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Habari Africa - August 14-16

Curatorial Statement

New Voices: A Look at African music through a Canadian lens

African music and culture is changing, especially as it is transported to places such as North America. We intend to focus our artistic ideas around the theme of new voices: the art and craft of performers of African music here in Canada. Over the last 15 years, we've watched as professional African artists who moved to Canada in search of a better life did not experience success and fame on a level similar to their home countries.

These musicians often found it difficult to navigate the often complex music industry. They also failed to gain mainstream acceptance. Some who persevered eventually found a way of incorporating ideas and influences to create a sound that bridges the beautiful music they perfected at home with elements of music from their new home. This often takes the form of recruiting non-African artists to learn techniques of various African music styles. For some of these musicians the collaboration with these non-African artists has become a lifeline resulting into a new voice. Batuki Music Society will explore this by presenting some very well-known artists from the African continent that have come to call Canada home and form bands with a Canadian contingent, creating a sound that is totally unique. This has become a new experience for the musician and has enriched and expanded the influence of African music outside the continent.

We will also present emerging talent, young artists of African heritage who have been heavily influenced by North American culture but have also incorporated an element of their cultures into their art. We hope to strengthen the cultural bond between the established and emerging artists, and to enrich African musical traditions in Canada. Habari Africa would like to honour some of the pioneers of this spirit of new music who have worked hard to introduce this concept to Canadians. These performers recruited African musicians from different parts of the continent into their bands. They contributed to a new sound that, though slightly different from the source, has gained acceptance both from traditionalists and the general populace.

Nadine McNulty, Artistic Director
Batuki Music Society


Harbourfront Centre Staff

Marah Braye

Chief Executive Officer

Melanie Fernandez

Director, Cultural Engagement & Activation

Diana Webley

Senior Project Coordinator/Artistic Associate

Alexander Bordokas

Artistic Associate, Lead

Beraa Mbaraza

Music Assistant

Lynn Ross

Head of Administration

Corinne Chapman

Administrative Coordinator

Andrea Strachan

Manager of Production

Kim Trollope

Technical Director

Eleni McKinnon

Production Coordinator

Genevieve Peng

Volunteer Coordinator

Dorothy Szczurek

Assistant Volunteer Coordinator

Adriana Sabogal

Vendor Coordinator

Special Thanks to Batuki Music Society

Otimoi Oyemu

Executive Director

Nadine McNulty

Artistic Director

Kwame Stephens

Artistic Associate

Joanne Piloya

Youth/Volunteer Coordinator

Thierno Soumare

Production Coordinator

Hussein Adani


A programme of the complexity and size of this 2015 festival season is only possible with the cooperation, contributions and hard work of every department and all members of the entire Harbourfront Centre staff and volunteer teams. We extend our thanks to them all. We would also like to acknowledge and thank the dedicated Harbourfront Centre Volunteer Team who for over 36 years have worked tirelessly to make all our activities possible.

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