Luminato & other festival info

Part 1 of the summer festival notes.  Check for details on these and many other events.

Summer festival time kicks is here, kicking off this weekend with

  • The Afrofest launch event tonight
  • Beginning Friday, 10 amazing days of free Luminato concerts
  • & the annual free Muhatadi International Drumming Festival Saturday.

Afrofest launch: June 7

Tonight in the Ballroom of the Gladstone Hotel, Music Africa announces the lineup for the 2012 Afrofest, this year moved to Woodbine Park. A few names have already been announced including Sam Fan Thomas (Cameroon) and Wazimbo (who put on a terrific show at the Lula earlier this spring).

Performing tonight: Njacko Backo with Long Tak Fah (Valery Woloshyn, Joaquin Nunez Hidalgo, Dan MacDonald); Tich Maredza Band & Jabulani.

Watch a video featuring Tich Maredza Band, opening for, and backing Freddie Gwala last year at The Great Hall

$10, or free for Music Africa members. See Music Africa website


The musical offerings of Luminato over the past few years, put together by Derek Andrews have quickly become one of the top musical events of the year. This year looks like the best yet.  Truly, an amazing 10 days.

The free concerts are at David Pecault Square (Metro Hall), each evening as well as weekday afternoon concerts.  For brief notes on the shows, see Derek’s Luminato blog post, “The World in a Square“. Full event listings are on the Luminato site here.

Of course, there is a wealth of offerings at Luminato, beyond what this website covers, but below are a few musical comments:

June 8: A festival that kicks off with a free double bill of K’naan, plus Kae Sun (Ghanaian Canadian) is heading down the right road.

And while sticking on the African theme, two more don’t-miss shows are:

Sun. June 10, 2pm, an “Ethiopiques” theme with Boston’s Debo Band in their Toronto début, followed by Abyssinian Roots, the collective of great Ethiopian musicians who put on a tremendous concert last February at the Glenn Gould.

For an  extended sample of what you’ll hear, much of that February concert by these musicians is available on CBC Music. Listen here.

And for more background about music from Ethiopian, see “Ethiopian Music: an emerging force in popular culture” by Reuben Maan posted on the CBC Music website earlier this year

Tue. June 12, the North American début of a rising Malian star, Fatoumata Diawara (video clip) is a treat in itself, but she’s opening for Afrocubism, the Malian-Cuban superstar collective.

Here’s “Djelimady Rumba”, with the great guitar of Djelimady Tounkara:

If you want more, enjoy Toumani Diabaté, Kassé Mady Diabaté and the others with the classic “Jarabi”.  Add Bassekou Kouyaté on ngoni, Lassana Diabaté on balafon, Eliades Ochoa on guitar (with his band)…

So much else is there: On June 10: Kobotown, Ernest Ranglin, Calypso Rose and Michael Rose . June 16 a “Balkan Beat Blowout” with Shantel and the Bucovina Club Orkestera & Lemon Bucket Orkestra,

Other dates: Rufus Wainwright; Loreena McKennitt / Jayme Stone; Michael Franti, Jovanotti from Italy (who sold out 2 nights at Lee’s Palace his first time in town); Kathleen Edwards/Dan Mangan… and numerous others.


Muhtadi International Drumming Festival

The annual Muhtadi Drumming Festival also moves to Woodbine Park this wekend. All free, with a huge lineup including Cuba’s Iyá Iré.  Details here


And outside of the festival circuit, this weekend, the Lula Lounge offers a couple of notable double-headers:
Friday: Elmer Ferrer (Cuban guitar), plus Changui Havan
Saturday: Joanna Moon, plus Lady Son

The following week, on June 15, a celebration of the life of the late Oliver Schroer, eclectic fiddler at Hugh’s Room


Much more coming soon.