The Human Rights: 10 years of hard hitting live reggae

P1010974-2Ok so back in... geez when was..? Damn... In 2012,  The Human Rights rocked one of our best, most packed and super awesome shows. It was so much fun.Now, six years later, Toronto reggae collective The Human Rights celebrates 10 years of hard hitting live performance with the best of Canada's reggae scene! We can't even believe it. This show is action packed with super special guests: AmmoyeExco Levi, Kultcha Ites, Dubmatix, Tdot Batu, and Maracatu Mar Aberto, among many others. It all goes down on April 7, 2018 at The Redwood, 1300 Gerrard Street in Toronto, which may be a bit east for some west end denizens, but hey there is 24hr streetcar access.BUY TICKETSClassic Track by The Human Rights... Bring the positive vibe.Toronto is fertile ground for reggae music. A large Jamaican and greater Caribbean populace, and all the extended relations, have made island sounds very familiar to the whole Torontonian and Canadian population. Summer in TO, for at least 60 years, has always had Caribbean music at festivals around the city, influencing kids from all walks of immigrant and non-immigrant life. The crossover from soul music to reggae is second nature for many musicians playing the clubs around town. The history of this scene goes deep. David Dacks' piece about the history of reggae in TO  put it best:The history of reggae in Toronto, one of the strongest cities in the world for this genre and its offshoots, can't merely be a rundown of notable bands -- it's bound up in an infrastructure of musicians, venues, promoters and record stores. It's also about the tension of artists trying to succeed in both Canada and in the reggae universe with Jamaica as its axis.It is from this incredible love and influence of reggae music and Jamaican culture in Toronto that The Human Rights came to be. In the spring of 2008 three veterans of the Toronto reggae music scene decided to take a chance and come together with four bright eyed, freshly graduated, music school students to form an original conscious modern-roots-reggae band. Months later they found themselves on stage in front of a sold out Phoenix Concert Hall opening for one of the biggest names in reggae music, Gregory Isaacs!  The spark caught fire and ten years later, The Human Rights are still at the top of their musical game.Check the new singleThe Human Rights specialize in original, high-energy, modern roots reggae with a mix of jazz, funk and R&B influences. The band is fronted by Juno nominee Friendlyness (formerly of Culture Shock & Big Sugar) and Juno nominee Tréson on lead vocals and features a blazing three-piece horn section, two stellar guitar players, and a rock steady riddim section, topped off by legendary reggae keyboardist Bernie Pitters (Toots and the Maytals, Hit Squad, Leroy Brown, Sly & Robbie). A lot of talent in this little project.Since the release of their debut CD 'One Thing' in 2010, The Human Rights have played well over 100 live shows, and released singles for 'Right Now', 'Take A Stance' and 'Old School Track' which spent a record 44 weeks on the listener-voted Rebel Vibez Top Ten Chart. Other highlights include opening for seminal Reggae legends such as John Holt,  Beres Hammond, and Freddie McGreggor recording live for Big City, Small World on CBC Radio One, and a song placement in the Trailer Park Boys movie, 'Don’t Legalize It'. Produced by Big Sugar frontman and Canadian music icon Gordie Johnson, their 2016 self-titled album is The Human Rights’ most ambitious record yet, a powerful statement that the heartbeat of roots Reggae in Canada has never been stronger.So there you have it... The Human Rights, now 10 years old, is proud to host everybody at The Redwood for an emotional, reggae filled celebration of their time spent hustling music and performance in Toronto and Canada. Uma Nota is proud to play a part in this unique, once only production, bringing together various tribes from across the city. Get on that streetcar, take that cab or Uber, call your friends in the East end, call your peeps in Scarborough, bring out all the love for The Human Rights 10 year anniversary. One love. Peace.human_rights_12year_march2018_instagram_2

Doctor Nativo: Cumbia-Reggae Party


Facebook event

Yes yes we are back... Since we've been digging the cumbia and reggae for years, we thought we'd bring those vibes back and present an artist that embodies both of those styles and just happens to be pulling through Toronto right about now... Doctor Nativo.Direct from Guatemala, Doctor Nativo’s music explores themes of Mayan spirituality, social justice, and folk wisdom. Punctuated by an explosive sound combining reggae, cumbia, hip hop, and Mayan traditional music, his live show is a powerful experience that has captivated audiences all throughout Turtle Island and Europe. Check the video below.Doctor Nativo first made his name in the Guatemalan hip hop scene working with the highly acclaimed group Bacteria Soundsystem Crew. After years of combining reggae and hip hop, he began to explore his indigenous roots under the guidance of the elder Tata Pedro. In pursuing this path, he formed the first Mayan rap group, Balam Ajpu, who are known throughout Mayan communities for rapping in Tz'tujil, celebrating the traditional cosmology, and sharing their culture with a wider audience.Building on this success, Doctor Nativo has recorded his first solo album, Guatemaya, this year. With an infectious sound reminiscent of Manu Chao and Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto, it will appeal to fans of world music and those interested in indigenous culture.Rounding up the line-up will be DJs Juana Gó-Gó and Ontario Bananas with the classic Latin venial and tropical bass, respectively. A small maracatu performance by Toronto's Mar Aberto is also on the bill. Yes... we are crawling out of a slow hibernation to a winter of tropical culture in TO.Come feel the old school flavour... Uma Nota in the area.Nati Waxaqib batz Austria 

The Human Rights Switch It Back

 HRcasbah1The Human Rights have made some changes. They have added singer Tréson to the crew . The talented artist’s powerful voice fits perfectly with  the band’s uplifting sound, a heavy but unique style of expertly executed new roots reggae. With two singers in the band, they have re-booted under the banner The Human Rights, opting to simplify and forgoing Friendlyness' name as part of the band title. Have no fear though, Friendly's style, wit, performance and musical charm remain. And rejoice! Marking the bands transition into their new format, formation, they have released a new single Old School Track.Full of Toronto references and nods to the golden era of reggae, The Old School Track is an original tune by the Human Rights. Check out the whe do dem, eek a mouse, bass-line breakdown.But just who are these Human Rights?

The history of the Human Rights runs deep. It begins with Toronto reggae foundation keyboardist Bernie Pitters, who learned how to bubble from Bob Marley's keyboard player in Jamaica and spent the ‘80s and ‘90s touring with Toots and the Maytals. It continues with Toronto reggae heavyweight and juno nominated Friendlyness, who started out fronting bands such as Revelation and Culture Shock, followed by backing up Frankie Paul, Freddie McGreggor & Dennis Brown with Hit Squad, and more recently joining the ranks of Can-rock icons Big Sugar. Add seven young up-and-coming Toronto session musicians and the soulful vocal stylings of Tréson and you have a musical force ready for the global stage.

The Human Rights play Summer in the City on Saturday May 31st at the Silver Dollar in Toronto. $10 Facebook eventsmic

Uma Nota Festival 2014


The 4th Annual Uma Nota Festival of Tropical Expressions is here! Four days of music, dance food and culture for your senses. Check out our programming, save the dates and see you on the dance floor. We have a festival pass once again this year and it gives you access to all our events (excluding Terra Brasil), a line by-pass and lotsa love from the Uma Nota team.Buy Festival Pass! #UmaNotaFest 

Festival Launch - #UmaNotaFest Thursday

umanota_festival2014_facebook_thursday_1000pixels Uma Nota Festival 2014 and the Brazilian Film Festival of Toronto (Brafftv) kick off an extended weekend with Flavia Nascimento and Band, live MPB (Musica Popular Brasileira) sprinkled with forró and topped off with fine Brazilian selections. Free! (FB event)

Dance Migration presents Terra Brasil - #UmaNotaFest

umanota_festival2014_facebook_friday_1000pixels Afro-Brazilian dance company The Dance Migration perform Terra Brasil, a captivating theatrical dance piece performed to live music by local and visiting Brazilian aces. Tickets Available. (FB event)

Friday Night Jamboree - #UmaNotaFest Friday

umanota_festival2014_facebook_friday2_1000pixels Our Friday Night Jamboree is live goodness & incredible djs. An international crew bring you the tropical sounds from an international world to the El Mocambo in one of the last shows you may ever see at this legendary Toronto venue. Come see live reggae, Latin urban beats and sounds from the global underground. The very best for you, in our city, live. (FB event)Buy Tickets Friday Night Jamboree

Digital Tropics - #UmaNotaFest Saturday

umanota_festival2014_facebook_saturday_1000pixels_2 (1)Sweaty sounds from the transglobal underground. This year we’re going one step further by joined forces  with the X Avant Festival for a transcultural party at Remix Lounge featuring New York’s DJ Ushka in her Canadian debut alongside the infamous Poirier from Montreal. Expect digital ecstasy and a few surprises. (FB event)Buy Tickets Digital Tropics

Batucada Carioca 10-year anniversary party  - #UmaNotaFest Community Cultural Fair

umanota_festival2014_facebook_sunday_1000pixels In the Uma Nota tradition of cultural fairs and Block Party, we present Batucada Carioca’s 10 year anniversary party and an afternoon to evening event specially made into a Quadra de Samba, or a Samba School rehearsal hall in Rio de Janeiro. There will be Brazilian feijoada and tapioca stands, an arts and food marketplace, children’s activities and games including face painting and mini ping pong. There will be incredible music rooted in the samba traditions. (Facebook event)Buy Tickets Batucada Carioca 10 year party & Cultural Fair

Check the video of last year's Uma Nota Festival!


Friendly's Summer in the City

Look out, look out! Here comes a union of community and easy living on a May-time summer night ...Summer in the City takes us back to an old-style Canadian historical tavern with a nefarious reputation (and nefarious hygiene standards): the Silver Dollar Room. Be ready for heavy rhythms and cartoon-like characters who are into fun and better living.Featuring: Friendlyness (also called Friendly) and the Human Rights, Mar Aberto SoundSystem, and The Responsables as well as DJ Firecracker (who created the sunshine-loving poster below).Many will remember that Friendlyness and Mar Aberto SoundSystem as the live acts in the stellar line-up that killed it at an Uma Nota reggae party in 2012.Friendlyness and his crew are gearing up for summer shows and tours, and Mar Aberto SoundSystem has swung back into things with a recent show at the Empty Fest in Sarnia, alongside Maylee Todd and other acts.Celebrate the return of the heat with a night of hot reggae music, delicious food and good vibes! Keep up with things on the Facebook event and we will see you there.Poster by Angela Vargas (DJ Firecracker)

Uma Nota: Hot Spring edition April 26, 2013


Yes yes yes ...

Springtime is upon us, and to welcome the season we draw from the wellsprings of three musical sources: Dub style reggae, Afrobeat and Brazilian popular music. Our featured guests are Aline Morales, Asiko Afrobeat Ensemble and K-Zar Dubwise; General Eclectic anchors the DJ lineup. We bring a rejuvenating Brazilian-style party to the Great Hall, and we have AlienInflux to pump up the sound system.

Think of this edition as the thaw when we come out of the cold and bathe in our hotsprings of music, dance, community and artistry. Uma Nota, a combination dance party, multimedia live show and cultural happening, is about the shared experience more than it is about any one artist. It's a “no spectators, no pretensions” event, at which the dancers in the crowd help create the positive, unified vibe as much as the live and DJ music that keeps everyone moving.

Uma Nota: Hot Spring edition

Friday April 26

Great Hall, 1087 Queen St. W. at Dovercourt

Doors 10 p.m.

Advance tickets $12 online only via Eventbrite.

$15 at the door

>>>>>    BUY TICKETS    <<<<<


Asiko Afrobeat Ensemble

Asiko Afrobeat Ensemble at Uma Nota Festival in 2012. It was a wicked wicked show

This nine-piece band led by heavy hitter Foly Kolade tore it up at our 2012 Uma Nota Festival and kept everyone in the room dancing till late. Foly is the real deal when it comes to Afrobeat: Born in Nigeria, he also played in the late ‘90s/early 2000s Brooklyn scene with members of Antibalas before they formed under that name. Foly’s band, Asiko, performed for years in New York before he moved back to Nigeria and then settled in Toronto, where he’s remounted the project with local players. Asiko is a dance party band -- comprising a full horn section, percussion, drums, keys, bass, guitar and vocals -- and they perform full-length sets of original Afrobeat tunes. Prepare for an incredible dancefloor experience. Our previous blog post on Asiko.

Aline Morales


Aline Morales is an artist and percussionist and a powerful performer who stands out anywhere she plays -- in Toronto, Brazil or beyond. A versatile and perceptive bandleader with a soaring, memorable voice, she can do it all: rock a party, lead thundering percussion troupes, sing in a small combo or deliver a multi-layered show. The music that she and composer/producer David Arcus make with their band uses Brazilian grooves as a base for an original sound. Already established in Toronto’s musical landscape, Aline’s recent musical highlights include headlining Harbourfront Centre’s Expressions of Brazil festival and a Juno nomination for her debut album Flores, Tambores e Amores.

K-Zar Dubwise


He is a co-founder of the roots reggae, dub versions and bass culture series Dub Connection and Rockers Arena, an original underground jam where rockers (MCs) toast over his heavy beats. K-Zar is also one of the builders of Dub Connection’s formidable sound system. As a selector, he brings the dub and reggae sounds to move the town. We have been wanting to get this man behind the decks at one of our jams for some time. Wait no more: here come joy and upliftment. Check our blog post on Rockers Arena.

General Eclectic

Familiar to fans of everything good, the General delivers the eye and ear candy right and proper. Best known as a core members of the Footprints collective and their rare groove dance parties, he also represents with nights like Shindig! and recent outings like the Os Tropies EP Release Residency and Valentine’s Day Lover’s Rock at Addis Ababa restaurant. For this edition he brings his inimitable mix of MPB, Afrobeat, samba, reggae and tingz.

Special note about sound

We are aware of the sound system challenges at Great Hall. That’s why we rent extra sound equipment from AlienInflux, including bass bins to bring out that all-important low end as well as quality gear to bring out the top end. And that’s not all. We take extra care, including hands-on involvement from the house’s A.V. manager, to ensure that both the live acts and the DJs (and in turn, you!) get the benefit of that additional sound.


Custom visual environmentTreats and tortillas by ChocoSol by Pitú Cachaça event is supported by Dos Mundos Arts & Media as part of Hispanic Heritage Month 2013Presented and produced by Uma Nota CultureFacebook event page 

Rockers Arena: Underground Sound

Underground in the city. In fact, there were some issues whether we should even post about this because it is strictly for the people who like a late and hidden party, and for those who like the good sound of a resident selector and dub plates. In our internationalized world, the reggae style is alive and well in Toronto.Nowhere is this more evident in the downtown than at the Rockers Arena. The Rockers Arena, at The Rainbow Palace in Kensington Market, is run by a crew that plays reggae the way traditional Jamaican sound sytems used to play, with a selector and a crew of emcees and singers who perform live on dub version. "The sound system scene is generally regarded as an important part of Jamaican cultural history and as being responsible for the rise of several modern Jamaican musical genres."  from Wikipedia.The boys at Rockers Arena keep it real: It's all analogue and it's all vinyl. The music is raw, underground, and bass heavy. The sounds are mostly vintage music from the mid 70s to late 80s. Selector K Zar plays everything from big classics to lesser known gems he has discovered collecting vinyl. Like the tunes, the jam is one of those rare gems of culture in the city and the Rainbow Palace is a unique venue. A basement in a hidden corner of Kensington, it is a liminal state of existence; almost like stepping down into another world. The music and the vibe are righteous, positive, and the 'courage' flows all night. Remember this event goes from 11:30pm until 6am!! An all nite rubadub & roots session with the Dub Connection in full flight, with K Zar the selector performing live and direct with the crew Lord Fury, Gloomy, Nkrumah & Ras Yunchy.Check some sound files of Rockers Arena live in session