Global Toronto 2021: A virtual celebration of international music

Maybe it’s better that Global Toronto 2021 won’t take place in person this year. With more than 20 spotlight artists, representing at least five countries, a virtual event makes it easier to check out all the incredible talent. 

Scheduled for June 14-18, the theme for this year’s event is “Now What: Making Space, Enacting Change.” 

Each of the 22 artists will have a chance to show off their skills and vision of a musical world, but there are also panel discussions, guided by three overarching principles: equity, accessibility and sustainability. 

“We have panels and webinars that will explore topics around equitable systems, climate justice and the larger issues/barriers faced by women and the BIPOC community,” the organization says. This year, there’s also a “Pay What You Can” option to make the whole event accessible to a larger audience. 

“Over the last three months, the GT21 jury of music professionals selected 22 Spotlight Artists — 18 Canadian and four international — through a rigorous process guided by equity, artistic quality and market readiness. Each artist will have their own Spotlight where they will be showcased to the international community,” says Small World Music, the event’s producer. 

This year’s highlighted artists include: 

AfrotroniX, named the “best African act in Diaspora” 

Bantü Salsa, a blend of African salsa and jazz

Briga, a multi-instrumentalist who creates music for visual media and sings in French and English

Bruno Capinan, a Brazilian-Canadian singer-composer who combines tropicalia-inspired music with resistance 

The Commotions, an 11-member band with two lead singers and a five-piece horn section

Élage Diouf, a Senegalese-born master percussionist, singer-songwriter

Duo Perse-Inca, musicians from Iran and Peru who combine their musical heritages and traditions

Fanfara Station, a three-piece band that incorporates a brass band and North African rhythm section with electro beats 

Lucio Feuillet, a singer-songwriter from Colombia 

Golnar & Mahar Trio, a multi-instrumental, multi-lingual, transcultural group

Lily Kadima, an emphatic performer known for her raspy voice 

Kurbasy, an avant-garde group that got its start in the Les Kurbas Theatre in Lviv, Ukraine

Labess, led by Nedjim Bouizzoul, a singer who performs in Arabic, French and Spanish

The Liquor Store, seven-member jazz ensemble 

Moneka Arabic Jazz, a group with Afro-Iraqi heritage and influence 

Moskitto Bar, a band that combines the sounds of Ukrainian, Balkan, Iraqi, Middle Eastern and French Celtic music 

Pantayo, an all-woman ensemble combining southern Philippines traditions with electronic sounds

PIQSIQ, Inuit-style throat-singing sisters from Nunavut

Malika Tirolien, a vocalist and songwriter-producer from Guadeloupe

Turkwaz, a group of four musician-singers with diverse traditions and backgrounds

Le Vent du Nord, a staple of Quebec’s progressive Francophone folk movement

Waahli, an artist and musician who speaks and performs in English, French and Haitian Creole

More information on this year’s event can be found here

Amber Healy

I write about music policy and lawsuits because they're endlessly fascinating.

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