Music Africa, presenters of AFROFEST, one of the biggest outdoor events for African music in Toronto, Canada will be presenting an interesting line-up of African musicians throughout the month of February. The free concerts which features some of the top African artists living and working in the city, will be part of the celebrations for Black History Month.
Singer, Blandine will perform at the Gladstone Melody Bar, every Friday from 7 to 10 p.m. Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and raised in Canada, Blandine has been exposed to the best African, American and European music all her life. It partly accounts for her ability to mimic such great singers as M’bilia Bel, Chaka Khan and Mariah Carey. During her teen years in Toronto she developed her distinctive classical/ R&B/ Afropop vocal style, and by age 20 had performed at festivals throughout North America. She later landed a role as a backup singer on tour for Canadian artist Melanie Durant. In 2009 Blandine made the decision to venture out as a solo artist, her debut CD will be released later in 2011. She says her album will contain songs in all the different African, pop, R&B and dance genres she loves. Expect to hear an earful from Blandine in the very near future; this talented young singer-songwriter is here to stay.
February 11 will be the turn of The Resolutionaries Marimba Band. The Marimba is a traditional Zimbabwean instrument that combines sweet melodies with African rhythms. But there’s nothing traditional about the way the Resolutionaries play it. This 4-member, Peterborough-based band performs in an up-tempo, innovative style while still being able to perform the age-old African tunes they draw their inspiration from. This musical mix mirrors perfectly the eclectic talents of group founder, Chaka Chikodzi. Inspirational, life-affirming, fantastic!
Waleed Abdulhamid Kush will rock the stage on February 18. Born in Sudan, Waleed has been a fixture on the Toronto music scene since 1992. Equally adept on the guitar, bass, flute, drums, and any number of African instruments, he is also an accomplished composer. Waleed was a founding member of the award-winning bands Radio Nomad and Balimbo, and later the African jazz-fusion band Kings of Kush. Onstage he is known for his striking vocals, his innovative bass technique and his speed and precision on percussion. He and his band play a driving, dance-oriented, percussive blend of pan-African music that delights a crowd and gets everyone hitting the dance floor.
Ghana’s sensational Kae Sun, will close the celebrations on February 25th. Kae Sun is of the generation of performers who seem equally at home anywhere in the world, whose music reflects their multi-layered personal histories. Born in Ghana, he grew up listening primarily to hip-hop. An Ontario resident since 2001, his music is equal parts soul, pop, reggae, and of course hip-hop – A sound sometimes described as urban folk . His debut EP Ghost Town Prophecy was so well received it gave Kae Sun the freedom to self-produce most of the songs on his follow-up CD, Lion On A Leash. Released in 2009, it made many critics’ lists of top indie releases of the year. The songs are socially conscious without being preachy. The singer is talented and charismatic. The band is tight and high-energy. The show is certainly not to be missed!