released July 1, 2010
Danny Michel, environmentalist, pacifist, romanticist, archivist and space enthusiast, returns with Matadora, his newest and most deeply humanist album to date. As a whole, the ten- song collection explores themes of individual and collective agency, and wills us to and hope in grief, tolerance in violence, and love in hate.
After the musical village approach involved in making an album in Belize, Matadora’s origin is a different sort of island, self-produced, recorded and mixed all by Michel in his home studio in Waterloo, Ontario. Matadora tempers the tropical escapism of the Juno-nominated Black Birds Are Dancing Over Me with a dose of harsher realities – breaking news, loneliness, laundry – all delivered tenderly with Michel’s signature empathy.
In place of Black Birds’ balmy clime, the warmth of Matadora comes from within, as materially present as breath that condenses on a window. This body-generated steaminess is front and centre on “Get Lost,” a knee- weakening soliloquy with a slow jam beat.
Matadora has two types of love letters, those meant just for one and those addressed to all. The song “Click Click” is one part dream sequence, one part political platform – as passionate as “Get Lost” but on a much larger scale. “Click Click” shows Michel’s mastery of exploring big questions in small details; with his signature earnestness he confronts tragedy and violence with delicacy and grace.
There are also a handful of songs that taste of ocean and carry forward the vibe and instrumentation from Black Birds in breezy fashion. Title track “Matadora,” “Paris Las Vegas,” and “Good Old Days” provide a bridge from Michel’s previous release, one that consumed two years from recording to the final sold out stop on the North American tour he did with The Garifuna Collective. On Matadora, Michel’s red flag waves as an open-ended question posed in the title track: Are we all the bull on beaten days, or are we the matadora in many ways?
With nominations for three JUNO Awards, The Polaris Prize, The CBC’s "Heart Of Gold" AND a pile of albums under his belt, Danny Michel is unquestionably one of Canada’s finest songwriters. His thoughtful lyrics & earnest performances have earned him a devoted fan base. A musical chameleon, able to slip into many genres with ease. “An adventurous & fearless artist”. “A master at striking the right balance between unpredictability and meeting expectations, leaving you wanting more as soon as it’s over”.
Past critics have praised Danny’s lyrics for having “something to say" without coming off preachy. His environmental song “Feather, Fur & Fin" landed on both CBC’s “Global Goals Playlist” & David Suzuki’s “Playlist For The Planet”. Other songs ask big questions like "If Gods' on your side, then who's on mine" and “Who’s Gonna Miss You when you’re gone?” a song which explores karma asking “Did you live it right or did you live it wrong?”
In 2011 Danny relocated to Belize and founded the “Danny Michel Ocean Academy Fund” to help raise scholarships for small non-profit community high school. To date he's raised over $70,000.00 for the school and volunteers there when he can.
Later he tracked down one of his favorite bands; The Garifuna Collective, a unique Afro-Amerindian cultural group and convinced them to make an album together. That album (“Black Birds Are Dancing Over Me”) was quoted as “One of the finest musical works of our time” By Billboards Larry Leblanc. The album landed him a 3rd JUNO nomination (this time in the “World Music” category) and a sold out summer tour of North America with The Garifuna Collective.
At the moment Danny is sitting in front of a blank canvas contemplating where his next album is going to take him. It could go anywhere from here. Knowing Danny, wherever it goes – it will be an adventure”