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Masala! Mehndi! Masti! at Harbourfront Centre - August 4 to August 8, 2004

Toronto, July 21, 2004-Masala! Mehndi! Masti! (M!M!M!), North America's largest South Asian festival, continues to grow in its fourth year with two additional days; all-new Brit InvASIAN concerts with world renowned artist/producer Rishi Rich as well as returning artist SW Storm; and a new late night party - M!M!M! Rocks! (a night for Rock-loving South Asians). M!M!M! welcomes back the ever popular Hip Hop Showcase, Bhangra Blast, and more!

A new generation of artists vibe together at M!M!M! to present music, dance, film, theatre, literature and poetry, natural health practices, social issues, delicious spicy food, kids crafts and more. Premieres of new works, classical performances, seminars and workshops all come together in dynamic fashion. Masala! Mehndi! Masti! is co-produced by Satya Arts Association and Harbourfront Centre and is presented by OMNI Television and co-presented by General Motors of Canada.

Masala! Mehndi! Masti! events take place at Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West, Toronto. For information on the festival the public can call 416-973-4000 or visit online at and

Highlights of this year’s festival include:
(all events are FREE unless otherwise mentioned)

* Full event listings at the bottom of this release *

The Brit InvASIAN (spotlight on artists from the United Kingdom):
The Rishi Rich Project: UK sensation, Rishi Rich with Jay Sean and Juggy D make their Canadian debut at this year’s Masala! Mehndi! Masti! Rishi Rich has worked with the likes of Britney Spears, Ricky Martin, Mary J. Blige, and Craig David. He engages the audience with his bhangra/hip hop productions. Rishi Rich recently produced the title track to the Bollywood movie Hum Tum.  (9:30 pm, Thursday August 5, CIBC Stage)

SW Storm: A class act all around, SW Storm is known in the UK as the Soca-chutney King! He makes his return to Toronto as part of the Brit InvASIAN concert series. (9:30 pm, Saturday August 7, CIBC Stage)

Specialty Concerts (dates and times below):
M!M!M! Rocks!
A special rock/alternative concert features some of Canada's hottest, new South Asian musicians. The night features controller.controller, a critically acclaimed punk band. Kazak, a Junoon-esque band who play heavy rock with vocals in Urdu are joined by upcoming singer-songwriter Anjulie. This concert is a first for M!M!M!

Hip-Hop Showcase:
Urban music artists from across Canada. The showcase features Brownman and GRUVASYLUM; Chhaya (Montreal); Zenobia (Vancouver) as well as Toronto’s Iron Crescent, Unknown Misery and hip hop emcee Arcee (who has released several singles internationally including Twelve and Stripes).

MUSIC Highlights (dates and times below):

Dya Singh (Australia)

He values his Sikh heritage, yet appreciates and loves the rest of the musical rainbow. Dya Singh brings to the stage his unique combination of Sikh, Punjabi and North Indian sounds combined with jazz, blues and the didgeridoo!  Joined by his group, this well-known and awarded musician from Australia promotes a spiritual message of love, peace, and equality.

SW Storm:
Known in the UK as the Soca-chutney King for his entertaining, energetic performances which completely electrify the stage. He’s produced six albums, three videos and numerous singles. He adds an Indo-Caribbean Carnival vibe to the festival.

Shahid Ali Khan and The Mast Mast Qawwal Party:
An hour of hypnotic voices and powerful rhythms. The music of Shahid Ali Khan, disciple of Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, and Mast Mast Qawwal takes the audience on a secular journey of peace, love, and spirituality.

Other exciting music groups include LAL, who blend of South Asian sounds with electronica and hip hop (they open for The Rishi Rich Project); AGNI, a versatile young band that performs Tamil and folk music; and Yoshi, a Japanese sitar player.

Profile women performers include: MTV India’s ‘Ubharta Sitara’ Bageshree Vaze; Ghazal and thumri singer Mousumi Roy; saxophonist Vandana Sharma; tabla artists Rachna Sharma,and singers Priya Nayyar and Natasha Sharma.

Late Night Parties
This year there are four great late night parties! Friday night is Bollywood Bound with DJ Sunshine and a fashion show featuring products from festival vendors. Saturday night's Masala Mixx is hosted by CKLN Radio's DJ Amita (also host of Besharam) with a performance by East2West. Bounce to the latest in hip hop, R&B, reggae and more – all with a Desi twist!

DANCE Highlights:

Bollywood Hopscotch
This exciting performance will feature Hari Krishnan and his In Dance company in a light-hearted, whimsical and subversive take on Bollywood culture and Indian classical dance.

Bhangra Blast!
Toronto’s finest Bhangra teams, singers and 'Dhol' players come together to provide incredible energy and vibrant colors to the festival’s main stage. Produced by Toronto's Sunshine Entertainment!

Dandia Dhamaka! The Festival Finale!
This festive Gujarati music and dance performance supported by the Young Gujarati Network ( & Gujarat Abroad, brings performers and audiences together in a fun-filled festival climax.

Other dance performances include: Shiamak Davar’s Indo-Jazz and Bollywood Dance Workshop presents its senior Toronto students who showcase this new style in dance, while an instructor from Shiamak Davar’s Institute shows audiences the same moves; Devis and Divas Kanchana Sastri perform fresh, classical Bharatnatyam with contemporary trappings; select performances from this year’s inter-university South Asian dance championship are featured in Showcase WICSA.

FILMI 5th Annual South Asian Film Festival:
Filmi aims to showcase new material from around the world with a focus on South Asian Canadian filmmakers. The 5th annual South Asian film festival once again partners with Masala! Mehndi! Masti! to present films such as Cosmic Current (the NFB's Reel Diversity award winner, written and directed by Anand Ramayya). Filmi will also have the privilege of showcasing the Bengali film by Manda Meyer Upakkhyan A Tale of a Naughty Girl. A detailed press release will be sent shortly.

Creative Insecurity
An investigative exhibition by SAVAC members seeks to delve into the sources of, and responses to our sense of security. Local and international artists explore how individuals, communities and nations respond to these security challenges. Artists critique, reflect upon, undermine and re-interpret Creative Insecurity and its impact on our sense of security.

The 3rd Annual South Asian Theatre Festival is programmed by the Maya South Asian Theatre Company.

A Canadian premiere – The Cyclist! (written by Vijay Tandulkar and translated by Ottawa's Balwant Bhaneja) features Train 48’s Raoul Bhaneja, with a special Q&A to follow. Cabaret Extravaganza, a new Spoken Word showcase features dub, hip hop, poetry, movement and music. Always with a focus on youth, Maya presents Teenage Tales where young performers showcase their talents as they explore their adolescence and identities as South Asians growing up in Toronto. Enjoy works of new and established playwrights in Imminent Imagination. Indigenous Words unite the different voices that make up the South Asian diaspora. Puppeteers, storytellers, pantomimes and clowns come out to play in No Strings Attached.

Natural Health Practices include: seminars and workshops presented by Rakesh Modi, Sonia Dhillon, Tara Leela Prashad and Dr Sunita Mohan feature Ayurved, Yoga (various forms) and homeopathy.
The Coalition for Agencies Serving South Asians, South Asian Women’s Centre and Alliance for South Asian Aids Prevention (ASAAP) present a series of workshops called Chillin’ In Your Brown Skin! that deal with issues such as prostitution, the issues faced by South Asian gays, lesbians, and bisexuals, as well as how to fight discrimination and racism.

Masala! Mehndi! Masti! has always presented the finest South Asian restaurants and this time around we have even more.
Enjoy all types of culinary delights like fresh mango lassis and chicken tikka, dosas and chaat and of course paan! This year’s restaurants include Jaipur, Bombay Bhel, Lahore Tikka House, Saravana Bhavan, Shan-e-Darbar, Chai Nastawala, Chandni Chowk, Sangam, Cuisine of India, Pondicherry Wraps, Arshad’s Masala Corn and Knorr Basmati Rice South Asian dishes.

The Meena Bazaar presents more than 20 vendors selling clothes, handicrafts, art, jewelry and more! Lots to buy, buy, buy!

On all Harbourfront Centre Summer festival weekends visitors can also enjoy shopping at the International Marketplace.

General Motors of Canada will be giving away a brand new car to one lucky winner. Stay tuned for details on entering.

Also, stay tuned for more info on the OFFICIAL M!M!M! AFTER PARTY at The Bamboo Cabana!!

Masala! Mehndi! Masti! is co-produced by Satya Arts Association and Harbourfront Centre and is generously supported by Magic Feet Canada, Heritage Canada, Ontario Arts Council, British Council.

For a full listing of events at Masala! Mehndi! Masti! visit and

For further information on all Harbourfront Centre Summer festivals (235 Queen St. West, Toronto) the public can call 416-973-4000 or visit

Media Contacts:
Shane Gerard, 416-973-4655,
Natasha Chandel, 905-598-3938,

Media:  Please contact us for detailed bios, images and features on the different aspects of the festival, as well as for organizing interviews with the Festival Director, festival artists and key participants. Hi-res jpegs, discipline overviews and event releases available at:

Complete Festival Listings by Discipline:

Thurs., August 5 - LAL (8 PM, CIBC Stage)
Thurs., August 5 - Rishi Rich Project (9:30 PM, CIBC Stage)
Sat., August 7 - Devis and Divas Priya Nayyar (12:30 PM, Toronto Star Stage)
Sat., August 7 - AGNI (2:30 PM, CIBC Stage)
Sat., August 7 - Dya Singh (4 PM, CIBC Stage)
Sat., August 7 - Bageshree Vaze (8 PM, CIBC Stage)
Sat., August 7 - SW Storm (9:30 PM, CIBC Stage)
Sat., August 7 - Moushami Roy (10 PM, Lakeside Terrace)
Sun., August 8 - Yoshi (12:30 PM, Toronto Star Stage)
Sun., August 8 - Devis and Divas (2:30 PM, Toronto Star Stage)
Sun., August 8 - Shahid Ali Khan and The Mast Mast Qawwal Party (3 PM, CIBC Stage)

Fri., August 6 - Bollywood Hopscotch (8 PM, CIBC Stage)
Fri., August 6 - Bhangra Blast! (9:30 PM, CIBC Stage)
Sat., August 7 - Goan Folk Dance Company (3:30 PM Toronto Star Stage)
Sat., August 7 - Shiamak Davar's Indo-Jazz and Bollywood Dance Workshop (5 PM, Toronto Star Stage)
Sat., August 7 - Kanchana Sastri (6:45 PM, Toronto Star Stage)
Sun., August 8 - Showcase WICSA - (4:30 PM, CIBC Stage)
Sun., August 8 - Dandia Dhamaka! (5 PM, Toronto Star Stage)

FILMS (programmed by the FILMI South Asian Film Festival):
* All films are screened in the Studio Theatre*
Sat. August 7 - Gandhi and Bette; Fillum Star (1 PM - 3 PM)
Sat. August 7 - Jai Jewan (3:30 PM to 5 PM)
Sat. August 7 - Tales of a Naughty Girl (6 PM to 8 PM)
Sat. August 7 - Bhaaji On The Beach (8:30 PM to 10:30 PM)
Sun. August 8 - 2nd Comingin the 2nd Grade; Chaos, Chords and Karma (1 PM to 3 PM)
Sun. August 8 - Cosmic Currents (3:30 PM to 5 PM)
Sun. August 8 -  Postcards from Bombay (5:30 PM to 7:30 PM)

Fri., August 6 - Cabaret Extravaganza (10:30 PM, Lakeside Terrace)
Sat., August 7 - Imminent Imagination (1:30 PM, Brigantine Room)
Sat., August 7 - Indigenous Words (3 PM, Brigantine Room)
Sat., August 7 - The Cyclist (4:30 PM, Brigantine Room)
Sun., August 8 - No Strings Attached (2 PM, Brigantine Room)
Sun., August 8 - Teenage Tales (3:30 PM, Brigantine Room)
Sun., August 8 - D.A.M. sketch comedy (5 PM, Brigantine Room)

Wed., August 4 - Sun., Aug 8 - Creative Insecurity
Wed., August 4 - Sun., Aug 8 - Border Crossings

Sat., August 7 - Homeopathy (1:30 PM, Lakeside Terrace)
Sat., August 7 - Yoga Outdoors (2 PM, Toronto Star Stage)
Sat., August 7 - Ayurved (2:30 PM, Lakeside Terrace)
Sat., August 7 - I'm a Desi Sex Worker Hear Me Roar (2:30 PM, The Loft)
Sat., August 7 - Yoga Workshop (3:30, 4:30 and 5:30 PM, Lakeside Terrace)
Sat., August 7 - Queer Eye for the Desi Guy (4 PM, The Loft)
Sat., August 7 – Fighting Discrimination and Racism (5:30 PM, The Loft)
Sun., August 8 - I'm a Desi Sex Worker Hear Me Roar (2:30 PM, The Loft)
Sun., August 8 – Queer Eye for the Desi Guy (4 PM, The Loft)

Wed., August 4 - M!M!M! Rocks! (10:30 PM, Brigantine Room)
Thurs., August 5 - Hip Hop Showcase (10:30 PM, Brigantine Room) - $5
Late Night NOW, presented by Labatt Blue Light
Fri., August 6 – Bollywood Bound with DJ Sunshine (10:30 PM, Brigantine Room) - $5
Late Night NOW, presented by Labatt Blue Light
Sat., August 7 – Masala Mixx with DJ Amita (10:30 PM, Brigantine Room) - $5
Sun., August 8 – OFFICIAL M!M!M! AFTER PARTY – (8 PM, The Bamboo Cabana) - $20 at door

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