rauchbier), and Dartmouth Common (Steam Beer) are all great examples of [our] hard-to-find global styles.

What are your most underrated and favourite beers?
Underrated: Probably our Kichesippi Logger. The style is a Penn Porter, which was a style created by Yuengling in the U.S. It is a not a traditional British Porter or Baltic Porter as it uses a lager yeast instead of an ale yeast. Favourite: Our Kichesippi 1855. The great thing about this beer is that it teaches the customer that the colour of the beer is not directly related to its flavour. When you try this amber ale with your eyes closed, you would never guess that it’s a darker beer in the glass.

Laura Behzadi, co-owner of Bicycle Craft Brewery.

Bicycle Craft Brewery (Since 2014)
Laura Behzadi, co-owner

What makes your brewery unique?
We pride ourselves on sourcing local ingredients when available and our passion for craft beer ensures that our beer is delicious every time it’s poured. We are also avid supporters of women in the brewing industry and celebrate International Women’s Day every year with Freedom Machine, our cherry pale ale that’s named after the suffragette name for the bicycle.

What are your most underrated and favourite beers?
Underrated: Vinternat Liquorice Stout. The added raw liquorice root gives the beer a crisp finish that cools the mouth and is very thirst-quenching and refreshing. Most people are surprised when they try it. Favourite: Velocipede IPA. It’s our flagship beer and is inspired by the original name for the bicycle. Hoppy, with citrus notes and a refreshing bitterness — it’s perfect any time of year.

Whiprsnapr Brewing Co. (Since 2014)
Ian McMartin, founder, co-owner, head brewer

What makes your brewery unique?
We have a baby system (150L) and a big system (2000L). The baby system allows us to play a lot and have lots of different beers on tap, while the big guy lets us get our beers into the LCBO and The Beer Stores. We also have a great front-of-house area [for] events.

What are your most underrated and favourite beers?
Underrated: Our Carol Anne Irish blonde ale. There’s just so much flavour in it for such a light, easy drinking beer [4.7 percent]. It’s got a lot of body from wheat and honey malts, and loads of hops give it a real spring-like aroma. Favourite: Our ginger coriander cream ale. It’s based on some of the travel I used to do to China, Malaysia, and Singapore, and the flavours they use in their foods: ginger, coriander, lemon, and honey. The beer is light, crisp, bright, vibrant, packed with flavour, but still balanced.

Hitting The High Notes

70 years after its inception, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra continues to be the heart and soul of the city’s arts community.

Music is embedded in Winnipeg’s DNA. Our prairie town has always marched to a different drum, and we have plenty to show for it: the birthplace of musicians like Neil Young and Burton Cummings, Winnipeg also boasts world famous festivals, a lively music scene, some of the oldest and most esteemed arts institutions in the country.

Among these institutions: the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. Celebrating its 70th season, the symphony is integral to the city’s cultural life, delighting more than 100,000 audience members each year with almost 300 concerts.

The WSO first opened its curtain in December 1948 to an audience of 3,000, and within six seasons had become one of the top four orchestras in Canada. It regularly tours throughout the country and has participated in hundreds of radio broadcasts, released numerous recordings, launched and nurtured an internationally renowned New Music Festival, and played twice at Carnegie Hall. The WSO also provides the music for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Manitoba Opera Association.

“Not many orchestras are able to switch so seamlessly between the classics, pop, Broadway, and playing with young local indie bands such as Royal Canoe, not to mention the amount of new music they play during the New Music Festival,” says music director Alexander Mickelthwate. “It’s astonishing really.”

With a nucleus of 67 musicians, the organization has attracted professionals from around the world who have established significant careers here and a have made Winnipeg their home (currently, a husband, wife, and daughter all play in the string section).

Cellist Arlene Dahl, who has been with the symphony for almost four decades, continues to feel the anticipation and excitement of a live performance. One of her most memorable nights, they played for one thousand recent immigrants to the province. Music transcended language and spoke to the power of the human family, creating a transformational moment not only for the audience, but for the musicians as well.

Equally moving was the 2014 performance at Carnegie Hall. The WSO was chosen from more than 30 orchestras across the continent, and wowed the audience with their all-Canadian program. “What enhanced our experience was not just playing in that hallowed hall or playing with Dame Evelyn Glennie or playing R. Murray Schafer’s Symphony No. 1,” Dahl says. “When we walked out and saw almost 1000 Manitobans waving their patriotic red scarves and sharing our victory, that brought the tears.”

The transformative power of music reaches beyond the Concert Hall and into the community. As part of its outreach programs, Musicians in Healthcare offers performances at various care facilities in Winnipeg, uplifting patients, visitors and staff. The WSO also presents educational programs for more than 40,000 students annually, including Sistema, a daily, intensive after-school music program in Winnipeg’s inner city that is offered at no cost to the students. The impact is substantial, including improved classroom attendance and grades, greater parent involvement in the schools, and a growing self esteem in the students.

The orchestra is among Canada’s most innovative. Now in its 25th year, the New Music Festival explores new and rarely heard works by composers from around the world. The Festival was founded by music director Bramwell Tovey and the WSO’s first composer in residence, Glenn Buhr. The festival continues to flourish and draw international attention under the leadership of Alexander Mickelthwate.

Mickelthwate has been the force driving the symphony for the past twelve seasons, a fearless promoter of the value of music in people’s lives. Under his direction, the WSO has bridged education and entertainment, gaining a reputation for being both accessible and compelling. The Symphony’s 70th anniversary season coincides with the final year of Alexander Mickelthwate as music director.

“We try to be part of the fabric of the community in every kind of positive way,” says Tracy Schroeder, the WSO’s Executive Director. “I watch our audience members come in frazzled and then leave glowing from the experience. One patron said to me, ‘just being here tonight, I was so glad to be alive!’ The WSO is not just relevant but indispensable,” she says. “It’s why we do it.”

For a whole host of Winnipeggers — kids taking in their first symphony experience during the Kids Concert Series, local music fans watching their favourite bands partner with an orchestra, new music enthusiasts encountering boundary-pushing works, and season ticket holders delighting in new interpretations of the classics — Schroeder’s words ring true. This world class outfit with local pride is music to our ears.

Top 5 Arts & Food Pairings

Get dinner and a show by pairing a performance with a masterpiece meal at one of these local restaurants.

Housemade pastas at The Mitchell Block are the perfect prelude to curtain raising at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre. Try tender agnolotti stuffed with sweet potato and sage bathed in brown butter.
• 173 McDermot Ave, 204-949-9032

The oldest continually running theatre company in Canada, Le Cercle Moliere delights with whimsical French language performances. Stop in at the Centre Culturel Franco-Manitobain before a show and dine on filling tourtiere covered in maple cream sauce at Stella’s bright, welcoming space.
• 340 Provencher Blvd, 204-447-8393

Make a pitstop at the Saddlery on Market, steps from the Centennial Concert Hall, before watching one of Winnipeg’s most venerated arts institutions perform. Roasted beet and goat cheese salad (pictured) will have feet tapping even before the Royal Winnipeg Ballet takes stage.
• 114 Market Ave, 204-615-1898

Magical adventures unfold on the Manitoba Theatre for Young People stage. Take advantage of the theatre’s location at The Forks and slurp up a plate of spaghetti bolognese at the Old Spaghetti Factory inside the Johnston Terminal.
• 25 Forks Market Rd, 204-957-1391

At the Winnipeg Art Gallery, glimpses of Wanda Koop’s work grace the walls. After touring the exhibits, head to the museum’s penthouse level, where Table restaurant serves scrumptious exhibit-inspired lunches.
• 300 Memorial Blvd, 204-948-0085

The Season’s Hottest Shows

THE TOP SUMMER MOVIES, THEATRE, MUSIC AND DANCE

Shakespeare

The audience enjoys an actor’s performance in the heart of High Park.

Shakespeare in High Park

To Sept. 3

Canadian Stage marks 35 years of outdoor Shakespeare
performances in High Park in 2017. This year, King Lear, the Bard’s famous tale of a mad ruler’s downfall, will alternate evenings with Twelfth Night (or What You Will), a comedy of mistaken identity and gender. Whichever performance you choose, get there early to snag a good seat. High Park Amphitheatre, 1873 Bloor St. W., canadianstage.com

Beautiful: The Carole
King Musical

To Sept. 3

Be inspired by the story of Carole King, one of the most successful songwriters and solo acts in pop music history. Follow King’s rise to stardom, from her time writing with ex-husband Gerry Goffin to the launch of her solo career. Along the way, enjoy hits like “One Fine Day,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and the title song, “Beautiful.”
Ed Mirvish Theatre, 244 Victoria St., mirvish.com

Billy Bishop Goes to War

July 1–Aug. 5

The Soulpepper theatre company
presents one of the most critically acclaimed and widely produced Canadian musicals of all time, Billy Bishop Goes to War. The production, written by John MacLachlan Gray and Eric Peterson, tells the story of Billy Bishop, a First World War fighter pilot, though a series of anecdotes examining his high-flying exploits and his ambivalence
toward war, nationalism and what it means to be a hero.
Young Centre for the Performing Arts,
50 Tank House Ln., soulpepper.ca

Toronto Fringe Festival

July 5–16

Programming is selected entirely by lottery, ensuring that new, avant-garde and established acts all have an equal opportunity to get noticed and try new material. It also ensures that shows are varied, novel and full of surprises. Several notable productions began as Fringe Festival premieres, including Kim’s Convenience, ’da Kink in My Hair and Life After. Along with theatrical productions, the Fringe includes dance, visual art, buskers and the FringeKids Venue, where kids pay only five dollars per show. Various venues, fringetoronto.com

Beaches International
Jazz Festival

July 7–30

More than 100 established and emerging musicians perform each year at the Beaches jazz fest, which encompasses genres from calypso to new age to Latin to blues. This year includes the return of Sounds of Leslieville & Riverside, the Beaches Jazz Latin Carnival and music at the Beach Village Kew Gardens. Also, gourmet food trucks fill Queen Street East between Woodbine and Beech from July 27 to 29.
Various venues, beachesjazz.com

SummerWorks
Performance Festival

Aug. 3–13

Each August, SummerWorks, Canada’s largest curated performance festival, hosts more than 60 theatre, dance, music and live art performances by over 500 artist in venues throughout the city. The juried festival is one of the most important places for artists to launch new works, both locally and abroad.
Various venues, summerworks.ca

Ottawa the Bold: 2017 in the Nation’s Capital

By Joseph Mathieu

Summer in the capital always enchants, but this year will be truly spellbinding. Canada’s 150th birthday finds Ottawa exploding with red and white, cascading with culture and embracing the extraordinary. Artists and performers from afar will highlight their cultures while celebrating their ties with Canada, the downtown core will ignite with fiery, fantastical beasts completing a quest, and a rift in the space-time continuum will be discovered and explored underground. We are talking about an Ottawa awash in magic, wonder and revelry — a city breaking with tradition and showing off just what it can do. Why not? You only turn 150 once, right?

Kontinuum: An Underground Journey Through Time

Kontinuum (July 16 to Sept. 14)
This free, interactive, immersive experience built around the construction of the new light-rail train system in Ottawa is the brainchild of Moment Factory, the wizards behind more than 400 multi-media productions around the world. The company is proud “to tell stories in unusual environments,” says MF’s Marie-Claire Lynn. The Lyon Street transit station is a case in point. Kontinuum centres on city workers finding a “breach” in the space-time continuum while digging to erect the station. This tear in reality allows visitors to experience alternate dimensions and invisible frequencies – auditory, visual and vibrational. Guests traverse three floors of architectural anomalies and life-like panoramic projections, and have the opportunity to visualize their own, unique “frequency,” which then becomes part of Kontinuum’s ever-evolving visual and auditory DNA.

La Machine’s Long-Ma & La Princesse

La Machine (July 27-30)
Get ready for the streets, buildings, and trees of downtown Ottawa to become a stage for two towering beasts. “The Spirit of the Dragon-Horse, With Stolen Wings” stars a 20-metre-long spider named La Princesse and a 12-metre-high horse-dragon named Long-Ma. With skin and features of sculpted wood, the massive pair’s mechanical guts and skeletons of steel move with the help of 33 operators. The monumental, four-day play will be the first North American performance by La Machine, a French production company based in Nantes. “Every driver has one role, one function and all together [they] make the machines emotive as well as mobile,” says La Machine’s Frédette Lampé. “The link between the operators and the machines is not dissimilar to that of a marionnettiste to its marionette, but we call them architecture in movement.”

Inspiration Village on York Street

Ottawa Welcomes the World (March until December) lives up to its name. All year long, the capital’s embassies and high commissions are marking their country’s national celebrations at the Aberdeen Pavilion and the Horticulture Building in Lansdowne Park. Enjoy music, food and art from around the world — but no jet lag. For programming, visit Ottawa2017.ca. Meanwhile, Inspiration Village on York Street (May 20 until Sept. 4) is home to 20 sea containers converted into a multi-use space featuring 880 hours of programming. You’ll discover special exhibits, live performances showcasing our provinces and territories, and activities for kids such as a costume photo booth, and photo cutouts of popular Canadian animals.

Ottawa Welcomes the World

Ottawa Welcomes the World

The International Pavilion (June 27 to Dec. 8)
A new building at 7 Clarence Street welcomes various countries, including summer hosts like Germany, Ireland and Belgium to will showcase their culture and traditions, and promotes their ties to Canada. With inspiring stories from immigrants and ex-pats, examples of partnerships leading to innovation, interactive presentations, and dynamic storytelling, the pavilion will serve as a enjoyable way to see how other countries perceive our own. For programming, visit the National Capital Commission site.

Terre Mère at MOSAÏCANADA 150

MOSAÏCANADA 150 (June 30 to Oct. 15)
Mosaïculture is the intersection of tapestry and topiary, the latter of which is the pruning of hedges into recognizable shapes. In other words, it’s all about creating living artwork with plants. For 107 days, Jacques-Cartier Park will host the biggest horticultural event in Canada, with MOSAÏCANADA 150/Gatineau 2017. The free exhibit’s themes will reflect on 150 years of history, values, culture and arts in Canada through some 40 different organic wonders.

Top 5 shops for the whole family

mcnally 4 cr kyle thomas

These local shops are family favourites offering products for parents and kids alike!

    At McNally Robinson Booksellers, guests get lost in so much more than books. Kids climb a spiral staircase to explore fun toys and picture books while parents tap into nostalgia and rifle through the large selection of music on vinyl (pictured). Everyone can agree on superb treats in the pâtisserie case  at attached restaurant Prairie Ink. 1120 Grant Ave, 204-475-0483

   #1 Forks Trading Co A mash-up of Canadiana fills the shelves at The Forks Trading Company. Check out the upcycled blown glass sets (pictured) and adorable childrens’ accessories by Hello Darling, from bow ties to flower crowns. 1 Forks Market Rd, 2nd floor, 204‑949‑1785

    Test out the games on display in Kite and Kaboodle‘s inviting and playful space. Walls are lined with crafts such as build your own LEGO fidget spinners and board games perfect for the next family night. Johnston Terminal at The Forks, 2nd floor, 204‑942‑2800; St. Vital Centre, 1225 St. Mary’s Rd, 204‑257‑4595

 RS41190_6109079-hpr   Shop
Ten Thousand Villages for one of a kind products that support artisans in developing countries. Moms will love cozy Alpaca throws made by artisans in Peru (pictured) while young ones discover new instruments such as bamboo flutes. 134 Plaza Dr, 204‑261‑6381; 963 Henderson Hwy, 204‑661‑5545

    Young and old will be inspired by educational games, home décor, Fair Trade fashion items, and more at the Canadian Museum of Human Rights Boutique. Unique games teach sign language or the braille alphabet during play. Fair Trade tea and chocolate makes for a feel good treat. 85 Israel Asper Way, 204‑289‑2005

Where can you hear Ottawa’s JUNO Award nominees?

Ottawa’s 2016 JUNO Award nominees are as diverse as the National Capital Region, from a world-music sensation  to a classical pianist.

We shine a spotlight on our Top 3. While none of these homegrown artists reached the podium at JUNO Weekend in Calgary, they will all be reaching a stage in Ottawa, or a nearby city, this spring.

Case and point, The Souljazz Orchestra, nominated for top World Music Album, are headlining Westfest on Saturday, June 4. One of Ottawa’s major spring festivals, Westfest is free and moves to Laroche Park this year. For a preview of the band’s international rhythms:

Ottawa-born indie songwriter Kalle Matson contended for Video of the Year with his song “Avalanche.” While not scheduled to play the capital, his next nearby show will be in Kingston on May 11. Toronto cinematographer Philip Sportel helped Matson recreate 35 classic album covers for their heralded video, which lost to Adele’s “Hello,” directed by Canadian Xavier Dolan. Fall for “Avalanche” yourself:

Meanwhile, Classical Album of the Year nominee, pianist Angela Hewitt, recently played with her hometown NAC Orchestra on March 22, and will be touring North America and the world this summer. But those heading to Toronto on April 13-14 can see her perform one of two shows with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

Here Hewitt discusses her recording of Mozart with the NAC in 2003:

FREE Fun In Edmonton!

Photo 1-City Hall FountainSmall

Everyone loves having fun for free, and we have tons of ways to enjoy our vibrant city without spending a cent!

First up, take a free tour of the Alberta Legislature Building! Once you are done, cool off in the wading pools and fountains out front, catch some sun on the manicured lawn, and then, at noon and 6 pm every day, you can get a free concert! An instrument called a carillon plays beautiful, clear melodies that sounds like bells ringing!

The Ledge fountain is definitely not the only place to cool off though — you can enjoy the fountain in front of city hall or one of the city’s many free outdoor spray parks including the great one at the Kinsman Sports Centre.

Art fans, or those looking to experience something new, are in luck too! You can check out all of the amazing exhibits at the Art Gallery of Alberta for FREE on the last Thursday of every month.

The FAB Gallery (or Fine Arts Building Gallery) on the UofA Campus is currently showing work from the incredibly talented Master of Fine Arts students until July 11. You are sure to see some incredibly innovative and well thought out art!

The Works Art & Design Festival kicks off today (June 19) and there will be tons of interactive exhibits all over downtown. Head to Churchill Square for the bulk of the action that will be running until July 1.

Tomorrow (June 20) the SNAP Gallery will be printing huge large-scale prints using a steamroller just outside their studio on Jasper Ave.! The event, which will include live music, starts at 7 pm!

If music is what you are looking for, then you are in luck because Jazz Fest runs from June 18-29, and has a bunch of free performances throughout the entire festival.

It is also Aboriginal Day at Louise McKinney Park tomorrow (June 20)! There will be free fun from noon until 10:30 pm including music performances, and hands on interactive activities.

As seen on Global News Edmonton on June 19, 2015.

—Lindsay Shapka

Celebrate Summer

Halifax’s festival season heats up with music, art, culture, food and more

By Trevor J. Adams

Images-From-Tattoo_3265-06

A busy month of festivals and cultural celebrations begins with the Scotia Festival of Music. Continuing through June 7 at venues around the city, this event is a must for serious music fans, showcasing the best in Chamber music. This year, the lineup includes coductor Kenneth Woods, cellist Denise Djokic, violinist Giora Schmidt and pianist Simon Docking. A gala matinee concert at the Dalhousie Arts Centre on June 7 concludes the festival, featuring works by Elgar, Beethoven and Benjamin. Concurrently, Halifax’s vibrant Lebanese community celebrates its roots with Cedar Festival from June 4 to 7 at Our Lady of Lebanon Parish on Joseph Howe Drive. Festivities include a special mass, musical performances, art exhibitions, food tastings, games, dancing and more. June also sees the return of one of Halifax’s biggest and most popular festivals. Running this year from June 11 to 14, Halifax Greek Fest always attracts thousands to Saint George’s Greek Orthodox Church on Purcell’s Cove Road.June---Antique-Car-Show_admirers Lively music and dancing abound, along with cultural exhibitions and Greek cuisine aplenty. This year’s schedule features the Poseidon live band, a screening of FIFA Women’s World Cup soccer (Greece vs. Colombia), Greek language classes, a sommelier-hosted Greek wine and food tasting, and more. That same weekend, Memory Lane Heritage Village in Lake Charlotte hosts the Father’s Day Antique Car Show. Scheduled for June 21, (rain date June 29), the show is a rite of Father’s Day. There are dozens of lovingly restored classic cars, plus live entertainment and Kub Kar races. This month also features one of Halifax’s longest-running summer events: the Nova Scotia Multicultural Festival. Running from June 26 to 28 at the Halifax Seaport Harbourwalk at the corner of Terminal and Marginal roads, the festival showcases Nova Scotia’s many traditional-dancers2cultural communities with music, food, art, cultural exhibitions and more. The Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo closes out the month. Running from June 30 to July 7 at Scotiabank Centre on Duke Street, it’s the world’s largest annual indoor show of its type. The lineup includes an exciting mix of military and civilian drill teams, bands and performers from around the globe. This year’s highlights include the Halifax debut for Sweden’s Home Guards Band of Eslöv, His Majesty the King’s Guard Band and Drill Team of Norway, the Gym Wheel Team Taunusstein of Germany and the Paris Police Gymnastics Team.

 

 

Where Calgary Staff Picks For The 2013 Calgary Folk Music Festival

By ADELE BRUNNHOFER

Steve Earle performs this weekend. Photo: courtesy Calgary Folk Music Festival

Steve Earle performs this weekend. Photo: courtesy Calgary Folk Music Festival

From July 25 – 28, the Calgary Folk Music Festival showcases a plethora of musical acts covering folk, roots and rock genres. See a variety of local and Canadian musical acts as well as international performers this weekend. Where Calgary staff share what they’re most looking forward to at this year’s festival. (more…)

Interview with Ed Sheeran

By Breanna Mroczek

British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran is currently on tour with country-pop songstress Taylor Swift as the opening act on her Red tour, with Canadian tour dates in Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, and Vancouver.

Before his second show in Edmonton, Sheeran stopped by local radio station Virgin 104.9 for a fan VIP Experience.

If you’re wondering: “Who is Ed Sheeran?”: After years of independently releasing EPs and singles, Sheeran achieved mainstream success in the UK with his song “The A-Team”  which became the best selling debut single in the UK in 2011. He released his debut album + later that year, and it went quadruple platinum in the UK. Like Swift, Sheeran has received accolades for writing most of his own songs and draws on folk, hip-hop, and pop influences. Hailing from London, he (arguably) garnered attention in North America because of his affiliation with popular boy band One Direction — Sheeran wrote songs for the band, including “Moments” and “Little Things”. Still, Sheeran’s musical style and sound doesn’t compare to that of the aforementioned boyband sensation—his unaided live performances (Sheeran performs only with a loop pedal and guitar, and without a backup band), gripping songwriting, and genre-blending style have earned him attention and praise as a solo artist.

Sheeran’s Edmonton fans eagerly gathered at the Virgin Radio studios, clutching their bright orange copies of Sheeran’s debut album + (pronounced “plus”)to meet Sheeran  and listen to a performance that included acoustic renditions of Lego House, a cover of Macklemore’s Thrift Shop, and The A-Team.

Sheeran was very polite and casual, dressed in a Star Wars T-shirt that showed off his many arm tattoos—including a brand-new one on his right arm that hadn’t even healed yet—and neon blue Nike shoes that he purchased yesterday “at some mall” in Edmonton. No, Sheeran wasn’t oblivious to his presence at the largest mall in North America; when asked if he had been at West Edmonton Mall, he replied “is that the one with the roller coaster? No, not that one. [Taylor Swift’s] dancers went there last night but I didn’t go—the one I went to was small and didn’t have as many stores, but it had a shoe store and… I bought these” he says, gesturing to his shoes. Talking with Sheeran was like having a conversation with a friend—no gimmicks or pretentious, diva-like behaviour.

(more…)

Hot Dates in Halifax: May

Beauty and the Beast plays a five-show engagement May 24-26. Photo: Joan Marcus

Beauty and the Beast plays a five-show engagement May 24-26. Photo: Joan Marcus

May 9:  Acclaimed roots singer/songwriter David Myles, fresh off a collaboration with rapper Classified, plays the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

May 10: Steve Patterson, host of The Debaters on CBC Radio brings his This is Not Debatable tour to Halifax. 

May 12: The Saint Cecilia Concert Series wraps up another season of celebrating classical music with a matinee concert at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts on Chebucto Road. Musician-in-Residence and cellist extraordinaire Shimon Walt performs, joined by his colleagues in the Rhapsody Quintet. Their varied repetoire includes a show-stopping rendition of the rock standard “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

May 15: One of the godfathers of outlaw country, Merle Haggard is enjoying a renaissance of late, releasing a string of critically acclaimed songs. He performs at the Halifax Metro Centre.

May 17 to 19: Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Blue Nose Marathon has plenty for both experienced runners and newcomers to the sport, including a youth run, a 5K and a 10K. The full marathon begins at the Old Town Clock on Sackville Street on May 19. It runs past Halifax Citadel, through the North End, back through the downtown along Barrington and Hollis streets, around Point Pleasant Park and back up to the Clock.

May 24 to 26: The classic Disney fairy tale Beauty and the Beast comes to life, as the touring version of the Broadway production plays a five-show engagement at the Halifax Metro Centre on Duke Street. Young fans will love the opulent costumes, detailed sets and familiar music.

 

Editor’s Choice

May 27 to June 9: The Scotia Festival of Music, Atlantic Canada’s largest annual celebration of chamber music, returns with a roster that reads like a who’s-who of chamber-music scene, including conductor Kenneth Woods, pianist Lynn Stodola, violinist Robert Uchida, cellist Denise Djokic, trumpeter Richard Simoneau, Composer-in-Residence Tim Brady and many more.