Media Release

ARCHIVE: 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | All Media Resources

Omiala: A Festival of New Black Culture
Friday July 23 to Sunday July 25 at Harbourfront Centre

Toronto, July 8, 2004 - Harbourfront Centre presents the first Omiala: A Festival of New Black Culture from July 23 to 25 highlighting all disciplines of creative expression from music to dance, spoken word, storytelling, film and theatre. Omiala (pronounced O-me-ah-la) is a West African word meaning covering of the oceans: healing vibrations. This new festival recognizes and illuminates Black Culture’s continuing influence on modern society through this year’s theme of Home. All events are free admission. Event highlights and complete event listings below. (Schedule subject to change)

Festival Highlights:

Omiala presents the Toronto debut of Chicago soul folk jazz legend Terry Callier on the CIBC Stage. Known for capturing an audience with music that transcends genre, timeless melodies and signature lyrical delivery, Callier has collaborated with Beth Orton, 4hero’s Marc Mac and Koop. Seasoned Haitian vocalist Emeline Michel opens the evening concert. Florida’s finest African-American Sacred Steel artists, The Lee Boys also make their Toronto debut this weekend bringing their high-energy Gospel-based music filled with shades of R&B, Blues, Jazz and Hip-Hop to the stage. Detroit sacred steel guest guitarist Calvin Cooke joins in as a special guest. Toronto’s own Melanie Durrant, signed to the prestigious US record label Motown Records, tears up the stage injecting soul, r&b and jazz into her own signature performance style in her Harbourfront Centre debut.

Film Critic Cameron Bailey curates Home/Movie, a film series that includes a sneak preview and exclusive Canadian premiere of Spike Lee’s latest film She Hate Me as well as a full programme of film screenings from local and international Black filmmakers. The one-woman show The Mammy Project gets its Canadian theatrical debut at Harbourfront Centre after a well-received New York run. A host of spoken word artists from all points of the country converge for Home/Word, rattling out a storm of verbal influence. Bad Brains: Afro-Alternative Music Summit, curated by Dalton Higgins, takes a look at Black culture’s influence on the world of rock and roll.

MUSIC (times and dates below)

Friday evening brings in the Canadian debut of New York Afro-Punk singer Tamar Kali. Heavy guitars, strong political message and raging vocals combine to rock Late Night Now presented by Blue Light in the Brigantine Room.

On Saturday, strong-voiced soulful house vocalist Sacha appears on the CIBC Stage. Well-known to the
Toronto house music scene, Sacha brings originals and classics to her afternoon set.

Toronto-based Motown Records diva Melanie Durrant turns up the funk with a full band performance of R&B on the CIBC Stage. Riding on the release of her debut album Where I’m Going, the Canadian songstress pushes her songs through layers of Minnie Ripperton-inspired soul, Aerosmith rock and the melodies of Marvin Gaye. Syreeta Neal, daughter of legendary Bluesman Kenny Neal, performs on the Toronto Star Stage.

Bad Brains:Afro-Alternative Music Summit. The brainchild of Dalton Higgins, the discussions center around some of the new music forms from Orchestral Pop-Noir, Romantique, Afro-Kraut and Afro-Clash to Afro-Punk and the role that Black musicians have played in the creation of these genres. Within the Sistah’s Who Rock panel discussion, Graph Nobel, Kim Bingham (David Usher), Michie Mee (Day After), Tuku (Blaxam), Syreeta Neal and others will tackle the culture and gender question. The women are joined by Alt-Afro luminaries James Spooner (Director of the acclaimed film Afro Punk which features Friday night's Late Night Now performer Tamar Kali), Murray Lightburn (The Dears), EMI recording artist k-os, Shawn Hewitt, Adrian Miller (20th Century Rebels) and Don Cash. The afternoon sessions will include the launch of the Canadian Chapter of the NYC-based Black Rock Coalition. In conjunction with this announcement,  Kandia Crazy Horse, author of Rip It Up: the Black Experience in Rock n Roll will have her Canadian book launch. Music Critic Laina Dawes moderates.

Emeline Michel, the versatile vocalist steeped in traditional Haitian soulfulness marries social commentary with her inspired musical style and opens the CIBC Stage Saturday evening concert line-up. Chicago’s Terry Callier makes his Toronto debut performance at Harbourfront Centre. Since recording his first album in 1963, Callier has demonstrated a mastery of soul, folk, R&B and jazz, and has achieved cult status around the world, especially when the reluctant singer retreated from the music industry for a 20 year break. He resurfaced in 1997 to work with Beth Orton and, since then has added three more albums to his oeuvre.

Late Night Now presented by Blue Light brings Hip Hop artists Reign, Kamau and L’Oqenz to the mic and the decks, laying it down live with passion and style in the Brigantine Room. 

The weekend finishes on Sunday afternoon with a
Toronto debut concert from Florida’s finest African-American Sacred Steel artists, The Lee Boys, with special guest performance by Detroit sacred steel guitarist Calvin Cooke. The sound developed its roots in the House of God Church in Jacksonville, Florida, focuses on the soulful sounds of the electric lap-steel guitar. All six members of The Lee Boys are the fourth generation of the Sacred Steel movement which has grown to include influences of almost every genre from world music, to R&B, jazz and country.

FILM (times and dates below)

Film Critic Cameron Bailey launches the Omiala film series, Home/Movies, on Friday evening on the CIBC Stage with the classic 1972 film Lady Sings The Blues. Diva singer Diana Ross plays Billie Holiday through all her passions and pitfalls.

The series continues on Saturday afternoon in the Studio Theatre for the Canadian debut of British documentarian John Akomfrah's film The Wonderful World of Louis Armstrong. The documentary, narrated by Danny Glover,  presents an informed portrait of Louis Armstrong as he helped build and launch the jazz movement in the US and worldwide. Afro-Punk, a documentary from New York City director James Spooner (and features Friday night's Late Night Now performer, Tamar Kali) is screened as well.

The Saturday evening screening of influential film director Spike Lee's latest film She Hate Me is an exclusive free Canadian sneak peek at his latest work, one week before the film releases to New York and LA audiences and three weeks before the film opens in Toronto. "The story of She Hate Me is very simple," says Spike. "It's about sex, greed, money and politics."

On Sunday, Kirikou and the Sorceress also enjoys its Harbourfront Centre premiere. This enchanting children's animation tells the story of an African boy facing down a sorceress set to the music of Senegalese superstar Youssou N'Dour. Amandla! A revolution in Four-Part Harmony ends of the Home/Movie film series. The 2002 film, is a stirring account of South Africa's anti-apartheid movement from a musical perspective drawn from the explicit memories of returned exiles. Additionally, Home/Video, a specially commissioned video installation piece by well-respected video artist Jason Ebanks presented in partnership with Trinity Square Video, will feature members of the local Black community sharing their ideas on the festival theme of home.

THEATRE & SPOKEN WORD (times and dates below)

New York City actress Michelle Matlock's one-woman play, The Mammy Project (directed by Kym Moore) gets its Toronto debut at Harbourfront Centre. The play, an imagined account of the tribulations of Nancy Green - the first black woman to play pancake icon Aunt Jemima - is a searing comedic look at the stereotype of the American "Mammy." Time Out New York describes the show as "a one-woman show with a dyke in a bustier who puts the hot in hotcakes." A question and answer session with the play's director, Kym Moore, follows the performance.

Anne Marie Woods, brings her critically acclaimed one-woman show I’m Just Sitting at the Derby Waiting for My Ship to Come In, which premiered at the Atlantic Fringe Festival to Harbourfront Centre for its Toronto debut. In line with the festival theme of Home, the play is about a young woman who waits at the Derby Bar in the hopes of meeting an American sailor who will take her away from home.

Writer/Director/Actress Nicole Stamp's better parts presented in partnership with Obsidian Theatre lets loose a top-of-mind, stream of consciousness social commentary using spoken word, song, stand-up comedy, and sheer idiocy. Jumping from private fantasies about becoming an uber-political anarchist chick, to a fascination with ethnic cookery to her old habits of stealing office supplies from her temp jobs, the show is a remarkably funny and  irreverant modern day theatre piece.

The Toronto Star Stage ramps up for a weekend of skilled Spoken Word artists who perform in Home/Word. The weekend includes performances by internationally renowned dancer Learie MacNicholl who performing his intriguing hybrid of dance and spoken word alongside human beatbox Subliminal. Dub-poet pioneer Clifton Joseph enlivens the crowd with a spoken word set. The talented team from In Divine Style, Toronto's longest running weekly hip hop showcase, perform a live Sunday afternoon performance emphasizing creativity in musical expression. The showcase features special guest nah-ee-lah as well as  hip hop lyricist More or Les with Flat Out and DJ Dalia on the decks and Mindbender, DJ Dorc with powerhouse singer Zoé Johnson supplying her signature vocals.

STORYTELLING/READINGS (times and dates below)

The Lakeside Terrace houses Home/Stories on Saturday afternoon where two of Canada's most acclaimed storytellers share a stage together. Sandra Whiting and Itah Sadu enlighten the audience with their own brand of stories. A capella quartet, The Delightful Divas, introduce a narrative of stories set to song.

Sunday afternoon in the Brigantine room, the panel discussion What is Black? breaks down the moniker and pulls it apart, testing the term for current day relevance. Visual Arts Curator Pamela Edmunds, poet Wayde Compton, photographer David Zapparoli, Orla Stephenson, novelist Bernadette Dyer, playwright Lisa Codrington, and theatre director Kim Moore make up the panel members and the discussion is moderated by Winston Smith.

Also on Sunday, Vancouver poet and DJ Wayde Compton creates a full soundscape to accompany a performance reading from his published works in his Harbourfront Centre debut. Following his performance, Winston Smith has a one-on-one chat with Compton about his words and work.

Closing the weekend, Novelists Bernadette Dyer (Waltzes I Have Not Forgotten) and Nalo Hopkinson read from their latest works presented in partnership with A Different Booklist in the Brigantine Room. An interview, conducted by Rinaldo Walcott, about Dyer and Hopkinson's oeuvre and inspirations will follow the reading.

DANCE (times and dates below)

Saturday afternoon in the Lakeside Terrace, Black Ice, one of Canada's premiere step dancing troupes, perform some classic numbers from their repertoire and premiere a new dance piece for Omiala. Young and old alike can join in the steppin' workshop that follows the performance.

VISUAL ARTS (times and dates below)

Home/Room, on display all weekend at Omialafeatures the works of Montreal photographer Dawit Petros as well as local Toronto photographers David Zapparoli and Stella Fakiyesi. The exhibition lines-up photographs that asks visitors to extend our definition of what a "Black" homes look like..

Saturday afternoon, Omiala Visual Arts Coordinator Pamela Edmunds, sits down with Dawit Petros, David Zapparoli and Stella Fakiyesi for an audience-inclusive discussion about their work and the Home/Room exhibition showcased at the festival.

KIDS (times and dates below)

Sunday afternoon in the Lakeside Terrace, dub-poet performer Clifton Joseph sets the stage for a Talent Showcase featuring some of Toronto's finest, young black talents.

Children’s activities run throughout the afternoon on Saturday and Sunday in the HarbourKids Zone.

All Harbourfront Centre Summer 2004 events take place at Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queen’s Quay West in
Toronto. All events are free admission. For further information, the public can call 416-973-4000 or visit www.harbourfrontcentre.com

Attention Media: Hi-res jpegs, discipline overviews and event releases available at www.harbourfrontcentre.com/summerfestivals/mediakit.php

Complete Listings: Omiala: A Festival of New Black Culture - July 23 to July 25

Friday July 23
Visual Arts - July 23
(6 p.m.-10 p.m. - Marilyn Brewer Gallery ) Home/Room-Photography by Dawit Petros, David Zapparoli, Stella Fakiyesi
Theatre-July 23 (8 p.m. -Studio Theatre) - The Mammy Project
Film-July 23 (8:30 p.m. - CIBC Stage) - Home/Movies  - Lady Sings The Blues
Music-July 23 (11 p.m. - Brigantine Room) -Tamar Kali

Saturday July 24
Visual Arts - July 24
(12 noon-10 p.m. - Marilyn Brewer Gallery ) Home/Room-Photography by Dawit Petros, David Zapparoli, Stella Fakiyesi
Kids -July 24 (1 p.m.- 5 p.m.- HarbourKids Zone) Children's activities
Music-July 24 (1 p.m. - Toronto Star Stage) - Syreeta Neal
Visual Arts- July 24 (1 p.m. - Brigantine Room) Home/Room-Pamela Edmunds leads discussion with Dawit Petros, David Zapparoli & Stella Fakiyesi
Music-July 24 (2 p.m. - CIBC Stage) - Sacha
Storytelling - July 24 (2:30 p.m. - Lakeside Terrace) Home/Stories - Sandra Whiting & Itah Sadu

Music/Spoken Word-July 24 ( 3 p.m.-Toronto Star Stage) -Home/Word - Subliminal (the human beatbox)
Music-July 24 (3 p.m. - Brigantine Room) - Bad Brains:Afro-Alternative Music Summit curated by Dalton Higgins
Panelists include:
Graph Nobel, Kim Bingham (David Usher), Michie Mee (Day After), Tuku (Blaxam), Syreeta Neal James Spooner (Afro Punk film director), Murray Lightburn (The Dears), EMI recording artist k-os, Shawn Hewitt, Adrian Miller (20th Century Rebels) & Don Cash. Kandia Crazy Horse, author of Rip It Up: the Black Experience in Rock n Roll will have her Canadian book launch during the summit.
Music-July 24 (3:30 p.m. - CIBC Stage) - Melanie Durrant
Storytelling - July 24 (4 p.m. - Lakeside Terrace) Home/Stories -The Delightful Divas
Spoken Word-July 24 ( 4:30 p.m. -Toronto Star Stage) -Home/Word - Learie MacNicholl (spoken word & dance)
Film-July 24 (5 p.m. - Studio Theatre) - Home/Movies  - The Wonderful World of Louis Armstrong (UK)
Music/Spoken Word-
July 24 ( 5 p.m. -Toronto Star Stage) -Home/Word - Clifton Joseph
Theatre-July 24 (5:30 p.m. -Lakeside Terrace) -I’m Just Sitting at the Derby Waiting for My Ship to Come In
Music-July 24 (6 p.m. - Toronto Star Stage) Alistair
Film-July 24 (6:30 p.m. - Studio Theatre) - Home/Movies  - Afro-Punk (US)
Music-July 24 (8 p.m. - CIBC Stage) - Emeline Michel
Theatre-July 24 (8 p.m. - Lakeside Terrace) -better parts
Film-July 24 (9 p.m. - CIBC Stage) - Home/Movies  - She Hate Me (US)***Spike Lee Canadian premiere!
Music-July 24 (9:30 p.m.- CIBC Stage) - Terry Callier
Music-July 24 (11 p.m. - Brigantine Room) - Late Night Now presented by Blue Light - Reign, Kamau and L’Oqenz

Sunday July 25
Visual Arts - July 25
(12 noon-6 p.m. - Marilyn Brewer Gallery ) Home/Room-Photography by Dawit Petros, David Zapparoli, Stella Fakiyesi
Film-July 25 (12:30 p.m. - Studio Theatre) - Home/Movies  - Kirikou and the Sorceress
Kids - July 25 (1 p.m.- 5 p.m.- HarbourKids Zone) Children's activities
Kids -July 25 (1 p.m.- Lakeside Terrace) Talent Showcase led by Clifton Joseph
Spoken Word-July 25 ( 1 p.m. -Toronto Star Stage) -Home/Word - Learie MacNicholl (spoken word & dance)
Panel Discussion-July 25 (1 p.m - Brigantine Room) What is Black? Panelists include: Pamela Edmunds, poet Wayde Compton, photographer David Zapparoli, Orla Stephenson, novelist Bernadette Dyer, playwright Lisa Codrington, theatre director Kim Moore. Moderated by Winston Smith
Music-
July 25 ( 1:30 p.m. -Toronto Star Stage) - In Divine Style showcase feat. na-ee-lah & More or Les w/ Flat Out & DJ Dalia, Mindbender, DJ Dorc & Zoé Johnson
Music/Spoken Word-July 25 (3 p.m. - Brigantine Room) Wayde Compton w/ Q&A following the performance led by Winston Smith
Dance - July 25 (3 p.m.-Lakeside Terrace) - Black Ice w/ interactive steppin' workshop following performance
Music-July 25 (3:30 p.m. - CIBC Stage) -The Lee Boys, w/ special guest Calvin Cooke
Film-July 25 (4 p.m. - Studio Theatre) - Home/Movies  - Amandla! A revolution in Four-Part Harmony
Readings - July 25 (4:30 p.m. -Brigantine Room) - Novelists Bernadette Dyer & Nalo Hopkinson presented in partnership with A Different Booklist

-30-

Media Contacts:
Shane Gerard, 416-973-4655, sgerard@harbourfrontcentre.com
Rebecca Webster, 416-973-4397, rwebster@harbourfrontcentre.com
Bill Bobek, 416-973-4428, wbobek@harbourfrontcentre.com

					
Where you are:   Home / Who We Are / Media Resources