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Music Photos: 2008 (Updated: September, 2008)
For other photos, click:  2009, 2007, 20062005. or 2002-2004 
Click here for a full list of all artists' photos

All photographs are © John Leeson.
They can be reproduced with credit "Photo by John Leeson:".
Contact me for higher resolution copies. 

    To view pictures:
Each concert is contained in its own photo album. You can also link to an album of all shows in a month, or visit the
Main Gallery Page)

Inside each album, you can click on individual photos, or click the "slideshow" link in the upper right.

Right below the "slideshow" link, you'll see other links that take you up a level, e.g. from an individual show album to the album grouping all the shows that month (or months).


Sep. 30: VIEUX FARKA TOURÉ at the Mod Club
  Sep. 28: TOUBAB KREWE at the Revival
  Sep. 26: DANIEL NEBIAT at the Tranzac Club
  Sep. 25: JASON WILSON at Hugh's Room
  Sep. 23: BABA ZULA at the Lula Lounge
  Sep. 18: CHIWONISO at the Lula Lounge
Sep. 13: ASTER AWEKE at The Opera House
Sep. 6: YOUSSOU N'DOUR At Yonge-Dundas Square
Aug. 16: AFRICAN DANCE FESTIVAL at Yonge-Dundas Square
  Aug. 5: AMARA KANTÉ at Harbourfront Centre
Aug. 5: ZAL SISSOKHO at Harbourfront Centre
  Jul. 31: KASSAV at the Sound Academy
  Jul. 26: SAMPRADAYA/BALLET JORGEN at Harbourfront Centre
Jul. 5-6: AFROFEST at Queen's park
Jul. 3: ORCHESTRA BAOBAB at Harbourfront Centre *Photos to be posted  - Click for larger image
Jul. 2: SEUN KUTI & EGYPT 80 at Harbourfront Centre

Great as this band was last year at the same venue, they were even better and tighter this year. They astounded people with their grooves.

(More photos to come)

Jun. 29: SALIF KEITA at the Toronto Jazz Festival

The greatest voice in Africa.

Jun. 29: TOBY FOYEH & ORCHESTRA AFRICA at the Toronto Jazz Festival *Photos to be posted

A hot Nigerian music mix got the crowd ready for the great Salif Keita.

Jun. 28: JAYME STONE & MANSA SISSOKO at Hugh's Room Click for larger image

This night was the official release of their excellent debut CD, Africa to Appalachia which beautifully connects the West African-originated banjo (played by Canadian Jayme Stone) to the great classical West African instrument the kora, played by Malian Mansa Sissoko.

You can hear some of the songs here, and see a video of them performing the Malian classic, "Jarabi" from their August 2007 show at Hugh's Room. For some background on the project, click here.

Jun. 5: LORRAINE KLAASEN at the Lula Lounge *Photos to be posted*

This night was the press launch for Afrofest 2008. The featured singer, Lorraine Klaasen .(originally from Soweto), who  keeps alive the classic sound of Township Music is the daughter of famous South African singer Tandie Klaasen.

May 3: TSEHAY JOHANNES at Croatia Hall

The Ethiopian singing star got a midnight crowd going. For more about him, including extensive music clips see

  Apr. 17: AINIKÉ & NAMORI at the Lula Lounge *Photos to be posted*

Namori is a percussionist/singer originally from Cote  d’Ivoire; Ainiké is a  Toronto percussion group reflecting Malinke rhythms from Guinea. Players include Richard Underhill (sax) and Chris Bottomley (bass).



A great double-bill at Hugh's Room. Malian griot and kora player Mansa Sissoko (now living in Canada) opened, Guelph roots singer-songwriter Tannis Slimmon followed, and everyone joined in at the end.

The show was partly a CD launch for Tannis's second album, Lucky Blue, but it also featured an excerpt of the film Road to Baleya

The movie chronicles Tannis' trip to Mali with other Canadian musicians to record Mansa and other Malian musicians. The film also documents Mansa's return to his home village, which he hadn't seen since he was three. As his grandfather was one of the village's founders, he received a moving and very emotional welcome.

(Film director Bay Weyman is shown at left).


Mar. 1: TRIO JOUBRAN at the Enwave Theatre (Harbourfront)

A favourite of mine, these three brothers from Nazareth form what might be the only oud trio in the world. Their music is gorgeous, their musical communication onstage is amazing.

Their previous Toronto show and CD featured just the three ouds. For this show, and on their brand new CD, Majâz, they added a percussionist which subtly added a new emphasis to their music.

For more about them, see their website, background on them here, and also my photos of their 2005 show at the Lula Lounge.            

Feb. 26: ADAM SOLOMON & TIKISA at the Silver Dollar *Photos to be posted*

African Guitar Summit member, Adam Solomon plays to the theme "Africa and the West". With opening acts Doin' Time, Roger Ellis, Jason Crawford. 8pm. $8.


Feb. 22: ROBERTO LINARES BROWN at the Lula Lounge *Photos to be posted*

This was the official CD release of the new CD, Que no se pierda la esencia ("That the essence not be lost") by the pianist, one of Toronto's top Cuban musicians

The Cuban born musician, was formerly a composer and arranger with one of Cuba's great orchestras, Adalberto Alvares y su son". This night will be the release of his new CD, Que no se pierda la esencia ("That the essence not be lost").  Click here for an interview with RLB.


Feb. 22: DAWIT SIUM at the Gladstone Hotel

Dawit is one of the musicians most in demand in Toronto's Eritrean community. He plays the krar, an extremely ancient instrument, but one, which along with his backing keyboards and bass can get the Gladstone crowd up and dancing.

At one point in the night, through the window behind the musicians, billowing flames could be seen. This was just a few days after a fire destroyed several buildings a few miles east on Queen. But this was just street entertainment. Photos of both acts posted here.

Feb. 15: HUGH MASEKELA at The Phoenix

The great South African trumpeter, whose career has spanned more than 50 years, put on a dynamic performance in front of a large Phoenix crowd. He shared the stage with the "Chissa All-Stars": excellent musicians from his record label, including the amazing voice of Sibongile Khumalo, along with kwaito singer "Nathi", and others.

Feb. 8: SALSA AFRICA at the Lula Lounge

This was the first, and hopefully not the last performance by one of the more interesting and diverse musical explorations to play Toronto in some time. Conceived by Lula Lounge owner José Ortega, it put together 14 of Toronto's best Latin, African and jazz musicians, to explore the African roots of salsa... and, whatever else moved them.

The band was led by Luis Orbegoso on congas, and included Roberto Linares Brown on keyboards, African Guitar Summit members Adam Solomon and Donné Roberts, sax player Richard Underhill, and singer Yeti Ajasin, a most appropriate "front person", being both Nigerian-born, and singer for one of Toronto's top salsa bands, Lady Son y Articulo Veinte.

Altogether, the 14 musicians represented 10 countries.

It's still a bit of an experiment, but it's first night was quite the performance. Read a review on the Live Music Report. Also, a background article by Erroll Nazareth in the Toronto Sun.

  Feb. 8: AFRAFRONTO at the Gladstone Hotel  *Photos to be posted*
Feb. 1: NJACKO BACKO at the Gladstone Hotel (Ballroom)

Njacko's show marked the release of his DVD, Mama Oh!. It was also the end of a great night of African music (and art), scheduled for the first day of Black History Month.

Feb. 1:  Other performances at the Gladstone:

The night started in the Melody Bar with singer Ruth Mathiang, backed by Waleed Abdulhamid Kush, both Toronto-based Sudanese musicians.

Upstairs, the Spence Gallery (located in Mirvish Village) launched "Legacy", an art exhibit and sale for Black History Month at the Gladstone. Adam Solomon played at the opening reception, which featured artists Rosslyn Berot-Burns, Opal Dunbar-Adams, Hawa Kaba, Izzeldinn Kojour & Miranda Mafe.

See also:

2009 photos
2007 photos
2006 photos
2005 photos
2002-2004 photos