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Music: October 2013 Archives

Errol's Pick

Our music columnist Errol Nazareth says you'd be hard-pressed to find a singer from South Africa with a voice as distinctive as Vusi Mahlasela's. And that's the reason why he's called "The Voice" in his native country. Not only is he blessed with a plaintive, sumptuous voice but he makes music that's intimate, thoughtful and soulful. There is another reason why Mahlasela is known as "The Voice". When he was just 15, he joined a poetry group called the "Ancestors of Africa" and their words of resistance were such a concern to the apartheid regime that they ended up on the government's watch list. Vusi says he was held in solitary confinement, tortured and harassed by the police repeatedly. But he refused to break and is widely considered a hero in South Africa for the songs and poems he brought to the anti-apartheid movement. You can hear "The Voice" next Wednesday (Oct. 30) at Koerner Hall External Site. Also on the bill is the legendary American blues guitarist Taj Mahal. For tickets, call 416-408-0208.

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Errol's Pick

Alice Russell joins a long list of singers from the UK who've put their own stamp on classic American soul, and grabbed ears on this side of the Atlantic. That list includes Adele, Amy Winehouse, Laura Mvula, and Joss Stone. Many of those are household names in North America, but Russell was singing her heart out well before they came along. She has a big voice, one that's capable of giving you goosebumps whether she's singing a capella or fronting a six-piece or 16-piece band. This morning, we played tracks from "To Dust", an album she released earlier this year. Russell calls her music "raw, emotional electro-soul". Russell plays at The Garrison in Toronto on Friday, and given her reputation for giving shows that have been called emotionally fiery, I highly recommend seeing her.

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Errol's Pick

It's wild that a song that took a 16-year-old singer from New Zealand just half an hour to write has achieved immense global success. The song is "Royals", the singer is Lorde, and she is one of the most talked-about artists of 2013. She plays a sold out concert in Toronto on Sunday and our music columnist Errol Nazareth introduced us to her and played tracks from her just-released debut album, "Pure Heroine". The buzz around Lorde began after she released "Royals" late last year in her native New Zealand. A video for the song was posted online in the States in June and has over 15 million hits on YouTube. "Royals" also broke Alanis Morissette's record for the longest stay at the top of Billboard's Alternative chart by a female singer.

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