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MUSIC

Articles

Wayne Toups: Zydecajun Legend

Man, is it steamy out here this afternoon. And why not? It’s late summer in the deep south’s marshy lowlands. There’s been a blessed weeklong dry spell allowing the floodwaters from the latest vicious storm to recede. I’m swatting away another ravenous, hummingbird-sized mosquito and keeping an eye on the raggedy thicket of brown grasses off to the left. If that isn’t the perfect home to a horde of gators, then I’ve never seen one. The iced beer goes down like life-nourishing holy water. A palpable sign there’s a God after all. I’ve changed shirts twice and I’m soaking through a third. Most of the guys don’t even wear shirts. Of course, most of the guys aren’t sixty. I misplaced my six-pack decades ago. A few too many six-packs, I suppose. The girls aren’t wearing much either. Their glistening contours are everywhere I turn. Milton was right about ‘silver linings.’ The energy is picking up in the joint, the crowd thickening, the din intensifying. The tall pole lights emit their wavelike, flickering beams through the stifling heat. A fog has

Mike Farris: His Inspirational Road to Grammy Gold

The year was 2011. The weather was bright and sunny with a chilly, northerly 70-degree breeze, indicating our wintertime. Our good friends asked whether we’d be interested in joining them on the Sandy Beaches Cruise leaving in a few days out of Ft. Lauderdale. For the unaware, Sandy Beaches is a week-long, music-themed Holland America cruise headlined annually by one of my favorite rock and blues musicians, Delbert McClinton. Because a South Florida ritual is having two bags always packed and waiting in the foyer for last minute cruise invitations, my wife and I were heading off to the port in a flash. Little did I know what life-changing delights we’d be experiencing in the days ahead. As usual, we were having a magical time on our cruise. And why not? Our only responsibility was finding our way from our cabin to the several restaurants and lounges offering limitless food and drink day and night, and to the various music venues scattered around the ship, and then making it back to our cabin at night’s end. Actually, that was the

Pavlo: Mediterranean Nights

There is one common ‘language’ that has the power to emotionally connect every human being on the planet, regardless of their race, culture or living conditions. It is the language of music – especially instrumental ‘feel-good’ music. The universal melodies can speak intimately to people of widely diverse backgrounds in a similar manner, causing spontaneous reminiscences, moving a person to tears, be they of despair or joy, and they can compel a person to leap up and gyrate their body excitedly in jubilant, celebratory dance. The inventor and reigning king of an instrumental ‘feel-good’ musical genre known as ‘Mediterranean’ is recognized across the globe only as Pavlo. The Early Years  In the aftermath of World War II, over half-a-million Europeans left their war-torn countries and emigrated to Canada, specifically to the Greater Toronto area. By 1960, a third of Toronto’s population were newcomers, including an estimated 12,500 Greek immigrants. By the 70s, the Greek population had grown to 30,000, and a section of town called ‘the Danforth’ was dubbed, ‘Little Athens.’ Among the early influx of immigrants were George and

Allen Stone: Love Where You’re At

It’s true: the only one who could ever reach me was the son of a preacher man. Meet Allen Stone, a musician who never falls flat. I was first introduced to Allen Stone in September 2012. A trendy, always in-the-know coworker approached me during lunch and bluntly stated, “Listen, my friend just bailed, so I have an extra ticket to see this dude Allen Stone tonight at the Highline Ballroom in Chelsea.” She either safely assumed I’d never heard of him or accurately interpreted my facial cues before continuing: “He’s a soul singer; covers Bob Marley; and is friends with Macklemore and Ryan. The ticket is only $20 … want to grab a drink after work and join me?” Hip-hop duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis had released Thrift Shop a few weeks prior, and it was off the charts worldwide. If Allen Stone was friends with the most desirable and sought-after artists of the time, he had to be something special. Plus, $20 in New York City was pocket change: One subpar cocktail disguised in a pretty glass costs $20,

Tharanga: Hitting the High Notes

For this world-class opera diva and visual artist with a yen for science, reaching for the stars is only the beginning. Listening to a recording of famed opera star Kiri Te Kanawa for the first time roused a desire to sing opera within a 12-year-old Sri-Lankan girl. Little did Tharanga Goonetilleke know that she would one day become an international star in western classical music. She would rise to fame and grace world stages singing operatic works ranging from classical to modern by Mozart, Puccini, Ravel, Joplin, Offenbach, Handel, and others. Tharanga has a full lyric soprano voice described as “magical” by The Washington Times and “appealingly rich” by The New York Times. Singing in character is a specialty of hers, by fully immersing herself into a character and giving it soul. Favorites include Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, Genevra in Ariodante, and Mimi in La Bohème. Her lyric soprano voice has captured the hearts of audiences all over the world including her home country and has built a large following. Tharanga has performed at some of the world’s top

Chatt Hills Music – Serenbe, Georgia

As a fan of live music, I frequent the websites of my favorite performers to see when their tours bring them reasonably close to my South Florida home. Because that doesn’t happen often enough, we’ve developed the enjoyable habit of visiting some of the coolest small music venues in equally cool small cities and towns across the southeast and beyond. These include Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans, Austin and Serenbe. I kid you not, Serenbe. I thought you’d be interested in hearing about a few of these music venues in the months ahead, so let’s start with Chatt Hills Music in Serenbe, Georgia. As you learned in a recently published feature on Throomers, one of my all-time favorite musicians is Grammy award-winning, Mike Farris. About a year ago, I noticed that Farris was playing a solo acoustic show at Chatt Hills Music on the outskirts of Atlanta. The flight would be a breeze, so I made the plans, purchased the show tickets, and with my daughter along for the ride we were soon leaving Atlanta’s bustling airport with the GPS set for

Dosey Doe: The Best Music Venue

There it was, of all places, in the back country of Kentucky, a big beautiful barn with hand-hewn old growth oak and birch beams. After searching all over Texas, Stephen Said, coffee lover and entrepreneur, bought the 165-year-old historical barn, disassembled it, and shipped it to The Woodlands, Texas. This was just the beginning of what would become the infamous Dosey Doe Big Barn that offers patrons Southern-style dining and a live music venue. In an interview with Woodlands Online’s “Faces of the Woodlands,” Said explained, “I was not too excited about how coffee shops were pretty sterile in their looks, all steel and Teflon. I just felt like Texans wanted something that felt like Texas. So ‘coffee,’ ‘Texas’ – I came up with the idea of having it in an actual barn as the dining hall. A Texas native, Said is the son of a U.S. naturalized Lebanese businessman and Dallas homemaker. His family heritage comprised of Christian faith and successful business ventures in Lebanon and Iraq. But when King Faisal and son were overthrown by a faction of