Upcoming events: October and November

Laura Risk

Laura Risk

As almost always when we get together with this dynamic group of people for a session, we have some things to mention:

  • First off, a HUGE congratulations to Elizabeth on the birth of her first grandchild, Aurora, in Budapest, Hungary, last week.
  • Next, kudos to Joan for completing her first half-marathon today, with a blazing 3 hours and 27 minutes. Sadly, Ms. Weed was indisposed for today’s session.
  • Next weekend, there are several events of interest to Québécois music afficianados:
  • Sunday, November 3rd, the Brian Pickell Band is appearing at Claude Church for one of their memorable Parlour Concerts. Tickets now available online.
  • Saturday, November 9th, Dan Gorno is returning to Toronto to call a contradance at St. Barnabas featuring an exciting young band: Benoit Schryer-Lefebvre, Colin Savoie-Levac and Toronto’s own Eli Howard.
  • Saturday, November 16, Edith is organising another of her fabulous Québécois dances with Richard Forest, Peter Jellard, Rob Rohr and Kate Murphy. Dovercourt House, 7:30 pm. More information available on facebook.
Gemme Falquet

Pascal Gemme & Yann Falquet

That’s a lot of stuff in the next little while! We will post more details about the workshops next weekend, but if you want information sooner than that, please e-mail us at toqetrad@gmail.com.


Rob and Donna


May 11-12: The O’Shraves

The O’Shraves are in town to play a contra dance and a concert the weekend of May 11-12, 2013. Members of the band will also be available to for workshops Sunday afternoon.

Schedule for the weekendCourtesy: The O'Shraves

Saturday, May 11

  • The Toronto Country Dancers hosts a contra dance featuring the O’Shraves and caller Myra Hirschberg starting at 7:30. Please bring a pair of indoor shoes for dancing. (more information)

Sunday, May 12

  • Members of the band will be available for workshops in piano, fiddle, tin whistle or flute, and guitar Sunday afternoon. Please email Pat and Julie at music@algomatrad.ca before May 10 to register for this workshop.
  • Shelly Romalis is hosting a house concert in the Bathurst-St. Clair area of Toronto starting at 7 pm. Please email shellyromalis@rogers.com for tickets, which must be reserved ahead of time.

About the band

The O’Shraves (the O’Gorman/Schryer/Lefebvre family) from Northern Ontario play a mixture of music from the Canadian, Irish and Scottish musical traditions. Steeped in Ontario fiddle music, they play a lively and compelling mix of traditional tunes and original compositions with consummate skill and great joy.

Photo by Rob Majury, sootoday.comHeaded up by two of Canada’s finest traditional musicians, Julie Schryer (piano) and Pat O’Gorman (flute, whistle and bagpipes), this family band also consists of Benoît Schryer Lefebvre (winner of the 18 and under Pembroke Fiddle Contest in 2011 and in 2012, on fiddle), Zach Schryer Lefebvre (guitar, cello, whistle, piano and vocals), and Áine Schryer O’Gorman (winner of the 9 and under Pembroke Fiddle Contest in 2012, on fiddle, stepdancing and vocals).

They are an integral part of traditional music in Ontario. They run the AlgomaTrad Family Music and Dance Camp, and organize both dances and concerts all over Ontario and Michigan.

April 28 concert: The Brian Pickell Band

Brian Pickell, a regular at our session and a well-known composer of traditional Ontario music, is bringing his band to the Tranzac Club on Sunday, April 28, at 7:30 p.m.

As usual, the price is $20 ($18 for members of the Flying Cloud or of the Tranzac Club). Doors open at 7 p.m. His concerts are usually very popular, so arriving earlier makes sure you get a seat.

Brian plays guitar, banjo, mandolin and is joined by his2013 BrianTour band:

  • Shane Cook, a champion fiddler recognised in both the US and Canada (multiple winner of Canadian and Grand Masters Fiddle Contests and the American Grand National)
  • Ottawa-area multi-instrumentalist James Stephens on fiddle, mandolin, bass and viola
  • Pat O’Gorman, well-known piper and flute player, on on flute, whistles and pipes
  • Julie Schryer, widely considered to be one of the finest piano accompanists in Canada

This band is a delight to watch in concert: they are funny, individually talented and rock-solid as a group who have been playing together for many, many years.

Brian’s tunes, soft and melodic one moment and driving and rhythmic the next, are both fresh-sounding and traditional. Many different groups and individual players from around the world have recorded his compositions, including: Deaf Shepherd (Scotland), Tony McManus (Scoland and Canada), Liz Doherty (Ireland), The Halali Fiddle Band (USA), Oliver Schroer (Canada), Nicholas Williams (Canada), Pierre Schryer (Canada) and many others.

If you have never seen Brian’s band in concert, this video will give you an idea of their performance. It was recorded in Hugh’s Room a few years back, in a joint concert with Écosse, and shifts between a number of different tunes. Brian’s band is featured in the first 2 minutes, and then the second band is featured.

This concert is part of a small tour which also includes the following venues:

PARIS (ON): Thursday April 25th, 7:30 PM
925 Rest Acres Rd. at HWY 403. Tickets are $20 at the door, $18 in advance, and $10 for those aged 12 and under. For more information, please contact John at (519) 754-2439, or e-mail johne@calendarclub.ca  

GREY COUNTY (ON): Saturday, April 27th, 7:30 pm
To attend this Mapleview house concert, you must RSVP in advance to mapleviewstudio@yahoo.ca. All tickets are $20. This private home is located in rural Grey County about mid-way between Orangeville and Owen Sound, a few KM off HWY 10.

April 20 concert: Eh?!

Collaborative fiddle trio Eh? is returning to Toronto for a concert on Saturday, April 20. The show starts at 7:30pm a the Donway Covenant United Church ($20 for adults, and $12 for seniors and students. Free parking).

Eh?! blends Canadian fiddle traditions (Québécois, Métis, Irish, Cape Breton, Newfoundland, Ontario and original compositions) and explores them through various lenses, focusing on tradition, innovation, collaboration and improvisation. They play a wide variety of instruments, including 4 and 5-string fiddles, voices, piano, accordion, mandolins, guitars, viola, kalimba, percussion and feet.

Because the collaboration is rooted in improvisation, and the three members of the band are multi-instrumentalists and singers, literally anything can happen. No two shows are ever the same!

Eh?! features

  • Emilyn Stam, a talented young fiddle player and pianist, a protégée of the late Oliver Schroer who has worked with many well-known players and groups, including the Lemon Bucket Orchestra. She has written and recorded many compositions, including those featured on her first album, Holding Time.
  • James Stephens, a well-known performer and recording engineer, focuses primarily although not exclusively on stringed instruments. A veteran of several successful collaborations, James also plays with the Brian Pickell Band, Jiig, Écosse and a number of other projects.
  • Anne Lederman, internationally acclaimed fiddler, composer multi-instrumentalist and ethnomusicologist, Anne’s roots run deep into several musical traditions, including Celtic, Métis, French-Canadian, Klezmer, Balkan and African music. She is a sought-after teacher and performs regularly both as a solo performer and as a member of a wide variety of musical groups.

To listen to samples of the band playing, press the Play button (at the very top of the screen on the very top of their bio page). You will hear Pitou, Trip to Chelsea, Reilly Boys (song) and No Hands, a mixture of original compositions and traditional pieces, all of which feature the unique improvisational collaboration of this remarkable trio.

Feb 7 to 10: Genticorum en Ontario!

Genticorum2011Great friends of ours and of the TOqueTrad sessions, Québécois group Genticorum will be touring Ontario early in February. Session regulars are organising two of the events (details below).

First, the tour dates, which are:

On Friday, February 8, Peter and Anne-Marie have agreed to host a house concert in the newly-renovated Hallam Street Concert Hall (aka their living room). Those of you who attended Genticorum’s last house concert on Hallam Street may be interested to know that this is the first post-renovation concert they are hosting. The preparations, in a word, have been extensive!

Continue reading

January 9: Mark Sullivan and SwingReel!

Mark-Sullivan-008-199x300Well-known Ontario-style fiddler, Mark Sullivan, and guitarist Craig McGregor bring their duo SwingReel! to the Tranzac Club next week.

Tickets for the Wednesday, January 9, show are already available through PayPal ($15 in advance, and $20 at the door). The show starts at 8 p.m. 

If you are curious about their lyrical, swinging sound, you can listen to a sample from their debut CD, released this past July, or watch them play Big John MacNeil or Hommage à Dorothy Hogan on YouTube.

Mark is a Canadian fiddle champion and a professional educator. He won the Canadian Fiddle Championship six times, and has been awarded the title of Canadian Grand Master on three occasions. He has six solo recordings, in addition to the SwingReel album.

He teaches regularly at music camps across North America. He also offers fiddle lessons via Skype, including detailed notes, MP3s of tunes learned, technique, arrangements, etc.  He can also record guitar accompaniment tracks for your tunes for future practice. You can contact him for more information.

Come on out and take advantage of this rare opportunity to hear some of the best fiddling around!

Bonne et heureuse année à tous !

Meilleurs vœux pour 2013. All the best for the new year, everybody!

Une petite image pour nos amis Québécois…

Une petite image pour nos amis Québécois…

Due to a conflict for the “third Sunday” in January, we will reschedule our regular session time. But do feel free to check out the 22nd annual Chris Langan Weekend (January 18-23, 2013).

If you don’t know about it, it’s one of the nicest weekends of traditional Irish music around here. This year’s guests include Maeve Donnelly (fiddle), Cillian Vallely (pipes), Peter Maguire (flute), and Kelly Hood (uilleann pipes).

There will be a concert with local performers on Friday night, workshops during the day on Saturday, and a Saturday evening gala concert. Sunday features a breakfast, a lecture on some aspect of the music and the Piper’s Chair, an uilleann pipe recital. Everything happens at the Tranzac Club.

It’s been a bit hectic lately (I blame the Time of Year), and we have been unable to confirm the day for the next session. We are hoping for Sunday the 13th, or maybe the 27th… Watch this space for details.

Until then, stay safe, stay warm and keep playing!

November 21: Genticorum coming to Hugh’s Room!

Picture of Genticorum


….. this just in ….
If you’ve never seen Genticorum in concert before, you really ought to!  If you have seen them, you already know that.

They are playing at Hugh’s Room at 8:30 pm on Wednesday November 21, 2012. You can make a reservation online or by phone.
Tickets: $22.50 Advance/$25 Door (includes HST).  Read more.

Hugh’s Room is just south of the Dundas West subway station, on the west side. (directions)

The fiddle player, Pascal Gemme, is the author of the Tradquebec blog, which Rob’s  Tune List links to with such frequency.

Saturday, December 8: La Bottine Souriante concert

2011 La bottine souriante

Tickets are on sale now for a concert with La Bottine in the beautiful Koerner Hall (Royal Conservatory of Music). This québécois super-group has been at the forefront of the growing popularity of Quebec traditional music, as electrifying now as when they first began touring in the 1970s.

Date: Saturday, December 8, 2012
Time: 8 p.m.
Venue: Koerner Hall, Royal Conservatory of Music
Cost: $30.00+  (You can order tickets online now)

We suspect this might sell out quickly.

Friday, July 20: Free concert with Le Vent du Nord


Le Vent du Nord plays at Mel Lastman Square this Friday night.

Just a reminder about the free Vent du Nord concert in Mel Lastman Square this Friday, from 7:30 to 8:30 pm. Kylie mentioned this concert at the last session she came to, and kindly e-mailed us a reminder.

They are playing on the main stage of the Cultura Festival, a six-week celebration of music and diversity in North York. There are lots of other dance, music and buskers to see, as well… the schedule looks quite full!

After the concert, there is a free screening of the movie One Week.