Saturday, December 17, 2011

Happy holiday season to all

As I leave a challenging year behind, I prefer to think of all the positive things that did happen. I feel blessed with all the wonderful friends who have brightened my days with kind words, patient listening, or just a simple smile. Thank you for being there and for being who you are. These caring moments are like little stars of hope that lighten up the darkness as much as the heavy load, and inspire me to pass on the light to others. Wishing you all much love and peace for New Year 2012.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Freedom

Some inspiring quotes about freedom, that wonderful feeling of not being bound by conventions, expectations, the ability to live fully in the present without being tied down by the past or the future, the empowerment of being yourself, of making choices, and taking responsibility for them.

“No man is free who is not a master of himself.”
Epictetus

"Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth."
John F. Kennedy

"Love does not claim possession, but gives freedom."
Rabindranath Tagore

"Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility. For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry is own weight, this is a frightening prospect."
Eleanor Roosevelt

"For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."
Nelson Mandela

"Art requires neither complaisance nor politeness; nothing but faith, faith and freedom."
Gustave Flaubert















Painting with my camera: a fleeting moment of wonder

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Jamming at De Sotos

We all need a break from work and daily pressures. What better way to relax than jamming at De Sotos. Tony Merante and Elizabeth Jackson have created a warm, friendly bistro atmosphere where everybody feels welcome, and many, whether they're singers, musicians, professionals or amateurs, have dropped by and let it all out at the open mic hosted by Anthony Abbatangeli, the most reliable and supportive host you'll ever meet. So, if you love music, come play and sing with us at De Sotos on Thursday evenings from 8 pm ...















Mike Meusel (Bass), Anthony Abbatangeli (guitar), Andi Duncan (vocals), John Bellisario (drums), Shaun Thomas (Sax)
















Ciaran O'Shea (guitar) and Fernando Perri (drums)
















Ray (Sax), Mike Meusel (Bass), Anthony Abbatangeli (guitar),Carlo Berardinucci (vocals), Shaun Thomas (Sax)























Sam Sharkawy (guitar), Anthony Abbatangeli (guitar), Wendy Weiler (vocals)

















Yours truly

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Back to the silence of writing

My show is over. It was such a thrill to share Mauritius with good old Toronto, especially English-speaking guests who were charmed by the island, intrigued by its multiculturalism, and thrilled by the atmosphere so français ... at Alliance Française de Toronto. It's fascinating how photos can finally explain what I could not in words to my friends.

I was touched by comments in the guest book: "Luscious, sensual, alive, lovely", "you've been given a good eye for capturing beauty", "simply breathtaking". Those from Mauritian-Canadians were very moving: "Faire moi gagne caffard", "ou ine capture l'essence de la vie mauricienne", "ça donne envie d'y retourner à la perle de l'océan indien".

To close off this show, here's an article in Le Matinal that my dear friend Helena Reich kindly wrote.

It's now time to buckle down and finish my novel. Back to the silence of writing. I totally believe in this quote from Gandhi that, "In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth."

Monday, October 17, 2011

Kréolissime























Alliance Française is celebrating Creole Month with another not-to-be-missed event, Kréolissime, a celebration of dance, music and food from Mauritius and other creole-speaking countries, this coming Saturday at 8 pm at Alliance Française de Toronto, 24 Spadina Road, one block north of Bloor. Here is the invite:

Join us for a friendly and festive evening of Creole culture!

Alliance française de Toronto welcomes its members, students – and anyone who’s in the mood to party – to join us for Kréolissime!, a memorable evening of music and dance. The 17 musicians, singers and dancers of the Canaséga troupe will keep the joint jumping with a repertoire and dance moves straight from Mauritius.Tasty treats from Haiti and Guyana will also be available, and the rum bar will be open for you to sample some tropical concoctions.

Kréolissime !
October Saturday, 22nd, 8 pm – 11pm
Alliance Française de Toronto, 24 Spadina Road
5$; Free for members of the Alliance Française de Toronto + 1 guest

For reservation: Patricia Guérin at 416-922-2014, ext 35 or culturel@alliance-française.ca



Venez rejoindre l’ambiance chaleureuse et festive de cette soirée créole le samedi 22 octobre prochain !

Avant la venue de l’hiver, l’Alliance Française de Toronto propose une soirée pour se réchauffer et profiter de l’exotisme créole.

L’AFT accueille ses membres, ses étudiants et quiconque a envie de faire la fête, à l’occasion d’une soirée Kréolissime! La troupe Canaséga, et ses 17 musiciens, chanteuses et danseuses, vient chauffer l’ambiance; chants typiques de l’île Maurice et démonstration de danse sont au programme. Un stand aux saveurs créoles concocte des encas tout droit venus des îles. Et pour boire un verre, la rhumerie vous propose quelques breuvages exotiques.

Kréolissime !
Samedi 22 octobre, 20h – 23h
Alliance Française de Toronto, 24 Spadina Road
5$; Gratuit pour les membres et les étudiants de l’AFT + 1 invité

Pour réservation: Patricia Guérin au 416-922-2014, poste 35 ou culturel@alliance-française.ca


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Media coverage for photo exhibition on Mauritius

Mauritius off the beaten path is getting much attention from the francophone media in Toronto, as well as in Mauritius.

CBC's French television, Le Telejournal Ontario showed a short 30 second clip of the exhibition on October 5th.

I was interviewed by Eric Cader on Pot Pourri, the French program at CIUT 89.5 FM, U of T's radio station, and also by Marjorie Murphy on CJBC 860 AM, Radio Canada's morning show, Y a pas deux matins pareils.

You can also read articles on the exhibition in two French newspapers in Toronto. Guillaume Garcia wrote 'L'Île Maurice, loin des touristes, près du coeur' in L'Express and Raphaël Lopoukhine wrote 'L'Île Maurice, loin des sentiers battus' in Le Métropolitain.

Pamela Glass, a great journalist, and a dear friend who writes for the magazine WorkBoat, also known as Pamela de St. Antoine, the Washington correspondent for Weekend newspaper in Mauritius, wrote an article about my show.


Île Maurice, hors des sentiers touristiques se fait parler d'elle à travers le média francophone ainsi qu'à l'Île Maurice.

Radio Canada, la chaîne de télévision française du Canada, a montré pour 30 secondes quelques photos de l'exposition sur Le Telejournal Ontario.

J'ai aussi fait une entrevue avec Eric Cader sur Pot Pourri, l'émission française de CIUT 89.5 FM, radio de l'Université de Toronto, et Marjorie Murphy sur CJBC 860 AM, l'émission du matin de Radio Canada, Y a pas deux matins pareils.

Des articles sur l'exposition ont paru dans deux journaux français de Toronto. Vous pouvez lire celui de Guillaume Garcia, 'L'Île Maurice, loin des touristes, près du coeur' dans L'Express et celui de Raphaël Lopoukhine 'L'Île Maurice, loin des sentiers battus' dans Le Métropolitain.

Pamela Glass, une amie et une excellente journaliste pour le magazine WorkBoat, qui est aussi connue sous le nom de Pamela de St. Antoine, la correspondante de Washington pour le journal Weekend à l'Île Maurice, a écrit 'Mauritius on display in Toronto'.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Thank you for a wonderful opening reception
































Au vernissage avec Patricia et Audrey


Thanks to all who came to the opening reception of Mauritius, off the beaten path at Galerie Pierre-Léon on October 5th. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to over a hundred guests who made this evening a very special one. And thanks to Alliance Française de Toronto, especially Audrey Sommier, Patricia Guérin and Geneviève Trilling for being wonderful coordinators, and thanks to Jean-Claude Duthion, the departed director who chose this exhibition for Galerie Pierre-Léon, and thanks to the new director, Patrick Riba for his support. It was such an overwhelmingly positive evening and a great pleasure to share a little bit of Mauritius with you all.

For those who have not had a chance to see the show, it will be on until October 31st at Galerie Pierre-Léon, Alliance Française de Toronto, 24 Spadina Road (one block north of Bloor).

Merci à tout le monde d'être venu au vernissage à la Galerie Pierre-Léon. Votre présence en si grand nombre m'a vraiment touché. Merci à l'Alliance Française de Toronto, en particulier, Audrey Sommier, Patricia Guérin et Geneviève Trilling pour avoir été des superbes coordinatrices culturelles. Merci à Jean-Claude Duthion, l'ancien directeur qui a choisi cette exposition pour la Galerie Pierre-Léon, et merci au nouveau directeur, Patrick Riba pour son encouragement. C'était une soirée fantastique et c'était un plaisir de partager un tout petit peu de l'île Maurice avec vous.

Pour ceux qui n'ont pas eu l'occasion de voir l'expo, elle continue jusqu'au 31 octobre à la Galerie Pierre-Léon, Alliance Française de Toronto, 24 Spadina Road. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mauritius Off the Beaten Path

















Alliance Française of Toronto is celebrating International Creole Month with Mauritius, Off the Beaten Path, a photography show by Peggy Lampotang at Galerie Pierre Léon, 24 Spadina Road, from October 5th to 31st, 2011.

Mauritius is one of many Creole-speaking countries. Haiti, Guadeloupe, among others, share similar Creole heritage through French colonization. The language was developed by African slaves who worked on sugarcane plantations and helped with the construction of roads and buildings. Creole, considered a vernacular French, is now recognized as an official language.

Colonized by the French in 1715, and later by the English from 1810 to 1968 when it gained its independence, Mauritius is a country where inhabitants of French, African, Indian, and Chinese origin are united through the Creole language. The melding of races has created a general population, also called Creole, which forms a large part of its working class.

To live in Canada, photographer Peggy Lampotang left this lush island with its azure ocean, but the island has never left her. You may have heard of Mauritius, its famous blue penny stamp, its extinct dodo bird, the miracle of its economic growth, or perhaps enjoyed lying on its pristine beach, the one where Prince William spent his holidays. But beyond this enchanting façade, there are faces of people going about their daily chores, faces that the photographer invites you to discover off the beaten path.

In spite of its financial success and its skyscrapers, Mauritius still harbours makeshift houses assembled from panels of old corrugated aluminum where some live with so little that one is surprised by their warmth. These children who wander freely in the ocean, these fishermen who throw their nets at the crack of dawn, these street vendors who sell fruits, tomatoes, chicken, and noodles, their faces are sometimes marked by a hard life, but their resourcefulness and survival instinct prevail. Does their inspiration come from the intuitive communion with the natural wilderness, and the ever-present ocean?

Exhibition Opening : Wednesday October 5th at 6:30 pm at Alliance Française de Toronto, 24 Spadina Road
RSVP à culturel@alliance-francaise.ca or 416 922 2014 ext 37



Île Maurice hors des sentiers touristiques


L’Alliance Française de Toronto célèbre le mois créole avec Île Maurice, hors des sentiers touristiques, une exposition de photos de Peggy Lampotang à la Galerie Pierre Léon. Alliance Française de Toronto du 5 au 31 Octobre, 2011.

L’île Maurice, Haïti, la Guadeloupe et bien d’autres, partagent le même héritage créole issu de la colonisation française. Le créole a été développé par les esclaves d’origine africaine qui travaillaient dans les champs de cannes à sucre ou à la construction de rues et de bâtiments. Le créole, considéré comme un patois français, est maintenant devenue une langue officielle.

Colonisée par les français en 1715, puis par les anglais de 1810 à 1968, l’année où elle obtient son indépendance, l’île Maurice réunit des habitants d’origine française, africaine, indienne, et chinoise par une langue commune, le créole. Ce brassage donne naissance à la population dite créole qui fait largement partie de la classe ouvrière de l’île.

Pour vivre au Canada, la photographe Peggy Lampotang a quitté cette île verdoyante avec son océan d’azur, mais cette île, elle, ne l’a jamais quitté. Vous avez peut-être entendu parler de l'île Maurice, de son fameux timbre ‘blue penny’, de son dodo disparu, ou du miracle de sa croissance économique, ou vous avez peut-être eu le plaisir de vous allonger sur ses belles plages, là où le Prince William a passé ses vacances. Mais derrière cette façade féerique, il y a le visage, les visages de ce peuple, qui s’en va à son labeur, des visages que ce photographe vous invite à découvrir hors des sentiers touristiques.

Malgré son succès financier et ses gratte-ciels, l’île Maurice abrite encore des maisons assemblées de vieux panneaux en tôle où les gens vivent avec si peu qu’on s’étonne de leur nature chaleureuse. Ces enfants qui gambadent librement dans l’océan, ces pêcheurs qui lancent leurs filets à la première lueur du matin, ces vendeurs qui nous offrent leurs fruits, tomates, poulets, et nouilles, aux visages sont parfois marqués par une vie dûre, mais des visages qui montrent une force et un esprit de survie. Leur inspiration vient-elle de cette communion intuitive avec la nature sauvage et l'infini de l’océan?


Vernissage : mercredi 5 octobre à 18h30 à l’Alliance Française de Toronto, 24 Spadina Road.
RSVP à culturel@alliance-francaise.ca ou 416 922 2014 poste 37


Saturday, September 03, 2011

Mauritius
















Mauritius is very much on my mind these days. I visited the island with intense emotions a few weeks ago. First there was the high school reunion, which you can see on youtube thanks to Andy Wilkinson, our videographer extraordinaire ... This article in a Mauritian newspaper also sums up the wonderful time. It was so heart-warming to reconnect with school friends, and so awesome to go back in time, singing old songs, and feeling like a teenager all over again.

During my stay, I was lucky to meet a few talented artists, writers, and photographers who are changing the creative landscape of the island by sharing their giftedness with others. Their generosity and open-mindedness was inspiring.

Krishna Luchoomun, an accomplished visual artist who believes in bringing other artists together in non-conventional shows, put together a collective exhibition Art in the Forest by artists from countries along the Indian Ocean. It was a fascinating experience to walk through the damp forest, breathing in its earthy smell, and discovering a tree resplendent in aluminum foil, sleeping beauty waiting in her white bed, fat dodo birds gazing at us ... Ahhh conceptual art ... how it tickles our senses and imagination.

Barlen Pyamootoo, a brilliant writer who obtained the French literary prize, Prix du Roman Francophone for his book Benares, also directed a movie from the same book, that was featured at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) in 2005. This author believes in sharing his love of literature with aspiring writers on the island, and created L’atelier de l’Ecriture, a series of workshops which culminates in an annual publication of the best work from these students. What incredible opportunities this dedicated teacher provides for the future generation of Mauritian writers.

Jameel Peerally, an outstanding photographer and teacher who kindly let me accompany him during some of his photography outings with his students, directs his discerning eyes not only to photography but to social justice. His photography book titled Chagossians orphans of the world, shows the plight of this nation's forced exile by the British to make way for an American military base. He is currently having a group exhibition titled In Focus to show the excellent work of his students. He is also spearheading a youth movement to protest the current state of affairs on the island, which you can read in more details in this manifesto. Sending him my support for a peaceful march and hope the movement will achieve positive changes for the island.

And last but not least, I'm preparing for a photography show on Mauritius in October at Galerie Pierre Léon at Alliance Française de Toronto. A bit overwhelmed lately by Mauritius, that tiny precious island in the Indian Ocean. Will post more info about the show soon.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Bats or Swallows

















Teri Vlassopoulos, a friend from creative writing class, a young talented writer, has always impressed me with her clear, authentic, and intimate voice when relating stories about her generation's coming of age. Bats or Swallows, her first collection of short stories has been shortlisted for the ReLit Awards. I'm so thrilled for her and wish her luck.

She was also shortlisted for the Danuta Gleed Literary Award.

Here's a write-up on Bats or Swallows and an interview with Teri by the same writer.

The book can be purchased at Amazon.com

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Rainbow Catcher






















I would like to introduce you to my friend Chrisly Cheung, and her collection of short stories titled The Rainbow Catcher. Chris and I have dreamt together about writing and I was thrilled for her that her dream finally came true. She asked me to write a blurb on the back cover, and I gladly did. Her stories are very touching. Vivid details about life in Mauritius act as backdrop to the deeper meaning of each story.

"I met Chris in secondary school and was charmed by her fresh, childlike way of seeing things. Our lives took divergent paths, but our friendship survived through our shared passion for writing. Chrisly's depth of thoughts and feelings, and empathy for others are very much present in her collection of short stories. Her narratives explore relationships, innocent at times, yet complicated, with fate and spirituality weaving in their mystery, shaking our common beliefs, and challenging us to open up to another dimension where illusion and truth have no boundaries."

You can purchase the book at locations mentioned on her website and online at Amazon.com

Monday, July 18, 2011

Summertime

Summertime and the livin' is easy
...
One of these mornings
You're gonna rise up singing
Then you'll spread your wings
And take to the sky

Lyrics by George Gershwin

This song's tune has a sad lingering mood that seems to cling to me this summer, yet its lyrics are so hopeful, with tremendous potential and promises in the air. There's so much sunshine out there in the city, casting its light on people chatting happily in restaurant patios, children running in playgrounds, blooming flowers ...

Wishing you all a wonderful summer.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Silence of Writing

I was in the country to work on my novel. Croaking frogs, twittering birds, and buzzing insects kept me company. This communion with nature swept away the bombardment of city noise and stimulations, and instilled much-needed peacefulness.

Writing in such silence by the lake is bliss to the creative soul.
















“We cannot see our reflection in running water.” Taoist quote

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Forgiveness

When times are tough, I often find solace in quotes that remind me of our universal need for love, kindness and compassion. Forgiving those who have hurt us is not easy but it is part of our continuous efforts at improving relationships and creating a more pleasant world to live in.

Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit. ~ Peter Ustinov

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. ~ Dalai Lama

By swallowing evil words unsaid, no one has ever harmed his stomach. ~ Winston Churchill

Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair but manifestations of strength and resolution. ~ Kahlil Gibran

A bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives roses. ~ Chinese Proverb















Contemplation
Le Grand Palais, Paris.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Art in Paris

Ah, a week in Paris. Reading and writing in cafés and bistros, wandering on cobblestoned streets, checking photography galleries, discovering new inspirations. Here are two shows that impressed me most during my visit.

Femmes Éternelles, a collection of 80 photos by Olivier Martel right on the fence of the Luxembourg gardens, is a celebration of women from diverse cultures. The photographer has captured with marvelous insight and sensitivity the depth of these women's souls. At a moment in my life when I feel the weight of women's difficult journeys in a world that seems more favourable to men, it was refreshing and such a relief to see this acknowledgement of women's fortitude, their resilience, their eternal inner beauty. I felt an immediate connection with this photographer and it was wonderful to meet him during his book signing.

Femmes Éternelles, une collection de 80 photos par Olivier Martel, sur les grilles du jardin Luxembourg, est une célébration de femmes de divers cultures. Ce photographe a capturé la profondeur d'âme de ces femmes avec une sensibilité et une compréhension qui me touchent beaucoup. En ce moment, le parcours difficile des femmes dans un monde qui me semble plus propice aux hommes, pèse beaucoup sur moi, et j'ai ressenti un allègement et une affinité immédiate envers ce photographe qui reconnaît le courage, la dignité, et la beauté intérieure de ces femmes éternelles. C'était merveilleux de le rencontrer pendant la dédicace de son livre.




































I love that this show is outdoors and available to a larger audience. This woman who was passing by while doing her errands, contemplates another eternal woman.

J'aime que cette exposition est en plein air et visible au grand public. Cette femme qui passait par là pendant ses courses, admire une autre femme éternelle.
















Enfants des rues, Madagascar, par Olivier Martel


Another show that impressed me was Leviathan, a sculpture by Anish Kapoor. This giant three-sphered balloon inflated up to the ceiling of the Grand Palais is compelling just through its sheer size.

Une autre exposition qui m'a beaucoup impressionnée est Leviathan, une sculpture de Anish Kapoor. Ce ballon géant de trois sphères qui atteint le plafond du Grand Palais nous subjuge par sa dimension gigantesque.















Viewed from inside, it feels as if one has entered a womb ... perhaps a woman's, or the interior of an eye, but it is up to the viewer to experience at a personal level the claustrophobic yet enlightening redness of the balloon whose fabric reflects light coming through the glass dome of the Grand Palais.

Vu de l'intérieur, on se sent dans le ventre ... d'une femme peut-être, ou à l'intérieur d'un oeil, mais c'est au spectateur de vivre personnellement l'expérience de ce ballon rouge claustrophobique et pourtant illuminé dont le tissu reflète la lumière qui passe à travers le dome vitré du Grand Palais.






















Viewed from outside, the sensual curves tower over us, making us feel tiny, insignificant against this somehow grotesque monstrosity that brings out our vulnerability and prompts us to find a deeper meaning in our reactions.

Vu de l'exterieur, les courbes sensuelles sont à une échelle qui nous rendent tout petits et insignifiants à coté de cette sculpture grotesque qui nous rend vulnérable et nous incite à trouver un sens plus profond à nos réactions.

I was intrigued by Anish Kapoor's work, and read interviews about how he enables expression rather than expresses any message in his sculptures. I totally get what he says about artists making mythologies when they inspire people to look beyond the art. Anish Kapoor projects great intimacy in the way he breathes and lives in his work. This artist's preoccupation with space and the way it relates to our soul keeps me wanting to read more about him.

J'étais intriguée par l'oeuvre d'Anish Kapoor et j'ai lu dans ses interviews qu'il veut rendre possible l'expression de la personne envers sa sculpture, et non exprimer un message. J'aime beaucoup ce qu'il dit sur les artistes qui créent une mythologie quand ils inspirent les gens à voir plus loin que l'objet d'art. Anish Kapoor projette une intimité dans la façon dont il respire et vit son art. Cet artiste parle de l'espace et sa relation avec notre état d'âme avec tant de conviction que je voudrais en lire plus sur lui.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Celebrating architecture and successful friends

One of the good things about getting older is to see hard-working friends who shared modest beginnings (like living in warehouses, driving beat-up Beatles, going to repertory theatres ...) achieve success in their careers. Two dear friends, Diarmuid Nash, and Daniel Teramura are now partners in the internationally renowned architectural firm of Moriyama and Teshima Architects and have worked on many impressive projects such as these:
















Canadian War Museum
















Bata Shoe Museum

















The National Museum in Saudi Arabia

Bravo to Diarmuid and Dan for their inspiring designs. The philosophy of their architectural firm truly expresses who they are, kind and caring people with a passion for design:
"In the midst of our increasingly complex lives, we all yearn for simple reminders of our place in the world. We want our senses to be stimulated. We want to experience nature daily. We want to share spaces with our friends and neighbours. We want healthy workplaces. We want honour and respect. These are the kinds of values that inform our work."

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

About the unforeseen in art

"The unforeseen is the most beautiful gift life can give us. That is what we must think of multiplying in our domain. … Art is inconceivable without risk, without inner sacrifice; freedom and boldness of imagination can be won only in the process of work, and it is there that the unforeseen I spoke of a moment ago must intervene, and there no directives can help."
Boris Pasternak

This quote from the author of Dr. Zhivago expresses so clearly one of the deepest truths about art whether it's painting, writing, music, etc.


















Spring is here, its crisp light peeking through a dried up leaf that sat gracefully on this branch all winter.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tsunami disaster

The horror of the tsunami that is devastating Japan and killing so many is mind-numbing. Watching videos of gigantic waves crashing through entire towns, swallowing up buildings, cars, anything that lies on their inexorable path of destruction, is frightening. As if nature is pounding into us our insignificance and powerlessness, we, human mortals, against its fury.

My heart goes to all the people whose lives, homes, worlds were snatched away so suddenly, and to all those who have lost their loved ones and will need tremendous courage and fortitude to start all over again, and rebuild.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Music at De Sotos

Since I last wrote about the open mike that my talented friend Anthony Abbatangeli hosts at De Sotos, singers, guitarists, drummers, saxophonists, bassists, key board players, violinists, percussionists have been dropping by to create their own magic on Thursday evenings.

Music is such a visceral form of expression. It sweeps musicians into a rhythm that acquires a life of its own, and transports us into a state in which nothing else matters but the sounds and sensations that are pulsating through our bodies. It brings out spontaneity, creativity and a sense of camaraderie and warmth that is cathartic.

If you sing, play a musical instrument or just love listening to music to unwind from a hard day’s work, join Anthony and friends for a fun Thursday evening at De Sotos on St. Clair West and Lauder.















My dear friend Lynda Covello, jazz vocalist, sings a duet with Jim Fabro. Budi on bass, Noah on guitar and Bernie on saxophone.

















Tony, our rock star sings Hot Legs. Anthony Abbatangeli, host extraordinaire, on guitar

Monday, February 21, 2011

February in Toronto























There's something fragile about February. Dried-up vine leaves that cling delicately onto branches, icicles that hang precariously from bare trees, crisp pristine snow that flatten into the shape of our steps, and pervading it all, a snappish grey weather that threatens to shatter our cheerfulness.

I took a walk along one of the ravines that run stealthily under the boisterous belly of Toronto. A deep cleansing breath of cold air while observing the elegant lines of the nature trail, and slowly brittle emotions firm up with resolve. One of the reasons I love this city is its balance of contrasts. Hard concrete masses rise above soft organic forests. Coldness and warmth side by side.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Mauriciens enfants de mille races





















I've been reading books about Mauritius. Mauriciens enfants de mille races and Mauriciens enfants de mille combats by Jean-Claude de L'Estrac, show how centuries of history mould our social environment and affect us in ways we are often not aware of.

De L'Estrac's detailed account of the island's beginnings, from colonization, slavery, to migration of indentured labourers, exposes the roots of its inhabitants. I could feel the plight and struggles of all these ancestors, these immigrants who faced tremendous hardships, who toughened it, who dreamt of a better life for themselves and their children, whether they were French, Africans, Indians or Chinese. These people helped to build the island where I grew up.

Reading this book brought much awareness of how the history of Mauritius has shaped the person I am. Even though I call Canada home for over 30 years, a little part of me is still attached to the island, that feeling of being indeed a child of all races, un enfant de mille races .

Monday, January 03, 2011

Lynda Covello at The Reservoir Lounge















A great beginning to the New Year. My dear dear friend, Lynda Covello, the lawyer with the sultry, seductive voice, is singing at The Reservoir Lounge on Wednesday, January 12, 2011, 7:00 to 9:00pm. More details on her website

It will be a wonderful treat to hear Lynda sing, a great way to warm the heart during these cold days. Since I last wrote about her here , Lynda has impressed me with her determination to pursue her dream. She's put in many, many hours of work, as well as her heart and soul in her singing.

The Reservoir Lounge is one of my favourite jazz clubs, warm, cozy, vibrant. You can feel your body absorbing the musical vibes, and you can even shake it all out on its tiny dance floor.

Please join us for a terrific evening which I hope will skyrocket Lynda's career as a professional singer.