I am so so stoked to announce I”ll be playing the Voices of Asia presented by Small World Music on April 25th. The tickets are also super reasonable ($20) in a ridiculously gorgeous venue! I’m super privileged to be part of this collaborative project – folk, classical, rock, pop, from different fantastic female musicians from different traditions and voices of Asia. Suba Sankaran, Spire and Vandana Vishwas – I am so so excited!
So – check it out – we are playing Canadian Music Fest (a part of Canadian Music Week) as part of woah! Music’s showcase!
This means 2 things:
1. See you Friday night!
2. We will be at the daytime conference at the Royal York on Thur, Fri + Sat.
Conferencing for some people can be intimidating- but hey – you know at least 1 band there & you can totally fake like we’re doing hardcore business deals over Twitter 🙂 People can seem a little cold, but usually a nice hello, a firm handshake and a warm smile and people will open right up! You can reach me + Marco directly via twitter — @bandbandana or @marcoadamovic — If you’re there too and want to chat about art and music and labels and love, let’s meet up!
I’ll be headed out to see DangerBand on Thursday night + Saul Williams on Fri night (After our show of course!); I’m going to do my darndest to see Lickpenny Loafer + Cousin Rufu on Sat night (we’ve played with these guys – amazing vocals on both bands).
There are clips up of the pre-mixed tracks! If you would like a preview of the new Strength EP before it is released in May, send us a Tweet!
Ok – CMW is going to be hectic – so everyone, eat well, take care of yourself and each other and we’ll see you out there at the shows!
WOW Simply WOW! I can’t wipe this smile off my face....(<—that’s literally what I looked like while writing this post!)
The past two weeks have been an absolutely ridiculously phenomenally challenging and yet a remarkably enjoyable start to the new year!
3 shows in 4 weeks! People reaching out to us for future shows! Last minute EVERYTHING – my little heart’s all worked up!
Our kickass end of 2011 show at the legendary Velvet Underground….AMAZING…..it even got us another gig! I needn’t say more.
First show of 2012 was Jan 7th with our dear friends Dead Shyre at The Central! They sounded amazing with a tight new lineup – this was one of my favourite shows they’ve done! Maha Kamal, amazing lady who pushes for social justice through her profession as a lawyer, AND is a phenomenal photographer was at the show too! (She is also the wife of Dead Shyre’s rocking lead singer Ali Rizvi). You need to check out Maha’s photography – it’s amazing. I kinda wish she also had a blog, I’d follow that in an instant (just putting it out there Maha!).
And then Jeez louise!….
We opened for The Elwins + The Arkells. This was the biggest show we’ve done to date – about 250-300 super excited energetic university kids and the energy flowing through the room was IMMENSE! Marco was sweating, Rustom was smiling, and I was singing my little heart out. The audience JUMPED, DANCED + MOSHED with our tunes! I mean they had never even heard of us before and to get that kind of response was
Hart House a+ UTSU totally spoiled us with our own green room, with food, and booze! Gah! It was one of the most vindicating moments of our professional artistic lives – we were actually being treated like artists! 🙂 We would have been happy with some water and a push onto the stage! Hart House, Vita Carlino, The Elwins -these guys all gave us simply amazing love. The Elwins even let us borrow their bass player + tuner for sound check – totally awesome guys. Keep your eyes out for their upcoming CD (releasing in Feb!). We didn’t have a chance to meet The Arkells in person – but god damn they rocked out that night! SBS was also joined on stage that night by Karim Rizkallah and his gorgeous Halo (– it’s SUCH a COOL instrument – see video below). He joined us with only 2 days notice – totally rock’n roll). Karim & his halo will hopefully also be making an appearance on the album.
Oh yeah – that’s right – We are recording an album in February! Gah! Crazy how quickly that came up!
This is a year of cutting out the bullshit – and it feels great!! Cutting out crap (from a diet, relationships, work, etc), has really let the most important things take precedence and receive the attention they deserve. It feels sooooo good to have put so much hard work into something and to see the energy reflected in your audience. !!! I WANT TO DO IT AGAIN !!!
Let’s do it again!
(We’re going to do it again on Feb 17th at The Drake Hotel! You should come and do it with us 😉 – keep your eyes out for more deets!)
Sometimes you just have to put yourself out there.
Out there – in the deep dark void that can be scary and mean and just not nice. Sometimes out there is even better than you could have imagined. I suppose you just can’t know.
This weekend I was hanging out with a great friend and were discussing (like we always do) the inertia that fear creates in our lives. Every once in a while, fear is a truly important flag keeping us from being really hurt. Most times it’s just in the way.
Who knew that one of the world’s most prolific street photographers never shared a single photograph during her lifetime and her brilliance was found out by accident through an auction of her belongings after her death (we found this story via TVGawker.com– once you get past the cliche announcer it gets pretty good):
Whether or not she was a brilliant photographer doesn’t even matter – look at how gorgeous her perspective is in the photographs! So stunning – some of them are lovely stories in a single frame. But think about the hundreds of photographs that were ugly and awful – the shots that came between the beautiful ones.
You have to give yourself a shot no? I mean – seriously – wouldn’t it be better to benefit from your efforts while you’re still alive – instead of waiting for someone else to acknowledge and benefit from your efforts once your dead? (However, it’s obvious that Vivian Maier was an extremely private person and artist – but you have to wonder whether it was fear or privacy that drove her to keep her story for herself).
Just give it a try! That’s what everyone keeps telling me. A wise man once said- inertia’s a bitch. The tortoise in me is moving one step at a time. But I have to keep moving. I have a ton of entrepreneurial friends whom I really admire – they just do stuff! Even if they’re not quite sure what it is they’re doing….they are willing to give it a try.
Also, you have to do the stuff you’re not so great at over and over again, until you get really good at it. As a musician, at first I always found recording to be really scary – I mean it’s going to be recorded forever! But then, after recording little by little, it’s now easy-peasy! But currently, shows are really scary, but they’re exhilarating too! A great show can really make you feel like you are a part of a story – or – that you would like to share your story. I’ll be doing my best going out there and doing these scary things – feel free to join me- it’s nice to have company when you’re scared. 😉
Sing Bandana Singh performs Thursday January 13th at the El Mocambo (464 Spadina Ave. Toronto). Doors at 7pm. Performance at 7:30pm $10. 19+.
What a lovely break I had over the holidays – a whole week off from the 9-5pm. It was simply fantastic!In that time I ate, drank, danced and booked a show!
Thursday Jan 13th at the El Mocambo in Toronto – It seems to be a very enigmatic place.
I always like doing shows/events in unusual places – now El Mo (as it is lovingly called in Toronto) is not an unusual place per say – it is a licensed bar that hosts live music. BUT – it’s been around FOREVER! It was the first bar to get a liquor license in Toronto!
The history of the building goes back to 1850! This is crazy for a city that is infamous for having very few historic buildings. Oh – and you know a little band called The Rolling Stones played and recorded Love You Live at the El Mocambo back in 1977. No biggie. 🙂
But what I find most intriguing is the current owner.
Now – I’m getting all of this information from the El Mocambo website, Wikipedia and newspaper articles – so take it as you will. Abbas Jahangiri, the owner of the El Mo is a serial entrepreneur who has taken a vow of poverty. His previous professional history includes leading an engineering team, CEO of a real estate development company as well as being a principal for a national dance company (when you are on the El Mo site – click on History and Owner). In 2003 he took a vow of poverty and has dedicated his life to helping the most vulnerable in society. Including daily 2am-6am service and distribution of food and survival needs for hundreds of Toronto’s homeless. Very intriguing no?
I’m most intrigued by his conviction in his change of lifestyle.
Rock n’Roll isn’t a selfless industry – it is fueled by narcissism and vanity……..
…..so it’s super interesting to come across people who try to find balance with the rock n’roll attitude and the gravest societal needs around them. These are two extremes and Mr. Jahangiri seems to live at both ends.
I wonder if he will be at the show? It would be awesome to grab a conversation with him – what couldn’t you talk about?!
Music is about great stories – I have a feeling that the El Mo has more than a few good tales to tell.
Sing Bandana Singh performs Thursday January 13th at the El Mocambo (464 Spadina Ave. Toronto). Performance at 7:30pm $10. 19+.
Finally here is the interview that I had with Manu Sharma from the Natural Capital Project!
Disclaimer: I have known Manu for a very long time. We’ve been friends since we were kids. When we were little we always said that we wanted to do good in the world. He recently moved from Toronto to Paolo Alto to work on this project with Stanford. When I learned what the project was all about – I had questions. This is not a random encounter – nor was I approached to do this interview by the project. I was just sincerely intrigued. I still have questions and will likely have a follow up post.
This interview in total lasts about 15mins. It’s been split into 3 pieces for easier consumption. The 1st and 3rd part are audio only. The 2nd part integrates the video desktop recording I’ve always been so curious about. Also note that ‘B is for Blog’ is a work room so our contributors like to muck about with new ideas and new ways of presenting ideas. Like, Social Return on Investment, natural capital and trying to capture value in processes that have traditionally not been valued, is a very tricky business. It’s a project with huge scope, great hope and amazing minds working behind the scenes. (The first post we did was titled “The Natural Capital Project – What is that Forest Really Worth?”)
Part 1: The Basics (6.5 mins)
Part 2: The Model (6 mins)
Part 3: Why Manu is a part of this project (2 mins)
Now back to the question posed in the post….What does a post about environmental capital have to do with art?
Lots really – if you think about it.
Something that’s always bothered me about many disciplines, (in particular, art, science or engineering based disciplines) is the weird way we compartmentalize what we do and keep it far away from those whom we deem simply too inept to understand what we are all about.
That was so 1990. Welcome to the new age and the world of the ‘interdisciplinary.’ These interviews with amazing people I’ve met are a way to stimulate discussion in and between the disciplines we, artists or otherwise, belong to.
The environment is what we all live within. FStop10, our resident photog, has utilized the landscape around us, animals and their natural and not so natural habitats as inspiration and muses for her work. Edward Burtynsky, one of the world’s most influential photographers, utilizes his perspective and use of the lens to bring us into a part of our world that is so daily and yet so hidden. (You totally need to see this video that describes his collection titled ‘Oil.’)
The beauty of having an interview with an environmentalist or learning about a discipline outside of your own is that integration aspect – that integration aspect is what I think has been missing from problem solving and addressing the world’s most devastating issues. The world is three dimensional – there is no single discipline that will save us.
Artists are amazing critical and creative thinkers. We can bring a completely different or complimentary point of view to any issue. Moving from compartmentalized disciplines to interdisciplinary thinking is like moving from 2d to 3d in the films; it helps to make the picture fuller and more detailed – it brings life to the perspective.
This is what I was really working on during my island escape from the city: an artist business plan.
For artists ‘business’ is a bad dirty word -it’s quite a taboo subject for some. So let’s talk dirty – let’s do something naughty, let’s just do it – we’re going to create the the love child of Art + Business. Oh yeah.
Everyone is a business, whether you like it or not. You earn money you have expenses money comes in and goes out and hopefully at the end of the day there’s a little bit left over for savings and rrsps and ice cream.
I’ve been busy reading the usual creative + entrepreneurial blogs: The 99%, GigaOm, TechCruch, FastCompany, and following up on Toronto + non-Toronto based entertainment + tech entrepreneurs (Kunal Gupta, Gurbhaskh Chahal*, Zark Fatah*, , Uniq Lifestyle’s Nitsa Tsoumaris* – one of the few female entertainment leaders I’ve come across). Amazing people working on very different ideas that all intersect in parallel industries. I’ve been mulling over their accomplishments, and comparing and contrasting their businesses with the smaller non-profits that I have worked for.
For-profit or non-profit organizations start the same way: someone has a great idea and starts gathering people and resources to execute their vision. However the trajectory for the for-profit start-up is very different compared to the non-profit start-up which seems to have a much more difficult time finding partners for growth even if the ideas are sound. Whereas for-profit start-ups seem to be able to gather capital even if the idea is inherently risky.
With a VERY broad brush – here are my thoughts:
The non-profit organization model is somewhat like an older woman with maternal tendencies: steadfast, dependable, self-assured, resourceful and willing to make whatever sacrifices it takes to her own material wealth to ensure the health of the family unit. But this model has inherently been neglected by investors because of the lack of financial return (obviously). Growth becomes difficult without capital.
Whereas the for-profit model is much more like a young man in his prime with an adolescent swagger: well connected, brand-conscious, self interested, status driven, willing to risk whatever it takes to be recognized by his peers as number 1. Investors have always loved these kinds of organizations – venture capitalists salivate at the thought of the financial potential gain – but I wonder if they recognize how many for-profits are inherently neglectful of the very communities that are supporting them.
I want to be both a mom and an alpha male.
The non-profit world does so much amazing work – the people are incredibly knowledgeable, experienced and educated, but overworked and underpaid. In many instances the non-profit worker is without health benefits – which makes them vulnerable. You shouldn’t have to take a vow of poverty to help your community. On the other hand, the corporate world has the incredible ability to raise huge amounts of capital in short periods of time; but does so at the expense of common or community goods and values.
Hence my business plan – where I’m trying to manage, or rather mix, both cultures into a third more holistic business culture – the Social Enterprise. Cultural Careers Council Ontario has been a huge help. Many people, including MaRS in Toronto, are working on these ideas and my own works are a small part of this experiment.
If you were going to create a business plan for your own life – which model would you be? For Profit? Non-Profit? Social Enterprise? What kinds of ways would you be comfortable making money? What material assets could you not do without?
Try to build your own basic business plan for your own lively hood – it’s daunting, daring and a surprisingly fun. Here’s a great PDF primer for artists (but it’s useful info for everyone) from the Cultural Human Resources Council: AMYC-Chapter1-en
*I have a TON of respect for these guys – they are all self-made, they’ve worked like crazy to get where they are, they run successful businesses which are all highly recognized – but what’s the deal with the dark backgrounds and shiny pics? Have you noticed how similar the aesthetic is between all of these brands- even Mr. Chahal’s brand even though he is actually a tech entrepreneur? Intriguing – needs a thesis I think – something along the lines of male dominated industry + night time pursuits with inherently dark imagery to evoke the mysterious exotic aspect of their brands…..I struggle with this idea with my own branding – I think this is another post in the making. Meggy Wang and I have had great conversations about this topic – I think it’s going to be my next post. Any thoughts?
It would be a crying shame to veer completely off the engaging and relevant train of thought sparked by my illustrious fellow floggers (first time bloggers…just trying the word…I know, I am ignoring the “t”…but it just doesn’t fit!…now I am wondering if it sounds rude, mmm).
So I won’t…veer off that is. I like ellipses…you will get to know that about me…
Anyhoo…career choices and all the various considerations that go along with that topic occupy my addled mind daily. Like John Malkovich, my brain has a 9th and a half floor (in my case this is where the slightly off thoughts go to procreate). And though my anxiety does not take the form of a walrus (fabulous imagery inkling7)…it does do an admirable job of turning my plump and shiny creative drive into a raucously deflating whoopee cushion, taunting me with self-doubt and derision! Is my art good enough? Can I monetize my passion? Which one of my lovingly fostered obsessions is most marketable. (the one I can charge the most for, of course!) Oy!
Luckily for me, the clear winner in that dubious contest is an abiding, lifelong preoccupation of mine. (I will expand on my beginnings in a later post) I am almost afraid of admitting what it is…as every man and his dog claims the same pastime as their own. Somehow the proliferation of this art form makes it difficult to admit to doing it – for fear of being lumped into some mediocre, pedestrian, meh group of blahness. I make images…with an SLR…I am a photographer. (and yep…my name, if you know about aperture, is kind of messed up…there is no fstop 10 – it just sort of happened, OK!)
It isn’t my day job…yet? (I am so excited…I have successfully pulled Sachin and inkling7’s musings into my first contribution. Holy, preamble!
So, to clearly state my humble intentions – due to my walrus (© inkling7)/whoopee cushion conundrum – I would love to use this space to share my art…with you. Instinct kicks in and I feel compelled to blurt out an excuse about not being a pro, or utter “I know I am probably not worthy, but!” That would do a disservice not only to me, but to the bravery of my co-conspirators (gave up on the word floggers…it definitely sounds dirty!).
In our midst here we have the brave and inspiring muso (who puts the B in our blog at the very least!), an undercover creative writer (who I am yet to meet, but am confident is a genuine mensch) and our courageously thoughtful (yes I know it is another word for brave…but inkling7 is that too!) writer and philosopher and all round tremendous individual. And photog (me) makes 4.
My first share: An image I am rather pleased with. I took this with my 70-300mm lens, from across the road. He was sitting on my neighbour’s roof…surrounded by his marauding troop. These guys raid the gardens and kitchens of any house in their path. Their only there for the snacks though…no one usually gets hurt. (unless an idiotic human makes the wrong move)
- Guarding the troop is tiring work – and my choppers can be pretty threatening!
Thanks to B for that intro and to Sachin for his insightful post, which was indeed food for thought!
Interests, aptitude or financial security – oh my! Quite the dilemma…
No doubt it becomes an even more trying issue when you have a number of varied interests and aren’t quite sure which one you’d like to pursue, when you’re skills may or may not be marketable, and/or when you have a sneaking suspicion that a predictable/banal/secure job might crush your soul (just a little bit – even if only around the edges).
It doesn’t help either when that dreaded beast (Career) Anxiety (which I’ve often imagined would appear as a walrus toting a briefcase, should it be so inclined as to take material form – go figure!) lumbers over your thoughts, your plans, your imaginative inklings and does it’s very best to crush them under it’s lumpy, bulbous belly. It barks and honks at you (“What if?,” “Is this the right choice?,” “Could this be an awful mistake?”) and refuses to clean up after itself when it leaves…..What a horrible house guest!
Well, I’m not sure what combination of “interests, aptitude and/or financial security” it’s best to go with (particularly in this economy!), but in hopes of finding some kind of answer, I’ve made a concerted effort of late to seek out the counsel of older folks – you know, those who have already settled into their careers and who seem satisfied with their choices. Curiously enough, many of them have instructed me to follow my “passion” or to “look into my heart” to find an answer.
I’m still not sure how I feel about this advice. Do you buy it? What if your “heart” has taken a vow of silence?
One colleague with a very enviable career path offered these consoling words: “Don’t worry, I didn’t figure it out ‘til I was like 40. You just gotta keep trying different things until you figure it out”.
I’ve decided to take comfort in that.
I suppose a career is as much a work in progress as is anything else… if all else fails, look for Plan B and refuse to be taken hostage by any walrus you should happen to bump into (particularly if it’s of the imaginary variety!).
In my own work and art I have been very interested in trying to bring value to things that have been helping us along in life but never really get the recognition they deserve.
Our communities have had to endure environmental degradation and exploitation for commercial purposes. Let’s not be too smug – we need businesses to employ our communities and provide us with goods and services. But over the past little while we have finally collectively recognized that the ways in which we do business currently are not sustainable.
THE NATURAL CAPITAL PROJECT is moving forward with research to develop tools that will allow business leaders to make more informed decisions about the environmental resources they use and how they use them.
“Ecosystem Services” is a phrase you are going to start hearing a lot more often. It’s a concept that proposes that nature is doing a lot of work that is simply not being recognized; if we can provide a way for the work nature does (that we rely on) to be recognized, we can consider the implications of our actions. It’s an interesting idea which is much along the same lines of SROI (Social Return on Investment) – where the value being created by non-profits and other social ventures is not wholly represented by a monetary return. For the true value of the work to be undrestood the monetary and non-monetary values (i.e. social good or ecosystem service) needs to be recognized together in a holistic manner. For a more “official” definition of Ecosystem Services click here.
From my understanding the good people at The National Capital Project have been creating “demonstration projects” at sites where changes to the environment can have drastic consequences. These sites are where models are being created for leaders from other organizations to SEE how the models and tools work and more importantly how to integrate these new ideas into their own decision making processes (all links are from The Natural Capital Project):
- Sierra Nevada Region, California, USA
- Upper Yangtze River Basin, China
- Hawaiian Islands, USA
- Sumatra, Indonesia
- Northern Andes and Southern Central America (NASCA)
- Eastern Arc Mountains, Tanzania
I’m pretty interested in this concept as it does relate to my own readings in SROI. I’m going to try to do an interview with Manu Sharma – an engineer who is currently working on the project who is based at Stanford. (He also happens to be one of my dearest friends ever in life – when I learned about his work I was pretty awe-struck).
Until my interview with Manu – If you have 60 seconds (which I know you do) take a listen to this podcast from Scientific American about ecosystem services (I found the link to this via The Natural Capital Project website)