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.

in/future Transformative Art Experience

in-future-ben-watt-meyer-fb-crop-photo-bryne-mclaughlin-1024x538in/future is totally awesome. The arts & music festival brings together a whole lot of beautiful ingredients for a truly innovative and art-inspiring experience. Here are three reasons to go for the final weekend.It’s at Ontario Place. For Torontonians (especially over-30 peeps), it is super nostalgic, and regardless, this ‘70s/’80s on-the-lake world of the future, park of revelry, even in its current abandoned state, is an inspiring setting. In last week’s NOW Magazine cover story on the festival, one of the festival programmers, Layne Hinton, said: "We're taking all our cues from the West Island and Ontario Place and its history. It's interesting because they built the space with all these futuristic ideas and utopian models, but they were also referencing something from the recent past. So we've been interested in that relationship, the play of time the site seems to hold." We are talking instant romance for those on an alternative-style date night. Art Spin, the wonder adventurists of Toronto, have curated some beautiful installations from various artists (you have to see it). Led by Hinton and Rui Pimenta, they teamed up with Small World Music Society, who have put together a wicked musical programme removed from commercial glitz, wholly diverse and eclectic and of the greatest musicianship. (It also helps our ego that many of the artists have in the past been presented by Uma Nota!) The fourth element for this art bending experience this Friday? Uma Nota presents three incredible Brazilian live acts and a roving DJ that take your after-work transformative art experience to the next level. Check out what’s on offer below. Oh yes, and we also must say that the best part is the crowd that comes out: Diverse, fun, and beautiful people who love adventure and artistic inspiration.Luísa MaitaA Sao Paulo cool kid whose music fuses downtempo electronica, a bit of Ceu’s vibes, some Vanessa da Mata flavour and a bunch of urban Cumbancha feels. She is one of the more accessible contemporary Brazilian artists, and while the US media like NPR have caught onto her, but she is still flying under the radar here in Canada. Her sound is kind of a soul vibe, some pop even, very urban and cool. Now Mag wrote: “Coaxing imagery from Brazil's inimitable culture, [Maita] expands on the traditions of classic samba with modern influences that include Feist and Cat Power.”Bruno CapinanBruno’s sound is maturing like mad. He is leaving us doing the groovy head-nod with his new directions. Our homeboy Jonathan Rothan had this to say about Bruno Capinan in a recent NOW magazine piece: “Singer/songwriter Bruno Capinan's personal, exploratory songs have an epic indie feel that matches his equally epic stage wear. He released Tudo Está Dito, his third album, in 2014, and has since performed and recorded in Brazil with Gilberto Gil's son Bem Gil. He [was] part of a "new music of Brazil" showcase at the Rio Olympics in August, and his next album arrives in the fall.” It’s coming out very soon and for that we are also excited.Maracatu Mar AbertoMar Aberto is our maracatu of choice in Toronto [albeit a little biased!]. This show features, direct from Brazil, Garnize from Tambores de Olokun and the lead vocals of Zeca Polina and Quebec based songstress Flavia Nascimento, Mar Aberto's show promises emotional upliftment and ecstatic performance translating directly to the dancers and audience.Over the last seven years, Mar Aberto has developed Toronto-bred Maracatu language -- creating a distinct Maracatu style that is rooted in a Toronto vibe (a band of bohemian agitators linked to different underground cultural events) while learning and respecting traditional maracatu nations, expanding from original school of influence, the venerable Maracatu Estrela Brilhante of Recife in Pernambuco, Brazil. garniDJ General Eclectic on the Boom BikeGroove with one of Canada's finest DJs, and resident Uma Nota selector, who will be performing live on his newly created Boom Bike! 1500watts of pure awesomeness all contained on a hand crafted specially built tricycle setup!boom-bike