Pan American Bridges Workshop Series


Dos Mundos Arts and Media is  offering a series of community arts workshops, as part of the Uma Nota Festival.

By involving and reaching more communities in Brazilian, South American and North American expressions, Dos Mundos and Uma Nota allow people to discover arts and culture from the Americas, in a way that is interactive, participatory and fun. Dos Mundos Arts and Media is a Toronto-based non-profit arts organization dedicated to showcasing, celebrating and developing emerging artists and art forms that represent contemporary Latin America.

All the workshops and activities are Pay What You Can. Funding is made available through the Toronto Arts Council.More details about the workshops follow, and there's a Facebook event page to share with your friends.Let's get the word out about these amazing and accessible workshops!


Mondays, October 7 & 14 at 7 p.m.

Street Brass! Brass band music from New Orleans, Brazil and Latin American carnivals.

An open call to horn players high school level and up! Trombonist Christopher Butcher of the Heavyweights Brass Band takes you through a repertoire of street brass band tunes from New Orleans Second Line, Brazilian marchinhas and frevos, along with some Latin American songs and with a Michael Jackson tune for good measure. This workshop develops over two classes and a final rehearsal on Saturday October 19th at 3 p.m. The group will then perform at the Community Cultural Fair at Lula Lounge on October 20, including a collaboration with The Heavyweights Brass Band. Tell all your friends! This band will make history in Toronto.

UPDATE: Facebook event page:  Street Brass! Open call for all horn players!

*Register ahead of time with Christopher Butcher via email: chris[at]chrisbutchermusic[dot]com

Lula Lounge, 1585 Dundas Street West

ADrianna teaching

Wednesday October 16 at 8 p.m. 

Brazilian Dance (Orixá & maracatu) with Dance Migration

Explore the movement of Afro-Brazilian dance from the Brazilian states of Bahia and Pernambuco. Artistic Director Adrianna Yanuziello has studied with a range of teachers from Brazil and has been at the forefront of teaching and performing tradition and contemporary Brazilian dance in Toronto. She has collaborated with a range of groups from Bloco Bracatum, Maracatus Mar Aberto and Baque de Bamba, as well as Samba Squad and Batucada Carioca. She has brought her teacher Rosangela Silvestre to Toronto a number of times for special guest workshops. Dance Migration has also produced  and performed several shows at various theatres in Toronto.

Broadway Arts, 35 Golden Ave, Suite 108


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Thursday, October 17 at 8 p.m.

Urban Street Dance with Diana Reyes 'Fly Lady Di' 

Diana Reyes aka Fly Lady Di is a prominent Canadian urban dancer who has appeared in films and travelled the world teaching classes. Currently she teaches House Dance at Street Dance Academy, City Dance Corps, Canadian Children’s Dance Theatre among other organizations. She will be presenting urban dance movements highlighting the influence of Latin American steps and style in modern house and hip hop dance.

Bavia Arts Studio, 898 St. Clair W.

UPDATE (just added):Eduardo PimentelSaturday, October 19 at 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

Cuban Yoga with Eduardo Pimentel 

Bring warmth to a brisk Toronto fall day with Caribbean-style yoga directly from Cuba! The perfect salsa mix of alignment, philosophy, and a touch of humor will make you feel warmth of Cuba. Find joy and ease in your body with a tropical blend of asanas that invite you to discover the natural rhythm of your breath and heart.

For the first time, Eduardo Pimentel will travel from Cuba to Canada to teach yoga. He is the founder of the Cuban Yoga Association and has been teaching for over 40 years in Havana, has taught more than 12 000 students and is the lead teacher at Mhai Yoga retreats in Cuba. Eduardo's vast knowledge combined with his accessibility and playfulness will stir your consciousness and awaken lila in your practice -- the creative play of the divine! (More info: Lula Lounge event listing)

Lula Lounge, 1585 Dundas Street West

Screen shot 2013-09-13 at 11.51.21 PMRuben Esguerra and familySaturday, October 19 at 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.  *Pay-What-You-Can* $5 suggested minimum donation

Colombian Drum and Dance drum with Beny Esguerra and the New Tradition Family

This workshop is two-fold: Colombian-born multi-instrumentalist, lyricist and arts educator Ruben "Beny" Esguerra leads visitors in the basics of Afro-Colombian drum rhythms, while his mom takes people through popular Colombian dances. The workshops will touch on the genres within the Música de gaita tradition, which represents the unity between African, Amerindian and European musical traditions rooted in sixteenth century Latin America. Check out more about his workshops and watch some videos here.

As a musician and drummer, Beny has earned the privilege of becoming the band leader of several musical groups, including last year's (Uma Nota Festival) Community Cultural Fair feature, New Tradition. Ruben Esguerra holds a Masters degree in musicology/ethnomusicology.

Lula Lounge, 1585 Dundas Street West

3 p.m. (same location): (Dress rehearsal) Street Brass! Brass band music from New Orleans, Brazil and Latin American carnivals. (See Oct. 7&14 workshop info above)


Saturday, October 19 at 7 p.m. 

Forró dance with Brazil Dance World

Forró is one of the most popular dances in Brazil, and in fact is more wholistic, signifying at once a dance, a style of music and a party. It can be simple, sweet and romantic or complex and vigorous. Above all the dance is "for all" to enjoy. Join Goreti Cardoso for a simple introduction to forró and all the fun it can be. The workshop is preparation for the social and the live music of Forrallstar at the Community Cultural Fair at Lula Lounge on the evening of October 20.

Bavia Arts Studio, 898 St. Clair Ave. W.

FilhosdeBimbaSaturday, October 19 at 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Capoeira Regional and related Afro-Brazilian dances

Lang Liu of Filhos de Bimba Capoeira school demonstrate and teach Capoeira Regional and  popular Afro-Bahian dances Maculelê (warrior/stick dance), and Samba de Roda (with live drumming by Samba Kidz); there will also be a demonstration of Puxada de Rede (fisherman's dance). These dances are often associated with capoeira. There will be a capoeira roda (circle) where the capoeristas enter and play against each other. Filhos de Bimba practises a pure form of capoeira regional, made popular by the famous Mestre Bimba in the 1940s Salvador, Brazil. (More info and schedule: Facebook event page)

Miles Nadal JCC, 750 Spadina Ave.


Sunday, October 20 at 4:30 p.m.  

Fandango Fun w/ Café Con Pan

Join Kali and Alec with your hands, feet and voice to explore son jarocho, the traditional music from Veracruz that is bringing people together from Tapalapa to Toronto. Kali and Alec have been performing for several years in Toronto. They recently released a fantastic CD Nuevos Caminos a Santiago.

Part of the Community Cultural Fair: Sunday, October 20, at Lula Lounge, 1585 Dundas Street West


Sunday, October 20 at 6:30 p.m.  

Coco de Roda w/ Maracatu Mar Aberto feat. Sapo Camara

Coco de Roda is a dance from the Northeastern Brazilian states of Pernambuco, Alagoas, Sergipe and Paraiba. Coco praieiro is a style popularized in the city of Olinda and involves call and response songs, clapping, drumming and simple steps. The rhythm is infectious and the nature of the dance involes everyone, young and old. Maracatu Mar Aberto is an Afro-Brazilian percussion troupe that has a certain affinity to the "game" of coco. Special guest teacher and singer is native Olindense (from Olinda), Professor Sapo from Capoeira Camara.  UPDATE: Flávia Nascimento from Forrossanova (Brazilian group based in Quebec City) joins the program to sing some traditional cocos and teach us some of her own.

Part of the Community Cultural Fair: Sunday, October 20, at Lula Lounge, 1585 Dundas Street West

Cultural Talks

Gilda Monreal

Community Transformation through the arts: Essencia Arts Collective

Sunday, October 20 at  2:30 p.m.

Essencia is a nomadic hip hop festival: it moves to a different country every year, creating a space for international artists to exchange knowledge and experience. Essencia looks to celebrate the youth and communities that engage in the four elements of hip hop in an effort to raise awareness about their natural resources (the human resources and skills they possess). Gilda Monreal aka Fiya is a Canadian-Chilean visual artist and actor known and one half of the sisters duo Bruxas (witches). She is joined in her talk by her sister Shalak Attack and São Paulo graffiti artist Bruno Smoky.

Part of the Community Cultural Fair: Sunday, October 20, at Lula Lounge, 1585 Dundas Street West

Valentine Moreno

Public Culture Policy in Brazil

Sunday, October 20 at 4:00 p.m.

The Brazilian state has a highly developed culture policy at both national and regional levels. Their programs Cultura Viva and Pontos de Cultura spearheaded by the former Minister of Culture and Brazilian musical icon Gilberto Gil have extended artistic funding to many traditional artistic manifestations. Brazil also has arts funding mechanisms that work with large corporations. Valentine Moreno has worked in the 'economy of culture' in Brazil and currently is the Curator of Multidisciplinary Programs at the Koffler Centre of the Arts.

Part of the Community Cultural Fair: Sunday, October 20, at Lula Lounge, 1585 Dundas Street West

Jason Gardner
Multimedia presentation: A Flower in the Mouth: The Beauty and Burden of Carnaval in Pernambuco, Brazil
Sunday, October 20 at 4:30 p.m. (front room)
Jason Gardner's recently published book A Flower in the Mouth: The Beauty and Burden of Carnaval in Pernambuco explores Carnaval, culture and ceremony of the northeast region of Pernambuco, Brazil, through 128 pages of color and black and white photographs, as well as interviews from the people shaping this dynamic culture, and personal journals by the author.  The book includes a nine-track audio companion of music from the region, via a limited edition digital-only download card. Jason launched the book at with a solo exhibition and book launch at New York's Lincoln Center in July 2013.

Bio: Jason Gardner tells stories visually, using the framework of visual anthropology. Whether documenting Carnaval around the world, creating images for a business marketing campaign, or photographing musicians for their promotion, he learns as much as possible about his subject, and often captures things not normally photographed. The Brazilian Consulates have sponsored exhibitions of his work in 2013, 2010 and 2007. Jason was recently selected as a Finalist in PDN/National Geographic Traveler’s “World in Focus” travel photography contest, and his work has been featured on the Professional website. He is a board member, NY Chapter, of The American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP).Part of the Community Cultural Fair: Sunday, October 20, at Lula Lounge, 1585 Dundas Street Westumanota_festival2013_online_portraitimages_workshops

Essencia Festival 2012 in São Paulo

Our amiga Gilda Monreal, AKA Fiya, is one of the most progressive and active artists for social justice we know. She works in film, theatre and visual arts, where these days she focuses on graffiti and street art. With connections and projects on the go in Toronto, Montreal and across Latin America, she managed to also help run a giant international hip-hop and street art festival last month in São Paulo. We asked her to tell us all about it, so here's her take. The International Essencia Festival 2012 hit the streets of São Paulo, Brazil this past month. As the Director of International Relations and Multimedia, I was coming into this festival from the outside, from Canada. And I have to admit that I was overwhelmed, in the best way possible, with this festival, and that I'm still trying to assimilate the experience that was Essencia SP 2012. I can definitely say it was one of the most powerful large scale co-creations I have actualized so far with my sister Shalak (Elisa Monreal, Director of Essencia São Paulo 2012), and Brazilian brother-in law Smoky (Bruno Revitte, General Co-ordinator). Thankfully, Shalak got to Brazil earlier and worked her magic in São Paulo, laying the ground work for what would be one of the best experiences we've had.Each year this nomadic hip hop festival moves to a different country, creating a space for international artists to exchange knowledge and experience. Essencia also looks to celebrate the four elements in an effort to raise awareness about our natural resources. This year’s theme was dedicated to Earth, and resulted in a powerful and beautiful ode to Mother Nature. This year united five continents and featured top artists from Australia, Brazil, Chile, Canada, France, Senegal, the Philippines, and the United States.In collaboration with Brazil-based artists and organizations, Essencia put on an intense week of hip hop concerts, b-boy competitions, art gallery exhibitions, youth workshops, and graffiti jams resulting in large scale murals around the city. With over 80 artists and 300 participants, the festival garnered international attention for its artistry, community engagement, and ability to unite international artists to raise awareness on Mother Earth.It is also important to note that Essencia is completely independent, grass roots, and auto financed with our hearts and souls. By hearts and souls, I mean that the Essencia Festival exists because we, the entire Essencia Arts Collective, believe that great things can be born from communities coming together and working to achieve a goal. And every time, Essencia has shown us that it connects with people, inspires them, and comes alive.This year, the one thing we did not predict would happen, and that we are so grateful for, is the impressive number of people in São Paulo who with open arms welcomed the festival. Dozens of artists, organizations, cultural centers, along with hundreds of participants supported, contributed to and helped to make this festival possible.Essencia -- Fiya works on a mural with kidsThis collaborative energy-synergy is what made Essencia come to life. It is also what created a unique space that went beyond a show case of artists, it became a space of connection between artists, communities and youth. In the last couple of days of the festival there were moments where public tears and hugs were shared (of grown men and women), and it became clear that the festival had become more about unity, education, community empowerment, and love.Essencia muralFor the trust, sincerity and energy that each artist and participant gave, we are ever so grateful, it was a gift for us.

The Essencia exhibit is currently being held at the Matilha Cultural Art Gallery, where the art work of 35 international and local artists went on display on April 3, and will remain on display until May 12. The Essencia Art Collective looks forward to bringing the festival back to Canada in 2013!

For further information about Essencia and the exhibition visit: and All photos by Ratão Diniz