Meta4 Music is a full-service artist management company established in 2002. From world to roots to jazz, we work with artists that we love, to help them share their talents with the world.
Drawing on over 30+ years of experience in the industry, and a worldwide network of colleagues and associates, we develop sustainable careers in the ever-changing landscape that is the modern music business.
Balaklava Blues is the brainchild of Mark and Marichka Marczyk, creators of the guerrilla-folk-opera Counting Sheep and leaders of the mighty Lemon Bucket Orkestra – Toronto’s famed Balkan-party-punk-massive. Falling somewhere between a traditional song cycle and a full-blown multimedia rock show, the project uses traditional Ukrainian Acappella polyphony as a launching pad to explore the seemingly never-ending blues of the Ukrainian steppe – delving deftly into the sounds of EDM, hip-hop, indie-pop and more along the way. The 2 met in Ukraine during the 2014 ‘Revolution of Dignity’, where they volunteered extensively throughout the Maidan Square protests. Upon returning to Canada, they resolved they would dedicate their creative energies to telling the stories of their home country to the world.
Their immersive “guerrilla-folk opera” Counting Sheep (created with the members LBO) quickly garnered major critical acclaim winning several awards at the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe, including a Fringe First award and Amnesty International’s Freedom of Speech award, and has since played in Germany, Ireland, the UK, Berkeley California and New York City. With Balaklava Blues, the duo juxtaposes the imagery of classic Soviet cartoons with footage of the current conflict, layer in with their striking and contemporary interpretations of age-old folk songs. The iconic and nostalgic Ukrainian television samples are artfully woven in with the sounds of BM 21 “grad" fire and Kalashnikovs, while English translations of the lyrics flash on the screens to provide context for western audiences.
“This project is a reclamation of the violence perpetrated on our country,” says Toronto native Mark Marczyk, who spent years back and forth between Ukraine and Canada before meeting his wife and settling in Toronto. “We want to redesign physical and psychological oppression and question how and why it continues to inform who we are and what we can become". "But we’re finding so much beauty and strength hidden in that oppression,” adds Marichka, an ethnomusicologist who toured Ukraine and Russia extensively with both her folkloric ensemble Bozhychi and her ethno-pop projects Sonce Kliosh and Kuku Shanel. “In darkness, we find humanity and in finding our humanity we discover that we are not alone.”
While the traditional music and video footage BB draws on is unmistakably Ukrainian, the result is ultimately universal. By combining catchy, clubby arrangements with songs that have been at the verge of eradication for centuries, they hope to contribute to a healing process for a country that has been oppressed for at least as long as these same songs have existed - while at the same time, first and foremost, entertaining the audience and making them dance!
Kat Danser has been captivating audiences from coast-to-coast with her soulful, energetic and sometimes rowdy performances for many years. Dubbed the Queen of the Swamp Blues, the Edmonton-based guitar slinger, songsmith, and powerhouse vocalist, channels the spirit of blues and gospel pioneers, infusing each performance with her originality and big, bright, personality. Her latest album Baptized By The Mud (produced by Steve Dawson) received extensive critical acclaim and continues to get strong airplay support across Canada and beyond. With a depth of knowledge about her craft that only an MA in Ethnomusicology can bring, Danser is a truly unique performer who takes her audiences (via songs, story telling and a slide show drawn from her many trips to the Mississippi Delta ) on a musical journey with an equal measure of deep roots and contemporary resonance.
Kiran Ahluwalia is a modern exponent of the great vocal traditions of India and Pakistan, which she honours intensely, while frequently departing from them in myriad and masterful ways. Her original compositions embody the essence of Indian music, while embracing influences as diverse as Malian and western blues, modern jazz, Portuguese fado and an ever-broadening palette of contemporary sounds and styles. With her outstanding ensemble, featuring guitar, accordion, organ, tabla, bass and drums, she creates boundary-breaking music that transcends simplistic labelling and gets to the heart of the human experience.
From the time she was 7 years old, Kiran has immersed herself in Indian music. When the family immigrated to Canada at age 9, she continued her musical training in both western and Indian music and after graduation from the University of Toronto, she returned to her homeland and regularly over many years, studying intensely under her guru Vithal Rao, a legendary master of the ghazal who sadly passed in 2015. After several years of holding down a day job, late in the last millennium, she decided to take the plunge and pursue a full-time career in music.
Now a 2 time Juno Award winner, her discography is 7 albums strong and over the years she has collaborated with a wide variety of other musicians and style, from the legendary Malian group Tinariwen, to Candian Celtic star Natalie McMaster, to the band who backs famed Portuguese fado star Mariza’s. Since her 3rd album, she has also worked closely with her life partner and musical soulmate Rez Abbasi, A multiple Downbeat poll-winning jazz guitarist who has also produced most of her output since. Kiran’s latest release “7 Billion” was released on the Six Degrees label in the spring of 2018 and she recently completed a North American tour on a double bill with Algerian Berber star Souad Massi to rave reviews. Not content with just touring together, Kiran also instigated another one of her trademark collaborations, bringing Massi into the studio to record a couple of new songs, which are now scheduled for release in 2019.
Never comfortable with resting on her laurels, Ahluwalia is already planning her next project, one that will once again see her exploring the intersections and cross-pollinations between her own musical roots and creativity, and the musical traditions of others from around the world.
Lemon Bucket Orkestra
LBO is a balkan-klezmer-gypsy-party-punk-band like no other. Getting their start busking on the streets of Toronto in 2010, the original quartet of guerrilla-folk troubadours quickly amassed a battalion of troops armed with brass, bows, accordions and drums, and soon the Orkestra was born. The band has been nominated for several awards, including 2 Junos, and they’ve been heralded as a ground-breaking, genre-bending phenomenon by international and local media alike. In their still short career, they’ve performed on streets and stages around the world, leaving a trail of dazzled audiences behind them, everywhere they go.
Live, the band is a veritable juggernaut. Equal parts high precision and reckless intensity, their shows are a fully immersive experience that ranges from the ecstatic to the cathartic. Their new album, Moorka (2015) includes several re-worked folk songs the band learned from local virtuosos, while touring in Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, and Macedonia. Each chestnut is spiked with the unique blend of funk, punk, psychedelia, blues and swing, that give LBO its signature sound. As at home in a speakeasy as a concert hall, the Lemon Bucket Orkestra has stormed the international scene with their irresistible brass band mayhem, but far from resting on their laurels, they’ve really only just begun – moving from strength to strength as they blaze their own unique, incendiary trail to success.
Lenka Lichtenberg creates music of intense beauty and emotional depth. With her soaring voice she melds innovative expressions of traditional song with her own diverse compositions. Born and raised in Prague, she thrived in musical theatre as a child. But soon she was escaping the Iron Curtain, eventually settling in Canada, where she went on to earn a Masters in Ethnomusicology from York University. Soon she was pursuing her career as a bandleader and composer, tapping into her Jewish roots for inspiration. Lenka’s desire to bridge cultures through music constantly propels her to seek new possibilities. From her “Songs for the Breathing Walls” project, recorded in synagogues across the Czech Republic, to “Lullabies in Exile”, a collaboration with Yair Dalal, Lichtenberg is a prolific and wide-ranging artist.
In 2016 she released “Yiddish Journey” (ARCMusic), a compilation pulled from 6 of her albums that Songlines Magazine described as “a worthy testament to Lichtenberg's place at the forefront of modern Yiddish song". But the real magic happens when she and her band Fray perform . The 5-piece ensemble is at once ecstatic and virtuosic and features some of the finest instrumental talent in Canada. Together they create a sublime, unforgettable experience for audiences everywhere.
Over the past decade or so Steve Dawson has become such an indelible fixture on the Canadian musical landscape that it's tempting to take him for granted. One of the drawbacks of being so talented is that Dawson makes everything he does sound so effortless. The music that continually flows out of him is so natural and unforced that it's possible to forget all of the toil that went into producing it. Behind the organic, flowing guitar work, the crisp arrangements and the laconic singing voice, resides one of the brightest, hardest working musicians the country has ever produced.
In May 2016, Dawson released Solid States and Loose Ends, and is currently touring.
Lemon Bucket Orkestra's Moorka is both very Canadian (recorded in a barn near Waterloo) and authentically eastern European - the band has toured there and continues to draw material and inspiration from that part of the world. They're cultural ambassadors, folk dancers and jazzers, but more than anything they're a 16-piece Toronto party band. Driving themselves forward at heart-palpitating tempos, they often sound about to explode into chaos on their sophomore album.
The new album [Solid States and Loose Ends] is both acoustic and electric blues, with a bit of funk and country. Dawson’s vocals flow as naturally and unaffectedly as his guitar playing, spanning the old and new effortlessly. When he sings Riley’s Henhouse Door, the listener feels the same delight as he must have upon discovering it. Most of the songs, though, are original and electric. Predictably, Dawson produced.
"[Lenka Lichtenberg is] ethereal and sometimes hypnotic....a sumptuous bazaar of orchestral pop & worldbeat exotica.”
NEW MUSIC CANADA
“The highlight of the night was the discovery of Edmonton’s self-styled Swamp Blues Queen Kat Danser, a woman with a commanding presence, powerful and expressive voice and a deft touch on guitar. In a word, her performance glistened.”
Lemon Bucket Orkestra’s "Counting Sheep" guerilla folk opera, set for a month long run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August.
June 16, 2016
A rousing call to arms, Counting Sheep invites you to lose yourself in the events of 2014 that changed the course of Ukraine’s history. You will sing, march, protest, dance, eat, recoil, laugh, cry as part of this truly engrossing experience. Sung in traditional Ukrainian polyphony, this is an electrifying exploration of human resilience and immersive theatre at its very best.
"As close as one could get to experiencing a revolution without actually putting your life on the line"