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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of  Music
February 26, 2017
Canadian Excellence



Faculty of Music

Alumni Aaron Lightstone (BMus '97, MMT '04) and Dr. Sundar Viswanathan (BMus '88) members of Jaffa Road win the Canadian Folk Music Award for Music Group of the Year.

Dec 2/13

WHO: Jaffa Road CD, “Where The Light Gets In”

Latest release shimmers with pulsating dub grooves, ambient electronic textures, & enough rollicking rhythms to make your belly dance


WHERE: University of Calgary
WHEN:    Nov 10.

Global tour de force, Jaffa Road are thrilled, elated and humbled about the news that their latest release (2012) Where the Light Gets earned a Canadian Folk Music Award last night. Produced by Chris Gartner, the disc was released to a packed house at Toronto hub, Hugh’s Room in Oct 2012. With pulsating dub grooves, ambient electronic textures, and enough rollicking rhythms to make your belly dance, Jaffa Road’s carefully crafted original songs and highly original arrangements of traditional folks songs transport listeners to the Middle East, India, Spain, North America and all points in between.

WHERE THE LIGHT GETS IN was also nominated for a 2013 JUNO AWARD, and an Independent Music Award it also won a Songs From the Heart Award from FOLK MUSIC ONTARIO. For their debut CD SUNPLACE (2009) they are also winners of a John Lennon Songwriting Award, and “Best World Music Artist” at the Toronto Independent Music Awards. Sunplace, was also nominated for a JUNO award (2010) and featured on CBC’s Canada Live.

Aptly named for one of the oldest streets in Jerusalem, Jaffa Road unites multiple cultures and nationalities as it winds its way towards the port of Jaffa. Hebrew, Ladino, English, Arabic and French lyrics blend with genres of Sephardic, Arabic and Indian music, intertwined with jazz, blues, electronica, dub and rock. Theirs is world music on a  mission – peace through an unparalleled musical experience that, just like the road they’re named for, brings us together as one people.

Jaffa Road is the unforgettable, entrancing vocals of Aviva Chernick, the rare musicianship of Aaron Lightstone (band founder, oud, guitar, synthesizer), Chris Gartner (bass, producer), Jeffrey Wilson (percussion), and Sundar Viswanathan saxophone/flute/vocals).

The distinctive sound of Lightstone’s oud opens “Ana El Na”, bathed in Chernick’s warm, liquid vocals while the band follows with deep bass, exotic percussive technique, synth, violin and bansuri. Six key words translate to “please heal her” – forming an addictive, chanted plea to heal Mother Earth. The more upbeat “Sim Shalom”, adapted from an ancient Jewish prayer continues the hope for world peace, leaning more heavily on guitar and Chernick’s stunning vocal, complete with a breakaway, jazz-like detour.

The track “Avre Los Ojos” is an interpretation of a centuries-old Turkish song – an early protest song first recorded in 1907, and not since until now!  “On Your Way” might be the closest thing to a hit single if there were such a thing, riding on Chernick’s pure chorus, while oud, bass violin and propulsive percussion keep it beyond buoyant and highly accessible.

Guest Yair Dalal’s violin on “Hamidbar Medaber” casts a hypnotic spell across this distinctly Indian-spiced dream sequence while Chernick’s vocal duets with Viswanathan’s sax in their depiction of sky above the Namibian desert (“Rakia”). You can literally hear warm sand drifting.

The songs based on the band’s collaborative compositional process create a road far more active than any typical 2-way street – it’s multi-lane, allowing for many detours along its length, offering up cutting-edge music at the global crossroads.

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