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TORONTO, January 23, 2006-This year Kuumba at Harbourfront Centre celebrates African Heritage Month with two diverse weeks of profile musicians, authors and films, dance workshops and food demos, a Canadian Reggae Music Summit and Caribbean comedy night. An Urban music and culture photography exhibit complements family storytelling and Soul on Ice family skating events. To access the huge variety of Kuumba happenings, please consult the event descriptions below.

All Kuumba events celebrate the vitality of Toronto's African-Canadian community by showcasing works that profile innovative Canadian and international artists. Kuumba begins on Thursday February 2, 2006 and continues right through to February 16, 2006. Most events are free admission and take place on the weekends of February 4 & 5 and February 11 & 12 at Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay West, Toronto). For more information and to purchase tickets for ticketed events the public can call 416-973-4000 or visit

Ticketed Kuumba Events Include:
Tickets are available by calling the Box Office at 416-973-4000

Don Letts View Points artist talk and film screening:
Thursday February 2 (Brigantine Room, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., $10 admission / $5 for students and seniors)
A rare live appearance by UK Punk/Reggae DJ, music and film maker legend Don Letts launches the festival with an exclusive View Points artist talk (hosted by 102.1 the Edge Program Director Alan Cross) accompanied by the Canadian premiere of his Gil Scott-Heron BBC documentary The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. Kuumba also features free screenings of some of his documentaries and films on February 4 (details below). View Points at Harbourfront Centre is a series of discussions about contemporary culture focussing on artistic issues and current affairs local, national and international.

Canadian Reggae Music Summit Showcase & After Party
Saturday February 4 (Brigantine Room, 10 p.m., $10 admission)
Concluding the first free Canadian Reggae Music Summit (details below) this exciting live concert event mashes up band and DJ performances from Toronto brethren like Superheavy Reggae, DJ Patrick Roots, Ibadan, King Ujah, Treson, Sonia Collymore, Kay Morris, Blessed and more!Co-produced by

International Readings presents Revival: An Anthology of Black Canadian Writing
Wednesday February 8 (Brigantine Room, 7:30 p.m., $8 admission)
Readings by George Elliott Clarke, Afua Cooper, Lorna Goodison and Lawrence Hill
with an event Roundtable hosted by Donna Bailey Nurse, Ed.
Harbourfront Centre's International Readings presents Revival: An Anthology of Black Canadian Writing. Featuring some of the country’s leading black authors, the readings and roundtable explore themes and motifs that define and illuminate the meaning of being black - while tracing the evolution of this literature through colonialism, post-colonialism and decolonization.

Donné Roberts CD Release Concert:
Saturday February 11 (Brigantine Room, 9:30 p.m., $10 admission / $5 for Music Africa members)
Kuumba and Music Africa (producers of Afrofest - team up for the first time to present the official CD release party for Toronto's multi-talented Madagascar Salegy Afro-Funk vocalist/guitarist and songwriter Donné Roberts. Also featuring an awesome blend of African music spun by DJ Biggie, this event celebrates the release of Roberts debut solo CD Rhythm Was Born. In 2005 Roberts received a Juno Award (as well as being nominated for a CUMA - Canadian Urban Music Award) and performed at Toronto's Live 8 as a member of the African Guitar Summit. Roberts has also experienced international success as a musician and promoter of renown in Russia and the Ukraine. More information on this amazing artist at

Kuumba program descriptions:
(all events free admission except those listed above)

Kuumba Comedy
Saturday February 11 (Lakeside Terrace, 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Free)
This Caribbean comedy night and official Carte Blanche comedy CD release event features acclaimed stand up comedy from Nubian Disciples like Jean Paul (Comedy Inc.) and Marc Trinidad. Hosted by Canadian comedy legend and Nubian Disciple event creator Kenny Robinson. Co-produced with Up From The Roots productions (

Kuumba Community Forum
Meet The Coalition: A Community Summit
Sunday February 12 (Brigantine Room, 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Free)
Join representatives from the 28-member Coalition of African Canadian Organizations as they share insight, mandate, and action plan items as well as invite discussion on a range of issues including; community self-sufficiency; funding of services and programs; improving police-community relations; the Safe Schools Act and conditions that contribute to youth violence.

Kuumba Culinary
Celebrity chef demonstrations and food sampling from some of Toronto's top African and Caribbean chefs as well as celebrity demos and a children's cooking class. Chefs include popular Mardi Gras restaurateur and Global-TV's Beer Buddies Show co-host/chef Anthony Mair and Aziza Akdem from Ethiopian Village Food and Spice. This year Kuumba will also feature a children's cooking class with Ikeila Wright and celebrity cooking demonstrations from singer/songwriter Jully Black and MuchMusic VJ Matte Babel. Delightful Diva Shelley Hamilton is our stage host and guide to the tasty offerings.

Chef Dwight Boswell recipe demonstration from
The Naparima Girl’s High school Cookbook (1988 to 2005)
Saturday February 4 (Lakeside Terrace, 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Free)
Co-produced by A Different Booklist.
Savour the cuisine of Trinidad & Tobago with The Naparima Girls High School Cookbook. Sample all things sweet, succulent, hot, spicy and Caribbean from this world famous cookbook. Food samples cost $1.

Kuumba Kid’s Cooking Class
Saturday February 4 (Lakeside Terrace, 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., Free)
Children are welcome to join in a fun and creative cooking class instructed by culinary queen Ikeila Wright from Leaf of Life Catering. This class features chocolate fruit confections - a delicious mix of chocolate & tropical fruits – with an emphasis on making beautiful and edible art. This class is recommended for ages 6 to 12 years. It is advised that children under 6 years old be accompanied by an adult. Space is limited. The maximum number of participants is 20 children.

Aziza Akdem from Ethiopian Village Food and Spice
Saturday February 11 (Lakeside Terrace, 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., Free)
Aziza Akdem cooks up the savory Ethiopian dish T'ibs W’ate, a delicious mix of lentil and vegetable injeera, presented in beautiful hand made baskets. Food samples $1.

Anthony Mair from Mardi Gras Bistro
Saturday February 11 (Lakeside Terrace, 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Free)
Acclaimed chef and co-host of the television series, Beer Buddies, Anthony Mair prepares Mardi Gras Jambalaya – a medley of plump juicy chicken, spicy smoked sausage, fresh garden herbs and vegetables all combined together in a tasty tomato broth and creole tomato sauce. Food samples $1.

Celebrity Feast for Two
Saturday February 4 and February 11 (Lakeside Terrace, Free)
This year’s culinary events at Kuumba feature two notable Toronto celebrities cooking up their own favorite dishes. Two lucky audience members will be given the opportunity to win a Feast for Two - where they will dine on a celebrity dish.

Celebrity Feast for Two - Jully Black cooksGhetto Gourmet Buff Wings
Saturday February 4 (Lakeside Terrace, 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Free)
Talented Toronto singer/songwriter superstar Jully Black dishes up her own yummy home made feast.

Celebrity Feast for Two - Matte Babel cooks Stew Chicken
Saturday February 11 (Lakeside Terrace, 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., Free)
Popular MuchMusic VJ Matte Babel is not only charismatic and good looking, but is confident in the kitchen as well!

Kuumba Dance

Free introductory dance workshop classes for beginner to professional in African, Modern, Hip-hop and Caribbean styles. Dance instructors include Vivine Scarlett (Artistic Director - Dance Immersion), Patrick Parson (Artistic Director - Ballet Creole) and Charmaine Headley (Cofounder of COBA).

Intro to African Dance for Children with Vivine Scarlett
Sunday February 5 and February 12 (Lakeside Terrace, 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., Free)
Renowned choreographer and dancer Vivine Scarlett introduces children to African Dance with live musical accompaniment. Vivine is a dance instructor whose artistic goals and aspirations are rooted in her love of West African dance and movement. This class is recommended for ages 6 to 12 years old.

Intro to Caribbean Indigenous Dancewith Charmaine Headley
Sunday February 5 (Lakeside Terrace, 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Free)
Trini-Bajan Charmaine Headley, co-founder, teacher and performer of COBA (Collective Of Black Artists) conducts an all ages open class exploring Caribbean Indigenous dance. Charmaine is a graduate of the School of Toronto Dance Theatre and the School of the Barbados Dance Theatre, and has performed with the Barbados National Dance Theatre Company.

African Contemporary Dance with Patrick Parson
Sunday February 5 (Lakeside Terrace, 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., Free)
Patrick Parson (founder and Artistic Director of Ballet Creole) leads a dance workshop which explores traditional African rhythms. Patrick regularly conducts dance/music workshops and lectures for educators and students throughout Ontario. He has completed a Masters Degree in Dance Ethnology at York University, and is a professor in the Faculty of Fine Arts.

Fusion – It’s All In The Mix withSolange Fermin
Sunday February 12 (Lakeside Terrace, 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Free)
This Jazz & Hip Hop fusion dance class will get audiences moving! Solange is a member of Toronto’s Dance Immersion and has been blessed with a career that has taken her to numerous parts of the U.S. to train, teach, choreograph and perform.

Intro to Hip-Hop and Reggae Dancewith Jade “Hollywood” Anderson
Sunday February 12 (Lakeside Terrace, 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., Free)
"Hollywood” - one of the hottest Hip Hop & Reggae choreographer/dancers in Toronto - leads an intense class of Reggae Dancehall that combines old and new moves. He is a member of Blaze Entertainment, Toronto’s elite dance company.

Kuumba Family Events
The first ever Soul On Ice family fun skate will feature Black hockey trailblazers and great Funky music while additional family events include a children's cooking class, make-and-take craft activities and storytelling by local masters.

Soul on Ice Family Skate:
Sunday February 5 & February 12 (Natrel Rink, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., Free)
Kuumba’s first skating party is co-produced with Kirk Brooks from Debut Sports. Meet Black hockey trailblazers. Bring your skates, or rent them on-site. Skate to the funk at the Natrel Rink - Canada's largest outdoor artificial surface.

ZOOM! Storytelling:
Prominent Toronto-based storytellers weave tales that spark the imagination of young listeners
Sunday February 5 (Studio Theatre, 3 p.m., Free)
Acclaimed Trinidadian born actor/writer Dirk McLean reads from his children's book Steel Drums and Ice Skates
Sunday February 5 (Studio Theatre, 4 p.m., Free)
Featuring Kingston, Jamaica born artist, storyteller and playwright Bernadette Dyer
Sunday February 12 (Studio Theatre, 3 p.m., Free)
Dirk McLean reads from his children's book Steel Drums and Ice Skates
Sunday February 12 (Studio Theatre, 4 p.m., Free)
Featuring Justine Gogoua, director of the multitalented Groupe des Arts Bassan

Kuumba Crafts in the ZOOM! Room:
Saturday February 4 and February 11 (ZOOM! Room, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Free)
This arts and crafts make-and-take activity (instructed by talented visual artist Nazreth Mebrahtu) asks children to look at their own neighborhood and recreate it in a fun, fanciful way, using every day recycled materials.

Kuumba Theatre Workshop
Saturday February 4 (The Loft, 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Free)
A unique introduction to the world of theatre with multi-talented playwright Michael Miller (In the Freedom of Dreams: The Story of Nelson Mandela). This workshop is recommended for 9 to 12 year olds. Participants will also perform a short piece to conclude the workshop session.

Intro to African Dance for Children with Vivine Scarlett
Sunday February 5 and February 12 (Lakeside Terrace, 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., Free)
Refer to event description in Dance section

Kuumba Kid’s Cooking Class:
Saturday February 4 (Lakeside Terrace, 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., Free)
Refer to event description in Culinary section

Kuumba Film (all screenings are free admission):
Don Letts Film and Documentary Series
Saturday February 4 (Studio Theatre, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.)
An integral player in the original British Punk and Reggae scenes, Kuumba presents several of Letts' films and documentaries including Dance Hall Queen at 2 p.m., Punk: Attitude at 6 p.m. and Sun Ra: Brother From Another Planet at 4 p.m.

Calypso at Dirty Jim’s (2005, 86 minutes)
(Canadian premiere film screening & panel discussion)
Sunday February 5 (Brigantine Room, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., Free)
This Trinidadian version of Buena Vista Social Club features Calypso legends Lord Superior, Mighty Sparrow, Bomber and Calypso Rose (among others) performing their hits live and recounting their days at the infamous Dirty Jim’s Swizzle Club in 1950’s Trinidad. They also discuss the past, present and future of Calypso. (More info at After the documentary there will be a panel discussion called From Extempo and Calypso to Soca, Rapso and Beyond - moderated by critic William Doyle Marshall and featuring panelists Eddie Bullen, Jayson, Villaz, and Kevin (

La Fabri-K (The Cuban Hip-Hop Factory)
Saturday February 11 (Studio Theatre, 2 p.m., Free)
When two popular rap groups join forces to create a new musical revolution in Cuba, they never expected to be thrust into an intense journey into the heart of hip-hop. This documentary follows the artists of Doble-Filo and Obessión - known collectively as La Fabri-K (The Factory) - from their humble homes in Havana throughout their eye-popping concert tour of the United States. Will they be lured by the glitter of consumerism or will their mission lead to a revival of musical consciousness?

Bob Marley & the Wailers – Caribbean Nights and Live at the Rainbow
Saturday February 11 (Studio Theatre, 4 p.m., Free)
Clips from Bob Marley and the Wailers’ famed summer 1977 concert at London’s Rainbow Theatre also includes the documentary Caribbean Nights: The Bob Marley Story. The program features Marley staples as well as recently shot footage of the famed Tuff Gong Studio and the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston Jamaica.

Breakin’ In: The Making of a Hip Hop Video Dancer (55 minutes)
Saturday February 11 (Studio Theatre, 7 p.m., Free)
Three young African Canadian women from Toronto (one of them a Regent Park single mom) struggle through their options as they try to break into the notoriously competitive music video industry. Which of them will make it? Directed by Elizabeth St. Philip. Documentary courtesy of National Film Board of Canada.

Kuumba Music Forum:
Canadian Reggae Music Summit and Conference
Saturday February 4 (Brigantine Room, 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Free)
Audiences meet a who's who of Canada's Reggae music industry as they listen to demo tunes & tales from aspiring artists as well as sharing tips on how to make it both here and abroad. The spiritual links between Reggae and Rastafarianism will also be explored. The summit's Demo Derby includes panelists like CIUT Radio's Patrick Roots; CHRY Radio's Natty B and Carrie Mullings; Tony Barnes and DJ Chocolate from CKLN Radio. The Concert Readiness & Presentation, Distribution and Video Play panel includes Denise Jones of Jones & Jones Productions Ltd.; Nuff Entertainment President Frank Willison; and Alain P. Arthur - Executive Producer of Omni Television's Caribbean Vibrations. Representatives from King Turbo and the Montreal International Reggae Festival will also be there among many more! The summit will also feature author Klive Walker integrating portions of his book of Reggae inspired essays, entitled Dubwise, into the discussion. Co-produced by

Kuumba Reads

Kuumba Black Book Fair (co-produced by A Different Booklist)
Multiple Events on February 3, February 11 and February 16 (Brigantine Room)
Kuumba teams up with A Different Booklist ( to present books by emerging and established writers from the African and Caribbean diaspora. Events include readings, book signings and a comic creation workshop!

Two Great Authors – One Great Evening
Friday February 3 (Brigantine Room, 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., Free)
Co-produced by A Different Booklist
Kuumba presents Playing My Mother’s Blues with former Essence Magazine editor and best selling Tamara Hayle mystery fiction author Valerie Wilson Wesley. This award-winning New York based writer will be making her first appearance in Toronto and has written several fiction and non-fiction books for adults and children ( This event also features Toronto fiction writer Althea Prince, author of Loving This Man, a sensuous novel that transports readers between the Caribbean and North America. Hosted by poet and FLOW 93.5 FM’s Jemini.

Comic Creation Workshop
Saturday February 11 (Brigantine Room, 2 p.m. to 2:45 p.m., Free)
Co-produced by A Different Booklist
Anthony Stanberry, creator of Blac Ice Comics & Create Your Own Comics ( brings his hip, urban style to an interactive session, designed for comic, cartoon and animation lovers.

Kuumba Author Readings and Book Signings:
A Saturday afternoon (Brigantine Room, February 11, 3 to 6 p.m.) of author readings and book signings by exciting Canadian writers and innovative independent publishers. Co-produced by A Different Booklist.

It Could Never Happen To Me by Michelle Richards
Saturday February 11 (Brigantine Room, 3 p.m. to 3:45 p.m., Free)
Co-produced by A Different Booklist
Michelle Richard’s story is about 15 year old Keisha Morgan, a girl with low self esteem, who is flattered when Marcu, her attractive new stepbrother, takes an interest. How she handles the situation presents an afternoon of discussion. It Could Never Happen To Me is published by GoodBooks Publishing.

Mella and the N’anga: An African Tale by Gail Nyoka
Saturday February 11 (Brigantine Room, 3 p.m. to 3:45 p.m., Free)
Co-produced by A Different Booklist.
In this tale of courage and wisdom, Gail Nyoka, 2005 Governor General’s Award nominee, brings to life a mythic time and gives us a fascinating glimpse of society in ancient Africa. Mella and the N’anga is published by Sumach Press.

A Box of Chocolates: A Collection of Short Stories Out of Africa, by Jude Idada
Saturday February 11 (Brigantine Room, 4 p.m. to 4:45 p.m., Free)
Co-produced by A Different Booklist
Each chocolate/story is unique as the stories travel across love, hatred, oppression, rebellion and corruption. A Box of Chocolates is published by Trafford Publishing.

Hot Summer by Judy Powell
Saturday February 11 (Brigantine Room, 5 p.m. to 5:45 p.m., Free)
Co-produced by A Different Booklist
Mississauga romance writer, Judy Powell, takes readers on an intense journey with Summer Jones and Lance Munroe from the streets of Chicago to the heat and passion of tropical Jamaica. Hot Summer is published by Lyons Publishing Ltd.

Two Great Educators – One Great Evening
Thursday February 16 (Brigantine Room, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., Free)
Co-produced by A Different Booklist
Harbourfront Centre Learning and Kuumba host the book launch of Creating A Literacy Environment for Boys by author Dr. Christopher Spence (Director of the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board) and Educating for Change: The Halifax Experience, with special guest educator Kenny Fells (Principal, St. Patrick’s-Alexander Nova Scotia Regional School Board). Creating A Literacy Environment for Boys is published by Thomson Nelson Learning.

Kuumba Visual Arts:
Carty:Trickey – A Canadian Urban Music and Culture Photography Retrospective
February 3 through February 12 (Marilyn Brewer Community Space, Free)
This Canadian Urban music and culture retrospective photography exhibition features works by well-known and respected Toronto photographers Steven Carty and Isaiah Trickey.

Kuumba Shops and Eats:
Audiences can purchase, browse and taste the delicious flavours and beautiful treasures from Africa and the Caribbean.
Various Toronto food and retail vendors will be on site at Harbourfront Centre on Saturday February 4 and February 11 (1 p.m. to 11 p.m.); and Sunday February 5 and February 12 (1 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.).

Kuumba on Harbourfront Centre Podcast:
Audiences can also listen to an in depth interview with Don Letts (by Harbourfront Centre's Alok Sharma) as well as discovering lots more about Kuumba and Harbourfront Centre on our Podcast available beginning Thursday January 26, 2006. Go to for more details and to download the podcast

BEAUTY - From January through May 2006, Harbourfront Centre invites audiences to examine the idea of "beauty". Is beauty defined by personal tastes or perspectives or can we apply some universal standards? Through the eyes of the next generation of contemporary Canadian Craft artists in the Beauteous exhibition to the vibrant theatricality of Japanese dance company Pappa Tarahumara - these are just a few of the many interpretations of beauty we have to offer in the coming months. Beauty is part of an ongoing exploration of ideas-based programming at Harbourfront Centre.

All Kuumba events are located at Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay West, Toronto).

For more information the public can call 416-973-4000 or visit


Media Contact: Shane Gerard, 416-973-4655,

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