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Kuumba presented by TD
An all-ages festival celebrating Black History Month at Harbourfront Centre!

Feb. 5-6 & 12-13, 2011

TORONTO, ON (Jan. 12, 2011) – Kuumba [koo-oom-bah] is the Swahili word for creativity. It’s also Harbourfront Centre’s Black History Month celebration that educates, enlivens and entertains with local and international artists from the African and Caribbean diaspora.

This year’s Kuumba festival, presented by TD, features two exciting weekends dedicated to the remembrance of important people and events in black history. The Black in History weekend (Feb. 5-6) commemorates both the history and the future of black culture, while the Carnival on Mas weekend (Feb.12-13) celebrates the art, history and energy of Caribbean culture.

Festival highlights include the Voices from Days of Slavery exhibit featuring the audio testimonials of former slaves, the thought-provoking play Man2Man exploring black male sexuality, a hilarious Ebony & Ivory Comedy Bash($15) pitting white and black comedians against each other, and a high-energy Beat the Street Dance Showdown ($10) featuring Toronto’s hottest street dance teams!

The grand re-opening of Miss Lou’s Room will also be a highlight for kids and their families! Little ones can gather and listen to some of Toronto’s best storytellers weave tall tales of adventure, mystery and intrigue with fabled Anancy stories (Caribbean folk tales).

Festival attendees can also meet some of their favorite CBC radio and television personalities while on site, as Kuumba is proudly supported by CBC Toronto.

This winter, Harbourfront Centre presents programming that questions the BIG iDEA of witness. Join us the first two weekends in February to witness black history through audio installations, visual arts, theatre, dance workshops, film screenings, music, comedy, family activities and more!

Most events are FREE (unless otherwise stated) and take place at Harbourfront Centre, located at 235 Queens Quay West in the heart of downtown Toronto’s waterfront. For more information and to purchase tickets, the public can call 416-973-4000 or visit

Kuumba event listings:


WEEKEND ONE: Jamesking
Feb. 5, 3-4:30 p.m. (Brigantine Room)
Toronto-based Jamesking delivers a melodic and lyrical fusion of pop, rock and neo-soul. Each member brings different skills and passions to the group, and together they create a unique mix of old school R&B with a modern pop twist.

WEEKEND ONE: Kuumba Unplugged featuring Natasha Waterman
Feb. 6, 2:30-3:30 p.m. (Studio Theatre)
Natasha Waterman began writing music at the age of 11 and recently released her first CD, Long Road. Her album is a blend of soulful songs that will have listeners grooving to her warm, sultry tones.

WEEKEND ONE: Pablo Terry y Sol de Cuba
Feb. 6, 5-6 p.m. (Lakeside Terrace)
Pablo Terry's dynamic stage presence and musical dexterity come from years of training in the Cuban Army (as a member of the Cuban Military Band) and at the renowned Escuela de Artes in Havana. Terry has played with many great Cuban artists including Celia Cruz, Compay Segundo of Buena Vista Social Club, Omara Portuondo and Los Papines.

WEEKEND TWO: Kuumba Unplugged featuring Carlos Morgan
Feb. 12, 2:30-3:30 p.m. (Brigantine Room)
Carlos Morgan, a talented singer/songwriter/producer based in Toronto, is poised to breakout on a global level. Feelin' Alright, his debut album, is a collection of soothing love ballads and R&B club jams with a pinch of hip hop flavor. The album showcases the diversity of Morgan’s singing style, from seductive ballads to more upbeat R&B and hip hop grooves.

WEEKEND TWO: Kuumba Gospel Fest 2011
Feb. 13, 2-6 p.m. (Brigantine Room)
Kuumba Gospel Fest 2011 features a who’s who of local gospel music including the U of T Gospel Choir, Brian Hamilton & Divine Worship, Echoe Of Praise, Renee Rowe, Karen Jules, Winston Dayal and Chris Lowe. The event is hosted by Anne-Marie Mediwake, co-host of CBC News Toronto.


WEEKEND ONE: Jaivah Nouvel Exposé African Dance Troupe
Feb. 5, 1:30-3 p.m. (Lakeside Terrace)
Toronto’s Jaivah Nouvel Exposé African Dance Troupe specializes in traditional and contemporary dance from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Congo, Southern Africa and Egypt. They pair original choreography with lively African music to showcase rare African dance styles.

WEEKEND ONE: Cadence Dance Academy Workshop - Patrick Danquah
Feb. 5, 4:30-5:30 (Lakeside Terrace)
Cadence Dance Company offers lessons, classes and performances in salsa, cha-cha, bachata, and Afro-Cuban dance. During his demonstrations, Patrick Danquah will teach participants easy and sexy moves that look great on the dance floor!

WEEKEND ONE: Amadou Kienou
Feb. 6, 2-3 p.m. (Lakeside Terrace)
Born in Burkina Faso, Amadou Kienou comes from a family of renowned praise singers. Praise singers are considered to be the only professional artists in traditional African society. Kienou’s repertoire consists of Mandingue songs and dances that he adapted for the djembe (African drum).

WEEKEND ONE: Beat the Street Dance Showdown
Feb. 6, 3-6 p.m. (Brigantine Room)
Ticketed event $10
Witness the transformative power of dance! Watch as 18 post-secondary, high school and street dance teams from around the GTA compete for the top spot and $500! This competition will be judged by some of Toronto’s top media personalities including Dwight Drummond, co-host of CBC News Toronto.

WEEKEND TWO: Magia Negra Candombe
Feb. 12, 5-6 p.m. (Brigantine Room)
Magia Negra Candombe is a local Afro-Uruguayan group that plays candombe music. The candombe rhythm is created with three drums also know as tambors – the tambor piano, tambor chico and tambor repique. These instruments have been an important part of Uruguayan culture since they were first introduced to the South American country through the African slave trade.

WEEKEND TWO: Afro-Brazilian Drum and Dance Workshop – Capoeira Camara
Feb. 12, 3:30-4:30 p.m. (Lakeside Terrace)
Capoeira (Ca-po-era) is a 400 year-old Brazilian martial art that combines self defense with energetic music and acrobatics. This workshop (led by a top Capoeira master from Capoeira Camara) teaches the basic movements of the art form that exercises both the mind and body.

WEEKEND TWO: Hip Hop Dance Workshop - Leon Blackwood
Feb. 12, 1:30-2:30 p.m. (Lakeside Terrace)
Leon Blackwood is a self-taught dancer and choreographer who’s been featured in the blockbuster dance movies Honey and How She Move! During his workshop, he will teach a variety of basic hip hop moves and create a fun and unique dance routine.

WEEKEND TWO: Afro-Cuban Dance Workshop - Irina Bravo
Feb. 13, 1:30-2:30 p.m. (Lakeside Terrace)
Cuban-born Irina Bravo will teach a high-energy Afro-Cuban dance workshop for all skill levels. With a focus on the Orisha (Yoruba deities) dance style, this class teaches students the fundamentals of Afro-Cuban folkloric dance.

WEEKEND TWO: Cirque Afro-Cuban featuring Eduardo Dorticos
Feb. 13, 4-5 p.m. (Lakeside Terrace)
This demo and interactive workshop is taught by Cuban Olympian and cirque performer Eduardo Dorticos. Combining dazzling acrobatics and expressive dance, Dorticos draws audiences into the awe-inspiring world of contemporary circus. With his expertise in gymnastics, contemporary dance and professional circus training he has created a daring and elegant act you don’t want to miss!


WEEKEND ONE: Mama Africa
Feb. 5, 1:30-2:45 p.m. (Studio Theatre)
Directed by Ale Braga, Mama Africa is a documentary that gives African children a voice to dispel African stereotypes and the forum to talk about issues that affect their daily lives including religion, culture, development and nutrition.

WEEKEND ONE: Black Mother Black Daughter followed by The Black Family…Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow panel discussion
Feb. 5, 4-6 p.m. (Studio Theatre)
The short film Black Mother Black Daughter (a part of Ontario Black History Society’s Black International Film Fest) explores the lives and experiences of black women living in Nova Scotia. The film examines the contributions the women make in their homes, the church and their community. It also takes a look at the strengths they passed on to their daughters. The film is followed by The Black Family…Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow panel discussion that assesses the structure of the black family from the past, present and the future. Panelists include Dalton Higgins (music programmer, pop culture critic, author, broadcaster and journalist), Rosemary Sadler (President of the Ontario Black History Society), LaToya Rodney (gang expert and motivational speaker) and more. This event is moderated by Matt Galloway, host of Metro Morning on CBC Radio One 99.1 FM.

WEEKEND ONE: Bravo! FACT Shorts for Kuumba 2011
Feb. 5 & 6, 1-1:30 p.m. (Studio Theatre)
Fifteen Canadian-made Bravo! FACT short films (covering a range of subjects and styles) will be screened to celebrate the contributions of black Canadian filmmakers.


Feb. 12, 8-9:30 p.m. (Studio Theatre)
Kwame Stephen’s Man2Man follows the love story between two men as they navigate a bumpy road to love. This theatrical production challenges stereotypes while exploring how religion, family, love and sexuality play a role in the character’s lives.


WEEKEND ONE: Ebony & Ivory Comedy Bash – hosted by Kenny Robinson
Feb. 5, 8:30-11 p.m. (Brigantine Room)
Ticketed event ($15)
For over 25 years, Kenny Robinson has engaged audiences with his raucous, cheeky, profane and opinionated style of comedy and social commentary. At Kuumba, he hosts the hilarious Ebony & Ivory Comedy Bash that pits comedians Keith Pedro, Kathleen McGee, Mark Walker and Arthur Simeon against each other.


WEEKEND ONE: Black in History Exhibit: Voices from Days of Slavery
Feb. 5, 12-10 p.m., Feb. 6, 12-6 p.m. (Marilyn Brewer Community Space)
The Voices from Days of Slavery audio installation features the remarkable oral accounts of former slaves (on loan from the U.S Library of Congress). There are only 26 audio-recorded interviews of ex-slaves that have ever been found. This collection captures their stories and gives listeners a chance to hear first-hand accounts about what it was like to be a slave and to gain freedom.
*Images of seven former slaves featured in this audio installation are also on display.

WEEKEND ONE: Black in History Exhibit: Motown Museum Digital Display
Feb. 5, 12-10 p.m., Feb. 6, 12-6 p.m. (Marilyn Brewer Community Space)
The Motown Museum Digital Display (on loan from the Motown Museum in Detroit) traces the history of this soulful era and highlights the indelible impact Motown has had on popular culture and music.

WEEKEND ONE: Black in History Exhibit:Enslaved in Upper Canada
Feb. 5, 12-10 p.m., Feb. 6, 12-6 p.m. (Marilyn Brewer Community Space)
The Enslaved in Upper Canada photo exhibit (courtesy of Archives of Ontario) depicts the existence and practice of slavery in Upper Canada between the years 1760 and 1834. The exhibit focuses on the lives of enslaved Africans and the actions they took to resist servitude in Upper Canada.

WEEKEND ONE: Black in History Exhibit: On the Road North
Feb. 5, 12-10 p.m., Feb. 6, 12-6 p.m. (Marilyn Brewer Community Space)
The On the Road North photo exhibit (courtesy of Citizenship and Immigration Canada) tells the story of Canada’s black communities through the lens of people, places and events recognized as nationally significant to Canada’s history. The exhibit was developed by the Parks Canada Agency in collaboration with the Multiculturalism Program of the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

WEEKEND TWO: Carnival on Mas
Feb. 12, 12-10 p.m., Feb.13, 12-6 p.m. (Marilyn Brewer Community Space)
Carnival on Mas is colourful showcase of carnival costumes from the past and the present. Visitors can learn about the history of carnival and view the intricate designs of 10 flamboyant carnival costumes and headpieces. Presented by Camboulay Carnival.


WEEKEND ONE: Miss Lou’s Room Storytelling
Feb. 4 & 5, 1-5 p.m. (Miss Lou’s Room)
Children can listen to volunteer storytellers tell tall tales from diverse cultural traditions. This is the grand re-opening of Miss Lou’s Room, a permanent exhibition space at Harbourfront Centre that was created and dedicated to Miss Louise Bennett (Jamaica's Folklore and Cultural Ambassador).

WEEKEND ONE: Box of Crayons
Feb. 5, 2-4 p.m., Feb. 6, 1:30-3:30 p.m. (Miss Lou’s Room)
This children’s activity is based on Shane Derolf’s poem The Crayon Box that Talked. During this activity, kids will learn that when we all work together, the results are much more interesting and colorful!

WEEKEND TWO: Carnival Headpiece
Feb. 12-13, 1:30-3:30 p.m. (Miss Lou’s Room)
Kids can make their own colourful and unique carnival headpiece!

WEEKEND TWO: Kuumba Carnival Parade
Feb. 12, 6-6:30 p.m. (Lakeside Terrace and site)
Families and kids can participate in a carnival parade around the Harbourfront Centre site!


WEEKEND ONE: Motown Mixer featuring DJ D. Brown
Feb. 5, 8 p.m. on The Natrel® Rink
The first-ever DJ Skate Saturday Nights Motown Mixer features Detroit’s DJ D. Brown. Join us for a funky skate as we celebrate Motown’s rich history and contribution to the music industry.

WEEKEND TWO: Soca on Ice featuring Dr. Jay de Soca Prince
Feb. 12, 8 p.m. on The Natrel® Rink
DJ Skate Saturday Nights explores hot Caribbean rhythms at the first soca party on ice! Join us as Flow 93.5 FM’s Dr. Jay de Soca Prince heats up the ice with spicy soca and calypso tunes.

Harbourfront Centre is an innovative, non-profit cultural organization which provides internationally renowned programming in the arts, culture, education and recreation, all within a collection of distinctive venues on the 10-acre site it operates in the heart of Toronto's downtown waterfront.

TD salutes the contributions of members of the black community to Canada by proudly sponsoring the THEN & NOW series of cultural events. This celebration of Black History Month, showcases 12 visual arts, performance and cinematic events for the entire family. Visit the Then & NOW website for more information.

MEDIA NOTE* High resolution images and interviews available upon request.


Media Contact:
Althea Linton
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