‚ÄčApril 6, 2012

DESPATCHES

 

Michéal Castaldo Is Number One

Micheal Castaldo is Number OneThe year is off to a good start for independent classical-crossover artist Michéal Castaldo, whose just-released CD is titled Olive You: Classical Italian Songs to Feed the Heart and Soul. Castaldo, who was named Top Indie Artist of 2011 on the prestigious UK website Classical-Crossover, saw “Pray’r” the lead single from the album, garner the number one spot on amazon.com's MP3 Classical Songs Chart only three weeks after its initial release. The single also hit the top spot in the Hot New Releases in Classical Chart: three top spots for Castaldo show the undeniable power of “pray’r.”

The Italian-born, Toronto-raised and now resident of New York was honoured by GigMasters as a five-star performer and award-winning vocalist in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Castaldo’s music is heard regularly on over 40 radio stations which support Italian music in Canada, the United States, Italy, Australia, and Argentina. As a cultural entrepreneur, Michéal aims to preserve, promote and celebrate the rich culture shared among Italians and Italian North Americans through music, song-writing workshops, and educational lectures.

Something about KoSA

by Isabelle Schumacher

Something about KoSAThe KoSA 17th Annual International Percussion Workshop, Drum Camp and Festival will take place in Castleton, Vermont, from July 24th to 29th, and is open to beginners, professionals, and everyone in between. “It’s an intensive, hands-on chance for people to learn more about percussion and play different styles of music,” says KoSA founder and acclaimed musician Aldo Mazza. “I wanted to create a camp for people to come and study with the great artists of our time.” The drum camp has been praised by the music industry as one of the best workshops to attend in the world.

            The drum festival is KoSA’s hallmark event, but it is certainly not its only one. Since its creation in 1996, the organization has grown into an international phenomenon, with camps, workshops and events organized annually in the US, China, Italy, Canada and Cuba. “For example, to date, we’ve sent about 4,000 pounds of instruments to Cuba and have developed annual study programs there,” Mazza says. KoSA also organizes the Weekend of Percussion in New York and other cities around North America, and it operates a music school in Montreal, where it has organized study programs for percussion in local schools. It even offers team-building seminars to private companies.

            In addition to all this, Aldo Mazza is a long-time member of the globe-trotting percussion quartet Repercussion and has performed with major symphonies, among them the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. He has recorded over 100 CDs and has appeared on numerous TV shows. He has worked with such artists as Celine Dion, Jon Bonjovi, Aldo Nova, James Brown, Nikki Yanofsky and Oliver Jones.  Born in Calabria, Italy, Mazza came to Canada with his parents when he was nine. “Moving to Canada was hard at first, but it helped the family become a stronger unit,” says Mazza. He praises both his family and the community for his success. “The people around me taught me to have a great work ethic – to do your best, to be proud of what you do, and to do it well.”

Laurie Kader at the Da Vinci Centre

by Isabelle Schumacher
Laurie Kader at the DaVinci CentreLaurie Kader’s artwork examines the human body in bright, vivid, colour. Kader, however, does not paint the body in any way we might be used to; she zooms in and paints each individual cell. She focuses in on the very small – the parts of our bodies we would never see without x-rays or the help of a microscope.


Kader is used to seeing the human body from this perspective. At an early age, she was diagnosed with Madelung's Deformity and later with Leri-Weill dyschondrosteosis. Only 700 people in the world possess these rare genetic disorders. As a result of her illness, Kader suffers from chronic pain. “Over time,” Kader writes on her website, “Madelung’s has hindered my everyday life, creating numbness and pain in my upper extremities.” By 2010, she had had 11 different surgeries to counter the deformities caused by the disorder. Kader knows that her condition will only worsen with time, but rather than admit defeat she uses her situation as a source of inspiration. She taught herself to be ambidextrous to make the painting process easier on her body. She uses her x-rays and operations as a springboard for her art.

Kader’s artwork is known for its vivid colour. She layers paint and oil glaze over wood instead of canvas. She uses a mixed media technique to get a variation in surfaces. The theme of Kader’s art: how physical pain affects the soul. Kader’s art is testimony to the strength of perseverance. She refuses to be undone by her condition, and aims to educate others about endurance. Her art examines the relationship between the outside world and the inner workings of the human body.

Laurie Kader’s artwork will be featured at the Leonardo da Vinci Centre from March 15 to 21. For more information, see www.centreleonardodavinci.com.

Back to the Future: Possibilities since Pier 21

The 14th Biennial Conference of the Association of Italian Canadian Writers (AICW) – will be held in Halifax, Nova Scotia, March 23-25, 2012. Events are scheduled at Dalhousie University and at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. Founded in 1986, the AICW is a non-profit organization that brings together a community of writers, critics, academics, and other artists and promotes Italian Canadian literature and culture within an ethnoculturally diverse society. To learn more, please visit www.aicw.ca

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