Sonic chaos

Tone Deaf 10 continues to explore adventurous sound performance

When asked to contextualize this One (Family) photo, Matt Rogalsky says “I have no idea how to contextualize it! It’s kind of cool though.”
When asked to contextualize this One (Family) photo, Matt Rogalsky says “I have no idea how to contextualize it! It’s kind of cool though.”

After 10 years, the Tone Deaf festival is still working to expand Kingston’s understanding of live music.

“Tone Deaf occupies a particular niche that otherwise is unserved in Kingston,” co-ordinator Matt Rogalsky said.

Tone Deaf features a variety of music, from classic violins to harrowing electronics.

“Clearly, we’re just as interested in music that is about harmony and melody as we are in music that is about dissonance and chaos and noise,” Rogalsky said.

The three-day event is billed as a festival of adventurous sound performance. Rogalsky said the definition is deliberately broad.

“Somebody’s bringing something to the stage that is going to take you sonically to a place you might not have thought of going otherwise,” he said.

Rogalsky said that Kingston is ideal for a festival because of its proximity to major cities.

“Kingston is well-situated geographically, obviously, because we’re in the middle of Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa so we’ve been able to draw on a lot of talent from those cities.”

However, this year the festival will include talent from Europe. Charles Hayward, a UK percussionist, will perform for opening night on Thursday.

“I saw Charles last year in London and it was so riveting,” Rogalsky said. “I think it’s going to be a very exciting show.”

Neven Lochhead, ArtSci ’13, will open for Hayward by presenting his new eight-channel audio work. The guitarist will be without the support of his Kingston-based band Sleuth Bears.

This year, all events will be held at the Baby Grand Theatre — the smaller of the two venues at the Grand complex on Princess Street. Rogalsky said the location was chosen because of its size.

“It’s a sweet, intimate sort of space where the audience can be in close proximity to the performance,” he said. “I think also sonically, it will be a good listening space.”

Tone Deaf founder, Craig Leonard, will return to Kingston in honour of the festival’s 10th anniversary. Leonard will curate the concert series on Friday.

“Craig has great contacts and great ideas for programming,” Rogalsky said. “He’s got a really exciting evening planned with musicians coming from New York and Western Ontario and Halifax.”

Rogalsky started curating the festival in 2004 after Leonard left for a current teaching position at Nova Scotia School of Art and Design.

Rogalsky said he expects Tone Deaf to survive for another 10 years.

“I would like to see Tone Deaf more properly set up as a non-profit organization with regular operating funding,” he said.

Tone Deaf 10 runs from Thursday to Saturday at the Baby Grand Theatre.

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