Afrofest Performers

Emmanuel Jal

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EMMANUEL JAL was born into the life of a child solider and through unbelievable struggles managed to survive and emerge as a recording artist, achieving worldwide acclaim for his unique style of hip hop with its message of peace and reconciliation born out of his personal experiences. Emmanuel Jal’s fifth studio album “The Key” was released on September 9, 2014 on Gatwitch / Universal. The new 13 track album includes collaborations with Grammy award winning artists Nile Rodgers (who produced the lead single “My Power”) and Nelly Furtado (who appears on the duet “Scars” and “Party”). “The Key” is Jal’s most ambitious and sonically adventurous music project to date. Two songs from Emmanuel’s album (“Scars” and “We Fall”) will also feature on the Warner Brothers’ soundtrack from ‘The Good Lie’. In 2008 a full-length documentary on his life was released. The film, “Warchild,” won 12 prestigious film festival awards worldwide. In the same year, his autobiography, also called Warchild, was published by Little Brown.

Canada Dalton Higgins (647) 880 2355 (m) / (647) 347 7138 (p)
USA Fran DeFeo Fran DeFeo PR
917-767-5255 Tom Muzquiz Subterranean media
323-337-6563 @emmanueljal

Beyond Sound

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Beyond Sound Empijah, is a collective of young musicians.

They have had the wonderful fortune of growing up in some of the most vibrant, innovative, pioneering arts organizations throughout the Greater Toronto Area.

Their youthful enthusiasm and endless talent has made them a drum and dance ensemble dedicated to merging traditional West African drum and dance with their contemporary genres including, Hip Hop, House, Rap, South African, Caribbean and any culture that they have the opportunity to be affiliated with.
This dynamic collective possess over 25 years of performance experience.
They hail from Toronto based dance and drum organizations; Ballet Creole, COBA, and Ngoma Drum and Dance Ensemble.
All of the members of Beyond Sound Empijah have performed with the three core organizations.
The group is an extended family of artists keeping their musical traditions alive and foraging their expressions and identity in their performances.
Beyond Sound Empijah is comprised of youthful experienced drummers, dancers, and vocalists.

They have been invited to perform at numerous diverse public and private events on the international stage and throughout Canada.
Some of the events and organizations which Beyond Sound Empijah have shared their boundless talent with are:
The Muthadi International Drumming Festival, Afrofest, International Associations of Blacks in Dance, The Royal Ontario Museum, United Way – Peel Region Black Community Advisory Council, The Consular Ball, Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Imani Awards, Majanga Festival, Africentric School Gala, Rhythm Fest Barrie, Nia Centre for the Arts – Afro-Diasporic Art: Recognition Justice Develop launch at Toronto City Hall, the TCTHC Youth Summit, the African Cultural & Development Association’s 2011 African Emancipation Festival in Georgetown, Guyana.

Each musician has been nurtured, trained and shaped under the tutelage of master drummers and dancers from the African diaspora, in the art of djembe and doundoun playing and contemporary and traditional dance.
Beyond Sound Empijah is an active and thriving collective that will bring you dancing to your feet, while gaining the support of multigenerational audiences through their innovative performances.


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Our music is centred around Mbira, an instrument that has been played in Zimbabwe for hundreds of years. Mbira music could be thought of as one of the classical musics of Zimbabwe. Its dissonant bell-like sound is played in cascading rhythmic patterns for uplifting secular occasions, as well as for spiritual ceremony and ritual. In an authentic context, mbira music can be trance inducing.

Our story:
Nhapitapi started playing together in 2008 in Toronto. They played together under the umbrella name Masaisai (Mutamba and Memory are the co-founders of Masaisai). Masaisai had two components; the first component featured the presentation of Zimbabwean Mbira music. The second component had a more contemporary flavor, with a focus on electronic instruments and syncopated dance choreography. Masaisai rapidly became a hit on the Toronto African Music scene, where we were sought after to play at festivals such as Afrofest, for three consecutive years (2008, 2009, and 2010) and Bana Ya’Afrique (2008). Masaisai also played at popular locations in Toronto such as the Gladstone Hotel (2008, 2009, and 2010), The Silver Dollar (2010), The Clintons (2010) to mention but a few. Masaisai played in other Canadian cities such as Kingston (May and September 2009), Hamilton (2009 and 2010).

In 2009, Nhapitapi made a conscious decision to focus on Mbira Music. We put more time into learning Mbira, the history as well as different kinds of Mbira styles. Mutamba travelled to Zimbabwe (2009 and2010) to learn intimately more classical Mbira songs and acquire up to date instruments. These combined efforts culminated in the development of a repertoire that is both traditional in its spiritual depth, but also contemporary as we weave into it our own creations and combinations.

Whilst we continue to perform regular shows, we have also expanded into teaching this art, in Toronto and beyond. We teach Mbira style music and dance as a multidisciplinary collective. Mutamba and Evelyn teach Mbira theory and practice, while Memo teaches dance, shakers and drum. Our interest is to present Mbira Music as a living classical genre, which is entertaining and healing. Additionally, we hope to allow others to access Mbira music and hopefully learn it for performance and other purposes.

With a strong and growing repertoire, in depth knowledge of Mbira music and continuous networking within the music community, Nhapitapi continue to do self-produced shows in small restaurants, cultural festivals, farmer’s markets and community centers. We also play at community fundraisers and spiritual gatherings as our way of being in solidarity with community.

Nhapitapi was also featured on Rogers TV show Toronto’s Talent in February 2011 and some of our songs have been played on CBC radio 1. Some of our notable performances in include:
1. Harbourfront, 2010, July 1st
2. Carassauga, Mississauga (May 2010)
3. Liberian cultural Festival, Toronto (Sept, 2010)
4. Bring on the Sunshine, African Music Festival, Kitchener, Feb, 2011

Our Offerings:

1. Mbira Music Perfomances, as long you need us

2. Workshops (Zimbabwean Traditional Dance, Drumming, Shaker Playing, Song, Mbira)

3. Storytelling (Workshops and Perfomances)