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SoundClash Festival Lineup and SoundClash Music Award Shortlist Revealed!
Music festival and award celebrates blurred and expanded boundaries
July 13-15 2012

TORONTO, ON (June 13, 2012) – In 2011, Harbourfront Centre launched the SoundClash Music Award, a search for the cutting-edge musical talent bubbling just under Toronto’s surface. This year, from July 13-15, the SoundClash Festival extends those principles into a weekend of genre-defying performances from a variety of exciting performers local and international.

Like its namesake – the competitions between reggae-DJ crews in 1950s Kingston, Jamaica – The SoundClash Music Award recognizes artists who pit sounds, genres and cultures against each other, and perform diverse, contemporary and boundary-busting music. The 2012 SoundClash Music Award Short List has been decided: OPOPO, Rich Kidd, Chloe Charles, Progress and the Rebel Alliance, LAL and Gyles will perform at the festival and be judged by both our panel of musical tastemakers as well as audience members for cash and prizes worth $10,000. Meanwhile, an international assortment of artists who are pushing the envelopes of their respective fields will also appear.

Highlights of the SoundClash Festival include:
• Performances from artists including Benin funk ensemble Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou, Detroit rapper Elzhi, and short-listed SoundClash Music Award artists: OPOPO, Rich Kidd, Chloe Charles, Progress and the Rebel Alliance, LAL and Gyles;
• International dance crews and DJs face off for Braggin’ Rights;
• …And more!

Listings info is below. For additional information and complete event listings, the public may visit or call the Information Hotline at 416-973-4000. Harbourfront Centre is located at 235 Queens Quay West in the heart of downtown Toronto’s waterfront.

Harbourfront Centre is an innovative, non-profit cultural organization which provides internationally renowned programming in the arts, culture, education and recreation, in the heart of Toronto's downtown waterfront. Our summer festival season runs from Victoria Day weekend through Thanksgiving weekend, and features over 20 festivals and events that offer The World in One Place. For more information visit

The SoundClash Music Award is a Harbourfront Centre initiative designed to showcase Toronto’s talented, creative and forward-thinking independent musicians from across the musical spectrum. Acts performing a wide range of music have the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of some of Toronto’s top musicians and play on Harbourfront Centre’s WestJet Stage and compete for cash prizes totaling $10,000.
Media Contact: Jon Campbell | | 416 973 4655

For listings info, hi-res images and more media resources, visit our summer media page:

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Maylee Todd (Fri, July 13 at 8 p.m.)
Maylee Todd, a 2012 Redbull Soundstage supported artist is a dynamic and multi-faceted Toronto-based artist whose music includes elements of boogie, bossa, space funk, psychedelia and soul. Her 2010 debut record, Choose Your Own Adventure, received glowing reviews from the likes of NOW magazine and the Globe and Mail at home and J-Wave Tokyo, BBC Radio 1 London, and Radio Nova internationally. A Harbourfront Centre veteran performer, she has taken to high-profile stages around the world including Transmusicales (Rennes, France) MIDEM (Cannes, France), c/o pop (Cologne, Germany), Pop Montreal and more, sharing the stage with the likes of Janelle Monae, Lee Fields, Aloe Blacc, Esthero, Little Dragon, and The Budos Band. Her second full-length album is due out in the summer of 2012.

Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou (Fri, July 13 at 9:30 p.m.)
The legendary Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou have, since 1968, been producing a powerful, home-made voodoo funk that, from their headquarters in tiny Benin, quickly conquered west Africa. Featuring psychedelic guitar riffs, unreal organ harmonies, funk and soul, the music mixes vibrant traditional rhythms, original Voodoo beats, a fascination for Latin grooves and the African-American funk left behind in the wake of James Brown’s African tours.

La Maquina de la Salsa (with Tribute to Billy Bryans) (Sat, July 14 at 3:30 p.m.)
Marta Elena, a songstress from Havana, leads this group that features a 12-piece orchestra and backing vocalists playing primarily hardcore salsa and directed by pianist Larry Mesa Benitez. For this performance, the group and Harbourfront Centre will also honour the late Billy Bryans, a juror on the inaugural SoundClash Music Award in 2011, DJ and promoter whose work with both Harbourfront Centre and the local Cuban music scene will be deeply missed.

Tasha Rozez (Sat, July 14 at 7:30 p.m.)
DJ Tasha Rozez, better known as Gunz'n'Rozez, is no stranger to blazing trails. Armed with custom songs known as dubplates from world renowned artists, a warrior’s mentality and feminine mystique, Gunz N Rozez performances are as diverse as Tasha’s talents. A self-described "Conscious Rude Girl," she is a 2012 DJ Stylus Award winner and was crowned the first Female World Clash Champion in 2002 – and has yet to be dethroned.

Freedom Writers with special guest JD Era (Sat, July 14 at 8 p.m.)
The Freedom Writers movement is a collective of Toronto-based artists – producer Big Sproxx and emcees Theology 3, Tona, Adam Bomb, Frankie Payne and Progress – united to create positive socially- and politically-conscious music. Hard-hitting production and concise, sharply worded lyrics that cut to the chase are the key elements that define this talented collective. With a long track record of successful releases under their belts each artist brings unique qualities, attributes and viewpoints to the table that collectively form the perfect blend. JD Era is the first artists signed by hip hop legend Rawkwon’s (Wu Tang Clan) Ice H20 Canada imprint.

Elzhi (Sat, July 14 at 9:30 p.m.)
As a member of Slum Village, a pioneering hip hop group from Detroit that worked with J Dilla to form Detroit’s underground hip hop scene, Elzhi’s (pronounced “el-zai”) unique sound has inspired countless groups outside the traditional hip hop genre. Known for his complicated rhyme schemes, he made his international debut on “Come and Get It,” a standout track from J Dilla’s album, Welcome 2 Detroit. His highly-anticipated 2011 mixtape, Elmatic, revisited Nas’ classic album Illmatic and won glowing reviews from across the spectrum.

SoundClash Music Award Short List
Harbourfront Centre’s annual SoundClash Music Award recognizes artists who are pushing the envelope on contemporary music and culture, particularly in the live context, and are contributing to Toronto’s already-hefty reputation as a hotbed of musical creation. More information is available online: The shortlisted artists are:

Friday, July 13 at 7:30 p.m.
An affinity for pulsing guitar synths with hands-in-the-air intensity and Sabbath inspired riffs, OPOPO expels demonic moods through mind-expanding rock. Their quest to create the perfect live electronic setup that would still allow them to shred without restraint has resulted in appearances at Toronto’s NXNE, Virgin Fest, CMW, Pride, Rogers Picnic and at Denmark’s SPOT Festival. Their previous album, Light Work, reached #1 on !Earshot’s Electronic charts, and OPOPO was voted into the top 10 of AUX TV’s electronic bands of 2012.

Friday, July 13 at 9 p.m.
LAL is a collaboration between poet, lyricist, activist, singer and Bengali-rooted tough-guy Rosina Kazi and her life partner, producer, sound designer, philosopher and Barbadian king of chill, Nicholas Murray. The duo is joined by the Ugandan-born bassist Ian De Souza to create an electronic music that they liken to a magical mushroom: the visible flowering part of a much larger organism, connected with very fine but infinitely resilient roots.

Saturday, July 14 at 2 p.m.
A former backing singer for Juno-winner Jully Black and Juno nominee Camille Doublas and frontwoman for neosoul band Jamesking, Gyles is a powerhouse vocalist and thoughtful lyricist whose music is a perfect mix of old-school danceability, playful imagery and silky strong singing. Her songwriting skills have been recognized by the Radio Star National Songwriting Competition, which awarded her second place in the 2008 and 2010 installments, and her live prowess has seen her headline the Montreal Funk Festival and open for Ivana Santilli during Canadian Music Week.

Chloe Charles
Saturday, July 14 at 3 p.m.
An artist with the poise and beauty of a 1950s cocktail-sipping movie star, the depth and intellectual prowess of a beat poet and the sound of a modern-day folk-infused soul songstress. Comparisons range from Amy Winehouse, Feist and Cat Power to Etta James, Nina Simone and others, but her influences range much further: Stan Getz, Joni Mitchell, Puccini and Lauryn Hill, to name a few. Charles’ performances feature violins, violas and cellos all underscored by the depth and warmth of her classical guitar and a strong rhythmic foundation that allows her voice to float above. Charles also performs with Toronto dubstep band Ninja Funk Orchestra, the Toronto-Montreal outfit Sacred Balance and with the Austin-NYC-Toronto collective The Sweetness.

Progress and the Rebel Alliance
Saturday, July 14 at 4:30 p.m.
High-energy reggae inspired both by the reggae that surrounded him in his native Barbados and the new influences he found when he moved to Canada in the 90s. Performing throughout Barbados by his teens, Progress developed an aggressive style and socially conscious message and has since created a signature sound of energetic dancehall vocals over a heavy drum-and-bass roots-reggae style, accented by blues guitar rifts and pulsating keyboards. A finalist in the nationally-televised Canadian Reggae Star competition, Progress toured throughout North America, the Caribbean and West Africa, sharing the stage with Erica Badu, Common, Maxi Priest and many more. In 2011, he was invited by Donisha Prendergast, Bob Marley’s granddaughter, to be the headline artist to perform on Caribana’s first ever Rasta Float and has seen major West African, North American and Caribbean radio and TV interest in his singles.

Rich Kidd
Saturday, July 14 at 9 p.m.
Critically-acclaimed producer, MC, songwriter and director Rich Kidd is a Stylus and Toronto Independent Music Award winner who has produced music for artists including Drake, Busta Rhymes, k-os and Nelly Furtado and released one of the country’s most talked about mixtapes, the 5-volume We On Some Rich Kidd Shit. His directorial debut came with Trespassing, a semi-biographical short film chronicling his own struggle with his community and his art within a harsh urban environment. He has shared the stage with J. Cole, Jay Electronica, KRS One, Big Krit and more, and was named one of Toronto’s top 5 independent MCs by the Toronto Star.

Salsa on the Lake with Caliente Entertainment (Sat, July 14, Beginners: 2-3 p.m. Intermediates: 4.30-5.30 p.m.)
Long-running dance group Caliente Entertainment leads workshops to teach salsa to beginners and more experienced dancers. At 2 p.m., novices will learn the basics, which should help you move along to La Maquina de la Salsa performance at 3:30 p.m. At 4:30 p.m., Caliente takes things to the next level.

Braggin’ Rights: DJ Dance Battle (Sun, July 15, 2 & 5:30 p.m.)
A battle unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Dance styles and sounds collide as four of Toronto’s best dance crews from various disciplines are paired with their favourite DJ to battle for bragging rights – and $1000. Throughout the day the DJ’s will be taking turns spinning between-battle music to keep the energy going.

Braggin’ Rights Showcase (Sun, July 15 at 4 p.m.)
Between the Round Robin and the Finale of the DJ Dance Battle, all participating crews will take to the stage simultaneously to strut their stuff.

Kidz Sound Zone (Sat, July 14, 1-8 p.m., Sun, July 15, 1-6 p.m.)
Two different days of unique kids’ activities that will have the family delving into the idea of sound. On Saturday, kids can make music without any of those pesky instruments. This activity will have kids thinking of music from a different perspective to create their own unique instrument and sound. Also on Saturday, our create your own album cover activity will bring out the artist, and rock star, in everyone. Sunday will be a day of exploring how sound works, with opportunities to learn how to make your own tin-can telephones, rattles and skaters, rain sticks and water glass harmonicas.

Kidz Play Zone (Sat & Sun, July 14 & 15, 1-6 p.m.)
Chill out inside our game hub with twister, checkers, jenga, giant chess and more!

UforChange Presents: DJ 101 with Deejay L'Oqenz (Sat, July 14 at 1, 3:30, 5:30 p.m. and Sun, July 15 at 1, 2, 3:30 p.m.)
The DJ Arts workshop teaches participants mixing, scratching and how to set up a sound system and offers participants a chance to hear new music and learn the musical structures of different genres. Through the exploration of urban music, the participants learn to mix and blend across musical genres, as well as learn the messages of the artists. DJ L’Oqenz (pronounced “Eloquence”) is a passionate lover of music of all types and a skilled turntablist who hosted one of the country’s first hip hop television programs, Cypha, and orchestrated CIUT FM’s “The Master Plan” program.

UforChange Presents: Artful Dodgers Improv Workshop (Sat, July 14 at 2, 4 & 6 p.m. and Sun, July 15 at 2 & 4 p.m.)
The Improvisation acting workshop explores various techniques of improvised situational acting, using the body, voice and face as separate tools. Youth will also execute rapid thinking and witty, innovative acting in a time-limited setting, discovering the integration of humour and issue-based material and its effectiveness in reaching an audience – and how to read and gauge audience reaction. The workshop is led by actor Mark ElRaheb, who has been involved with the arts since childhood and is currently pursuing a Bachelors of Social Work at Ryerson.

Film Screening: Young Jeezy - A Hustlaz Ambition & Unsung: Big Daddy Kane (Sat, July 14 at 6 p.m.)
Emmy Award-winning producer/director P. Frank Williams will appear to screen the Toronto debut of his film on Atlanta rapper Young Jeezy, featuring a behind-the-scenes look at his music and his personal life, with narration from Samuel L. Jackson and interviews with Diddy, T.I., Jay-Z and more. Williams will also show never-before-seen clips from his Big Daddy Kane documentary and conduct a post-screening Q & A.

Arts Funding: Grant Application Workshop (Sun, July 15 at noon & 3:30 p.m.)
A panel discussion featuring various arts-funding organizations to give insight into what grants are available to the dance community.

Street Stylez Hip Hop (Sun, July 15 at 1 & 3:30 p.m.)
Graeme Guthrie teaches you all there is to know about hip hop music and dance at this informative workshop.

Play De Record Academy Presents: Cutting Edge Music Technology (Sat & Sun, July 14 & 15 at 1 & 4:30 p.m.)
Thanks to technological advances in music, the line between performance and production has blurred. With that in mind, Seán Savage leads a workshop exploring composing, recording and editing music, in real time, on stage or in the studio with programs Ableton Live, Traktor, Maschine and Reason. A Q&A will follow each 1-hour session. Savage started his musical career as a house club DJ and now wears many hats: mastering engineer, mixing and recording engineer, producer, re-mixer and DJ. But first and foremost, he considers himself a music fan.

Season-Long Events at Harbourfront Centre

Uncharted Waters: Toronto’s Enigmatic Harbour presented with the assistance of the Toronto Port Authority (June 21, 2012-June 2013)
An outdoor, large-scale photo exhibition of the harbour’s people, places, industries, vessels and ecosystems which uncovers the true value of Canada’s largest inland port.

Summer Music in the Garden presented by TD Bank Group (Most Thursdays, 7 p.m. & Sundays, 4 p.m., July-Sept)
Free performances of classical and traditional music from around the world as Summer Music in the Garden enters its 13th season. Concerts take place in the Toronto Music Garden weather permitting; contact our info desk at 416-973-4000 for updates.

Dancing on the Pier (Thursdays, June 28-Aug. 30, 7-9 p.m.)
Join the Dancing on the Pier house band for social interaction and learning that explores global dance trends, hosted by Martin Samuels.

Free Flicks (Wednesdays, July 4-Aug. 29, approximately 9 p.m.)
From classic film to cult comedy, we explore the journey of the underdog from zero to hero on the big screen, under the stars, hosted by Norm Wilner.

International Marketplace (Weekends June 2-Sept 3)
Shop the world every weekend, all summer long – from Indonesian textiles and Indigenous crafts to African artefacts, South American jewellery and far beyond.

World Café (Weekends May 19-Sept 3)
Our newly renovated World Café features a rotating selection of the best international cuisine at affordable prices.

Harbourfront Centre Street Stage (weekends from Victoria Day to Thanksgiving, 9 a.m.-11 p.m.)
Come and see some of the best street performers this city has to offer!

Canoe Rides and Paddle Boats on the Natrel® Pond (Weekends, May-Oct)
Take a break and enjoy a fun float beside our picturesque boardwalk. Cost: Canoe rides are $4 per person, paddle boats are $5 per person, including life jacket rental and a 15-minute ride.
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