Calypso Stars & Island Soul: Caribbean Culture at Harbourfront Toronto July 27 - Aug 1

From a media release:

Calypso Stars (July 27) & Island Soul (July 29 - August 1, 2011)
Celebrate the diversity of Caribbean life and culture at the heart of Toronto’s waterfront

TORONTO, ON (July, 2011) – Harbourfront Centre, along with its lead summer partner, the Toronto Port Authority, is excited to announce the return of the Caribbean-flavoured Island Soul festival. From July 29 to Aug. 1, Island Soul turns up the heat with a focus on Riddim & Resistance by celebrating the transformation of the Caribbean islands from hot spots of colonial conflict into creative hot spots for carnival and culture!

This year features local and international musicians, dancers, storytellers, dub poets, and carnival characters whose works embody a spirit of resistance that ignites social consciousness. From Jamaica comes world-renowned reggae poet Mutabaruka who sets his political, social and religious verse to music in an art form commonly referred to as “dub” or “reggae poetry.” From Trinidad and Tobago come the nine-member rapso band 3Canal with an excitingly energetic conscious music informed by the spirit of soca, calypso and kaiso (commonly describes as “the power of the word in the rhythm of the word”). 3Canal is co-presented with the Trinidad & Tobago Entertainment Company Ltd.

Family-friendly festivities happening all weekend long include JOUVAY! An Ole Mas Carnival Parade! Accompanied by steelpan rhythms, drums and costumed carnival characters (midnight robber, blue devils, paper doll and more), this group of carnival revelers parade around the Harbourfront Centre site performing their traditional spoken rhythm satires, displaying ole mas placards, and stopping to re-enact them to spectators with jesting parody, spoken word and dance. Joining them are two members of the traditional Tobago Speech Band delivering parodies of daily news in witty comic rhyme.

Even more invigorating is a Kalinda Stick Fighting Performance & Workshop with the Keith Pascall Performing Company. Pascall will teach participants the basics of stick fighting, folk drum riddims, nimble martial art movements, and lavweys chants (the origins of Calypso music). Join us as we bring Kalinda to Toronto and transform the Redpath Stage and surrounding area into an Island Soul gayelle (arena) where stick fighters can compete!

Island Soul brings the infectious rhythms of resistance, the irresistible dances of freedom and the interactively playful stories of tricksters, firing up social passion and inspiring Toronto – the largest hot spot for Caribbean carnival outside of the islands.

Information Hotline at 416-973-4000. 
• Harbourfront Centre is located at 235 Queens Quay West in the heart of downtown Toronto’s waterfront.

Check the link for information on all the programmes, including workshops and family-friendly activities.

7:30-10 p.m., (WestJet Stage)

An entertainment-packed two and a half hour showcase featuring eight of the most wildly popular and original calypso songs of the 2011 Calypso Tents Music Series (CTMS), presented by the Organization of Calypso Performing Artistes. This evening of music, dance and carnival features four top Canadian soca artists, virtuoso steelpannist Talib Robinson, D Farmer’s Rhythm Section band, interactive Sailor Dancers from Afro-Caribbean Dance Co. and Moko Jumbie characters from Swizzlestick Theatre.

Calypso STARS Showcase highlights include a special appearance from England’s famed calypso master, recording artist, teacher and writer, Alexander D’Great. Known for his political and social commentary compositions, delivered with wit and style, D’Great is an energetic and inspirational performer who recently won the Association of British Calypsonians’ 2010 Calypso Monarch title.

The house band for the evening is award-winning arranger/producer Ossie Gurley & The Truth. Gurley is the man behind smash soca hits “Who Let The Dogs Out”, “Moving To The Left” and “Follow The Leader”. Rounding out the showcase is steelpan virtuoso Gareth Burgess, a gifted young player from Toronto’s phenomenal steelpan community.


Plenty Jump-Up Riddims! : Panman Pat and Jeff Walcott
Friday, July 29, 6 p.m.  (Ann Tindal Park)

Come and enjoy our weekly Longo’s Friday Picnic as Panman Pat and Jeff Walcott bring the rhythmic sounds of the Caribbean to life on their traveling steelpan drums! Bring your own percussion instrument and join in.

Friday, July 29, 9 p.m. (WestJet Stage)

3Canal are recording artists from Trinidad & Tobago who perform rapso music.
Rapso is conscious music that is more of a philosophy and stance rather than an identifiable musical signature. It has been termed “the power of the word in the rhythm of the word,” “the poetry of calypso” and “the consciousness of soca.” (Photo by Alex Smailes)

Pan Rootz: From Skin to Steelpan
Saturday, July 30, 2:30 p.m. & 4:30 p.m.  (HarbourKIDS Zone Tent)

Pan Rootz: From Skin to Steelpan is a popular workshop with Joy Lapps of Drum Artz Canada that provides children with a hands-on experience of the steelpan, iron instruments and skin drums. Participants discover first-hand the amazing sounds of each of these instruments and learn a brief history of the musical evolution from skin to steel.

Elaine Lil’ Bit Shepherd
Saturday, July 30, 8 p.m. (WestJet Stage)

Elaine Lil’ Bit Shepherd is a strong, young female voice in a reggae world dominated by men. Shepard’s song “Likkle But Mi Tallawah” is the 2011 JUNO Award winner for Reggae Recording of the Year. (pictured)

Treasure Isle Sounds featuring Natty B and Friends
Saturday, July 30, 9 (Redpath Stage)

Treasure Isle located in Toronto's "Little Jamaica" neighborhood is the city's one-stop shop for the best reggae music of our times. Natty B’s hugely influential Zion Train show with Bigga (on CHRY 105.5 FM) sits on the pulse of the reggae music scene and the Rastafarian community. Each weekly program features the freshest selections of reggae music interspersed with vital commentary from the community.

Saturday, July 30, 9:30 p.m.  (WestJet Stage)

Jamaica-born, Canada-based reggae musician Steele’s first taste of success came with his recording of Stevie Wonder’s “Ribbon in the Sky” and then “Silhouette,” his cover of the late Dennis Brown’s anthem (Steele’s breakthrough song). Former lead singer of the band Tatix, Steele has been described as dynamic and sensational, with the versatility and range that defies restriction to any one genre.

Evin Lake
Sunday, July 31, 8 p.m. (WestJet Stage)

Evin Lake (Kevin Clarke) comes from a long line of culturally-conscious reggae vocalists and ventured into the world of music from a very early age. The Port Antonio, Jamaica native grew up with an affinity for R&B and lover’s rock reggae being drawn primarily to the sounds of Teddy Pendergrass, Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway, Dennis Brown and Sanchez. This performance is Evin Lake’s Canadian debut. (Image by Michael Chen)

Sunday July 31, 9:30 p.m. (WestJet Stage)

Mutabaruka has established himself as both a literary and musical giant, both in Jamaica and abroad, and is arguably one of Jamaica’s most respected wordsmiths, dub poets and broadcasters. His poems have given voice to a nation and helped forge an entirely new genre of music, dub/rhythm poetry. Revolutionary, fiery, scathing, and stinging, Mutabaruka's words are as potent on paper as they are on CD and live on stage. (pictured below)

Calypso Buds on the Maple Tree
Monday, August 1, 2 p.m. (Redpath Stage)

Calypso Buds on the Maple Tree is a children’s showcase that features Canadian youngsters dedicated to promoting Caribbean calypso traditions.

Panatics Steelband Network
Monday, August 1, 4 p.m. (WestJet Stage)

The Panatics Steelband Network is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of pan music in Ontario. There is a distinctive family orientation to this steelband, with a large portion of its membership consisting of parents and their children.


JOUVAY! An Ole Mas Carnival Parade!
Friday, July 29, 8-9 p.m. (Redpath Stage)

Traditional Trinidad and Tobago carnival characters come alive at Island Soul. Starting from the Redpath Stage, this parade features steelpan and drums, midnight robber characters, a Tobago speech band, paper doll characters and blue devils performing their traditional spoken word satires and displaying ole mas placards. This carnival parade will entertain spectators with satirical parody, spoken word and dance.

Northbuck & Happy Feet: From the Street to the Stage
Saturday, July 30, 3:30 p.m. (Redpath Stage)

Canada’s best krumping group, Northbuck, alongside Toronto’s best jerkin’ group, Happy Feet, come together to bring a live interactive dance performance to the stage of Island Soul. Exposing the roots of urban dance they are sure to leave you entertained.

Northbuck is an organization of like minded krumpers from all regions of Toronto, and different backgrounds of life whose purpose is to inspire others to embrace their gifts and pursue personal excellence.

Caribbean Island Rhythms
Saturday, July 30, 7 p.m. (Redpath Stage)

This hour-long captivating performance will showcase how contemporary riddims of resistance in dancehall, reggae and soca create an enduring culture through the power and the beauty of Caribbean dance moves. Choreographed, directed and produced by Kay-Ann Ward.

Limbo Dance Workshop
Sunday, July 31, 2:30 p.m. (South Orchard Tent)

Limbo Dance is a popular form of contra dancing that originated on the island of Trinidad. This dance workshop is choreographed by limbo expert Ayanna Lee-Rivears to deliver maximum entertainment, showing masculine and feminine prowess in competition, as well as athleticism, flexibility and suspenseful drama.

RITMO: Cuban Clavé and Drum Rhythms Family Event!
Sunday, July 31, 3 p.m. (Redpath Stage)

Families are invited to explore the Cuban clavé (a percussion instrument) at an hour-long, interactive drumming, dance and song workshop exploring the roots of African riddims in Cuban music. This workshop is open to all skill levels.

Dancehall Reggae Dance Class
Sunday, July 31, 4 p.m. (South Orchard Tent)

In this 30-minute workshop, participants learn low-impact dancehall reggae with a routine that is sexy and fun taught by choreographer Kay-Ann Ward.

Soca/Calypso Dance Class
Sunday, July 31, 4:30 p.m. (South Orchard Tent)

Get your flags and your towel, and get ready to jump up and wave! Learn a fun, low-impact soca dance routine taught by Kay-Ann Ward.

Socacize Jam Session with Live DJ: Dr. Jay!
Sunday, July 31, 5:30 p.m. (South Orchard Tent)

Dr. Jay spins the latest soca tunes, as choreographer and fitness instructor Ayanna Lee-Rivears teaches the Island Soul Socacize Jam Session — a vigorous and exciting Caribbean workout that can whip anyone into shape without pain. (Photo by Bruce Zinger)

Sweat B4 U Sweat Dance Workout
Monday, Aug. 1, 1 p.m. (Redpath Stage)

Sweat B4 U Sweat Dance Workout is an exciting, energetic and body-sculpting workout that uses Caribbean and urban dance moves to tone and shape. Created and taught by professional dancer, choreographer and Can-Fit Pro Fitness Instructor, Kay-Ann Ward.

Socacize Jam Session with Live DJ: DJ DOC!
Monday, August 1, 1:30 p.m. (South Orchard Tent)

Toronto's hottest export, DJ DOC, plays the perfect blend of urban, rock, electronic and island rhythms to keep the crowd moving at the Island Soul Socacize Jam Session. Led by choreographer and fitness instructor Ayanna Lee-Rivears, this vigorous and exciting Caribbean workout that can whip anyone into shape without pain.


  1. This year features local and international musicians, dancers, storytellers, dub poets,
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