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Posts Tagged ‘Arcade Fire’

Photo: Jensen Gifford

There is popular music and unforgettable music. O&AL belong in the latter category.

An acronym for Olenka and the Autumn Lovers, O&AL is a London, Ontario band fronted by singer/songwriter Olenka Krakus and members Sara Froese, Evan Brodie, Christian Hegele, Simon Larochette,  Jeff Moon and Kelly Wallraff.

Influenced by her Polish roots and Canadian upbringing, Olenka delivers songs that resonate with passion. The songs don’t just play for you, they speak to you. And many of them relate specifically to her Polish heritage, especially her memories of Communist Poland and the country’s folklore.

Olenka Krakus Photo: Rob Nelson

Supported by a mix of instruments such as the cello, violin, accordion, trumpet, saxophone, lap steel, mandolin and glockenspiel the music resonates with an eclectic mix of traditional Eastern European ballads and North American country and folk tunes.

It’s a sound reminiscent of Arcade Fire, Cat Power, Tom Waits and Gogol Bordello but which manages to exist entirely on its own.

When Olenka and her band recently played at Toronto’s Gladstone hotel (as part of the NXNE festival) the crowd gave them a rousing ovation. And rightfully so.

Here is a taste…

It’s the sort of music that you can listen to over and over again and with every listen it creates a deeper impression.

The band’s newest album And Now We Sing is packed with memorable songs. It’s really worth checking out.

"And Now We Sing" album cover by Patrick Schmidt

"Motel Blues" lyrics

The band is also set to play a string of shows later this summer and fall so, if you get an opportunity, make sure to go. The truly great thing about small concert gigs is that they are so intimate and the bands always give it all they’ve got.

In the meantime you can listen to some of the tunes online on the CBC Radio 3 website.

And have a look at this interview that we conducted with Olenka during her NXNE show.

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In Toronto, it seems that when one film festival ends another one begins. Then again, it is the city with the most film festivals in the world, so it’s natural.

Hard on the heels of the world-renowned Hot Docs documentary festival (in which Polish film At the Edge of Russia managed to snag the coveted HBO Documentary Films Emerging Artist Award for its director Michal Marczak) comes the CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival (WSFF).

With the motto “shorter is better” this festival showcases the greatest short films from around the globe.

Image from Robert Proch's short film The Gallery (Galeria)

Last year, the festival spotlighted Poland and had a special presentation of films from Warsaw animation powerhouse Platige Image.

This time around, there are four Polish films. They include:

Invisible Border (Niewidzialna Granica)

A Plain Landscape with a Cradle (Krajobraz Nizinny z Kolyska)

The Gallery (Galeria)

Three Mothers

Three Mothers directed by local filmmaker Rafal Sokolowski stars Canada’s rising star Kristin Booth (The Kennedys, Young People Fucking).

Rafal Sokolowski on the set of "Three Mothers"

The film, which plays at the Varsity Cinema on Wednesday June 1 at 1pm and Friday June 3 at 6:15 pm, has been programmed alongside Spike Jonze’s highly anticipated Scenes From the Suburbs.

Spike Jonze is the cinematic genius behind films such as Being John Malkovich and Where the Wild Things Are and has created some of the best music videos of all time – including the Beastie Boys Sabotage video and Fat Boy Slim’s Praise You.

Director Spike Jonze

In Scenes From the Suburbs, Spike collaborates with Canada’s Grammy Award winners Arcade Fire on a story about a slice of suburban life in wartime. Check out the trailer below.

Playing with Spike Jonze is a big score for Rafal as both screenings are sure to be well attended.

We’ll be running a contest for passes to each of the films so make sure to visit our Facebook page for more details.

Hope to see you at the movies!

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CONGRATS to Basia Bulat for being selected as the supporting act for Arcade Fire’s first gig in Warsaw!

The concert will take place on Friday, June 24th at Torwar Arena in Warsaw. Tickets can be purchased on Arcade Fire’s website . 

Arcade Fire stunned the music world a few months ago when they beat all odds to win Album of the Year at the 53rd GRAMMY Awards.

Basia was recently nominated for a Juno Award in the “Best New Artist” category. Previously she was nominated for the prestigious Polaris Music Prize – Canada’s equivalent of the highly regarded UK Mercury Music Prize.

Basia’s Polish-Canadian roots make her the perfect fit to accompany Montreal based Arcade Fire in Poland. And it should be one trully magical night.

Arcade Fire is known for their high energy concerts and Basia’s passion for music will offer the perfect accent.

Here is what you can expect…

Also, check out this amazing version of “Wake Up” from the Glastonbury festival…

And here’s Basia’s video for “In the Night.”

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Huge congratulations to Basia Bulat for receiving the New Artist of the Year nomination at this year’s Juno Awards (Canada’s version of the Grammys).

Who knew you could be around for so long, put out so much great music and still be considered a “new artist” – guess it is all relative.

Basia is nominated alongside Bobby Bazini,  Caribou,  Hannah Georgas and Meghan Smith for her music on the album Heart of My Own.

The 2011 edition of the Junos will also be its 40th. The big bash will take place in Toronto on March 27th but a series of parties, concerts, conferences and music industry events dubbed “Juno Week” will lead up to awards at the Air Canada Centre (ACC).

Hip-Hop artist Drake will host the evening and performers hitting the stage will include Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, Down With Webster, Hedley and Johnny Reid.

Tickets are still available to the public, although they’re not cheap (what else can you expect from the ACC).

Congrats Basia! We’ll be pulling for you.

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