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FESTIVAL CENTRAL AT THE AGA KHAN MUSEUM

RHYTHMS OF CANADA FESTIVAL

Get ready for a weekend full of free performances from some of Toronto's best musicians! From fantasy rock and electric cello to choral compositions and Afrobeat, the one thing that all of our performers have in common is that they're making amazing music and art. Come enjoy old favourites or plug in to a new sound that just might lead you to your next favourite.

CRIS DERKSEN TRIO

June 30 | 9:30 pm

Taking inspiration from her Cree and Mennonite heritage, cellist and composer Cris Derksen mixes classical and indigenous music with new school electronics to create otherworldly sounds. A Juno-nominated artist, she has performed with Kanye West and Tanya Tagaq. For Rhythms of Canada, she'll be joined by award-winning drummer Jesse Baird and hoop-dancer Nimkii Osawamick in a headliner performance you won’t want to miss.

ASIKO AFROBEAT

June 30 | 7:45 pm

Led by Foly Kolade, Asiko Afrobeat is a nine-piece ensemble known for an irresistibly funky mix of reggae, jazz, and Brazilian music that's sure to get you moving. Their high-octane performances — featuring Nigerian dance and percussion — have led them to open for Antibalas, Buffy Sainte-Marie, and now — for the Cris Derksen Trio.

JERUSA LEAO

June 30 | 12, 1, and 3 pm & July 1 | 12, 1, and 3 pm

Brazilian singer, multi-instrumentalist, DJ, and artist Jerusa Leão takes inspiration from the music of her home — the arid regions of Bahia — along with North American blues and folk. Since moving to Toronto, she's created or been part of several ensembles, including Maria Bonita and the Band, Maracatu Mar Aberto, and Trio Alavantu. She's also known for her electronic music as DJ Jerus Nasdaq.

MARKER STARLING

June 30 | 12 pm

Chris Cummings, professionally known as Marker Starling, is a singer/songwriter/composer who’s been making his mark in Toronto for the past 20 years. Known for his mellow jazzy grooves and poetic lyrics, his music is just right for lounging outside in the sun.

PICASTRO'S LIZ HYSEN

June 30 | 1 pm

Toronto’s Picastro took the city by storm with their bare-bones folk rock when they broke out in the late nineties. Since then, frontwoman Liz Hysen has led the band through many new incarnations, including experiments with dream pop, baroque, and classical. Throughout, Hysen’s exploratory lyrics and soulful voice have always taken listeners on an atmospheric sonic journey.

HUSSEIN JANMOHAMED

June 30 | 2:15 pm & July 1 | 2 pm

Choral conductor, composer, and singer Hussein Janmohamed marks Canada Day by singing the national anthem on both days of our festival. An award-winning artist, Janmohamed was commissioned in 2014 by the Museum to compose a new piece commemorating the opening of the Ismaili Centre, Toronto.

LISA ODJIG

June 30 | 2:30 pm

Lisa Odjig, Odawa/Ojibwe/Pottawatomi from Wikwemikong, Manitoulin Island, is a hoop dancing phenomenon, who has won titles across Canada and the US. She's performed this traditional dance, which was passed on to her from her elders, at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, the closing of the Pan American Games in Toronto, and for Queen Elizabeth II.

GELAX

June 30 | 3 pm

Gelax’s dreamy vocals, powerful lyrics, and hypnotic guitar loops have put this group on the nation's radar. Gelareh and Taarqazz formed this experimental 'fantasy rock' band in Toronto in 2015 after fleeing dictatorships, and were joined last year by Olaf Szester and Jason Pilling. Their newest music videos, directed by Juno-winner Tim Abraham, are much like their music — a genre-defying mix of dark and light.

NICOLETTE & THE NOBODIES

June 30 | 4:30 pm

Nicolette & the Nobodies bring the sound of old Nashville north of the border. Fronted by Nicolette Hoang and featuring members of the Fury's and Softside, the Guelph-based band incorporates surf, punk, and pop sensibilities to the sound of 60's country music. Their melodies, which are bitter and sweet in equal measure, were recently released on their first album, Devil's Run.

WALEED KUSH AFRICAN JAZZ ENSEMBLE

June 30 | 5:45 pm

The ancient rhythms of Africa and modern-day jazz come together in an ensemble that's often described as a meeting place. Led by Waleed Abdulhamid whose compositions always tell a tale — whether it’s a moment from his life, or a story from the Nile or the Nubian pyramids. With their traditional beats and jazz improvisations, this ensemble is sure to have you on your feet.

GAME.SET.TRAP

July 1 | 12 pm

Jazz collective game.set.trap holds true to the spirt of jazz while innovating through artful arrangements of trap hits, classic hip-hop, and modern soul music. Tipping their hats to artists like Drake, Jay-Z, and Chance the Rapper, this multigenerational collective will show you jazz for a new generation.

MARACATU MAR ABERTO

July 1 | 2:15 pm

A spectacle of beat, song, and movement, Maracatu Mar Aberto is an Afro-Brazilian percussion and song troupe that plays rhythms from the Maracatu de Baque Virado tradition. Their name means 'open sea', representing the influences that have travelled from Africa to Brazil to Toronto and beyond. Don't miss your chance to experience a tradition that continues to grow and evolve.

TAKTUS

July 1 | 3:30 pm

Blurring the borders of genre, percussionists Greg Harrison and Jonny Smith united as Taktus in 2010 to form a groove-based marimba duo. Their minimalist arrangements featured in the album, Glass Houses for Marimba, gained national recognition as one of CBC’s Top 10 Classical Albums of 2015 and was also nominated for Classical Recording of the Year at the 2017 ECMA’s.

LABYRINTH ONTARIO SHOWCASE

July 1 | 5 pm

Dedicated to intercultural understanding, Labyrinth Ontario is a not-for-profit organization that promotes the modal music traditions of Asia, Europe, and Africa, through master classes and concerts. Closing out our Rhythms of Canada Festival, they will present the BORAN Baglama Ensemble and their new Labyrinth Ensemble.

Credits

© The Aga Khan Museum, 2019. Images from top to bottom: hero image of by Tihmily Li; Cris Derksen image by Redworks Photography; Asiko Afrobeat by Bea Labikova; Jerusa Leão image courtesy of the artist; Marker Starling image courtesy of the artist; Picastro's Liz Hysen image by Samuel Kiehoon Lee; Hussein Janmohamed image courtesy of the artist; Lisa Odjig image courtesy of the artist; Gelax image by Nicholas Cooper; Nicolette & the Nobodies image by Jason Lidstone; Waleed Kush image courtesy of the artist; game.set.trap image courtesy of the artist; Maracatu Mar Aberto image courtesy of the artist; Taktus image courtesy of the artist; and Labyrinth Musical Workshop Ontario image courtesy of the artist.

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