Music Online. Under the Radar
Welcome to our Sunday music section
“Notable Canadian Jewish Performers.”
By David Eisenstadt
TORONTO. November 20/22 – Today, we review below three notable Canadian Jewish performers David has written about during the past 18 months. Please click on their names to find more about these accomplished internationally recognised artists.
Canada has many internationally-acclaimed musicians who in my view, are under the radar. The talented Brian Katz is one of them. Katz’ achievements are significant. His mentors are a who’s who of innovative musicians and composers. Composition teacher Sam Dolin; guitarists Eli Kassner, Norbert Kraft and Ralph Towner; composition composer Fred Stone; South Indian drummer Trichy Sankaran and pianist Casey Sokol are his influencers. Katz is well-regarded as a soloist and composer. He has performed extensively in Europe and the northeast United States since the 1990s, playing for audiences in the thousands to intimate venues that host smaller music lovers. “Crowd sizes don’t really matter”, he said. “What matters is making an impact on my audience. I want listeners to have a transformative experience with my music, which is of prime importance to me.”♦
Ed note: This coming Thursday, November 24, in Toronto, Brian Katz and JUNO-nominated woodwind virtuoso Ernie Tollar offer an evening of original compositions titled “Dreaming Wordless Melodies: The Jewish-themed music of Brian Katz.” Click here for details.
According to the Midwest Record, Aviva Chernick’s 2019 album La Serena (The Siren) “is a great antidote for the current state of the world.” The recording brings together music “from the Jews in Spain and the Balkans, traditional and original melodies with rich poetry in Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) as well as some additional treasures in Hebrew.” A folk music vocalist who sings in Hebrew, Ladino, Yiddish, and English, Chernick was a co-creator and lead singer of the world music group Jaffa Road with whom she toured Canada, the United States, Brazil, and Israel from 2002-2016. She has received two Canadian Folk Music Award (CFMA) nominations for La Serena in 2020 and in 2012 for When I Arrived You Were Already There. She and her Jaffa Road co-writers were awarded the John Lennon International Songwriting Contest Grand Prize for their prayer for peace, titled Lo Yisa Goy. Chernick also co-wrote Ana El Na, recognized by the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals (OCFF) winning the prestigious Song from the Heart Award.♦
Ben Mink is best recognized as k.d.lang’s long-time collaborator. Together they penned the hit tune Constant Craving, and more. Mink is also known as the “Movie Music King” wrote the Victoria Times Colonist’s Glen Schaefer. He has also worked with a ‘Who’s Who’ of talented musicians – Susan Aglukark, the Barenaked Ladies, Elton John, Feist, Geddy Lee and Rush, Heart, James Hetfield, The Klezmatics, Alison Krauss, Daniel Lanois, Ann Murray, Roy Orbison, and Wynona Judd. Mink has also played with Willie P. Bennett, Bruce Cockburn, Dan Hill, Mendelson Joe, Ian, and Sarah McLachlan, Methodman, Prairie Oyster, Raffi, Jane Siberry, Ian and Sylvia Tyson, and Valdy. Mink is one of a few artists who has ever shared songwriting credit with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. He and k.d.lang received co-credit for the Rolling Stones single, Anybody Seen My Baby in 1997 after Richard’s daughter noted the chorus was similar to Constant Craving, (co-written by Mink and k.d.lang in 1992).♦
Photo Credits: Brian Katz -briankatz.com; Aviva Chernick-Dahlia Katz/Download Photos; Ben Mink-Core Music Agency
David Eisenstadt is the author of Under the Radar, 30 Notable Canadian Jewish Musicians. He is Founding Partner of tcgpr.com and a graduate of Carleton University’s School of Journalism and the University of Calgary.
A complete list of David Eisenstadt’s articles can be viewed under Music Online in our category section. Do you have comments or questions about this article? Contact
-Lovely. Thanks David! – AC, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
-Thanks very much for the revisit honour! – BM, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
-David, Ah, I’m honoured and touched! Thank you – BK, Toronto, Ontario, Canada