Interpretations of Joni Mitchell: The Luminato Festival and Gathered Light

Gathered LightTo celebrate the artistic brilliance and upcoming 70th birthday of Joni Mitchell, the seventh annual Luminato Festival is honouring the Canadian icon with a tribute titled Joni: A Portrait in Song, on Tuesday, June 18th and Wednesday, June 19th. The much-loved festival is on now, between June 14 – June 23, in cultural hubs across the city that best showcase Toronto’s diversity through music, theatre, dance, visual arts, literature, and film.

Mitchell will be present on both evenings of A Portrait In Song, and recently announced that she will also recite a new poem adapted from the writings of the modernist Canadian writer and painter, Emily Carr, with her long-time drummer and collaborator, Brian Blade, and trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire.

A bevy of musicians and vocalists will also be interpreting some of Mitchell’s most beloved songs from her past 50 years of influence. Musicians including Rufus Wainwright, Cold Specks, Glen Hansard (Once), Esperanza Spalding, and Herbie Hancock have roots in rock, jazz, folk, and pop that beautifully compliment Joni Mitchell’s legacy of experimentation.

Finally, a Luminato artist panel appreciation of Joni Mitchell took place on Sunday, June 16th with Jon Parales, the chief music critic for The New York Times. Mitchell and Brian Blade discussed her mastery of multiple genres, and her role in the evolution of late 20th-century music. In keeping with Luminato’s tenet of accessibility, the panel discussion was available as a live stream on youtube, which you can watch again in the video above.

Speaking of Joni Mitchell’s genre-spanning impact, we’re proud to be spearheading the release of an anthology inspired by the literary talents of Mitchell. Gathered Light: The Poetry of Joni Mitchell’s Songs, features essays, poetry, and short fiction by writers such as Wally Lamb, Fred Wah, and some of Mitchell’s oldest friends and colleagues who are deeply moved by Mitchell’s revelatory words. Gathered Light will place Mitchell’s words under the lens of poetry for the very first time. Joni Mitchell has also given this project her personal blessing, with newly edited lyrics and her self-portrait for the cover art. Stay tuned for more information on this landmark release, as well as how you can win your very own copy!

For more inside the mind of this great Canadian artist, be sure to check out an interview conducted by CBC’s The National while Mitchell is in Toronto for Luminato. Jian Ghomeshi talks to Mitchell about her legacy and looking back on her music, wherein Mitchell admits that painting is her artistic mother tongue. Highlights include Mitchell spontaneously and perfectly reciting The Fishbowl, a poem she wrote at the age of 16 about the misery of fame. Check out the interview here.

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