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Music: September 2015 Archives

Jazz Lullabies

If you're a new parent who's singing the bedtime battle blues, I feel your pain. My oldest took forever to go to sleep when he was a baby, and all the tips and tricks recommended by parenting experts amounted to nothing. There is, of course, no magic solution to putting a restless baby to sleep and if you're tired of singing the same lullabies night after night, I have some relief for you. In comes in the shape of a beautiful storybook titled "Dreams Are Made For Children" and it's accompanied by a CD featuring classics by artists like Billie Holiday, Nat King Cole, Judy Garland, Chet Baker, Peggy Lee, and Frank Sinatra. These storybook-CD's are published by The Secret Mountain, an award-winning company based in Montreal. It initially focused on music CDs for children before launching its book-and-music venture. In an interview, Roland Stringer, who founded Secret Mountain, said he noticed the CDs were selling well in book stores. So he conceptualized a product that would bring together musicians, illustrators, storytellers, and songwriters, and his idea has flown off the shelves.

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"Northern Soul" the Movie

Northern Soul is a music and dance movement that was born in Britain in the early 70s. It inspired a movie of the same name which will be screened at TIFF on Friday and Saturday. White working class kids who lived in northern UK cities like Wigan, Blackpool and Manchester would converge on clubs like The Casino and The Mecca that played obscure black soul from the States on weekends. They dressed sharp as tacks and invented their own dances which were highly acrobatic. "Northern Soul", the movie, is the directorial debut by Elaine Constantine, a well-known British photographer who was heavily into the scene and says the film is based on her personal experiences and those of her friends. The film tells the story of John, a teenage outcast in Lancashire, whose has an epiphany after he hears Northern Soul music at a youth club. His life changes radically after he meets up with Matt, a hardcore soul fan. Matt turns him onto the music, transforms how he dresses, takes him to all-nighters and introduces him to drugs. Not only does Elaine perfectly capture the drudgery of John's life in small-town Lancashire but the music and footage of kids dancing really makes the film jump.

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"Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats"

"Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats" is the latest band on the scene who are reviving and reimagining classic soul music. The group's name shouts 'soul music' but there's a loseness, a rawness in this band's sound that I like, and it sets them apart from all the other soul brothers and sisters. They're clearly influenced by 60s southern soul music but you'll also hear echoes of the E-Street Band, Van Morrison and even Mumford and Sons on the songs. And they deliver them with a whole lotta gusto. Rateliff released two acoustic-based records prior to this one and says that by the end of 2013, he said he was feeling burnt out. His destiny changed when a musician friend invited him to his studio to record some songs. Nathaniel said he always wanted to take a stab at soul and R&B so he began laying down some tracks. He wrote a ton of songs, recruited some veteran musicians from Denver and formed the Night Sweats two years back.

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