Reggae Music News

Harbourfront Centre presents ISLAND SOUL

Island SolHarbourfront Centre is excited to announce the return of Island Soul, during the Toronto Caribbean Carnival, with a focus on a renaissance of Caribbean culture and traditions, July 29 – August 1.

Arts in the Caribbean have always reflected the socio-political climate of the times. Today’s artists are looking at past aesthetics and musical movements to keep the vibe alive and to inspire and re-energize new voices and new traditions. Island Soul is a multi-day, inter-generational long weekend of music, dance, visual arts, food, film, fashion, and family fun. All events, with the exception of the Island Soul Afterparty, are free for everyone!

Friday, July 29, 6–11pm
Kicking off the musical portion of Island Soul is Canadian reggae/jazz saxophonist Isax Injah on the Stage in the Round. Opening the Concert Stage is Puerto Rico–based vanguard musician, African American drummer/producer/singer Otura Muni with his new musical project ÌFÉ. The Concert Stage turns into a dance floor with a set from DJ Bass spinning the finest in calypso and soca music.

Saturday, July 30, Noon–11pm
The day starts with Caribbean Faces’ not-your-average-face-painting courtesy of Trinidadian artist Christopher Pinheiro in the Brigantine Tent, followed by a mini Mas Camp, which will culminate in a big parade on the final day of the Festival. Workshops abound at Island Soul with Moko Jumbie Stilt Dancing in the North Orchard followed by a live performance; Workshop with Otura Man (Spanish Caribbean rhythms); and Come 2 Drum Workshops with Djembe drum master, Amadou Kienou, in the Boulevard Tent.

Two films will also be screened on Saturday in the Studio Theatre: Forward Home, a 50-minute documentary shot in nine countries revealing the economic power of the Caribbean Diaspora as travellers and entrepreneurs around the world; and Queen Nanny: Legendary Maroon Chieftainess, a documentary that sheds light on Queen Nanny of the Jamaican Maroons – one of the most celebrated but least recognized figures in the history of resistance in the New World.

Kicking off the live music performances on the Stage in the Round is Circle 5 performing original and reggae classics everyone can dance to. The Silhouettes Steel Pan Orchestra follow with a rousing presentation from this esteemed 32-year-old orchestra. The Black Stars will wow with their Afro-fusion dance performance celebrating African and Caribbean movement and diversity.

Opening the Concert Stage is Jamaica-born, Brampton resident, Exco Levi, the first recipient and four-time winner of the Juno Reggae Recording of the Year Award. The spiritual, feminine and mystical power of Jamaican dub artist Jah9 will close the Concert Stage, “an operatic wailer reminiscent of Nina Simone.” The party doesn’t end there – join the Concert Stage artists at the coolest Afterparty in town with Yaadcore, the artist at the centre of Jamaica’s reggae revival.

Sunday, July 31, Noon–6pm
Haiti is a focus on Sunday starting with Haitian Marinade and Haitian Patty cooking demos with Chef Gabriela Lauture in the Boulevard Tent. The Stage in the Round is bustling all day with Toto Laraque, a living legend of Haitian guitar; NU-Live, a Toronto-based Haitian konpa band; Les Notes du Corps, a Haitian dance company that combines ballet, jazz, folkloric and ballroom dancing; DJ Scar spinning the best Haitian beats; and Unik, a Montreal-based Haitian band comprised of four brothers and a cousin whose music combines smooth jazz with other iconic sounds of the Caribbean.

Sunday’s workshops include Lil’ Footsteps 2 Fitness on the Stage in the Round; an Afro-Caribbean dance Workshop with Melorize in the South Lawn Tent; Stilt Dancing Workshop in the North Orchard; Make-up and Hair Workshop with Stephanie Dubuisson in the South Lawn Tent; Caribbean Faces face painting in the Brigantine Tent; and FKZO Idol, an amateur singing competition for boys and girls of all ages, presented in association with Festival Kompa Zouk Ontario in the Boulevard Tent.

Performances on the Concert Stage begin with Legends of Guitar, featuring Haitian guitarist Robert Martino; DJ Ace with Saskya turn up the heat with a live set; Karizma, a young Caribbean-American band that has quickly become an influential voice in New York’s Haitian-American music scene; DJ Tric Key spins more Haitian beats rousing the crowd for headliners T-Vice, who are revolutionizing traditional Haitian konpa with reggae, merengue, flamenco and rock ’n’ roll.

Monday, August 1, Noon–6pm
Holiday Monday features more fantastical Caribbean Faces face painting; Mas Camp to prepare for the day’s parade led by the Junior King and Queen Carnival Mas dancers at 2:30pm; Stilt Dancing Workshops and shows; Caribbean Star Limbo Workshop for the entire family on the Stage in the Round; and an Afro-Fusion Workshop with Esie Mensah promoting the fusion of traditional and contemporary African movement with dancehall, soca and more, in the Boulevard Tent.

On Saturday and Monday, Oware, one of Africa’s popular board games played in the many Caribbean Islands and around the world, comes to the Boulevard Tent at Island Soul. Curator Edwige Pierre has assembled a Visual Arts Exhibition illustrating the colourful history and culture of the Creole on display throughout the Festival at the Marilyn Brewer Community Space.

Calypso Stars, Canada’s premiere calypso and soca performers, will close Island Soul Festival with their annual flagship concert celebrating the power of Calypso to educate and entertain while learning about the past and the future. Calypso Stars is presented in association with the Organization of Calypso Performing Artistes on the Concert Stage.

Throughout the entire Festival, the World Café will be turning out delicious food inspired by Island Soul, while the Lakeview Market will be bursting at the seams with vendors from all over the city.

And everyday at Harbourfront Centre, Boxcar Social offers a curated, rotating list of coffees from the best roasters in North America, and a careful selection of some of the world’s top new-world wines, craft beers, scotches and bourbons. The Slip, voted one of Toronto’s best new patios, offers all-day sun, a breeze off the lake, cocktail pitchers and fresh cuisine.

In addition to Island Soul, Harbourfront Centre’s exciting Summer Festivals include the upcoming:
Beats, Breaks & Culture: The Bridge, August 5–7
Habari Africa Festival, co-produced by Batuki Music Society, August 12–14
Hot & Spicy Food Festival, August 19–21
TAIWANfest: A Cultural Tango with Hong Kong, co-produced by Asian Canadian Special Events Association, August 26–28

Harbourfront Centre is a Canadian charity operating 10 prime acres of Toronto’s central waterfront as a free and open public site. It celebrates the multiplicities of cultures that comprise Canada and enlivens the city through the creative imaginations of artists from across the country and around the globe.

Harbourfront Centre presents
Turn up the Heat
Harbourfront Centre – 235 Queens Quay West
Friday, July 29 – Monday, August 1, 2016
Admission to Island Soul is Free
with the exception of the Island Soul Afterparty featuring Yaadcore

Visual Arts Exhibition, July 29, July 30, July 31 & August 1
Isax Injah & Culture Ites, July 29
ÌFÉ, July 29
DJ Bass, July 29
Caribbean Faces, July 30, July 31 & August 1
Mas Camp, July 30 & August 1
Stilt Dancing Workshop, July 30, July 31 & August 1
Oware, July 30 and August 1
Workshop with Otura Mun, July 30
Amadou Kienou – Come 2 Drum Workshop, July 30
Forward Home, July 30
Queen Nanny: Legendary Maroon Chieftainess, July 30
Moko Jumbie Stilt Dancers, July 30 & August 1
Circle 5, July 30
Silhouettes Steel Pan Orchestra, July 30
The Black Stars, July 30
Exco Levi, July 30, 2016
Jah9, July 30
Island Soul Afterparty featuring Yaadcore, July 30 –
Tickets $5 cash at the door *This is a licensed event, 19+
Cooking Demo: Marinade, July 31
Cooking Demo: Haitian Patty, July 31
Lil’ Footsteps 2 Fitness, July 31
Workshop with Melorize, July 31
Make-up and Hair Workshop, July 31
FKZO Idol, July 31
Toto Laraque, July 31
NU-Live, July 31
Les Notes du Corps, July 31
DJ Scar, July 31
Unik, July 31
Legends of Guitar, July 31
DJ Ace with Saskya, July 31
Karizma, July 31
DJ Tric Key, July 31
T-Vice, July 31
Caribbean Star Limbo Workshop, August 1
Afro-Fusion Workshop with Esie Mensah, August 1
Calypso Stars, August 1

For more information visit
or call 416-973-4000
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