The year that passed and the year to come

Liniker presented by Uma Nota & LMAC. pic: ANna Encheva

Liniker presented by Uma Nota & LMAC. pic: ANna Encheva

This year that passed was awesome. Many cool productions, collaborations, and artist residencies made 2018 special. Let's break it down…

We started the year with our Winter Nite, giving props our Brazil-phile roots with the real deal samba troupe Batucada Carioca. Speaking of which, this year's Winter Nite is the awesomest. Check the link.One of the early highlights in April was a full on reggae explosion with the Human Rights 10 year anniversary. The night was an indoor, fully packed block party, self produced at the restored Vaudeville theatre The Redwood. The Human Rights rocked it along with special guests Ammoye, Exco Levi, Kultcha Ites and so many more...

HR Ammoye

HR Ammoye

For a couple weeks in July, we had our first visiting Artist in Residence with the return to Toronto of the indelible, ultra charming (and equally frustrating hehehe) Jerusa Leão, who came presenting her solo show Saraváh  as well as a re-boot of everybody's favorite forró rabecado, Maria Bonita & the Band, of course, with Jerusa in the front, killing it. To say her vibe is infectious would be an understatement. She also guested with Maracatu Mar Aberto singing alongside Flavia Nascimento on several occasions, including at Guelph's super awesome Hillside Festival.

jerusa 2018

jerusa 2018

Perhaps our most memorable show was presenting together  Lula Music & Arts Centre and Polyphonic Ground, the great Liniker e os Caramelows. The show went OFFFFF! Soooooo much fun and groundbreaking for Toronto and the Brazilian community here. The soulful sounds kept us vibing all night long

Liniker all intimate. pic: Anna Encheva

Liniker all intimate. pic: Anna Encheva

.Beyond these great shows, on contract working with Small World Music, UN artistic director, Alex  assisted in programming several acts as part of their incredible festival, (including Tdot Batu w/ special guests, Las Cafeteras AMAZING 100, Soukustek & Baobá). UNC also worked closely with RPM (Revolutions Per Minute) during the Manifesto Festival, and to top it off, we rocked Vox Sambou's CD release at the Baby G in Toronto! Again, these last two were co-productions with Polyphonic Ground.

Finally, this year we went to España (and Catalunya), to Barcelona, Andalusia and Islas Canarias for WOMEX, the World Music Expo, where we met with like minded artists and presenters, including our friends Liniker e os Caramelows and a crew of peeps from Latin America, Brazil, and beyond. We learned lots and made mad connections there. One special encounter was with Jabu Morales, a super talent, an old friend and the sister of Toronto's own Aline Morales.

WOMEX with tha cool peeps. From left to right: Tamar Ilana of Ventanas, Kristyn Ann from Uma Nota, Alex from Uma Nota, Jabu Morales and DJ Mukambo (Benjamin Tollet)

WOMEX with tha cool peeps. From left to right: Tamar Ilana of Ventanas, Kristyn Ann from Uma Nota, Alex from Uma Nota, Jabu Morales and DJ Mukambo (Benjamin Tollet)

So a lot of good stuff this past year with Uma Nota... look out for 2019! Including our first event of the year, Winter Nite, and something groundbreaking as part of the Progess Festival: real real  with Bruno Capinan, plus a new festival in July. Keep your ear to the ground to hear the rumblin's a-comin'! Much love and happy new year! May all our dreams and aspirations move forward!All the best Toronto and beyond! One love! 

Feb 16 at the Theatre Centre in Toronto, co-pro with Summerworks

Feb 16 at the Theatre Centre in Toronto, co-pro with Summerworks

Toronto music presenters unite to form Polyphonic Ground

Polyphonic GroundThere's a new initiative to help connect the oodles of culturally diverse music we have here in Toronto with audiences who are "culturally curious" and looking for these kinds of discoveries right here in our city. Uma Nota is proud to be a part of Polyphonic Ground, a freshly formed collaboration between 12 local music presenters who, like us, are "committed to building and sustaining Toronto as a global music city."Here are a few of the key points, as mentioned in the recent press release, and a little bit about how and why we're opting into this initiative.The missionPolyphonic Ground strives to "provide points of connection for artists and audiences, strengthen industry practices and be a united voice to government, business and industry. " This means strength in numbers. It means we'll shout out one another's events from time to time, work together on issues like access to cultural sector resources and grant opportunities, improving conditions around putting on special events like music and arts festivals in Toronto and other key matters that affect all of us as small- to medium-sized presenters.In a recent article in NOW Magazine, our colleague Kayla McGee, who is the managing director of Small World Music and the community lead for Polyphonic Ground, notes that we in Toronto lack any real "infrastructure for live music presenters" and, until now, there haven't been "shared platforms to allow us to work and grow together."

"We want to present live music that draws in the culturally curious," says McGee. "With the double-bill series, we encourage audience curiosity, discovery and an exploration of the amazing array of musical talents available to Toronto audiences. Audiences can experience African and Persian music together in one night, or Latin vibes and Indigenous drums, or Bollywood and Klezmer. The possibilities are endless."

The partnersOur partners in this new collaboration include many familiar local presenters. Some are organizations with whom we've already co-produced shows and events, and others with whom we're looking forward to a closer working relationship.The initial 12 member organizations involved in Polyphonic Ground are: Ashkenaz Foundation, Batuki Music Society, Good Kind Productions, iNative, Link Music Lab, Lula Music & Arts Centre, MonstrARTity Creative Community, Music Africa, Revolutions Per Minute, Small World Music Society and World Fiddle Day Toronto, along with Uma Nota Culture (our official production company name -- yes, it's also our social media handle).The music seriesWe've long been champions of musical discoveries, especially at our events where someone might come to check out their friend drumming away in a Brazilian percussion troupe, and take in a great Afrobeat band or a local DJ who spins rare dub. In that same spirit of discovery, the first Polyphonic Ground concert series kicks off this fall. In this series, two of the partner organizations will be paired up to co-produce a double-bill that aims to introduce audiences to new music from right here in Toronto. These monthly concerts, designed to foster widespread musical discovery in the city, begin on September 14 with Ashkenaz Foundation and Small World Music Society, followed by Batuki Music and Uma Nota presenting on October 12, Link Music Lab and Good Kind Productions present November 9, and Lula Music & Arts and Music Africa co-presenting December 14. These events will take place at Revival Bar, 783 College St., on the second Thursday of the month starting in September. Artists will be announced soon. The growth opportunitiesThis isn't only a new concert series. The initiative also has the goal of increasing "access to training and leadership and bolstering professional development opportunities within the music industry." Here's a bit of what that looks like, for starters: An upcoming Diversity & Live Music panel discussion series; a Developing Diverse Leaders program "with the goal of empowering young talent through mentorship"; and Best Practice Workshops led by music industry experts.The take-awayIn short: This is gonna be awesome.Sign up for the Polyphonic Ground newsletter and follow PG on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter via the website.And stay tuned for our October 12 show announcement with Batuki Music Society as part of the initial concert series. (Update Sept. 25: lineup and tickets here; new post coming up)Video: Maracatu Mar Aberto and special guests perform on the Small World Music stage in a "Brazilian Grooves" concert co-produced by Uma Nota Culture and the Small World Music Society as part of in/future, a transformational art experience that took place on the West Island of Ontario Place in September 2016.