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Bill Bourne… Madagascar Slim… on their way to Red Deer for September 27th performance


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Tri-Continental, Madagascar Slim, Bill Bourne

Madagascar Slim reflects on the joys of belonging to Tri-Continental

By Mark Weber

Anyone who has ever taken in the sonic magic of Tri-Continental can’t help but notice the rare and accomplished musicians that make up this Internationally acclaimed group.

Known the world over for their compelling, intricately crafted tunes, Tri- Continental will be performing in Red Deer Sept. 27th in a concert presented by the Central Music Festival Society.

Local fans can check out what Madagascar Slim, Bill Bourne, Lester Quitzau and Michael Treadway have been up to of late as they feature tunes from last y ear’s disc Dust Dance plus cuts from their extensive repertoire, said Slim, a folk and blues guitarist who hails from Madagascar but settled in Ontario back in 1979.

Madagascar Slim leads Tri-Contenental (Bill Bourne, Drummer Michael Treadway and Lester Quitzau) through his song Boh at the Geomatic Attic in Lethbridge, March 4, 2018.  Posted to Youtube by LABEatartsmag

First, a quick look at their roots. Slim recalls first hearing Bourne at a Toronto club some 20 years ago and being struck by his talent.  “There was Bill in his top hat,” he recalled with a laugh. “I said, can I play this other guitar? He said, ‘Pick it up, man!’  “So I started playing with him, and he looked at me and said, ‘You want to come up with me onstage?’ Bourne later told him about Quitzau, and a new band was born. The possibilities from this collaboration would prove endless.

In the meantime, the gigs started coming fast and furious and it wasn’t long before they laid down tracks for their first disc. Typically, the men each bring their own works to the group and perform them as a singular creative force, continually finding fresh ways to interpret each other’s style. It’s always proven a hit with audiences and critics alike.  As Slim noted, when Tri-Continental plays his music, it sizzles with a completely different vibe then it may have in another setting with other players. And that goes for each of the guys, he explains. “We add our personalities to the mixes.” That said, they have worked on music together, too.  “We have embryos of ideas and we bounce them back and forth,” he notes.  But essentially, the raw creativity is just simply sparked by being together. And really, the guys never completely know, in a sense, where things will go as a show unfolds. “We come up with a lot of the ideas right when we are playing,” he explains. “That’s what makes the magic.” Indeed.

Besides being a member of Tri-Continental and the world music group African Guitar Summit, Slim has also worked as a solo artist and a regular collaborator with blues singer Ndidi Onukwulu. All the guys have, for the past few years, been following their own artistic paths. But then Slim recalled landing an email from Quitzau about reconnecting. And the time seemed right.

It’s also been an exciting new ‘chapter’ for Tri-Continental with the addition of drummer Michael Treadway as well. “Michael has added a new dimension to the whole thing,” observes Slim, pointing out that with much of hi s own music based so solidly on rhythmic foundations, adding such a strong percussive element is nothing short of exhilarating.

“As soon as Michael started playing I thought, oh my goodness. This is it! I really felt totally comfortable. And he just jumped into it and made it his home, too,” he added. “I’m really appreciative of the fact that he’s playing with us. He’s a joy to be on tour with – very bubbly, very enthusiastic.”

Slim moved to Canada in 1979 to study English and accounting at Seneca College, pursuing music with the folk group La Ridaine while studying. As time passed, his ‘calling’ to music became more obvious.  It’s been a memorable ride to be sure, with his talents seemingly boundless.  And to this day, he loves nothing better than hitting the stage with the men of Tri- Continental. They don’t live near each other, but that’s also what also makes those reunions that much sweeter. One can sense the sheer joy in Slim’s voice when he chats about not only the creative experiences the members are sure to share in the months ahead, but also the re-connecting with fans old and new.  “When you don’t see each other for awhile, it seems like it brings us closer,” he says with gratitude. “I’m really happy when I see those guys!”

For more information or to purchase tickets, check out

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Michael Gambon, actor who played Prof. Dumbledore in 6 ‘Harry Potter’ movies, dies at age 82

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Members of the cast of the Harry Potter films, from left, Tom Felton, Michael Gambon, Rupert Grint, and Daniel Radcliffe during grand opening ceremonies of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando theme park in Orlando, Florida, Friday, June 18, 2010. Actor Michael Gambon, who played Dumbledore in the later Harry Potter films, has died at age 82, his publicist says. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)


LONDON (AP) — Veteran actor Michael Gambon, who was known to many for his portrayal of Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore in six of the eight “Harry Potter” films, has died, his publicist said Thursday. He was 82.

A statement by his family, issued by his publicist, said he died following “a bout of pneumonia.”

“We are devastated to announce the loss of Sir Michael Gambon. Beloved husband and father, Michael died peacefully in hospital with his wife Anne and son Fergus at his bedside,” his family said.

No matter what role he took on in a career that lasted more than five decades, Gambon was always instantly recognizable by the deep and drawling tones of his voice. He was cast as the much-loved Dumbledore after the death of his predecessor, Richard Harris, in 2002.

He once acknowledged not having read any of J. K. Rowling’s best-selling books, arguing that it was safer to follow the script rather than be too influenced by the books. That didn’t prevent him from embodying the spirit of Professor Dumbledore, the powerful wizard who fought against evil to protect his students.

Although the Potter role raised Gambon’s international profile and introduced him to a new generation of fans, he had long been recognized as one of Britain’s leading actors. His work spanned TV, theater and radio, and he starred in dozens of films from “Gosford Park” to “The King’s Speech” and the animated family movie “Paddington.”

Gambon was knighted for services to drama in 1998.

Born in Ireland on Oct. 19, 1940, Gambon was raised in London and originally trained as an engineer, following in the footsteps of his father. He made his theater debut in a production of “Othello” in Dublin.

In 1963 he got his first big break with a minor role in “Hamlet,” the National Theatre Company’s opening production, under the directorship of the legendary Laurence Olivier.

Gambon soon became a distinguished stage actor and received critical acclaim for his leading performance in “Life of Galileo” directed by John Dexter. He was frequently nominated for awards and won the Laurence Olivier award 3 times and the Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards twice.

A multi-talented actor, Gambon was also the recipient of four coveted British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards for his television work.

He became a household name in Britain after his lead role in the 1986 BBC series “The Singing Detective,” written by Dennis Potter and considered a classic of British television drama. Gambon won the BAFTA for best actor for the role.

Gambon was versatile as an actor but once told the BBC of his preference for playing “villainous characters.” He played gangster Eddie Temple in the British crime thriller “Layer Cake” — a review of the film by the New York Times referred to Gambon as “reliably excellent” — and a Satanic crime boss in Peter Greenaway’s “The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover.”

He also had a part as King George V in the 2010 drama film “The King’s Speech.” In 2015 he returned to the works of J.K. Rowling, taking a leading role in the TV adaptation of her book “The Casual Vacancy.”

Gambon retired from the stage in 2015 after struggling to remember his lines in front of an audience due to his advancing age. He once told the Sunday Times Magazine: “It’s a horrible thing to admit, but I can’t do it. It breaks my heart.”

The actor was always protective when it came to his private life. He married Anne Miller and they had one son, Fergus. He later had two sons with set designer Philippa Hart.

The Associated Press

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Amazon Prime Video will soon come with ads, or a $2.99 monthly charge to dodge them

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 Amazon’s Prime Video streaming app on an iPad is seen in Baltimore on March 19, 2018. Amazon says that it will now start charging $2.99 per month in order for users in the U.S. to watch Prime Video ad free. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

By Michelle Chapman in Seattle

Amazon Prime Video will include advertising during shows and movies starting early next year, joining other streaming services that have added different tiers of subscriptions.

Members of Amazon Prime can pay $2.99 per month in the U.S. to keep their service ad-free, the company said Friday.

Streaming services are in a heated tug-of-war over viewers and users are growing more adept at jumping in and out of those services, often depending on price. The platforms risk losing customers with price hikes, but they could lose them if they don’t generate new content that wins over users.

Disney will begin charging $13.99 a month in the U.S. for ad-free Disney+ in mid-October, 75% more than the ad-supported service. Netflix already charges $15.49 per month for its ad-free plan, more than twice the monthly subscription for Netflix with ads.

Amazon said limited advertisements will be aired during shows and movies starting early next year so that it can “continue investing in compelling content and keep increasing that investment over a long period of time.”

Live events on Amazon Prime, like sports, already include advertising.

Ads in Prime Video content will start in the U.S., U.K., Germany, and Canada in early 2024, followed by France, Italy, Spain, Mexico, and Australia later in the year.

Amazon said that it’s not making changes to the price of Prime membership next year. It plans to announce pricing for ad-free programming for countries other than the U.S. at a later time.

For U.S. users, Amazon said it will send out an email to Prime members several weeks before ads are introduced into its programs with information on how to sign up for the ad-free option if they choose to do so.

Amazon’s Prime Video is part of a much bigger slate of perks that come with Amazon Prime membership. Members also get free shipping for goods bought on, groceries, online music and more.

In June Amazon was accused by the Federal Trade Commission for allegedly engaging in a yearslong effort to enroll consumers without consent into Amazon Prime and making it difficult for them to cancel their subscriptions. An Amazon spokesperson said at the time that the FTC’s claims were false.

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