Saturday Jamboree at Geary Lane - Uma Nota Festival 2015

Saturday Jamboree at Geary Lane

Saturday Jamboree at Geary Lane

It's festival time! The last time Uma Nota joined together with Dub Connection Soundsystem to take over Geary Lane, it was a beautiful Winter Nite. We’ve joined forces again to bring you a night of uninhibited dancing to the best music for another amazing Saturday night (October 17th) at the warehouse space that’s off the beaten track (but closer than you think).Our two live bands for the night represent between them music from Brazil, Haiti, west Africa and various parts of Latin America, plus we have two of the city’s top selectors holding down the reggae, dub, MPB and vintage vinyl on all 15,000 watts of the mighty Dub Connection Soundsystem. All you have to do is make it to the spot.Featuring:Vox Sambou and bandVox Sambou (Montreal/Haiti)One of the founding members of Montreal’s Nomadic Massive collective, Vox Sambou in his solo project blends the traditional music of Haiti with Afro-Latin grooves, Afrobeat, reggae and hip hop. He sings in Creole, English, French and Spanish and has been called “a key figure on the progressive front of the Rap Kreyòl movement.” Vox Sambou’s third solo album, titled “The Brazil Session” was fully recorded in Brazil with the collaboration of Brazilian musicians Rael da Rima (MC), Felippe Pipeta (trumpet) and Cauê Vieira (saxophone, flute) and will be released in the fall of 2015. Meanwhile, the Uma Nota Festival set includes Vox’s full band from Montreal.T Dot Sound Crew ft. Lady SonA new band already making waves in Toronto’s tropical scene, TDot Sound Crew features members of the drumming troupe TDot Batu and a host of local players from reggae, Brazilian and Latin bands around the city. TDot Sound Crew’s base is a Bloco Afro setup, with the Brazilian drum section laying the foundation for the group’s versions of classic Big Latin tunes, Spanish-language ska and samba-reggae hits, plus cumbia, roots reggae and other grooves. The crew welcome the one and only powerful vocals of Lady Son for this performance.DJ General EclecticResident selector General Eclectic is renowned in the downtown core as the man who has styles upon styles. His crates go deep, and he truly lives up to his name as one of Canada's most diverse DJs, taking you on a musical journey around the globe and back again with the flick of his wrist! He is the man behind Footprints, ShinDig and a number of other jams and of course, part of the original Uma Nota trifecta. With nearly 20 years of experience, he mixes effortlessly between genres, defying categorization while demonstrsating his encyclopedic knowledge of music and more than 8,000 records. He brings the tropical selections, the deep sound and has promised a wickedly original wicked set for this night.

DJ General Eclectic - Tropical Toronto Mix for Pan Am Path / August 2015 by Dj General Eclectic on Mixcloud

Selector K ZarA core founding member of the Dub Connection Soundsystem, K Zar Dubwise is a tireless purveyor of one drop goodness and dubtastic sounds. Along with his DCS crew, he is one of the Toronto agitator-artists keeping the city’s Jamaican-style soundsystem culture thriving and taking the sound to new places while maintaining links to the old school. Sometimes guest MCs will toast over K Zar’s dubby beats, so be ready to jump and move.Plus:15,000 watt soundsystem by Dub ConnectionDécor by Pleasurecraft featuring projected visuals in collaboration with VJ NotívagoFood vendors to be announcedCash bar in effectSaturday October 17th at Geary Lane360 Geary Ave. (west of Dufferin)Doors 9:30 p.m.$10 advance, $15 at the door

Facebook event page: Saturday Jamboree at Geary Lane

Uma Nota Festival 2015

UPDATED OCTOBER 1stUma Nota Festival 2015

Saturday October 17thSaturday Jamboree at Geary Lane


FEATURINGVox Sambou (Montreal/Haiti)T Dot Sound CrewDJ General EclecticSelector K Zar

PLUS15,000 watt soundsystem by Dub ConnectionDécor by Pleasurecraft featuring projected visuals in collaboration with VJ NotívagoFood vendors to be announcedCash bar in effect

Geary Lane, 360 Geary Ave.Advance tickets $10/$15 at the doorDoors 9:30 p.m.MORE INFO

Sunday, October 18thCommunity Cultural Fair at Lula Lounge

FEATURINGLenis Rino (Brazil)The ResponsablesYUKAAline MoralesTupi Collective DJs (Montreal)DJ Erick Paredes (Miami)Coco de Roda circle dance game with members of Maracatu Mar Aberto and Baque de Bamba

PLUSArtist & vendor marketplaceMini Ping Pong by VanGreyCraft table and kids’ activities by PleasurecraftSpecial site animator surprises

Lula Lounge, 1585 Dundas St. W.Doors 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.$10 advance and at the door. Children under 12 freeMORE INFO

Yes yes Uma Nota Fest

The fourth annual Uma Nota Festival of Tropical Expressions  running October 16th to the 19th brings fresh bands, more DJs, more Brazil and more global citizenship. Four days of music, dance food and culture for your senses. Ok so this is just a temporary post before we get all the write ups on the artists etc.. check the posters and the schedule on the Festival page. So please check back here for updates, videos, dj mixes etc etc...umanota_festival2014_eflyer3

Festival Wrap and Video

This year's Uma Nota Festival was killer. So much fun and so many good times. We can't wait until next year.

The third annual Uma Nota Festival of Tropical Expression presented Toronto with four days of music, arts and culture from across the Americas. The live music and DJ lineup featured acts from New York City, the U.K, Colombia, and Brazil, as well as the best of the local scene. This year we embraced global innovators while still celebrating the city's kaleidoscope of tropical groove. Check out the footage in the video montage we made. Thanks to all the people who came out, the volunteers, the artists and our friends near and far. Many thanks once again to our partners.

Artists in this video: Bloco Bracatum, Los Hijos de Tuta, (DJ) General Eclectic, Tio Chorinho, Heavyweights Brass Band, (DJ) Uproot Andy, (DJ) Geko Jones, Jason Gardner, Valentine Moreno, Cafe Con Pan, Forrallstar, Street Brass ensemble; (visual art installation) Angela Vargas, VanGrey; (face paint/skin art) Ilyan Balicki.
Music: Mangala Special (Uproot Andy remix) - Kabaka International Guitar Band

Her are some choice pictures from the festival. There are plenty more on Facebook. Our camera person unfortunately couldn't come on the Friday at Alice Russell's show, but if any of you all have pictures, please send them our way. Much love Uma Nota Culture crew.


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Videos: Uma Nota Festival 2012

Toronto, you rocked it at our festival and we have the video to show for it!Previously posted: our review of this year's Uma Nota Festival of Tropical Expressions, including lots of photos and a little report on what made the festival extra special this year. Uma Nota Festival 2012 - World Funk flagship event at Great Hall (photo: Jackie Atlas)Here's the first of the two videos from that night (pictured above). This one comes courtesy of Patric McGroarty of Mar Aberto SoundSystem, Yuka and his own amazing mobile recording services outfit Saint Clarens. Tbe music in the video is a custom mix by General Eclectic!Fun stuff, eh?Here's the video our own editor Danny Alexander (who cut our festival preview and Uma Nota Experience videos) prepared with the great footage from our documentation team. Check out the performances and dance floor goings-on, all set to the music of Sound One, recorded live on the night.We hope that keeps your appetite up for coming events in the new year! Stay tuned for more about our events in 2013, including next year's Uma Nota Festival of Tropical Expressions.

Uma Nota Festival Review!

Well, after a brief  hiatus on the website content tip ... we are back! We needed a little break before we rev up for a bold new year of cultural production.The Uma Nota Festival 2012 was a big success. The second year saw some major growth in outlook and perspective of the festival. We can say that we took a foray into a bigger scale with our "World Funk" flagship event at Great Hall, featuring three bands! Asiko Afrobeat Ensemble, Mar Aberto SoundSystem, and Sound One all tore it up on the stage and got the dance floor shaking. DJs General Eclectic and Dos Mundos kept the beats moving through the night.This year saw a partnership between the Brazilian Film Festival and Uma Nota Culture. We presented several films at the Royal Cinema. At Revival Bar Sunday night, we presented our festival closing act, direct from Rio de Janeiro, Pedro Luís, fresh with a new album. Our Sunday daytime Community Cultural Fair at the Supermarket in Kensington was a grand success with several workshops, performances and many families enjoying great food and caipirinhas! The friendly crowd was treated to performances by Ruben Esguerra's A New Tradition, Jô Lutério and her roda de samba crew, and Maria Bonita and the Band.We'd like to thank all the festival volunteers, the incredibly talented artists that were featured at the festival and the amazing people who come out to Uma Nota and participate with no pretensions and with eyes, ears and dancing shoes towards a fun time! And ... of course we'd like to thank the sponsors, without whom as the saying goes, there would be no festival! Thanks go to Pitú, ChocoSol, Hansa Language Center and Mellohawk Logistics.Check out some of our pictures.UPDATE: New post: Watch videos from the World Funk flagship event at Great Hall! (Photo: Negin Bahrami)

The Toronto rebirth of Asiko Afrobeat Ensemble

BUY TICKETS to see Asiko Afrobeat Ensemble live at The Great Hall on Saturday Oct. 20

Toronto is rich with musical and artistic talent from all cultures and disciplines. But it hasn’t seen a new Afrobeat band on the scene for some time.Last fall, Nigerian Foly Kolade chose Toronto as the place to relaunch his Asiko Afrobeat Ensemble. Kolade ran the project (under the name Asiko) in Brooklyn for five years before dissolving it in 2008. Newly reconstituted in Toronto, Asiko now includes drummer Raphael Roter, known to the local Brazilian music scene for his involvement in groups like Maracatu Nunca Antes and Samba Elégua.Kolade is slowly unfurling the band's repertoire. "He knows all of the parts, he knows how it should sound," says Roter. "He's been running this thing for nine years! I think he has quite a large backlog of tunes that we'll bring back to life ... he's just waiting until we're cooking before he writes new tunes."Kolade brings more than a wealth of songs to share with bandmates and fans; he also brings stories of speaking truth to power.His story as a musician begins with playing talking drum and congas at his aunt's art centre in Osogbo, Nigeria in the early '90s. He soon joined a friend's highlife group, performed for government dignitaries, and in 1993 made his first trip to the US.An artist in batik, tie-dye and rice paper painting, Kolade traveled around Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, giving workshops through college arts programs. When he wasn't back in Nigeria, he lived in Brooklyn, finally settling there in 1998. He played with  Afro-funk pioneer Wunmi for several years, including a memorial concert at SOB's where he shared the stage with George Benson and Roy Ayers, Wunmi's godfather.In 2003, Kolade formed Asiko in Brooklyn -- the group's first show was on October 20, 2003 -- and the band performed around the US. Duke Amayo of Antibalas and Fu-Arkestra sometimes sat in.The band performed at university and even high school functions. Once, Kolade recounts, they got a room full of walker-bound 80-year-old women to get up and dance.As Roter mentions, the band’s impressive repertoire of original Afrobeat tunes may be new to Toronto, but was already refined by Kolade’s Brooklyn project. "We're really lucky," says Roter of he and his bandmates, a cross-section of Cuban, reggae, R&B and groove players from various Toronto scenes. "Foly came from NYC with everything."Kolade’s music is informed by struggle. While in New York, he played the launch party of African television station AIT. The day before the gig, organizers who'd heard his lyrics about corruption in African politics asked him to change the words, as the Nigerian president would be in attendance. Kolade refused, and still took the stage the next day, with Wunmi and Asiko backing him up."The song was called Oun Ti E Je, which means 'what goes into you is what you throw out.'"It's a proverb in Yoruba that about [wrongdoings] ... it's about people elected into government and [how] they are stealing money," he says."The system in Africa is, when [someone] becomes president, they can act how they want because don't need votes, they can just can rig an election."When he started singing the controversial lyrics, "the woman came running: 'stop!' ... Right in front of me, 'stop!' So we stopped and left the stage. A lot of my guys are American, had never witnessed this situation before, and were wondering what was going on. Some were afraid -- they could see that some in the hall were Nigerian secret service."Asiko gigged for years, playing "every music scene in NYC." They recorded an album in 2007. The following year, Kolade returned to Nigeria on family business and stayed there for a few years. Asiko was dissolved.He divided his time between the cities of Lagos and Ibadan, and continued performing. But with police monitoring and harassing him, he began playing less often. Eventually he was forced into hiding. He made the decision to leave Nigeria and start over in Canada.Musician friends had recommended Toronto. Kolade arrived in November 2011 and soon put out a call on Craigslist in an effort to reform Asiko.(Asiko translates from Yoruba as "time, an appointed moment, connoting fate; example: your time has come." Asiko is also the name of an African music style originating from Nigeria.)Kolade auditioned a number of musicians before settling on the current roster. Drummer Raphael Roter was excited to get the call. "I thought upon listening to the tunes that I'd have the music in the bag in no time, but then as I prepared I realized that there was so much going on in the music."The first rehearsals "were terrifying and I constantly felt like I wasn't getting it ... but I suppose Foly liked something he heard, so I made the cut. I've been working on this material for a little while now, but I feel I still have a way to go before it'll sound like I want."After two Toronto shows, Asiko has begun to gel, says Roter. The most recent, in July at the now-closed Trane Studio, was where the group began to find their sound and get more comfortable playing together.On his role in the group's Afrobeat sound and playing the rhythms that drive it all, Roter says: "Perhaps I have something about my sense of time and groove that's different. I'm a listener and don't take an ‘I'm the drummer, everyone follow me’ approach so much."I listen to lots of Afrobeat, some soukous and highlife. I try to give the music the kind of energy that I hear in these old recordings. But we also try to pull stuff in from reggae and R&B too. Each of these present their own challenges I guess."Above all this though I think there's the main task of drumming in a way that every dance band drummer has to live up to: They have to drive the party, they have to inflect their playing in a way that makes moving feel great ... and of course you need to have fun."Asiko Afrobeat Ensemble performs on Saturday, October 20 at The Great Hall as part of the Uma Nota Festival of Tropical Expressions  - Flagship Event - World Funk showcase. 

The Sound of Sound One

BUY TICKETS to see Sound One live at The Great Hall on Saturday Oct. 20

 My heart lifts when I read the bio Sound One has up on their myspace. Check this out:Sound One wants you to appreciate movement and thought, to embrace the connection between your ears and hips. That's the kicker, but before that they start it off with:If you don’t love and respect what you’re influenced by, fuel the drive of what direction your headed, and appreciate everything and everyone along the way – you’ve missed it all. Music is mood, it’s an emotion, and in a beat you might click into the power of a harmonized mind. C'mon ... that is some wicked vision in music and I have to hand it to these cats, they are rocking it. Blaring horns, grooves, and some mind candy with crafty solos. They bring the jazz skank to the party, warming us up and freeing our insides for a shameless night of wholesome and (maybe for some) unwholesome fun.

Humber Cats Blowing Horn

check their sound:Sound One will rock it on the Flagship Party of The Uma Nota Festival of Tropical Expressions (Facebook event here).  No need to let y'all know of the origins of ska music ... The lovely Island of Jamaica, Jamaica. A country whose symbolism through music, for better or worse, has come to represent a state of mind, good tunes and great dancing.

Volunteers needed for the 2012 Uma Nota Festival!

Uma Nota Culture is a small but potent organization, and we've always been about community. The people around us are a big part of the Uma Nota experience -- that unity makes the events and the cultural undercurrent something that everyone can participate in and enjoy.With that, here is our call for volunteers for the 2012 Uma Nota Festival of Tropical Expressions!What's in it for you? Festival volunteers will receive Uma Nota swag, free admission to Uma Nota events all weekend, all kinds of behind the scenes goodies, valuable festival production experience and our undying gratitude (shout outs!), among other wonderful things.Here are the volunteer roles we're looking to fill and areas we need help  with:Volunteer roles -- Uma Nota Festival

Marketing associates
- Street promotions -- flyers and posters distribution (cafes, music/record/vintage clothing stores, etc)
- Strategies, promoting at events, radio giveaways -- help us plan
- Social Media: Help build online buzz, tweet, blog, post strategically to Facebook, etc.
Production assistants
- Event set-up and take down
- Decoration and logistics help
- Help organize vendors and any organizations displaying materials or products, assist with set-up
- Help with kids' programming, facepainting, other fun stuff so families can enjoy (especially Sunday Oct. 21 for the Community Cultural Fair!)
Stage Managers
- Keep performances on schedule
- Assist with production and technical logistics as needed
Artist Liaisons
- Host for visiting and local artists, hospitality
- Fluency/ability to comunicate in Brazilian Portuguese would be considered an asset
Documentation assistants
-  Volunteer your services as part of this team and/or help out the existing documentation crew -- videographers (e.g. second camera), photographers, audio recordings etc.
Web team
-  Web designers, Wordpress developers and anyone with HTML skills are all welcome, as is anyone with experience handling and packaging web media (photos and videos in particular) and content management systems for online publication.
Volunteer coordinator
- Help us manage volunteers and coordinate activities -- see what needs doing and help us put volunteers on it!
- Liaise with festival producers/organizers, staff and volunteers
- Identify and communicate any special needs or unusual situations relating to volunteers or what they're doing
You tell us!
- Got skills in areas we haven't touched on yet? Get in touch and let us know how you'd like to be involved with the festival.
Please contact us at umanotaculture (at) gmail (dot) com and please CC jonathan (at) umanota (dot) ca and alex (at) umanota (dot) ca.
Looking forward to hearing from the Uma Nota massive! Thank you in advance for pitching in to help us bring you a spectacular festival.
-- Uma Nota Culture

 Here are a few more photos to give you a sense of the Uma Nota team vibe! (A few shots are from the 2012 Block Party at PS Kensington, our co-production with Maracatu Mar Aberto. Give it up for the crew!)