As Italy plays Spain in Euro Cup 2016 it is time to meet a very talented artist, film maker, photographer from Italy Sebastiano Vitale. Sebastiano has many project such as his The Raw Horse which has toured the world and his epic project Cocoland. I recently introduced Sebastiano to Canadian singer Hill Kourkoutis as they were both in New York City and asked if he may capture Hill rocking out. Here it is as well an interview in Italian and check out his film project for which Seb has great designs. Viva Italia, Italia, Italia is what Sebastiano is saying somewhere watching his Italian football team in Euro Cup 2016.
Hill Kourkoutis In New York
“I’m just an individual who doesn’t feel that I need to have somebody qualify my work in any particular way. I’m working for me.” – David Bowie 60 Minutes 2002
David Bowie named his yacht ‘Deneb Star C’ ( Deneb) the brightest star in the constellation Cygnus. Bowie while in a courageous battle with cancer before his death released ‘Black Star’. The stars in the sky have been guiding humankind since time began and it’s in these sky’s that the Greek gods live. These deities or gods presided over the elements of sky, light and heavens. They at times to amuse themselves play chess with the lives of those who live on earth. The gods of Greek mythology, can whirl us into the nasty vicissitudes of life or into a magical space and it is up to us to recognize this and act upon it.
Hill Kourkoutis, is a award-winning songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist, performer and filmmaker from my home town of Toronto, and a day after David Bowie’s death she was placed into such a magical space.
Holy Holy a band formed by Bowie’s longtime producer Tony Visconti and his one-time drummer Mick (Woody) Woodmansey, named after an obscure 1971 Bowie single was playing at The Opera House in Toronto. The Holy Holy gig booked since December took on new meaning since the passing of the ever-evolving, boundary-kicking artist.
Holy Holy two gig’s in Toronto had sold out, and now this Canadian girl with Greek heritage ( don’t forget those Greek gods I was telling you about), because just like that, a ticket to sold out show found its way into the hands of Hill. While Hill was apprehensive about a tribute concert as Tony Visconti said on the stage in Toronto to the nine hundred people, “The reason why we’re doing this is about 46 years ago Woody and I were the original musicians who played this album, so technically we’re not a tribute band; we are the real deal”.
Hill was in the space now feeling the emotion of the musicians on stage and all those Bowie fans the ‘community’ she was listening to them playing “Ziggy Stardust,” and a couple of those lyrics had poignant meaning, too: “Became the special man/then we were Ziggy’s band” was fitting since Visconti and Woody were Ziggy’s band.
Hill that night was transported to another universal dimension, emotionally overwhelmed she would confess to me that after the gig that night in her dreams David Bowie came to visit, ( yes folks David Bowie is not dead, yes physically but his spirit lives), after all she was placed in my path and I quickly recognized why Bowie would have like her.
So who is Hill Kourkoutis you ask? Well she is in her mid twenties but as she told me she has sixty years of work under her belt having played all the dingy places, or living it as they say.
Hill as a performer and musician has played for Serena Ryder, The Weeknd, Martha and the Muffins, Tara Slone, The Cliks, Saidah Baba Talibah, Keisha Chante and Dane Hartsell, to name a few. Hill through this collective of pursuits has had the opportunity to tour across North America, Europe and Asia that led to many television appearances including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the Juno Awards and the MuchMusic Video Awards. Hill was a part of an array of musical projects including the indie alt/pop/rock band Drowning Girl, before pursuing her current solo project Hill & The Sky Heroes, an alien/surf-rock band.
Hill has also acted, and directed music videos and won several awards directing. I told her to me she seemed like the film director Jodie Foster and that should tell you something.
Hill like the quote above by Bowie creates for herself, she is not looking for fame, she is purely a creative person stimulated by the community which is her anchor. Hill in her own small way wants to create a shift for the positive she has been fortunate to have been able to make a living pursuing her passions, whether that be playing music, directing, acting, doing talk shows on television or whatever comes her way. Like Bowie who said –
“I suppose for me as an artist it wasn’t always just about expressing my work; I really wanted, more than anything else, to contribute in some way to the culture I was living in.” – David Bowie
Hill has David Bowie looking out for her and I have a very good feeling that something magical is around the corner from the girl who wants to buy a house one day and grow her own vegetables, while enriching the collective community around her.
Heavens are smiling upon you because you are in luck as Hill & The Sky Heroes are playing on April 25th.
APRIL 25. THE DRAKE. Emma-Lee and Hill & The Sky Heroes TAKEOVER. BE THERE OR BE…RECTANGLE.
First Lady Michelle Obama will grace the SXSW stage tomorrow (March 16) for her keynote panel with a star-studded squad, including rapper Missy Elliott, songwriter phenom Diane Warren, and actress Sophia Bush, as well as moderator, the multi-hyphenate Queen Latifah.
The women will pool their life experiences together and engage in a dialogue on finding one’s passion, music, and the importance of girls’ education everywhere. As they speak and it will be Live Streaming, Canadian actress, singer, songwriter Sarah Fisher is on the set in Canada making a powerful film “Kiss and Cry “ and a real life story that about a girl who finds her passion, acts on it, and fights to the very end of her last breath the story of Carley Elle Allison.
Sarah Fisher is a girl who believes in all things good, and she will relate to everything that Missy Elliott, Diane Warren, Sophia Bush, Queen Latifah and Michelle Obama have to say at SXSW. Sarah, when not recording, or making a film, is all about empowering girls, caring about education, poverty, and the wild life of this planet. When I reached out to Sarah to see what she was doing in her words this was the answer.
“Filming right now! Kiss and Cry movie! Honouring the beautiful Carley Elle Allison, 17 year old girl diagnosed as 1 in 3 and a half billion (second in the world) love story like no other! … Lots of Canadian stars and has all of Canada backing up and supporting this amazing girl and unbelievable life changing story! Her motto “always smile” . – Sarah Fisher
Carley who was a figure skater, singer, songwriter, while fighting her cancer never gave up on school. While she had to delay going to Queen University for a year , she finally did make it, but her time there was cut short as the cancer spread. Not once did she lose faith that she would ditch the disease that was ravaging her lungs and arm.
While Carley is no longer with us, her voice that cancer tried to take away is with us still. At SXSW it is about film, music, and so this story of Sarah Fisher making this film about a girl to whom getting to University was so important is an amazing story. This story should inspire all those girls who want to help getting other girls to school, and I am thrilled that Sarah is making this film and that she is playing Carley which is perfectly cast, because Sarah has the same spirit of Carley. I am warning you now you may get tears watching this video. Make sure to catch the the live-stream of the keynote from SXSW and please help support the Carley’s Angels.
I’ve never been in love till I met Iman – David Bowie
I never knew David Bowie the persona. I knew David Robert Jones. I used to kid around with him how all English people where Jones or Smith and all Pakistani’s Khan’s. A friend of mine Shel Talmy had worked with David Jones before he became David Bowie, Shel would go on to work with The Who and The Kinks. Bowie and I just got along without any effort we seemed to be on the same wave length. We both loved technology and how it was going to change the world, we never did anything for money but for the passion that came from within for a creative purpose. We also knew some of the same people. Bowie loved art, and I loved Andy Warhol. In his death it would be pointless to go on about his impact on this world his creative power his ability to stay ahead of the curve, not being a pack but a leader. No my story is more personal. So lets begin with Iman.
‘Sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory.’ – Iman
Bowie and Iman love to read, they can read two or three books on the go. Their favorite book is ‘City Of Joy’, but I did not know that when I invited them to a screening of the film at Sony Pictures in Culver City. After the screening, I thought Iman , David, Jane and I should go have dinner . Iman suggested Chaya on Robertson, and I the Ivy on Robertson we all agreed to go there. When I called the Ivy restaurant they informed me the kitchen would be closing soon, and I told them I was with Bowie and Iman and they where more than happy to keep the kitchen open.
At the Ivy on Robertson there is the main dining area, and we all went and sat next to the fireplace at the end of the dining room, hardly anyone was there as it was about to close, and this was perfect for us. It was here that Bowie told us that he loved Iman so much that he never wants to be apart from her, he wants to spend all his time with her. That he have never been in love before or how that felt till he met Iman. They cuddled and kissed like high school kids crushing.
In his death my heart bleeds with sadness for Iman and his children whom he loved and who loved him. Both Bowie and I where planing to get married to our respective partners at the time and I told him how complicated my wedding was gonna be ” David imagine half Scottish and the other Pakistani”, Bowie laughed and said you think you have problems, ” Iman’s family all had to make a run for it in Somalia so I have the problem of how to get people with no passports or paperwork to our wedding” . He suggested I get the book ‘ The Wedding Planer’ at the Book Soup on Sunset. Bowie and Iman, Jane and I got married on the same day, same year on June 6th, Bowie and Iman in Europe and Jane and I in Canada. My marriage did not workout while Bowie’s with Iman went the full course. So if you are sad today at his passing take consolation in the fact the Bowie was with those he loved and who loved him dearly to the very end. Now that’s the way to go.
More stories to come for now I leave you with this clip as my film is about those who loved David Bowie those around the world he impacted and what an impact David Bowie has had.