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Alexander Keith's East Coast Rhythms: An Exploration of Atlantic Canada's Culture
features some of the East Coast’s top musicians at Harbourfront Centre - August 19 to August 21, 2005

TORONTO, August 3, 2005 – Harbourfront Centre celebrates Atlantic Canada’s unique music, art and culture and builds on its international influences from August 19 to 21. Alexander Keith's East Coast Rhythms: An Exploration of East Coast Culture showcases some of the region's top performers (many have won ECMA awards) - each influenced by the rich veins of Traditional music/dance and each fusing those traditions together with current cultural forms. This new Harbourfront Centre summer festival celebrates the immense talent and vibrant energy of the East Coast cultural scene! All events are free admission! More information is available at or by calling 416-973-4000.

The East Coast's incredibly rich range of traditional and current music is fully represented!  Friday explodes with the high-powered Rock waves of Matt Mays & El Torpedo from Halifax. Saturday, the cultural fusion of styles is lead by Acadian Folk band Vishten setting the stage for five-time 2005 ECMA award winner singer/songwriter Gordie Sampson - who performs with a full band in Toronto for the first time! Not to forget the eclectic style of Halifax’s Joel Plaskett Emergency. Sunday includes New Brunswick's nationally acclaimed Roots and Blues performers Hot Toddy and Matt Andersen and the Celtic and Folk music of world renowned Cape Breton teen prodigies The Cottars.

MUSIC: A thrilling line up of artists from traditional Celtic to cutting edge Rock - all weekend!

Friday, August 19: Former lead singer of platinum-recording artists I Mother Earth, Brian Byrne showcases his early influences of rock, country and folk, demonstrating that you can take the boy out of Newfoundland, but you can't take Newfoundland out of the boy. Join him at 6:30 p.m. at the Toronto Star Stage.

At 8 p.m. 2003 NXNE Fan choice award winners In-Flight Safety (Sackville, New Brunswick) and their art-pop-rock sound can be heard on the CIBC Stage. They have often been compared to Coldplay, classic Pink Floyd and Radiohead.

Matt Mays & El Torpedo (Dartmouth, Nova Scotia) rock the CIBC stage with their acclaimed single and music video Cocaine Cowgirl at 9:30 p.m. These country-rock surfer dudes have already earned two Juno nominations this year.

Saturday August 20: Blends French, Irish and Scottish influences with fiery fiddling and powerful step dancing when performers Vishten, go front and centre on the CIBC Stage at 3 p.m. Vishten is a five piece New Brunswick acoustic powerhouse for all step dance lovers.

Join Five-time 2005 ECMA award-winner Gordie Sampson on the CIBC Stage at 8 p.m., his rootsy pop songs are filled with I-wish-I'd-thought-of-that lines. Sampson has written hit songs for artists like Ashley MacIsaac, Faith Hill, Natalie MacMaster and others. At 9:30 p.m. Joel Plaskett Emergency create original rock riffs and melodies that are heart-felt, intelligent and original.

The African Nova Scotia Music Association (ANSMA) presents a diverse showcase of music (11 p.m., Brigantine Room) with Halifax hip-hop pioneers Universal Soul, celebrated Canadian Idol finalist Gary Beals and others performing at 11 p.m. ANSMA blends Jazz, Soul, Rap and traditional African into an exciting set of live performances. Partners in this showcase include the Urban Music Association of Canada (UMAC), a not-for-profit, member-driven organization dedicated to building the domestic and international profile of Canadian urban music, and Toronto's urban radio station, FLOW 93.5.

Sunday August 21: Join force of nature Matt Anderson (New Brunswick) as he takes the East Coast by storm, and performs live on Sunday at the Toronto Star Stage! An energetic performer and gifted singer and songwriter, at 1 p.m. you’ll see why he’s won over audiences with his high intensity Blues roots performances.

Known for their sweet blend of roots, jazz and blues, and their mix of acoustic and electric sounds, New Brunswick performers Hot Toddy show their talents at 3 p.m. on the CIBC Stage.

Cape Breton’s brother/sister team The Cottars have been playing traditional music since early childhood and are now recognized across North America, Europe, Asia, and beyond. Each is a multi-instrumentalist, singer and stepdancer. The four young Celts play at 4:30 p.m.

Alexander Keith's East Coast Rhythms: An Exploration of Atlantic Canada's Culture
Friday August 19
August 19 – Brian Byrne (6:30 p.m. - Toronto Star Stage)
August 19 –In-Flight Safety (8:00 p.m. - CIBC Stage)
August 19 - Matt Mays & El Torpedo (9:30 p.m. - CIBC Stage)

Saturday August 20
August 20 - Vishten (3:00 p.m. - CIBC Stage)
August 20 - Gordie Sampson (8 p.m. - CIBC Stage)
August 20 - Joel Plaskett Emergency (9:30 p.m. - CIBC Stage)
August 20 - ANSMA showcase featuring Gary Beals (11 p.m. - Brigantine Room)

Sunday August 21
August 21 - Matt Andersen (1 p.m. - Toronto Star Stage)
August 21 - Hot Toddy (3 p.m. - CIBC Stage)
August 21 - The Cottars (4:30 p.m. - CIBC Stage)

COMEDY: Canada always seems to look East for premier comic talent. Boys From the Shore is an East Coast comedy night featuring nationally known Nova Scotia comics Jay Malone and Mark Bennett along with Darryl Purvis at 11 p.m. Friday August 19, Boys >From the Shore take over the Brigantine Room for a night of unfettered comedic capers.

CULTURAL: Saturday & Sunday a musical and artistic collaboration erupts between the Celtic and African-Canadian communities at 2 p.m. on the Toronto Star Stage, appropriately titled the Afro-Celtic Jam. Don’t miss this explosive cultural jam - full of beats, rhythms and rhymes! Curated by Anne Marie Wood.

DANCE: Halifax's Mocean Dance received national recognition last year with the airing of a documentary on the group on Bravo! and CBC-TV Atlantic. Mocean Dance was founded in 2001 by Halifax dancers Carolle Crooks, Sara Harrigan, Alicia Orr, Lisa Phinny and Sarah Rozee Di Quinzio. As dancers working across North America, the members dreamed of pursuing careers in the Atlantic region and started the company to make their vision a reality. Join the troupe on the Toronto Star Stage, Saturday August 20 at 3 p.m.

The festival also includes provocative East Coast contemporary dance at Dance Down featuring Tammy Forsythe of Tusket Dance, Louise Moyes, Susan Lee, George Stamos, and Mocean Dance at 6 p.m. Tammy Forsythe’s unique dance movements bypass the legion of recognizable dance techniques, instead drawing physically, musically and aesthetically on an urban post-punk subculture. Louise Moyes received a prize-winning entry for her performance in "The Backtrack," at the Festival Internationale de La Nouvelle Danse in Montreal, Fall 2003.

Founded in 2001 in Halifax, Mocean Dance is rapidly earning recognition as “one of Canada’s outstanding, emerging dance companies.”  The company aspires to “create, perform, collaborate and communicate through movement.”  Today that vision has become a reality.

FILM: The Atlantic Film Series takes place at the Studio Theatre all weekend long. The Atlantic Film Festival curated a film series highlighting great diverse works from the region.

New Waterford Girl (14A)
Saturday August 20 (12:00 p.m.)

In a small Nova Scotia town such as New Waterford, the only way for an outcast such as Mooney to fit in is to get out! Allen Moyle, the director of Pump Up the Volume and Empire Records introduces us to a 15-year-old who is determined to move to New York and follow her dreams. This is a comedy about friendship, choices, and love. New Waterford Girl was 1999's breakout east coast film.

The Hanging Garden (18 )
Saturday August 20 (2:30 p.m.)

(Directed & Written by Thom Fitzgerald, 1997, 91 mins, Nova Scotia)
Starring Shris Leavins, Peter MacNeill, Kerry Fox, Joel S Keller, Sarah Polley
Thom Fitzgerald's award-winning debut film tells the elliptical tale of a 25-year-old gay man, Sweet William, who returns to his family in Nova Scotia after a 10-year absence, only to discover that his family is just as dysfunctional as ever. The struggle for identity unfolds as family secrets are revealed in this warm Canadian tale. Family tension has never been more engaging!

Rare Birds (14A)
Sunday August 21 (12:30 p.m.)

(Directed by Sturla Gunnarsson, Written by Edward Riche, 2001, 99 mins, Newfoundland)
Starring William Hurt, Andy Jones, Molly Parker, Vicky Hynes, Greg Malone, Michael Chaisson. Set in Newfoundland this is a charmingly funny story about narcotics, heroes, one man’s mid life crisis, and birds! Based on a novel by Edward Riche, a desperate restaurant owner finds success by introducing a rare duck to his menu. The unexpected success of his restaurant soon brings out dangerous tricks and unexpected surprises.

Margaret's Museum (14A)
Sunday August 21 (3:30 p.m.)

(Directed by Mort Ransen, Written by Sheldon Currie & Gerald Wexler, 1995, 114 mins, Nova Scotia). A dark drama about a girl living in Cape Breton in the 1940’s. Against her mother’s wishes she marries a mine worker who eventually dies. In order to preserve her memories she creates a museum in his honor and learns to cope with her mental breakdown.

Get ready for an ocean feast of aphrodisiacs on August 20. Michael Lancashire, from Rodney’s Oyster House prepares delicious string cultured fresh PEI mussels at the Lakeside Terrace at noon. Hosted by Lynn Weaver, samples are $1 each.

Join Adam Colquhoun from Oyster Boy at 2:00 p.m. as he discusses the history of the oyster and demonstrates the East Coast tradition of oyster shucking!

Check out the oyster opening challenge at the Toronto Star Stage at 5 p.m. between this year’s Canadian oyster opening champion Jason Woodside and professional oyster shucker Adam Colquhoun, from Oyster Boy.

Atlantic Salmon Demonstration by Oyster Boy will take place at the Lakeside Terrace at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday August 21. Chef Martha Arima from Oyster Boy prepares a fresh and savory dish of honey glazed Atlantic salmon.

Enjoy an authentic Newfoundland ‘Fish and Brewis’ food demonstration in the Lakeside Terrace with playwright ‘Wanda Carroll’ on August 21 at 3 p.m.

KIDS ACTIVITIES: Entertainment for the kiddies too! Events take place at the HarbourKids Tent on (Saturday August 20 and Sunday August 21 from noon- 5 p.m.)

VISUAL ART: Places and Faces takes place at the Marilyn Brewer Community Space on
Friday August 19 to Sunday August 21. Curated by Veronica Yang. Immerse yourself in East Coast culture by watching contemporary videos, paintings and photography. Featuring artists Katherine Mulherin, Andrea Cooper, and Sara MacCulloch.

Intimate and Hyperactive
Brigantine Room
Saturday August 20 (4:30 p.m.)
Anne-Marie Woods,
accomplished actress, poet, producer, singer, dancer, and entrepreneur from Nova Scotia, will be giving insight into life as an artist as well as performing excerpts fro her previous shows. Crowd pleasing characters such as: Sarsaparilla Bendova, (The Sassy Brit with an attitude) Denise Howe, and the Gangsta Jazz Singer (The Lady Who Can’t Get A Singing Job) will be reprised. She will captivate your emotions as her words explore universal topics such as love, family and even that yearly visit to the doctor, with a comedic flair.

The Road Less Gravelled by Wanda Carroll
Lakeside Terrace
Saturday August 20 (6:00 p.m.)

Written and performed by Wanda Carroll. Directed by Victoria Dawe. The Road Less Gravelled debuted to a packed house at The Drake Hotel in August 2004. The show is a collection of funny stories about Wanda's life growing up in Conche, Newfoundland in the 1970's.

For more summer info and festival releases go to


Media Contacts:
Shane Gerard, 416-973-4655 or
Rebecca Webster, 416-973-4518,
Bill Bobek, 416-973-4428,
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