2017 MULTICULTURAL FESTIVAL PERFORMERS
Founded by award-winning percussionist Rick Shadrach Lazar, SAMBA SQUAD is an innovative group that is forging new directions by mixing world rhythms with the sound-power and street-feel of the drums of the Afro-Brazilian Samba tradition.
The SQUAD’s 16-plus-member ‘percussion posse’ busts out in energy and excitement. Samba Squad embodies the joy of embracing different cultures, and is the personification of change and exchange.
The musical roots of Afro-Brazil, Afro-Cuba, North and West Africa, as well as elements of Urban Funk and Hip-hop, are dropped into a seething cauldron to produce a dance-till-you-drop tour of global grooves.
Featuring members of all ages and backgrounds, The SQUAD is a microcosm of cosmopolitan Toronto. We respect traditions while adding original influences to create one of the most exhilarating musical experiences in Canada.
DIA sings in no less than 28 languages, including English, Italian, Spanish, Hebrew, French, Farsi, Portuguese, Arabic, and Balkan dialects. No wonder she sang at the closing ceremonies of the Toronto 2015 ParaPanAm Games at Nathan Philips Square in front of City Hall.
It started in her musical family – her mother’s a singer, her father’s a drummer, and her grandfather plays the accordion. DIA started performing at age 11 with Nonno’s Italian folkloric band; the first song she sang with them was “Quando, Quando,”which she covered in May 2017 and released as a video on her YouTube page.
Now there’s a seven-song self-titled EP coming in 2017. Featuring such standouts as the big-beat, South-Asia-meets-Middle-East dance-rock of “Desire,” and the dynamic, yearning ballad “Alia,” the recording highlights DIA’s incredible voice – both physical and artistic. She really is the voice of multiculturalism.
ANNE LEDERMAN w/ IAN BELL & EMILYN STAM
Lederman/Bella & Stam are on a whirlwind cross-Canada tour of traditional and classic Canadiana on fiddles, voices, accordions, piano, guitar, jaw harp and feet.
Originally from Manitoba, fiddler/singer/composer Anne Lederman is strongly rooted in several Canadian musical traditions, old and new – Metis and French-Canadian, Scottish, Irish and Old-Time Canadian, Eastern European and African. Anne has performed at Festivals and clubs in Europe and North America, on countless theatre stages, at barn dances, fairs, in hospitals, churches, community centres, at gatherings large and gatherings small. Sometimes she is alone, sometimes with an accompanist, sometimes she leads a band. She fiddles – Irish, Scottish, French-Canadian, Metis, Klezmer, Bulgarian, sometimes a little swing. She sings old Canadian songs in English, French, Gaelic, and occasionally in Yiddish, Macedonian or Ojibwe. She has pioneered her own special brand of singing and playing fiddle simultaneously. Sometimes she plays piano, accordion, long-necked mandolin, tenor guitar, bones, jaw harp and feet.
NEETI DREAMS & DANCE
An annual favourite with the Multicultural Festival audience, Neeti Dream N Dance (NDD) has been performing for over 3 years in India and 10 years performing here on Ontario. NDD is an exploration and expression of the themes of time and memory through contemporary dance, in an attempt to define them in a beautiful steps. With an aim to provide quality dance training and making dance available to all, Neeti Dream N Dance classes run throughout the year at multiple locations, such as Brampton, Mississauga, and Etobicoke for students from ages four to older adults providing them with training in various dance styles by Aradhana’s expert faculty.
FOREST CITY MORRIS & SWORD
Forest City Morris & Sword is the original Morris team in London, Ontario, Canada. We danced out for the first time in 1978. Some of us see Morris as a symbolic celebration of the earth and the seasons; some of us simply enjoy the tuneful music and even the exercise! We all like to think that we are keeping up an ancient tradition, as well as entertaining those who watch us.
Forest City has danced at numerous locations and occasions. We have performed at: the Mill-Race Festival in Cambridge, Stratford Summer Sounds Festival, Sparta Harvest Fest, the Elora Music Festival, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the Grand Theatre Open House, Interiors, weddings, etc. We are also regulars at such London events as Home County Folk Festival and the annual production of Wassail!
FOLKLORICO FILIPINO CANADA
Enriching Filipino identity through performing arts. Folklorico Filipino Canada, established in Toronto in 1974, its founding members were an energetic bunch of young Filipino immigrants with diverse creative backgrounds. Their synergy made the principal ensemble distinct with their contemporary spin on traditional movements and whose hallmark innovative style carried on over the years to become recognized and acclaimed worldwide. Forty-three years on, the dance troupe’s time-honoured commitment to enriching the Canadian mosaic with Filipino identity through the performing arts is as strong as ever.
CELTIC BLUE HIGHLANDERS
Goderich’s own pipe and drum band and our choice to start the Multicultural Festival every year. Since the band was formed in 1998 it has grown into something truly amazing. We started out with only 11 pipers and drummers, but now have 20+ wonderful members, from beginners to advanced level players. New players are always welcome! Wearing the Lock Ness tartan (like the monster), the band has impressed audiences at parades, festivals, ceremonies, and competitions. The name ‘Celtic Blue Highlanders‘ was chosen because it’s unique just like our little town and every member.
DABKE – SYRIAN FOLK DANCE
Dabke is an Arab folk dance native to Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Hatay and Northern Saudi Arabia. Dabke combines circle dance and line dancing and is widely performed at weddings and other joyous occasions.
Demonstration brought to us by KW’s own non-profit organization, Najda Now, which sends aid to refugees in war-torn countries. Najda Now is dedicated to providing help and support to those in need, regardless of their cultural background or religious beliefs.
More to come including: First Nation Big Drum Group and Dancers