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Zaika: A South Asian Food Festival (August 7- August 9)
Part of World Routes 2009 presented by RBC

TORONTO, July 20 - The variety and richness of South Asian cuisine and culture are front and centre at Zaika: A South Asian Food Festival (August7-9)presented by The Weekly Voice. Harbourfront Centre hosts this unique ‘mela’ (Sanskriti for festival) that incorporates the diversity of South Asian cuisine with spectacular live shows including RDB (Rhythm Dohl Bass) with Nindy Kaur who are credited with being the first artists to merge mainstream Bollywood with Hip Hop. Their street-style and lyrical content have allowed them to cross over into the mainstream with collaborations with rap superstars Snoop Dogg and Public Enemy. Urban Rn’B singer Parichay opens the concert.

Other musical highlights include performances from the internationally acclaimed Bhangra duo Josh, Juno award-winning Punjabi folk artist Kiran Ahluwalia, and classical Indian vocalist and composer Onkar Singh, among many others.

Throughout the weekend cooking demonstrations highlight a myriad of traditional South Asian tastes that are usually very hard to find and rarely explored. This is an opportunity for Torontonians to broaden their palettes with food tastings courtesy of Chef Sanjeev Sethi of The Host Restaurant, Chef Guru Shreshtha of Guru’s Chili Chinese Cuisine and many more.

Additional family-friendly food events bring out the inner competitor in festival-goers. A Roti making competition for men challenges male participants to create the perfect Roti. This event is geared toward men because Roti is usually made by women in South Asian culture. The Blindfolded Tasting Competition puts contestant senses to the test when they’re asked to recognize exotic South Asian tastes and our Dosa eating competition aims to find out how many delicious South Asian crepes someone can eat in 2 minutes.

Bollywood dance enthusiasts will enjoy performances from international award-winning dancer and choreographer Divya and her DK Bollywood Dance Group. On Saturday, the traditional folk dance Dandiya Rass is performed with male and female dancers beating special sticks that create a unique soundtrack for their performance.

The weekend also offers two simultaneous Late Night NOW presented by Heineken events. Friday night has DJ A.P.S and DJ Publicity spinning a mixture of traditional bhangra music with classic hip-hop. Friday and Saturday night’s Comedy Showcase presented by shines the spotlight on some of the hottest South Asian comedians in Toronto.

About World Routes: A series of FREE festivals that run from July through September, World Routes presented by RBC explores ideas in contemporary culture, bringing together rich, artistic traditions from around the globe. For information visit or call 416-973-4000. Harbourfront Centre is located at 235 Queens Quay West, in Toronto.

Media Contacts:
Althea Linton 416-973-4428
Rebecca Webster 416-973-4518

[High-res images for all World Routes 2009:]


Kiran Ahluwalia:
Friday, August 7, 8 p.m.
SIRIUS Satellite Radio Stage
Born in India, raised in Canada, Kiran Ahluwalia has expressed herself through Indian classical and Punjabi folk music since the age of seven. Now living in New York City, her seductive music has been praised by critics from around the world.

National Anthems led by Phool Kumar Shashtri
Friday, August 7, 7 p.m.
Redpath Stage
Experience South Asian National Anthems sung by children.

Bollywood Hungama- Devika Mathur:
Friday, August 7, 7:30 p.m.¬
Redpath Stage
Mumbai-born Devika Mathur was one of the semi-finalists for Canadian Idol, and after a successful stint on Toronto’s Radio Voice, is currently rocking the airwaves as a DJ with HumDesi Radio. Devika has preformed many in different genres throughout her music career, but she will be going back to her routes and performing Hindi pop and Bollywood hits during her show at Harbourfront.

Jay Deala & Deep Jandu:
Friday, August 7, 9 p.m.
Redpath Stage
Urban desi phenom Jay Deala has performed mainstream hip-hop in the Indian community for years. He was inspired by pioneer artists such as Apache Indian and Punjabi MC. Jay Deala is now working with Deep Jandu on his upcoming album, with aspiration to become one of the hottest new international Punjabi vocalists.

Friday, August 7, 9:30 p.m.
SIRIUS Satellite Radio Stage
Josh initially started as a band that performed cover music including popular Punjabi, Filmi, Kawali, or Ghazals (different Indian music genres). Today Josh has pierced through the difficult mainstream walls and has performed with major artists including Sukhbir and Nelly Furtado.

Saturday, August 8, 2 p.m.
SIRIUS Satellite Radio Stage
Avalla is one of Toronto’s newest bhangra bands. They bring a different vibe to live music by intertwining the essentials of Punjabi folk music with western elements to bring forth a fresh sound. Bhangra began as a Punjabi folk dance to celebrate the coming of spring.

Onkar Singh:
Saturday, August 8, 3 p.m.
Redpath Stage
Onkar Singh is a vocalist and composer trained in East Indian classical music and has a career that spans over 25 years. Also, he was voted best music artist at the 2008 Toronto people's choice awards.

Saturday, August 8, 8 p.m.
SIRIUS Satellite Radio Stage
Desi Urban singer Parichay combines Hindi classical with pop music. He is currently on tour to support his debut album No Boundaries which was released this past May.

RDB (Rhythm Dohl Bass) & Nindy Kaur:
Saturday, August 8, 9:30 p.m.
SIRIUS Satellite Radio Stage
RDB (Rhythm Dohl Bass) is a Punjabi DJ production team consisting of three Sikh brothers: Kuly, Manj, and Surj Ya Punda, who blend western genres with traditional Punjabi beats and vocals. These three brothers are amazing musicians and singers and have recently added an addition to the group, Nindy Kaur, who is the wife of one of the brothers. They have performed alongside some of the biggest names in Bollywood including Akshay Kumar, and Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan.

Sonal Vala:
Sunday, August 9, 1:30 p.m.
Redpath Stage
Bollywood playback singer and music composer Sonal Vala has won the Lata Mangeshkar Award in India continuously for three years. Sonal also has performed on many TV shows and movies, and she will be one of three judges at the Idol 2009 singing contest in GTA.

Swar Gunjan presents Colours from the Land of Gujrat:
Sunday, August 9, 2 p.m.
Redpath Stage
Swar Gunjan is an Indian musical Institute founded by renowned vocalist and musician Pramesh Nandi. He has performed as a playback singer for television shows and he is also a musical composer and director.

Shahid Ali Khan:
Saturday, August 8, 7:30 p.m.
SIRIUS Satellite Radio Stage
Shahid Ali Khan is a Canadian based singer of the rare Qawwali genre, and has preformed at various venues across Toronto. Qawwali is a vibrant musical tradition that stretches back more than 700 years in the Indian culture.


Rhythm Theme:
Saturday, August 8, 1 p.m.
Redpath Stage
Rhythm Theme is made up of three members, Minu, Chinu & Annakka. They perform a contemporary dance mixed with movements of Bharatha Natyam, Mohiniyattam, Kuchuppudi and Kathakali (all different forms of Indian Dance)

DK Bollywood Dance Pack:
Saturday, August 8, 5:30 p.m.
Redpath Stage
With over a decade of experience as a fashion and dance choreographer, Divya's creativity and artistic vision has helped him in translating unique and original ideas into practical choreography. Divya puts his creative choreography into this dynamic Bollywood dance group.

Saturday, August 8, 9 p.m.
Redpath Stage
Dandiya Raas is the traditional folk dance form of Vrindavan, India. Men and women dance in two circles, with sticks in their hands. Generally, in a four beat rhythm, opposite sides hit the sticks at the same time, creating a unique sound.

Sunday, August 9, 5:00 p.m.
Redpath Stage
Shan-E-Pubjac which means ‘Pride of Punjab’ is a Canadian-Punjabi dance team who are part of the Canadian Punjabi Dance Academy. Both male and female teams have competed many competitions including Boilder Bhangra (Purdue Uni), Groundshaker, The Bhangra Project (New Jersey), Bhangra National and have emerged victorious at all competitions.


World Café:
Friday 6 p.m.-12 p.m., Saturday noon-1 a.m. and Sunday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
The World Café features delicious, exotic and unique tastes from around the globe. It offers a weekly variety of international cuisine prepared by a rotating selection of popular Toronto restaurants and caterers. This weekend highlights South Asian cuisine.

Chef Guru Shreshtha:
Saturday, August 8, 2:30 p.m., Sunday, August 9, 1:30 p.m.
Lakeside Terrace
Chef Guru Shreshtha is originally from Nepal and is the executive chef and owner of Guru's Chili Chinese Cuisine. For 3 years, Chef Guru Shreshtha trained at the Bombay chopsticks in Toronto’s west end. Come enjoy Chef Guru Shreshtha’s flavours in this exciting cooking demonstration.

Chef Sanjeev Sethi of the Host Restaurant:
Friday, August 7, 8 p.m., Saturday, August 8, 4:30 p.m., Sunday, August 9, 3:30 p.m.
Lakeside Terrace
Chef Sanjeev Sethi’s food is described as a culmination of traditional recipes prepared with new techniques. His food is made with the highest quality ingredients, and he takes the utmost care in the food’s preparation. Experience Chef Sanjeev’s creative food techniques and flavours in this amazing food demo.

Gol Gappa Eating Competition:
Saturday, August 8, 1:30 p.m.
Marilyn Brewer Community Space
Gol Gappa is comprised of a round, hollow fried crisp and filled with a watery mixture of tamarind, chili, chaat masala, potato, onion and chickpeas. Its size is small enough to fit in the mouth. Groups have to consume maximum numbers of Gol Gappa. At the end of 2 minutes the winners will be announced.

Chef Umang Dutta
Saturday, August 8, 2:30 p.m.
Brigantine Tent
Executive chef and owner of Masala Art Restaurant in Toronto, Chef Umang Dutta has worked in the food industry for the last 10 years and specializes in Indian curries and Tandoori cooking. Experience the many flavours Chef Umang Dutta offers through his culinary experience in this food demonstration.

Dosa Eating Competition:
Saturday, August 8, 3:30 p.m.
Marilyn Brewer Community Space
Dosa is a crepe made from rice and black lentils. It is a typical South Indian dish, eaten for breakfast or dinner, and is rich in carbohydrates and protein. Two groups have to consume maximum numbers of Dosa. At the end of two minutes the winners will be announced.

Roti making competition for Men:
Saturday, August 8, 5:30 p.m.
Marilyn Brewer Community Space
Roti is traditional flat bread in India and Pakistan. It is normally eaten with curries or cooked vegetables. Participants will each have to make a maximum numbers of Roti in two minutes. Roti is mostly always made by women, which is the reason this competition is for men only, its time to put their skills to the test.

Chef Satvinder Singh
Saturday, August 8, 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, August 9, 5:30 p.m.
Lakeside Terrace

Blindfolded Tasting Competition:
Sunday, August 9, 1 p.m.
Marilyn Brewer Community Space
Come test your senses, as you’re blindfolded and challenged to recognize tastes from various South Asian dishes!

Chef Sandeep Oberoi
Sunday, August 9, 2 and 4 p.m.
Brigantine Tent

Chubby Bunny Competition:
Sunday, August 9, 3 p.m.
Marilyn Brewer Community Space
Chubby bunny is a recreational game that involves placing an increasing number of rasgulla (an Indian sweet similar to marshmallows) into one's own mouth and stating a difficult phrase with a full mouth.


Kulwant Singh:
Saturday, August 8 and Sunday, August 9, 1 p.m.
Avenue of Trees
Kulwant Singh is an accomplished artist who has intertwined his love of Sikhi (Punjabi religion) and culture with his love of art. He will be drawing portraits all weekend long in the Avenue of Trees, next to HarbourKIDS Zone Tent.

Youth Art Challenge and Exhibition:
Saturday, August 8
Harbourkids Zone Tent
Harbourfront Centre puts on an art challenge for children aged 5 to 16 years old and the challenge will be broken down into three age groups.. This event brings children and their families of diverse communities/cultural groups together on a common platform. An exhibition of the selected works of the participant is held up later on. There will be sponsored prizes for the winners.

Stand Up Comedy:

Comedy Showcase presented by
Friday, August 7 & Saturday, August 8 – 11 p.m.
Lakeside Terrace
Get a taste of some of the hottest South Asian comedians around. You’ll laugh at the commentary, insights, trials and tribulations of these comics as they explore what it means to be desi in Canada. (Parental discretion advised, may contain offensive language)

Jatin Stand-Up Comedy
Sunday, August 9 – 2 p.m.
Studio Theatre
Jatin has been a Radio DJ for several years with AIR and India & Now with Radio Voice. He performs as a stand up comedian worldwide and brings one of his best stand-up routines to Harbourfront Centre.


Devendra Mishra:
Saturday, August 8, 6 p.m.
Studio Theatre
Dr. Devendra Mishra is a well respected personality in the GTA. His services to Indian heritage, particularly in the Hindi language, are well recognized locally and internationally His poems are published in prestigious Hindi magazines and websites in the USA, UK, India and Canada. He regularly appears on radio and television to promote Indian culture & heritage.


Friday, August 7 – 8 p.m. & Saturday, August 8 – 3 p.m.
Studio Theatre
RSVP is a comic overview of Punjabis seeking Canadian immigration at any cost. The story is set in a small town in Punjab, India but has a direct co-relation with Canadians. RSVP is presented by Punjabi Arts Association of Toronto which is an independent, not-for-profit, volunteer-based organization that presents issues of relevance to the South Asian immigrant community through the performing arts.


Hum Tum
Saturday, August 8, 8 p.m.
Studio Theatre
A romantic Bollywood comedy starting Rani Mukherjee and Saif Ali Khan.

Dhoom 2
Sunday, August 9, 4 p.m.
Studio Theatre
Sanjay Gadhvi film Dhoom 2 is an action packed thriller sequel that does not give you a moment to sit back. Cops and robbers stories have never been so exhilarating in Bollywood.

Late Night NOW presented by Heineken:

DJ A.P.S.:
Friday, August, 7, 11 p.m.
Brigantine Tent
The art of mixing Bhangra & Hip Hop has been around for years, but DJ A.P.S created something new with his hard-edge mixed with loud hip hop beats and rap freestyles. D.J A.P.S is one of the most downloaded and requested D.J in the world.

DJ Publicity
Saturday, August 8, 11 p.m.
Brigantine Tent
With his trademark Old School vibe and his Bhangra music sound DJ Publicity has worked with the best DJ’s in the business including Baby Yu, Starting from Scratch, Dr Jay, and DJ Jiten. DJ Publicity has opened for world renowned artists including Sukshinder Shinda, Dr Zeus, and HMC. He also was also the headlining bhangra DJ for The Rishi Rich Project for their only Toronto appearance.
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