Since 1979, the City of Toronto has celebrated Black History month with events and exhibits scheduled throughout the city. There are number of cultural events celebrating the heritage, traditions and culture of African-Canadians.
A new take on Salem
Obeah Opera is a new look at the infamous Salem witch-hunts and trials of 1690s. This fully opera written by Nicole Brooks and directed by ahdri zhina mandiela with musical direction by Tova Kardonne is showcased at the 918 Bathurst Theatre. A joint production of between b current and Theatre Archipelago, the Obeah Opera is sung in complete a cappella form. The cast of 15 tells the story of five women accused of practicing Obeah, a type of West African magic and mysticism practiced in the West Indies. The play runs from Feb 22 to March 4.
A joyous documentary
The Royal Ontario Museum is showcasing the infectious documentary RasTa: A Soul’s Journey. It follows Donisha Prendergast, the charismatic 25-year-old granddaughter of Bob and Rita Marley who journeys to eight countries — Jamaica, Canada, Britain, the United States, Ethiopia, South Africa, Israel and India – to explore the roots and evolution of the Rastafari movement. Screening every Saturday and Sunday in February in the ROM’s Eaton Theatre.
A history in song
Blues singers Diana Braithwaite and Chris Whiteley perform a rocking history lesson. Sugar and Gold traces the path of early Canadian black settlers fleeing from their life of slavery in the South U.S., to live freely in Canada. The duo performs at the Albert Campbell Library on Feb 21, at the Gerard/Ashdale library in the morning of Feb 23 and at the Downsview Library in the afternoon on Feb 23.
South African flair
The Soweto Gospel Choir brings their African Grace show to the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts on Feb 24 and 25. The 24-piece gospel group, winners of twoGrammy and an Emmy, perform a combination of traditional African music and contemporary tunes with South African flair.
Celebrating Black Dancers
dance Immersion will perform TRIBUTE: A Moving History of Canadian Blacks in Dance at Harbourfront from Feb 23 -25. The 17 edition of its annual showcase presentation celebrates black dance artists and their contribution to Canadian dance. The show uses dance, film and spoken word to pay homage to contributions of Len Gibson, Jeni Legon, Dindi Lidge, Zab Maboungou, Paul Pettiford, Kevin Pugh and Jean Sheen. Compagnie Danse Nyata Nyata, and Caribbean Dance Theatre will both be presenting works from Canadians choreographers accompanied by contemporary blues poet, Amani.
February 23 – 25, 2012