Tonight at Lula Lounge Toronto’s musical communities come out in force to support and celebrate Billy Bryans. See event on facebook.
Every city has certain special individuals who give a lot of blood sweat and tears toward keeping a cultural scene vibrant. These people work at the grass roots and commercial level, never tiring (well almost) and always pushing forward movements and artists through the strength of their convictions. One of these great cultural producers in Toronto is Billy Bryans. Cut straight from the 80s Parachute Club and an immense love of Cuban music and culture, he is behind so many cool stuff of the internationalized side of Toronto. In recent years I played drums with Billy in a couple of Brazilian street troupes and attended a few nights he curated at Lula Lounge and as part of Havana Cultura.
I’d like to share some of my thoughts and memories of the great Billy Bryans. Billy is in palliative care from a long battle with lung cancer so send him your good vibes.
The first time I formally met Billy was through Luis Mario Ochoa at Salsa on St. Clair 2009. After we shook hands Billy asked Luis why he was hiring teenagers to play in his band. I was 23.
One word that instantly comes to mind when I think of Billy is diversity. Billy worked in all the facets of the music business but more important is the the cultural range. You would be hard pressed to find a musician who more genuinely reflects the true cultural diversity of the city of Toronto. [Read more]