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Interview with DJ Heer for the Canucks Diwali Night

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On October 25th, the Vancouver Canucks will be celebrating their 3rd annual Diwali Night before and during the game against the Washington Capitals. There will be a flashmob, and live performances by Jazzy B, DJ Heer, and DJ BIG. And also complimentary South Asian food samples in the concourses.

Diwali is one of the world’s most celebrated festivals and the name itself means “row of lighted lamps” with light symbolizing the triumph of good over evil, prosperity over poverty and knowledge over ignorance.

We’ve interviewed DJ Jovan Heer, who now lives in Surrey, to learn more about him and the upcoming Diwali Night.

Being a huge passionate fan of the Canucks and of music, you’ve combined both to help spearhead the Diwali Night. How did that happen and what motivated you to take action?

I’ve always been a fan of Punjabi and Bollywood music ever since I was a kid. I saw a huge opportunity to do something with the Canucks as their is such a big South Asian community in the Vancouver area. 3 years ago I reached out to Ryan from the Canucks, who was in charge of organizing special events, on Twitter saying that we needed to have a night that celebrated the South Asian community in a way.

A few months later, I received an email from him asking me if I wanted to DJ on the plaza outside of Rogers Arena and I was shocked that it was actually going to happen and that I would have the opportunity to DJ for my favourite team. The first year was an amazing experience, after I DJ’ed on the plaza I was able to go to where Jay Swing was DJing and was able to see how everything operated up there and also got to share the floor with the likes of Jim Benning, Trevor Linden and many more prominent Canucks figures up in the press box during intermissions and at the end of the game.

Last year was even bigger when E3 Entertainment got involved and they made the event even bigger and better with the addition of more performances and the Crown Prince of Bhangra Jazzy B, myself and the Q-Town Productions team also DJ’ed on the Plaza along with a Bhangra flashmob. Diwali night has become a huge deal and is making news all over as this is an event everyone wants to attend. The Hockey Night In Punjabi team is also another huge factor in this night as they have grown very much in the past few years and have brought in a whole new demographic of fans with the Punjabi commentary as now families are now all gathering together watching games.

How did you get into DJ’ing and who are your main influencers?

I’ve always had a passion for music growing up as a child, my parents would play music and I would dance for hours listening to it and singing along. When I realized that I could do what I love and be the life of the party with the music I play it was something that I just couldn’t pass up. I had mentors in Edmonton who I worked with under the Pure Entertainment name and I also took some classes with Night Vision Music as well that helped excel my skill level. My main influencers have to be Jazzy B, Malkit Singh and Notorious BIG as they’ve made me a huge Bhangra and Hip Hop fan.

You get booked to perform in different countries. How does that feel?

It’s honestly a surreal feeling having the chance to not only travel but to perform in front of sold out crowds of hundreds to thousands of people along with performing alongside some of the biggest performers in the Punjabi music industry.

What would you like to see more of in terms of both the music and hockey culture in Surrey?

I think right now everything is going great with the culture. We have Hockey Night in Punjabi with Punjabi commentary and broadcasting, there are many South Asian players on ice and ball hockey teams so parents are now investing the money and putting their kids in these leagues. E3 Entertainment has done a great job working with the Canucks making sure the experience of the entire night is a success and fans are enjoying the entire night.

What is one piece of advice you can give to aspiring and rookie DJ’s and music producers?

Marketing is everything in today’s day and age. The harder you work, the more you put out there, the more successful you will be. There are plenty of talented DJ’s out there but so many are so resistant and don’t make the time to put out mixes that fans can listen to.

How do you balance being a DJ, working a full time job, and the rest of life?

It’s all about balance. It’s a lot of juggling things and a lot of nights with no sleep but in the end if it’s going to make you successful and set you up for the future then it is all worth it. Not only am I working full time and DJing but I also have my own radio show on Rukus Avenue Radio and am a music journalist for Simply Bhangra the world’s largest South Asian music website as well. It’s tough to handle at times but it’s something I enjoy doing.

What can fans expect at the Diwali Night?

Fans can expect another Diwali night full of music and dance. We will be performing on the plaza outside of Rogers Arena prior to the game and their will be many other plans for the night as well. The highlight of the night will be the performance of Jazzy B who is one of the top Punjabi music artists of all time.

What are your predictions for the game against the Capitals?

I predict a 4-2 win for the Canucks, we are 2-0 on Diwali Night.

Empathetic entrepreneur. Somewhat spiritual. Partial poet. Committed to continuous personal growth and helping others to win in life.

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Coffee Concert With the Bergmann Duo and Special Guest April 9

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Bergmann Piano Duo, and Clarinetist, Jose Franch-Ballester join forces for Clarinetastik! Part of Surrey Civic Theatres’ Coffee Concert Series

Surrey, BC – With virtuosity, and charm, Elizabeth and Marcel Bergmann on piano, with Jose Franch- Ballester on clarinet, delight audiences with classical and contemporary music.

Part of Surrey Civic Theatres’ Coffee Concert Series, April 9, 2020social hour at 10:00 AM, concert at 11:00 AM.

Tickets Online: tickets.surrey.ca

Box Office: 604-501-5566

Where: Surrey Arts Centre, 13750–88 Avenue, Surrey, BC.

“From the first note to the last, it was a pleasure to hear these two natural musicians, who breathe, think and play as one.”—National Post

On April 9, entertaining musicians and storytellers, The Bergmann Piano Duo, bring their charm and musical alchemy to Surrey Civic Theatres’ intimate and casual morning concerts.

For Clarinetastik! the Bergmanns welcome clarinetist, Jose Franch-Ballester to entertain audiences. Franch-Ballester is an award-winning musician, assistant professor of clarinet and chamber music at UBC, and is considered one of the finest classical soloists and chamber music artists of his generation.

Based in White Rock, the Bergmanns met when they were both students with the same teacher at music school in Hanover, Germany. It was that teacher who suggested that the couple should perform as a duo. “Our teacher encouraged us to prepare a two-piano concerto for a festival in Greece, collaborating rather than competing against each other. As a result of that positive and inspiring experience, over the next year we started learning some of the standard duo piano repertoire …and of course for many years after that!” said Marcel.

Marcel also said that working with your spouse definitely has its pros—and cons! “There are many positive aspects: the best thing is being so closely connected to each other personally and not having the same boundaries that exist when playing with other musicians. However, the fact that you can be more free and honest with each other, can, at times create some tension! For instance, during rehearsals when there are disagreements about certain aspects of the music and interpretation. We certainly went through a time where we argued about those things…but once we worked through those issues, things became easier and much more enjoyable.”

The Bergmanns said they both enjoy the Coffee Concerts because it’s a chance to share music and stories with audiences in a much more relaxed and informal way. They both also enjoy the opportunity to collaborate—and showcase fellow musicians. “Jose is a fantastic musician with a very impressive career. He is also very passionate about the music he plays. He has a very genuine, warm personality. So we think—and hope—our audiences will enjoy our upcoming collaboration as much as we will,” said Marcel.

Bonus: Bus Trip—Leave Driving to the Coffee Concert to Us!

For patrons who don’t want to drive to the theatre, there is the option of taking a bus from South Surrey Recreation and Arts Centre.

This service drops people off at the Surrey Arts Centre in time for the social hour and concert, and afterwards brings them back to the South Surrey Recreation and Arts Centre. Tickets for the bus tour are $50 (price includes return bus trip, social hour with treats, and the Coffee Concert).

It can be registered for online: https://bit.ly/2Tk08fn. Patrons can also call and register at 604-501-5100. The bar code to register online or over the phone for the Bus Trip and Coffee Concert is #00017483

“He [Ballester] is a natural onstage…he is also a musician of some depth.”—New York Times

About the Performers

The Bergmann Duo are laureates of the Dranoff International Two Piano Competition and enjoy dazzling audiences around the world at festivals and on tour.

Jose Franch-Ballester is a multi-award-winning Spanish clarinetist hailed for his “technical wizardry and tireless enthusiasm” (The New York Times), his “rich, resonant tone” (Birmingham News), and his “subtle and consummate artistry” (Santa Barbara Independent). The recipient of a prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2008, and winner of both the Young Concert Artists and Astral Artists auditions, he is a solo artist and chamber musician in great demand.

Individual tickets are $26–$33 and are available online now at tickets.surrey.ca or from the box office at 604-501-5566.

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Vancouver Music Festival, 5X Festival, Appoints International Business Strategist and Entrepreneur Ravi Krishnan as Chairman (Non-Executive)

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(VANCOUVER, CANADA) – 5X Festival, a Canadian based South Asian millennial festival showcasing the best of music, art, film and fashion, has appointed Ravi Krishnan as Chairman (Non-Executive), effective immediately.

Krishnan is a visionary business leader with over 25 years of cross-border experience developing global brands within sport, fashion, media and entertainment. He is currently the Founder and Chairman of global wellness brand, Stepathlon and has previously served in a leadership capacity at various event properties; holding positions such as: Chairman (Non-Executive) X1 Racing League, Vice Chairman Rajasthan Royals (2008 champions of the Indian Premier Cricket League), Managing Director South Asian/Senior VP IMG developing the Aircel Chennai Open, Lakme Fashion Week, and the Indian Premier League.

Inspired by both SXSW and Afropunk, 5X Festival is the largest South Asian youth event in Canada, with a unique focus on empowering young creatives, providing them the momentum they need to crossover into mainstream platforms and create global impact.

According to 5X Festival’s Executive Director, Tarun Nayar, they are positioned for exponential growth in the coming years, with Krishnan being an ideal addition to the group to help propel this evolution.

“Ravi’s entry into 5X has truly come along at the right time. We are at a critical point in our trajectory and he has the right connections and experience to help us garner the high level support that we really need to elevate 5X into an international brand,” explained Nayar. “Having worked on multiple global properties from the Sahara Cup, to the cricket Indian Premier League to Lakme Fashion Week, he knows what it takes to take something from an idea to a high functioning global property. I am confident that our board will benefit from his breadth of experience, insights and global perspective as we continue our evolution into a global brand and online community that champions South Asian youth culture.”

Both Nayar and Krishnan agree that South Asian culture is ready to ‘cross over’ and have a much greater influence in what is perceived to be ‘mainstream’. From their point of view, it is a question of when, rather than if. With his extensive experience at the market entry level of building brands and sport, media and entertainment properties, Krishnan feels he can be catalytic in making this jump happen.

“Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to have been involved in the ‘process of pioneering’. It has given me a relevant blend of strategic, commercial and execution capabilities that I seek to leverage for the benefit of the promoters and projects with whom and which I collaborate. The opportunity for 5X Festival is substantial and timely. They have laid a solid foundation for an exciting future. However, to capitalize on this opportunity requires a new mindset from “origination to facilitation”. That is what I seek to instil, by bringing my experience and network to the table. I have also had the privilege of working at the junction of creative and commerce throughout my career and that requires a certain understanding of the talent, whether it be athletes, artists, activists or actors’ ambitions, whilst making sure that the commercial goals are juxtaposed in a win-win manner.”

Nayar himself has been involved with the festival in a creative capacity since its first iterations 10 years ago, and has himself had massive global success with his touring band Delhi 2 Dublin. In recent years, he took over the festival, rebranded it and has bold ambitions for its future.

The festival couldn’t be more excited about the introduction of Ravi to the team, stating that his unique perspectives on the global business environment will be a valuable asset as they chart the future together.

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Fort Langley Jazz & Arts Festival Rising Star Application Opens

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Rising Star Jazz Musician Award opportunity to earn scholarship and jazz festival show Fort Langley Jazz & Arts Festival organizers busy at work preparing for 2020 festival

When the Fort Langley Jazz & Arts Festival returns for two full days of live music in July, an up and coming jazz musician will be featured as the festival’s Rising Star award winner.

Festival organizers established the annual award in 2019 “to recognize an outstanding jazz student who demonstrates a high level of performance ability and is pursuing a professional career in jazz music.”

The Rising Star award winner will be given an opportunity to perform with a main stage artist on Saturday, July 25 during the festival and in their own featured paid performance on Sunday, July 26. They will also receive a scholarship of $1,000.

“We are thrilled to offer a unique opportunity for an emerging jazz student to become our Rising Star,” said Dave Quinn, artistic director for the festival. “One of our key mandates is to support youth and emerging artists and the award is a wonderful opportunity for an up and coming jazz student to perform with and be mentored by established artists, while also receiving financial support for their education.”

Last year’s inaugural award winner, Julian Borkowski, a Surrey resident and second-year music student at Capilano University at the time, said the recognition “is a great opportunity for me to expose myself musically.”

Award submissions are open to all secondary and post-secondary music students from the Metro Vancouver area until March 31, 2020 on the festival website.

For 2020, Fort Langley Jazz & Arts Festival will be held from July 24 to 26, offering free concerts on two outdoor stages with world-renowned jazz acts on the Saturday and Sunday, along with four nighttime concerts for ticketholders. Featured genres include straight-ahead jazz, R&B, big band, New Orleans, funk and latin jazz.

One of the festival’s four ticketed events, an opening-night concert, on Friday, July 24, inside Fort Langley National Historic Site will feature an all-star blues show. A Roaring 20’s gala dance event will recreate the Cotton Club with a big band and Cab Calloway singer on Saturday, July 25 at the Fort Langley Community Hall. A new jazz concert with a headliner act at Chief Sepass Theatre is also scheduled for Saturday night.

Closing the festival will be a gospel/soul show at Chief Sepass Theatre on Sunday, July 26.

The festival is also adding a new ticketed concert series called the “Art of Jazz” that will feature innovative and creative jazz acts in an intimate concert setting.

Tickets for all nighttime shows will go on sale in April at fortlangleyjazzfest.com/tickets

“There will be something for every jazz fan,” Quinn stated. “We’ll also have four pop-up performance stages around the community featuring youth and emerging jazz acts, Jazz Around Town performances at restaurants and a Kidz Zone area and stage.”

Organizers are also expanding the art side of the festival with an Outdoor Painting Challenge, a student art exhibit, artist vendor areas and Indigenous artist workshops and demonstrations.

The band lineup and all other festival activities will be announced in April. You can view highlights of the 2019 festival here.

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Khanvict’s First Vancouver Live Set

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Khanvict, a local Pakistani born Producer had his first live show in Vancouver on January 17th at the Imperial. Asad is a bit of a local hero within the scene as the young up and comer who is really making a name for himself off the bat.

This live show was really nothing like what South Asian artists have performed locally. Since last spring he has been practicing this unique showcase in a warehouse setup with his custom hardware and software rig including live and electronic instruments and cutting edge lighting and visual design.

Beyond just the hybrid of sounds – bollywood / electronic / punjabi / south asian – he is truly engaging the diaspora youth in something that feels uniquely theirs. Think of artists such as Cartel Madras in the hip hop space or Raveena (a bit more mainstream) but in the R&B space – he will be quick on the heels of that type of success.

His show also featured Raaginder, a violinist and music composer from the San Francisco Bay Area, who has produced several contemporary albums in which the sounds of Indian classical violin and hip-hop music intermingle. He has also had the privilege and pleasure of performing in prominent venues all over the world such as The White House, Staples Center, Wembley Arena and many more.

About Khanvict

Surrey based Asad Khan, better known by his stage name Khanvict, has built his name around a sound that seamlessly blends the eastern influences of Bollywood and Punjabi music with a signature West Coast bass music punch. An immigrant from Pakistan who arrived in Canada in his early teens, Khanvict found purpose in the ultra-competitive world of South Asian dance parties, quickly becoming one of the most in-demand DJs in the scene. In 2017, spurred by experiences at West Coast festivals like Shambhala, Khanvict began to take inspiration from the likes of Troyboi, Clozee and Indian artists like Nucleya.

Very much a product of the streaming generation, Khanvict co-founded the record label Snakes x Ladders to take his sound to the masses. His first EP on the label, Kahani, saw great traction and led to an opportunity to release 2 official remixes of AR Rahman’s classic Bollywood hits Jiya Jale and Ramta Jogi through Venus Records in India.

Khanvict is known for his ability to perform – and this Vancouver show is his first fully live set in Vancouver ever! Months of preparation, custom software and hardware, and a custom lighting and LED rig have allowed him to bring his expansive and cinematic vision to life.

Recent shows include Shambhala, Sessions Music Festival (NYC), FIMPRO (Mexico) and Chasing Summer (AB), Rifflandia 2018 (BC) and opening for Vidya Vox at the Celebration of Light 2019.

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South-Asian FM Station 91.5 Connect FM Launches in Surrey!

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CJCN Connect FM marked its launch in the city of Surrey with the beginning of new year on 2nd January, 2020. South-Asian ethnic radio station announced its official opening on the FM frequency of 91.5 MHz.

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