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Home » Festivals, The Scene

Another Canadian Music Week comes and goes

Submitted by on March 27, 2012 – 4:28 pmNo Comment

As Canadian Music Week comes to an end after five days of limelight for some of the best Canada has to offer, the ears of Torontonians are still ringing from the permeating music festival.  Beginning Wednesday evening with the opening gala ceremony in the city’s CN Tower, CMW left nothing short of a stellar impression upon the music scene in the GTA.

“The sound is different in here. I wouldn’t say it’s an ideal venue, but the view is exceptional!” said Maritime rocker Joel Plaskett, who performed opening night alongside his band. “But we built up to it, and we’re a pretty hardy little three piece once we get going like this. We do our best work when we have this kind of support around.”

Ben Caplan has his own reasons for being stoked as he hit new heights from a career standpoint that night at the CN Tower. “Last year I applied to CMW, and didn’t make the cut,” he said. “This year I’m playing the opening gala so it’s a great feeling.”

After visiting the opening gala, the next stop we made was the Comfort Zone to get a peak at Vancouver’s on-the-rise MC SonReal, who set the stage for Ottawa’s Philly Moves. Martyr had a sit down with SonReal, who provided his insight on CMW.

“I wasn’t familiar with Philly Moves, so I was stoked to link up with them and see their performances,” explained SonReal. “This isn’t just about performing, it’s more than that. It’s about networking and slapping hands with the industry. I love Toronto, got to give a shout out to everyone showing love for us, it’s an amazing feeling.”

Thursday night Martyr visited the local and international hip-hop on display at the Opera House, which saw the likes of Toronto’s D-Sisive open up the crowd for Hilltop Hoods, the Australian hip-hop triage.

After the folk-rock and lyricists communities were paid heed to, it was time to catch Toronto up on the latest from the underground grunge scene that is ubiquitous amongst the city’s more homely venues.

The Victim Party seemed to be the perfect example of just that. A group of six misplaced misfits in Toronto’s society, that united, create a presence and stage energy only matched by their passion for playing music.

Sitting down for a pint at the Shanghai, before their performance next door at the Bovine Sex Club Friday night – which left fans yearning for more – Martyr got a feel for what made these music veterans collaborate so cohesively after years of playing in other bands separately.

“We’re just a group of misfits, that’s why The Victim Party sounded cool as a name… doesn’t mean anything,” said Colin Lichti, vocalist for the outfit. “We like to party, and that needed to be in the name.”

Lead singers Tabi Irani and Lichti are in fact married to each other, quite symbolic of the unity that the local punk-rock scene breeds. “There’s definitely a lot of cool bands in the area, that don’t get noticed, sometimes not even until they play outside the city and come back,” said guitarist Patrick Mathers.

“Toronto is a hot bed for music,” said his band mate Kyle Cook. “The punk-rock scene here is tight, and even when bands have big egos, they can come together and play stuff like CMW. Besides this we’ve been getting drunk on Saturday afternoons, writing and playing music.”

The week ended with perhaps the most interesting of all stories. Last stop was Cabin Five, the posh log cabin of a local tavern that saw the upper crust of Toronto’s music scene Saturday night at the Filter Magazine CMF Showcase. The spotlight was on CMW newcomers Paula & Karol, of Warsaw, Poland. Not Canadian right? Wrong, actually.

Paula Bialski, a Polish-Canadian, was born and raised in North Bay, Ont., until she travelled abroad to Poland to study sociology at the University of Warsaw. There she met Karol Strzemieczny and together they formed the folk group Paula & Karol. The other four members also hail from Poland.

Bialski said the biggest honour of CMW was being able to bring back her band to share with her inspiration the collaboration of two nations into one creative engine. “I never thought I’d get to bring my band back here to show my homeland, and as you said have this wonderful experience,” said Bialski when asked what CMW meant to her as the sole Canadian.

“With Paula being born here, this was like a homecoming for her, and I love this, that this band can do this together,” explained Karol on the rooftop of Cabin Five. “I am very much Polish-bred, but taking in all this Canadian energy that we get from fans is amazing. And it’s because of the kind of person Paula is that we can do this.”

With CMW in Toronto’s rear-view mirror, it’s a great ending to an awesome week that gave the city a taste of the vast-variety of venues and voices that have the potential to go viral once the vocation is heard.

Story by Devin Size; photos by Tee Onek and Devin Size

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