This week Toronto has been getting a dose of musical sights and sounds from around the world. The Small World Music Festival, now in its twelfth (12th) year, is in full effect at several locations around the city. Last weekend saw an incredible collection of talent representing traditions from different global musical movements. Dundas Square was lively that Saturday, when a number of diverse acts –including Kendra Ray, Lemon Bucket Orkestra, Wesli and M.A.K.U. Sound System, among many others — rocked the crowd.
Too often than not, Toronto is full of wicked bands, events and cultural movements that go unnoticed by the city’s general populace. It amazes me how much talent we have and so little conscious public that accompanies it and makes it part of their lifestyle. Small World Music Festival, cognizant of this, has re-introduced itself into the musical currents that are part of the TO landscape, allying themselves with Uma Nota Culture, Fedora Upside Down, and some quality international acts.
Uma Nota Culture’s story with Small World Music dates back to last year when they were a community partner of our inaugural festival. Several Uma Nota acts have also been hired by them in the past. This year, we co-present their festival’s closing party at Lula Lounge, which they have dubbed “Brazilian Blend.” The night features Maracatu Mar Aberto and Maria Bonita and the Band.
Maria Bonita truly is special, and coming off of a summer where they played, among other gigs, a two-month-plus Monday night residency at the Dakota Tavern, this band promises energy. Jerusa Leão, the charismatic leader of the band, is also planning a Brazil trip soon, so this may be one of the last chances you get to see her.
Energy, romance … and even though it’s crowded, there is lots of room on the dance floor.
Maracatu Mar Aberto is also an Uma Nota favorite and partner. The last time they were featured at an Uma Nota event was the infamous and incredible Block Party. The time before that, in July 2011, NOW magazine critic Benjamin Boles commented: “Their sound is based on the maracatu de baque virado style, but by giving it contemporary context – bits of sampling, for example – the locals prove they’re not strict traditionalists. If you’re not familiar with Afro-Brazilian music, the modern touches might not be overly evident, but that won’t diminish the impact of their thundering drums and soulful vocals.”
For this September Sunday’s performance we get a glimpse of Mar Aberto’s stage group, a project known as Mar Aberto SoundSystem. This group expands from the Maracatu percussion repertoire to include the influences of some great sounds and other rhythms and songs, like samba, ciranda, soul, coco de roda and reggae. Expect some sweet stuff …
That was the SoundSystem; below is all Maracatu Mar Aberto!