Musical (In)Genius

Chilly Gonzales and his long-time director Jonathan Barré have created one of the most compelling Gonzales videos to-date: (Not) A Musical Genius. At first view, the video is funny and touching: a young pre-Gonzales Gonzales has a crush on his piano teacher, who turns out to have a boyfriend. This unrequited love motivates Gonzales to form a new persona – one that will win the hearts and minds of an audience. On repeated views, there are a multitude of symbolic elements that seem to underscore a much deeper message, which we will explore in-depth. Continue reading

Gonzales: Musical Sculptor

It’s been a hectic day. You’ve finally managed to squeeze into a seat on the train ride home, and press ‘shuffle’ to let the digital gods decide you musical fate. As you stare out the window, your head is filled with the unmistakable first few notes of “Othello”. Instantly, all other sounds disappear and it’s just you and Gonzales’ piano – his music conjuring some fantastic mental images and emotions as the velocity of the train slows down imperceptibly. Great music connects the auditory, visual, and emotional centres of our brain, and Gonzales has refined his craft to create a ‘perfect storm’ of all three. Gonzales is a master sculptor: his medium is sound, and he uses his piano as a tool to chisel away layers to uncover beautiful and unique sculptures that exist within all of us. Continue reading

O Chilly!

Clad in an elegant red robe and ‘formal’ dark slippers, Chilly Gonzales recently made one of his more surprising appearances during the opening ceremonies of the 2015 Pan American games in Toronto. The Pan Am games is a sporting event held every four years that brings together the best athletes from North and South America in friendly western-hemisphere competition, akin to a smaller version of the Olympic Games. The organizers of the opening events ceremony obviously wanted an iconic Canadian musician to provide an emotional response, possibly akin to Céline Dion and David Foster’s performance in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games – but with far more subtlety. The exposure and publicity from his performance has definitely helped to raise Gonzales’ profile in his native Canada, largely through people discussing, “The guy wearing the robe and slippers playing the piano.” It’s worthwhile to have a closer look at Gonzales’ performance, since everything from appearance to song selection made for a memorable Toronto evening. Continue reading

Gonzales: The new “New Romantic”

There’s an obvious, but almost always overlooked aspect of classical music: nearly all classical musicians are, essentially, a cover band in the sense that they are simply re-interpreting music that someone else wrote. Most listeners don’t have the training and experience to hear a Chopin Etude and say whether it’s Pollini or Lang Lang playing (interpreting). The vast majority of classical musicians have never published a single original composition. Even Glenn Gould, with all his performance and interpretive brilliance, never published a ‘hit’ – just a few mildly interesting pieces in his youth. Continue reading

Chilly’s Carnival(se)

People in technology and business circles like to talk about ‘disruptive innovators’; people, companies, or products that subvert existing products and markets using new and innovative techniques. One of the most visible disruptors is the popularization of downloadable media: photographs, videos, books and music (which has recently surpassed sales of physical music). Eventually, some disruptors become mainstream, and everyone can enjoy the benefits of innovation – at least until the next disruptive cycle starts up. New innovations generally come from people outside the ‘accepted’ circle, since corporations have typically have no inclination to spend money on change if it isn’t forced (although that notion is changing slowly). In Canada, Gonzales may have started out following a well-worn path for musicians by signing his band Son to Warner, but he quickly saw the downsides of corporate ‘ownership’ and decided to make his career work outside of the system. Continue reading

‘q’ Gonzales

The iconic and hugely popular CBC radio show ‘q’ recently rebooted with a new host (the brilliant Canadian rapper Shad), and one of the show’s first musical guests was one of q’s favourite artists…Chilly Gonzales. Gonzales, who is back in Canada for a concert in Toronto and three consecutive nights in his hometown of Montreal, captivated the in-person and listening audiences with great stories, insight, and humour. Gonzales’ past q appearances generated a great deal of buzz, and his latest appearance packed a great deal of entertainment in 20 minutes. You can watch or listen to the show or podcast on CBC’s website, but we thought it would be a great idea to examine the new musical messages that Gonzales has been referring to on his latest tour. We’ll present the transcript of the interview and interject (in italics) where appropriate. Continue reading

Gonzales for the Win

It appears that our Sologonzales contest to celebrate the Release of Chambers was a success – thanks so much to all who visited the site and entered the contest. The questions must have been pretty tricky – of all the entries, there were only 4 with all 10 answers correct. A quick random number generator later, and we have a winner: Joanne (@joannewklam) from Vancouver, British Columbia. Joanne was happy to have won the contest, and had the following to say about winning the prize: Continue reading

Numero Uno!

Good news: Japanese, German, and Canadian Gonzales fans can pick up Chambers right now as an iTunes Exclusive early release, plus Chambers is currently number one on the classical charts in Canada and Germany! We purchased Chambers on iTunes and are busy noting every aspect for a thorough review. For now, here’s the scoop on the iTunes download. Continue reading

Gonz Giveaway

We at sologonzales thought it would be a good idea to celebrate the upcoming release of Chambers with a giveaway contest, so we came up with a set of skill testing questions (sorry – in English only) and are ready to open the contest up to the world. The prize consists of a set of sealed Gonzales items from our personal library, which we’ve collected over the past few years. Continue reading

Gonzo Shows

In less than a month, Gonzales will kick off a tour for Chambers that currently runs to November. We started thinking about the best Gonzales shows we’ve seen, and thought we’d put together a list of what makes for a really great Gonzales concert.

 
Enjoy the show

Think about some of the best concerts you’ve been to over the years – what made them special? From our perspective the best concerts were the ones where the entire audience was pumped with anticipation for a great concert and and had their minds open to take in the experience. It’s incredibly difficult to capture all the fleeting wonderful moments in a Gonzales concert – you just have to let the music and humour sink in as much as possible. Technology is great, but one of the unfortunate drawbacks is that all of a sudden we have become ‘press photographers’ or ‘concert reviewers’ and it’s more of a job than an enjoyable experience. Continue reading