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Harbourfront Centre World Routes 2006
August Festival & Artist Highlights
Information: 416-973-4000 or
Multiple outdoor and indoor stages at Harbourfront Centre
All events are free and for all ages (unless indicated otherwise)

Island Soul (August 4 to August 7)
Celebrates the power of the Caribbean Islands by exploring the cultural, culinary and artistic diversity of this beautiful region. The festival begins with a concert by legendary Trinidadian Calypsonian like The Mighty Sparrow and closes with a concert by Trinidad's Duke Ellington of Calypso - Roy Cape Kaiso All-Stars.

The weekend long Rasta Fest (in partnership with Upfront Theatre Foundation and Masani Productions) is a festival within a festival showcasing Rastafarian culture through music, dance, drumming, crafts, food and film. Rastafarian artists from Jamaica, England, America, the Caribbean and Canada will participate in this historical event which includes a rare concert by Jamaican Tony Rebel - who trailblazed the sing-jay style popularized by Sizzla and Buju Banton. Rebel is a Rastafarian who’s merging of dancehall rhythms with conscious roots lyrics spawned global Reggae anthems like “If Jah (Is Standing By My Side)" and the collaboration "Ghetto People Song" with Everton Blender.

More Island Soul highlights include a concert by Montreal Haitian-Canadian music wunderkind Mika Benjamin. The first Canadian artist to be signed with Lusafrica (label of Cesaria Evora) he is a leading figure in the creole movement and compas scene. His second album MIKA has French, Créole and English lyrics intertwined across Compas, Reggae, Soul and Pop styles. U.S. singer-songwriter Eric Roberson aka Erro (Jill Scott, Osunlade) debuts his unique soul vibrations while Toronto hip-hop soul supergroup Big Black Lincoln rev up the funk.

The festival will also include an intriguing look at the enduring influence of the Chinese in the Caribbean with films by Cheuk Kwan and Richard Fung, and a photo exhibit and literary readings (in partnership with the Hakka Association).

Sobeys Hot & Spicy Food Festival (August 11 to August 13)
The eighth year of this popular festival features diverse sultry sounds, celebrity chefs, sizzling delicacies and the Red Hot Market. The third Hot & Spicy Iron Chef Competition has expanded into a Toronto neighbourhood chef cook-off!

Four chefs from across the GTA compete for the title of the Hot & Spicy Iron Chef 2006! Competitors confirmed so far include Chef Sasi Meechai from Sasi Gourmet Thai, Chef Anthony Mair from Mardi Gras Bistro and Apprentice Chef Vicky Cheng of L’Auberge du Pommier.

The festival will present a rare live appearance by State of Bengal. This London UK group, headed by Sam Zaman, emerged from Britain's Asian underground music scene and London's Anoka club to impress audiences worldwide with innovative combinations of South Asian rhythms and traditions with up and downtempo dance beats. Zaman has also done remixes of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Massive Attack and opened for Bjork on a global tour. His new album Skip-ij includes vocal tracks by Toronto's Rosina Kazi (Lal).

In addition to more than a dozen different local and international chefs engaged in food demos over the weekend, the festival also brings food for thought at the Food Justice Forum (programmed in partnership with ACT for the Earth). Events feature speakers discussing issues like genetically-modified food and sustainability in food production, as well as documentaries on food issues affecting the world today. Special guest speaker Percy Schmeiser is a Canadian farmer and seed breeder who has become world-famous by displaying enormous courage and tenacity in defending farmers' rights; his legal battle with Monsanto was finally heard in 2004 by the Supreme Court of Canada.

The festival also salutes New Orleans, in partnership with Southern Accent restaurant, by bringing New Orleans Chef Troy Brocato to Toronto for a Cajun food demo. Chef Troy lost his home and restaurant in the Katrina Hurricane and is the first recipient of Southern Accent’s “Save New Orleans’ Soul” program, which gives restaurateurs $5000 US to help reestablish their business.

Ho Hai Yan Taiwan! (August 18 to August 20)
Embrace the energy and creativity of current Taiwanese culture with food, dance, music and traditional crafts. Coproduced by the Taiwanese Canadian Cultural Society (who have run a similar Vancouver festival since 1990) this inaugural Toronto event features fun for the entire family with dynamic art exhibits, tasty food, stunning fashions and talent direct from Taiwan.

Taiwan based quartet Saxophone Sisters are the great-granddaughters of Mr. Lien-Chang Chang, an internationally renowned musician who put Taiwan on the map for its legendary saxophone making skills. One third of the world's saxophones are manufactured in Taiwan. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton and musician Kenny G. are proud owners of Chang saxophones. The Saxophone Sisters now keep the Chang name alive in front of international audiences.

WonFu, a young and fun Taiwanese retro Pop band, has released three albums with their second album winning many awards and were nominated for a Taiwanese Grammy. Toronto's Peggy Hsu is a Taiwanese Pop Star singer-songwriter whose songs are a staple of Karaoke singers. Her 2001 debut album Balloon won music awards in Singapore, Hong Kong, and many other countries. Toronto vocalist and pianist Moulann inventively creates soulful electronically-influenced pop.

Taiwanese act, Zuyun Cultural Music and Dance Troupe are highly skilled in Taiwanese aboriginal dances including Thao, Rukai, Puyuma and Zuyun. Using bamboo and string instruments, Zuyun transforms the echos of their ancestors into sensational melodies. In addition to their dance and music, the Zuyun troupe use style, colour and patterns to represent Taiwanese tribal culture and geographic landscapes.

Indie Unlimited (August 25 to August 27) - presented by NOW Magazine
The indie DIY (do it yourself ) scene has evolved into a worldwide arts culture that is much more than "alternative". This festival celebrates DIY culture through Electronica, Rock and Alt-Country, fringe theatre, blogs and future of music forums.

This new festival presents some of Canada's best Indie Rock music artists like Montreal's Bell Orchestre (formed by two Arcade Fire members - performing August 27), Toronto's Great Lakes Swimmers (August 26) and music presenters like Wavelength and the Over The Top festival alongside the live band Canadian debut of UK based electronic music innovator Herbert (August 25) Other events include performances by the Rat King, films and panels celebrating worlwide DIY culture.

For more summer media information and festival releases go to


Media Contacts:
Shane Gerard, 416-973-4655 or
Bill Bobek, 416-973-4428,
Wendy Vincent, 416-973-4518,

Harbourfront Centre Focus - The Power Of Place
Geography, history, memory all guide us as we struggle to find a sense of belonging and identity. They can direct us as clearly as a map or a compass. But does your heritage define you or does it make you part of a community? Do you belong to your neighbourhood or does it belong to you? What is your place in the world? Power of Place is part of an ongoing exploration of ideas-based programming at Harbourfront Centre, June through December 2006.
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