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Juno Awards included Laurier grads
Critical acclaim for Aaron Lightstone (BMusTh ’97, MMT ’04) and Jaffa Road is continuing as the band’s CD Sunplace was a finalist for a 2010 JUNO award in the world music album of the year category. Last year, “Lo Yisa Goy”, a song off that recording, won the grand prize in the world music category of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest.
The Hebrew verses in the song are adapted from the old testament’s Book of Isaiah, and its English chorus are adapted from a popular African-American spiritual.
The blend in this song speaks to Jaffa Road's general interest in combining sounds. The group’s website describes how the music of the group brings together the sounds of the Middle East, Spain, India and North America, in a union that is both “ancient and modern, acoustic and electronic, and secular and sacred.”
Lightstone, founder of the band, co-produced the CD and plays oud, guitar, saz, and synthesizers on the recording, while Laurier music grad Dr. Sundar Viswanathan plays sax.
The band debuted Sunplace in 2009 at Toronto’s Lula Lounge, their performance recorded for CBC’s Canada Live.
In an interview prior to the Juno Awards, Lightstone said the band was excited about its JUNO nomination because St. Johns, where the awards ceremony was held, is a fun place to visit, and the recognition indicates a positive change in the Canadian music. “The nomination isn’t just a testament to the music we’ve made, but also speaks to where Canada is going in terms of cultural diversity.”
Lightstone formed Jaffa Road because he’s a big fan of groups in Canada and in Israel that explore multiple forms of music to create something distinct, noting that Toronto is rich with bands that do what his does—combine musical elements from different cultures—but each sounds distinct.
Lightstone works full-time at Sunnybook Hospital as a music therapist, primarily working with World War II veterans in long-term care. His music at work is more traditional, but Lightstone said “the fact that my day job is in music keeps my chops up.”