SOCAN is mourning the loss of Alexander (Al) Mair, who passed away Nov. 25, 2022, at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto, at the age of 82. A mainstay of Canada’s independent music sector and proponent of Canadian talent for more than five decades, he lent his expertise to various initiatives that support our nation’s music. A keen sense of business and personal passion for music made him a leader in the independent music world.

Mair was known as a visionary and inspiration to many people in the homegrown music ecosystem and was inducted into the Order of Canada for his valuable contributions. At the SOCAN Awards in 2021, he was named as one of 24 CanCon Guardians for his profound early efforts to raise the stature of music made in this country.

In 2018, he made a significant financial donation to the SOCAN Foundation Charitable Fund, and he had also supported the Unison Fund, and The Lillian and Donald Mair Clinic for Mood Disorders, at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario.

In a career spanning more than 50 years and various ventures, Mair was a member of SOCAN’s Board of Directors for several years, and served an term as President of the CMPA (Canadian Music Publishers Association). He also lent his expertise to FACTOR (Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent on Recordings), the OMDC (Ontario Media Development Corporation, now Ontario Creates), and the Radio Starmaker Fund; served on the Massey Hall Board of Governors for 20 years; and was an Honourary Governor of both Massey and Roy Thomson Halls. A co-founder of the National Aboriginal Music Association, Mair brought a cohesive voice and recognition to Canada’s under-served Indigenous recording artists and planted the seeds for an Aboriginal music category at the JUNO Awards.

Mair was Gordon Lightfoot’s business manager for eight years, setting up his publishing companies. In 1974, he co-founded Attic Records with Tom Williams, as a vehicle to promote emerging Canadian artists. Attic became became the largest and most successful independent record company in Canadian history, and its publishing arm represented the Canadian rights to music from such legendary international acts as The Beatles, Elton John, James Brown, and ABBA, among many others.

Attic also helped launch the careers of many Canadian artists, including Anvil, Lee Aaron, Maestro Fresh Wes, The Nylons, Teenage Head, and Triumph. During Mair’s period as the label president and CEO from 1974 to 1999, when the label was sold, Attic realized more than $100 million worth of music sales in Canada, and its artists achieved 114 Gold, Platinum, and Multi-Platinum sales awards.

Al Mair’s important work and contributions will be remembered and appreciated forever. SOCAN extends its deepest condolences to his family, loved ones, friends, and all who knew him.

SOCAN was pleased and proud to hold its first-ever screen composing camp, on Nov. 16-17, 2022, at Kilometre Music, in downtown Toronto, deliberately catering to composers already well on their way to being top-tier music creators in Canada.

A total of five composers from Ontario and Québec, who score for TV, film, videogames, and multi-media, spent two days “writing to picture” as they composed and arranged music for motion pictures with the use of live musicians (The Odin Quartet, based in Toronto).

The participants also attended three “Maestroclasses,” one each with Robert Kraft, the former President of Music at 20th Century Fox, and also an Oscar-nominated songwriter and producer; Cristobal Tapia De Veer, a Québec-based screen composer who’s won an Emmy, a BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Award), and a SOCAN Award; and Robert Budreau, a critically acclaimed film director, executive producer, and screenwriter, known for films starring Ethan Hawke (Born To Be Blue, Stockholm).

The five SOCAN screen composer participants were:

  • Steph Copeland
  • Virginia Kilbertus
  • Anaïs Larocque
  • Evan MacDonald
  • Pierre-Luc Rioux

A sixth participant, Aaron Paris, was unable to attend due to illness.

The event was organized and led by Gagan Singh, SOCAN Creative Executive Film/TV and Visual Media, and attended by SOCAN Creatives Alex Golden and Houtan Hodania.

After winning the Global Music Album of the Year JUNO in May of 2022, Montréal’s Afrikana Soul Sister won the Félix for Album of the Year – World Music on Nov. 2, 2022, at the First ADISQ Gala, for their album Kalasö.

Led by seasoned Québec multi-instrumentalist, producer, and arranger Jean-François Lemieux (Jean Leloup, Daniel Bélanger, Ariane Moffatt), and complemented by Senegalese percussionist Fa Cissokho and Malian singer Djely Tapa, who comes from a long line of griots (named Révélation Radio-Canada 2019-2020 in the world music category), the trio embodies the unclassifiable meeting of West Africa and North America in a bubbling cauldron where tradition, and the thirst to create, far outweigh ego.

We spoke to the band following their victory, to learn how their Afrofuturist fusion came about.

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Click here to watch the Afrikana Soul Sister interview