2018 MULTICULTURAL FESTIVAL PERFORMERS
Founded and fronted by émigré Trinidadian songwriter Drew Gonsalves, Kobo Town’s music has been variously described as “an intoxicating blend of lilting calypsonian wit, dancehall reggae and trombone-heavy brass” (Guardian) and a “unique, transnational composite of rhythm, poetry and activist journalism.”(Exclaim!) From their home in Toronto, the group has brought their distinct calypso-inspired sound to audiences across the world, from Port-of-Spain to Paris and from Montreal to Malaysia.
Tamar Ilana & Ventanas is a six-piece Toronto-based world music ensemble fronted by powerhouse vocalist and dancer Tamar Ilana and featuring the city’s finest world musicians. Drawing inspiration from such legendary artists as the Silk Road Ensemble, Paco de Lucía, and Yasmin Levy, they reimagine Mediterranean melodies and flamenco grooves, and mix contemporary interpretations of ancient ballads with original compositions.
WHITE PINE DANCERS
The Gonrah Desgohwah White Pine Dancers, pronounced (gon-rah-dis-go-wah) meaning “tree with five needles”, in the Onondaga Language (Haudenosaunee, Six Nations, Iroquois) is based out of Brantford, Ontario. Gonrah Desgohwah White Pine Dancers consists of family and friends dedicated to sharing their gifts of song, dance and stories with international as well as local audiences.
For the past eight years, Gonrah Desgohwah White Pine Dancers have performed for over 35,000 guests both locally and internationally. Audiences across Southern Ontario and beyond have stated that our performance was not only entertaining, but educational as well. Many audience members commented that they had learned more about First Nations culture during our one hour performance then they had anywhere else! Our performances are interactive as well as colourful and vibrant.
BALLET FOLKLORICO PURO MEXICO
Since 2003, Ballet Folklorico Puro Mexico (BFPM) works arduously to preserve, promote and exhibit Mexican folklore within the province of Ontario, through countless multicultural events and festivals. Thanks to the dedication of its directors and the enthusiasm of its almost 50 members, the organization has been able to maintain itself as a non-profit organization whose main objective is to offer in a professional manner, an attractive and colourful repertoire where traditional aspects are respected in each and every choreography that is executed.
In 2017, Ballet Folklorico Puro Mexico has been selected from the best of Ontario to represent Mexico and latinamerica at the the province’s official Canada Day celebrations at Queens Park in Toronto for Canada 150!
IJO VUDU DANCE INTERNATIONAL
ijo vudu Dance International’s repertoire is comprised of traditional African dance and drum, as well as abstract movement and contemporary dance. Founder, Executive/Artistic Director, Sani-Abu was born into a family of traditional dancers, Sani-Abu began performing and touring at the age of 15 with Benin City’s Uyi-Edo Dance Theater Troupe. He spent the past seven years in New Jersey and New York performing, teaching and collaborating with top leading dance companies such as Alvin Ailey American Dance Company, The Seventh Principle, Michael Mao Dance Company, The Brighton Ballet Theater in collaboration with the Moscow Ballet, Zawadi African Dance Company and Sankofa Dance Theater to name a few. Sani has toured extensively in both Europe and Africa, and has been trained by some of the top dancers and instructors.
In April 2005, Sani moved to Toronto to start ijo vudu! a traditional African dance company and Sani-Abu School for African and Contemporary Dance and in no time found a well-spring of artists bursting with enthusiasm to study and perform with him. Since his arrival, he has been actively teaching and performing, and has quickly become a highly sought after artist in the city. In October 22, 2008, he was called with other professional dance choreographers to choreograph a 1 minute 20 seconds dance piece for the hit TV show, So You Think You Can Dance Canada.
GOLDEN HARPS STEEL ORCHESTRA
London’s Golden Harps Steel Orchestra was founded 25 years ago to introduce the national instrument of Trinidad & Tobago to the greater Southwestern Ontario region. Terry Greene, one of the founding members and still the band’s leader and musical arranger, has cultivated a team of musicians from all walks of life, reflecting the Canadian social mosaic.
Like its members, the band’s repertoire is very diverse, offering musical arrangements from Island Rhythms to Contemporary Top 40; from Latin and Salsa to Rock & Old Classics; from classical Concerto to popular Christmas songs…all with a Caribbean flair.
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.
WATERLOO KUNG-FU ACADEMY LION DANCE TEAM
Waterloo Kung-Fu Academy’s skilled performers practice the “Fut Shan Southern Chinese” style Lion Dance. Under the leadership of Sifu Robin Young, the WKFA Lion Dance Team began practicing the lion dance in 2013. Since that time, Sifu David Moylan has continued to evolve the dance to capture the unique spirit of our Academy.
What is Lion Dancing?
A lion dance is a short, energetic, live show with dancers, costumes and music, typically performed at festivals and special celebrations, such as New Year’s Eve, birthdays and weddings. A long-standing Chinese tradition, it is intended to entertain while infusing the event with good energy and conferring good luck, prosperity, happiness, and long life upon the event’s host and their guests.
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. The Dabke Dancers are a collective of community members from Kitchener Waterloo who are active not only dancing, but more significantly, supporting the integration of Syrian refugees.
Demonstration brought to us by KW’s own non-profit organization, Najda Now, which sends aid to refugees in war-torn countries.
SCOTTISH COUNTRY DANCING
Scottish Country Dancing (SCD) is a danced with a partner in a group of 2-4 couples, and its form is like contra dancing! We dance reels & jigs in Scottish style, and Strathspey dances unique to SCD. SCD is NOT highland dancing, which is individual display/competitive dancing. You DON’T need to be Scottish; you DON’T have to bring a partner; you DON’T need special shoes or clothes and you DON’T need the kilt! If you can move in time to the music, you can enjoy SCOTTISH COUNTRY DANCING!