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The Philosopher Kings regain their throne

 

As a kid of the 90s, the 80s and before then if I am being honest, I have always felt the urge to go back in time when it comes to music as this is closely tied to collective as well as personal memories. Although, I am always open to discovering new musical talent through my streaming platform of choice, Spotify, I am prone to revivals of music that I listened to in my teens and late teens because those are the ones that feel timeless and hold a special place in my heart.

With that in mind, I could not miss the soulful performance of The Philosopher Kings at the Mod Club in Toronto on December 20.

After a break of two decades, The Philosopher Kings returned with their new album Return of the King. The Toronto-based group captivated their long-time fans with its unique combination of funk and pop sound. In a recent interview for ET Canada, to the question “At what point are you on a break and at what point don’t you exist anymore?” Gerald Eaton, lead vocalist answered, “We will always be making albums.” It sounds like a promise!

I love their music as much as I am drawn to their moniker. The Philosopher Kings evokes the best form of government according to Plato’s Republic, one in which philosophers rule with wisdom and intelligence, and forge a society to their image. In times where some of the rulers of the world, score low in the knowledge of philosophy, not as in abstract academic discipline but as in its original sense, as a way of thinking about the world, mankind, nature, existence, and the ability to make connections among all of the above. The name is certainly a timely reminder that we need more of such enlightened rulers in the world.

Juno Award winner in 1996 for Best New Group, climbing the charts with the hit single ​Charms the same year, The Philosopher Kings became one of the most popular bands in the country and worldwide during the 90s until they took a break in 2006 to pursue individual music careers. Gerald Eaton continued to sing as a solo artist under the pen name of Jarvis Church, and collaborated with Nelly Furtado, Esthero, and K’naan. He and fellow band member Brian West are part of the duo Track & Field.

Return Of The Kings is a medley of their most memorable pop and alternative rock songs, including​​ I Am​ the Man, ​Cry, ​Hu​rts to Love You, and​ Cas​tles in the Sand as well as brand new material that holds the sign of a natural musical evolution towards new and current elements of pop music. Nevertheless, “It sounds like the Philosopher Kings.”

The performance included a cover from another very popular 90s band: Linger by the Cranberries. It was also a tribute to the vocalist of the group, Dolores O’Riordan, who died last January at the age of 46. The performance turned into a sing-along when the audience joined the chorus of ‘Do you have to let it linger’. The whole performance felt timeless. Maybe a song that is 20 years old is not that old yet, if it still sounds fresh and current. Or maybe it is the timeless power of good music that stands the storm of the years that go by.

As I reflect on the music experience of last night, I can’t help but wonder, how lucky my generation is to have had so many outstanding bands which made memorable so many stages of our life.

Woman of the Week: Susan Abramovitch

How exactly do you conquer the entertainment world of Toronto?

Susan Abramovitch, Head of Entertainment Law at Gowling WLG, knows exactly how to dominate as one of the top entertainment lawyers in Canada’s largest city. Abramovitch handles clients nationwide such as Jann Arden, The Cowboy Junkies, Finger 11, Kevin O’Leary, MsterKrft, Six Shooter Records, Larry Wanagas, and even dabbled in film work recently helping out with a documentary for the International Fund for Animal Welfare on the seal hunt in Canada.

Abramovitch always knew she wanted to be an entertainment lawyer, but had to jump through hoops to get there. “I was with 26 of the smartest law students from across Canada at the Supreme Court. I had a good resume and good marks, but that was not the way the entertainment world worked. I was initially rejected,” Abramovitch says. “I had a plan B. I qualified at the Quebec bar and clerk ed at the Supreme Court of Canada.”

Abramovitch clerked for the Honourable Mr. Justice Gerard V. La Forest, and met her eventual husband and father of her two children while at the Supreme Court. After this experience, Abramovitch tried again to get into entertainment law without success. “ I didn’t realize the value of networking, I thought it was about statistics, resumes. I got another round of rejections, so I decided to live in Paris. I eventually became disillusioned by the corporate law life,” Abramovitch says. “Michael, my boyfriend of the time was teaching law at King’s College in London UK so we decided let’s move to Toronto. That is when the entertainment law doors started opening for me. I am assuming it is because I had a few years of corporate law experience under my belt.”

In 1997, Abramovitch paired up with President of Music Canada, Graham Henderson, and Executive Producer of Degrassi, Stephen Stohn, and opened Stohn, Henderson, a boutique entertainment law firm in Toronto. “We were at King and Dufferin in the Toronto Carpet Factory, built it into a law office and it became an entertainment law boutique. I later inherited the practice and became the managing partner,” Abramovitch says. “In 2001, I got pregnant with my daughter and born in July 2002. I was managing the firm and I had to deal with everything. It was becoming too much particularly because I was pregnant.” Abramovitch dissolved the firm and now runs the entertainment law department at major law firm Gowling WLG, which she feels is a perfect fit for her.

Abramovitch is passionate about educating future entertainment lawyers and helping young women and men to become successful in law. “The most important thing is the relationship. It is about nurturing relationships with colleagues and clients,” Abramovitch says. She is the program director for Osgoode Hall Law School’s Continuing Legal Education Certificate in Entertainment Law and is a former lecturer in entertainment law at McGill University’s faculty of Law. She is also a member of the board of governors of the Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall.

Abramovitch won the 2014 Lexpert Zenith award, a prestigious award given to Canadian lawyers. Abramovitch is proud to be recognized as a top woman lawyer in Canada, but also believes in helping everyone grow in their career. “I don’t view myself as helping women vs. men. When anyone is interested in entertainment law, I always sit down and talk about my experience,” Abramovitch says. “If women want to talk about frustrations about being a woman lawyer, I don’t believe in being victimized. I believe in productivity and that is how I help people.”

When Abramovitch isn’t working, she loves to cook, eat healthy food, work out, and go to her cottage. She has two kids and is looking forward to celebrating her son’s Bar Mitzvah in June. Abramovitch is also on good terms with now ex-husband Michael Bryant and even negotiated his book contract after the divorce for his book 28 Seconds: A True Story of Addiction, Tragedy, and Hope.

Abramovitch sets the bar on how to succeed in entertainment law. Her teachings on the importance of networking and building relationships are irreplaceable and her valuable experience and tenacity makes her one of the top lawyer in Canada.

 

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