Artist Links

ADAM SOLOMON & TIKISA BAND

Born in Mombasa, Kenya, Adam Solomon known as “The Professor”, established his career playing lead guitar and singing with poular Kenyan bands and legends like Fundi Konde, Joseph Kamaru, Daudi Kabaka, Fadhili Williams, John Nzenze, Juma Toto, Kabasselle Ochieng, Professor M.B Naaman, Orch Super Mazembe ya Mushosho, Super Wanyika, Kanda Bongo Man, and Mombasa roots band.

In 1995 Adam formed his world beat band called “Tikisa”, shake in Kiswahili. Retaining his roots in his music, the songs Tikisa perform encompass a wide variety of African rhythms, from traditional Chela, Sengenya, Mchechemeko, Mwanzele, Chakacha 6/8 beat, High Life, Reggae, Makossa and Afro Samba. Adam Solomon & Tikisa Band have performed at many festivals, special events and concert venues including Afrofest and International Jazz festivals across Canada.

Adam Solomon & Tikisa have released two CDs, Safari and Tabia. Further, Adam as a solo performer has released one the CD, Rocket Express. His next album, Take me to the Rocket, featuring 12 tracks of African folk , Jazz, and R&B will be released in September 2003. Adam Solomon is also working to finish his third CD with his band to be released in 2004.

As one of the best African guitarists in North America, Adam is a great teacher and music adviser, he also performs with Five Star Soukous band. We are fortunate to have him, as a performer and a guitar teacher, here in Toronto. Adam also contributes his time and talent to support programs in African heritage education.

AFRICAN THEATRE ENSEMBLE

24 Ryerson, Toronto 416.364.7313

AFROCONNEXION

African Hip Hop

CARIBBEAN FOLK PERFORMERS

Afro-Caribbean based Performing Arts Company, committed to preserving and promoting traditional African and Indigenous Caribbean Culture through dance, music and drama.

CLAUDETTE GRAVEL

Claudette Gravel is host and director of MusiMonde every Saturday from 10 to 11 on Radio Canada CJBC 860 AM in Toronto. An hour of musical trip, without leaving the comfort of your home to Cuba, Brazil, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Europe, India and Africa.

CULTURE FORCE

Femi Abosede, lead singer, lyricist and band leader, specialises in playing Tenor and Alto saxophone and keyboards, as well as excelling in both arrangement and composition.

Dammy G Atoki is also one of the creative forces behind the melody that the band puts out, and provides for the expert keyboard work at each performance. He started playing the keyboards at the age of 9 and by 14 became the school organist. Dammy has also been featured as guest artist at the Shrine of the late Fela Kuti. Dammy strongly believes in the power of music as a means of emancipating the authentic expression of Afro centric values and culture.

Dammy’s musical career, which has spanned more than 20 years, has largely focused on developing the Call and Answer style found in the Afro beat tradition. Recently, he has been inspired to work on a unique, interesting musical style in which Jazz meets Poetry. Primary influences in Dammy’s musical life include Afro-rhythms, Jazz and Reggae beats of Fela Kuti, Manu Dibango, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Kenny G., Herbie Hancock, Earl Klugh and George Benson. The result is a very special blend of Afro-Rhythmic Jazz.

DAWIT (MESSAY) MELLESSE

Ethiopian singer of varying Ethiopian and other African styles.

DIBLO DIBALA & MATCHATCHA

Born in Kisangani, Zaire, now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Diblo Dibala stared his musical career with Vox Africa in 1969. After having acquired more experience in the music business, he stared the recording of Elidjo along with Mbemba Bouesso, Ok Jazz and Maitre Franco. After the release of his debut album, he joined the group Bella Bella des freres Soki which was No. 1 on the charts in Africa at the time. A while later, he teamed up with Kanda Bongo Man and changed the name of the group to Bella Mambo. In 1979, he arrived in Europe and formed Bana Mons. The next year, he participated in l’explosion de suokouss (Soukouss Explosion) along with his companions Kanda Bongo Man and Pepe Kalle. In 1987, he formed Loketo with Aurlus Mabele, Mav Cacharel, Jean Baron and Mac Macire. Finally in 1989/90, Loketo separated and Diblo joined forces with Antoinette Yelessa and Otis Mbuta to form MATCHATCHA.

MATCHATCHA tours in the four corners of the planet. They have played in big festivals like England’s Glastonburry, Denmark’s Roskil, Belgium’s Hoogstraten, New York’s Central Park and Louisiana’s Lafayette. They have also been featured in various Caribean festivals such as Musica del Caribe in Colombia, the World Creole in Dominica and the St. Kitts Festival. This dynamic group has also made appearances at the Jazz festivals of Montreal and Luxemburg. Their unforgetable performances don’t stop there. They also appear in club scenes of great world wide reputation like Carnivore in Kenya, New Morning in Paris, S.O.B.S in New York, Grand Emporium in Kansas City, and African Center, The Fridge, and Grant in London.

MATCHATCHA has released twelve albums including Boum Tonnerrre, which had the group going in 89/90 and the legendary Laissez-Passer, an album that opened to great musical opportunities for the group.

Currently, Diblo is activly participating in the making of Juan Luis Guerra’s album and is also working with various artists such as David Byrn, Alfredo de la Fe, Tony Remy and the Versatile label for a fusion of Techno-Soukouss.

It could be that these great collaborations have inspired Diblo to keep on making such intoxicating music because “…each album gets better than the one before it,” says a Fatouma de Bamako, a fan of Diblo and MATCHATCHA. “…Where do they stop?” It’s up to you to stick around for the next part of the game and find out.

EMERITA EMERENCIA

African Storyteller 416.537.3890

FEELING BROTHER FRANCIS

Feeling Brother Francis is a Toronto-based Ghanian High Life musician and vocalist with two albums to his name.

FOJEBA

Cameroonian Singer Songwriter, Fojeba, learned to play guitar at of the 13 years of age at the Collège Jeanne d’Arc Missionaries. This early interest in music always keeps him moving on. He played as guitarist in COJADA School Band, Nkogsamba, GLouanges, Congolese Churchband, Lus di manian, and Antillian Band. Fojeba began his first steps of songwriting in 1989, during his studies in faculty of Arts at Yaoundé University. Many of his songs are written during years of exile in The Netherlands. Fojeba has successfully performed in various concerts such as Korzo Theather, Barzart, Het Plein and festivals in the Netherlands including Mixed Culture Festival in Den Haag, African Festival in Delft, Passar Malam Festival in Den Haag.

HELENA ALEMAYEHU ASFAW

Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the 18 year young dynamic performer chanced upon the stage as a member of Tis Abbay Band of Montreal at 13. Helena’s love of music, however, had been with her since she knew herself. By the time she started performing, her brother, Rasselas was already building his music career, working on his first CD, Pure Science. Encouraged by her brother, Helena decided to let her passion for music flow. She began writing, singing, rapping, and making beats in a style that is surely Hip Hop, but with an East African (Habesha) slant. This talented and dedicated youngster rhymes in Amharic, English, and French to address issues relevant to the young and old worldwide. Helena’s confidence and skills have enabled her to write and perform her debut hit pieces Adwa and Identity on DJ Dani’s Kiyit / Mix. Further, she released the Amharic Hip Hop CD, Guzo Wode Ethiopia (Journey to Ethiopia) with Rasselas in 2002.

Helena’s further talents include dance and radio hosting. Fluent in Amharic, French and English, she co-hosted of Sounds of Africa on CKLN 88.1 FM. As a member of Nouvel Exposé Dance Troupe and Charismatix, she appears on various festivals and events performing African and Hip Hop dances. She is currently a high school graduate with high potentials and dreams.

KEMER YOUSEF

Ethiopian Oromo musician, singer, and performer.

KHETIWE

Traditional African storyteller (Ghana) 905.458.8695

MACOUMBA THIOUNE & THE AFRICAN TRADITIONAL MUSIC BAND OF ONTARIO

NJACKO BACKO

Traditional African storyteller, singer, musician (Cameroon) 416.465.5150

NOUVEL EXPOSÉ DANCE TROUPE

Nouvel Exposé Dance Troupe aims to bring the less frequented dances of Africa to the fore-front. Its name meaning ‘New Exposure’, signifies the Troupe’s goal to depict, preserve, and add to the rich dances of African cultures. To date, Nouvel Exposé has produced pieces featuring various Ethiopian, Eritrean, Congolese, Egyptian, West African and Hip Hop dances.

Performing for various eye-opening festivals, showcases, and videos, Nouvel Exposé has proved itself a versatile and dynamic edutainer with a perceptive eye on heritage and identity. Nouvel Exposé also provides seasonal workshops and lessons in Ethiopian dances thus enabling it to share the joy of dance on a more personal level.

RASSELAS ALEMAYEHU ASFAW

Rasselas, taken by his love of music at a very young age, made a conscious decision to make music his life at age 12. Born and bred in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, he participated in several talent shows and started writing his lyrics as a young teen. Upon moving to Montreal, Canada in 1997, his talent in singing in various styles enabled him to perform Ethiopian music as a member of Tis Abbay Band. However, Rasselas found the opportunity to fully launch his music career when teaming up with producer George Bennet of Homegrown Production (an independent music label in Montreal). At 17, Rasselas started recording his debut English album, Pure Science, which was released in 2001. This album was a demonstration of Rasselas’ talent in rap, depth in lyrics, as well as creativity in beat composition. His style breathes new life to old school Hip Hop in Amharic and English. Focused on educating and learning while entertaining, Rasselas’ rap touches young and old of any background. Rasselas also realeased the much-awaited Amharic Hip Hop CD, Guzo Wode Ethiopia (Journey to Ethiopia) with his sister Helina in 2002. He is currently working on his next solo album entitled Out of the Question, while constantly creating new interesting styles with Helina. He further works as the composer and rapper with reggae artists like Django and Brymmi as well as other fellow artists of Homegrown Production.

Fueled by his ambition, passion, and capacity for hard work, this 22 year old dynamic youngster balances a life of music with that of college education and work. As can be seen from his music, he indeed is living his name of the legendary Ethiopian philosopher, Rasselas. His creative approach to Hip Hop, reggae, and Ethiopian music and his grace on stage are constantly evolving.

SERGE TAKRI

African dancer and choreographer of Ivorian background based in Montreal.

STAR FIVE

The Democratic Republic of Congo is home to the popular dance music known as Soukous and Rumba. Star Five Band members are among the finest Congolese musicians based in North America. The Toronto based group includes the drum kit veteran and popular dancer Patou Bokelo, guitarists Eric Bukasa, Paty Bukasa, Kevin Kibonge and Christian Mabanga on bass guitar, Yoshi Lomanda, Eric Muya and Andy on chorus vocals with lead vocalist extraordinaire Joseph “Pecos” Nsukula.

Many members of the Star Five Band have received awards and recognition for their contributions to African music including a Toronto African Music Award for Best New performer in 1999 and a nomination in 2000 for Band of the year.

The Congolese super-group heats up their live performance with the latest dance moves from Kinshasa and Paris, like the popular N’dombolo and Kiwanzenza. The high-energy performance is guaranteed to keep you on your feet, dancing the night away.

Star Five has performed at many festivals including Afrofest at Queens Park Bana y’Africa Festival at Nathan Phillips Square, Bamboo Club, and many other venues and community events. Recently, Star Five thrilled the crowd at Music Africa’s Soukous-Champeta party at the Lula Lounge with an exciting evening of great music along with dance moves that got the crowd up on their feet.

Star Five is one of Toronto’s most sought after Soukous band. This world renowned group of Congolese artists livens up its audiences with well orchestrated choreography and high energy rhythms and music.

ZPN

African Hip Hop