Blues Legend Lucky Peterson launches Kitchener Blues Festival!

–Lachman Balani

 The cavernous up tempo bar and nightclub Elements in Kitchener was the scene for the launch party of the Kitchener Blues Festival this past weekend.

The Kitchener Blues Festival is one of the few tightly run annual music festivals in Ontario announcing its line-up way ahead of its scheduled event in August.

This 4 day festival in Kitchener spread over 3 stages boasts of having hosted some amazing acts in recent times such as Eric Burdon, Randy Bachman, Burton Cummings, Foghat , Edgar Winter, Rik Emmett and many more! It is the go to event for blues and rock lovers in the neighbouring Greater Toronto Area.

Matt Weidinger opened the kickoff party setting the mood for the party-goers.

Following the opening band, Lucky Peterson from Buffalo and Kitchener homeboy Shawn Kellerman and his band sent the crowd into a dancing tizzy as both young and old folks got up to groove to the blues.

Shawn opened up with his band and Lucky joined in a couple of songs later and they all came together to play nonstop blues rock ramming one song into the next without missing a beat! It was incredible to see them play for a full hour with no break between songs! Continue reading “Blues Legend Lucky Peterson launches Kitchener Blues Festival!”

Taj Express: The Bollywood Musical Revue

Civic Theatres Toronto presents the glitter and sparkle of Bollywood with the Canadian premiere of Taj Express, at Toronto’s St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts Theatre November 23 – December 1, 2019. Tickets go on sale to the public this Friday, January 18, 10AM and can be purchased online at ticketmaster.ca, by phone, or in person at select Civic Theatres Toronto box offices.

Set to an unforgettable soundtrack featuring the songs of Academy Award-winning composer A.R. Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours) Taj Express explodes with the sounds of India and captures the vibrant, expressive spirit of the world of Bollywood movies that have been entertaining billions of people for generations. Through a fusion of film, dance, and music, this dazzling international sensation takes audiences on a live cinematic journey through modern Indian culture and society. The production is a high energy celebration of new India’s pop music, Bollywood culture, and deep traditions featuring colorful costumes, joyful dance, and thrilling live music.

Featuring a cast of 26 and 3 on-stage musicians, Taj Express is full of high-energy music and sensational dance scenes. Continue reading “Taj Express: The Bollywood Musical Revue”

Toronto’s New Year’s Eve celebration to take place at Nathan Phillips Square

Continue reading “Toronto’s New Year’s Eve celebration to take place at Nathan Phillips Square”

A Musical Celebration of Lights & Life

The Indo-American Arts Council announces the Music of Lights and Life Concert on November 3 2018 7:30PM at the magnificent Peter Jay Sharp Theatre, Symphony Space. Maestro Amjad Ali Khan will be joined by Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash on the Sarod. Accompanying them will be Amit Kavthekar and Anubrata Chatterjee on the Tabla.

Maestro Amjad Ali Khan needs no introduction with NYTimes calling him “The most charismatic performer of Indian Ragas….”  and The Guardian declaring him to be “the finest living exponent of the sarod” . He is India’s most celebrated classical musician and an undisputed master of the Sarod, a stringed instrument used in classical Indian music. He is the seventh generation of musicians playing the same instrument, being heir to a long and distinguished musical lineage. He gave his first performance at age six and has since performed his own compositions with the finest orchestras and ensembles in venues around the world, including an acclaimed performance at the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Norway.  The Grammy-nominated musician has won many prestigious awards including the Crystal Award at the World Economic Forum, UNICEF’s National Ambassadorship, and India’s prestigious awards, the Padma Vibhushan and the Sangeet Natak Academi award for music.

Based on his belief that music transcends all, he has broadened the appeal of Indian music and its spirit throughout the world, transcending race, region and generation. In the current political climate, there is even more reason to find commonality and feel inclusive. Continue reading “A Musical Celebration of Lights & Life”

2018 CNE BRINGS LARGER-THAN-LIFE ATTRACTIONS AND SUPERSIZED ENTERTAINMENT

NEW: Indoor Lantern Festival, TELUS Asian Market, Giant Garden Gnomes, Star-Studded Concert Series, and the US Air Force Thunderbirds return to the Canadian International Air Show for their only performance outside of the USA this year

– August 17 to September 3 –

Toronto’s iconic summer celebration, the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE), kicks off August 17 to
September 3 with all-new and more diverse programming than ever before. In celebration of the 2018 Canada-China Year of Tourism, the CNE is home to one of the world’s largest indoor lantern festivals featuring 17 illuminated large-scale art installations on display daily inside the Enercare Centre, as well as an outdoor TELUS Asian Market transforming Princes’ Blvd. into a bustling and lively marketplace for artisanal crafts and authentic street foods from Aug. 30 to Sept. 3.

Returning to its destination beside the Princess Margaret Fountain is the eight-feet tall CNE sign. A new popular ‘selfie’ photo opportunity at The Ex is the Nook of Gnomes inside Heritage Court, where visitors can find unexpected encounters with six- and 12-feet giant gnome statues decorated in greenery. Innovation is also a strong theme this year with the return of the CNE Innovation Garage and the Emerging Innovators Pitch Competition; a new Genius Lab Playground and Nintendo Kids Tech Zone; more play-to-win tournaments at Gaming Garage; and an exciting new robot competition where high school teams showcase their robotic creations for top honours. Continue reading “2018 CNE BRINGS LARGER-THAN-LIFE ATTRACTIONS AND SUPERSIZED ENTERTAINMENT”

#BollywoodMonster Mashup ready for monstrous audience in Mississauga

Bollywood fans get hyped! The season of #BollywoodMonster Mashup, presented by TD Bank Group is well underway after the the festival’s successful kickoff event, the #BollywoodMonster Teaser Party on Friday, July 6 at the FLY Nightclub.

The celebrations are set to continue with the #BollywoodMonster Family Day and Finale on July 21, #BollywoodMonster Concert on July 20 and #BollywoodMonster VIP & Media Cocktail Reception on July 19, which are all part of the largest South Asian festival in Canada’s eighth year.

Aaman Trikha, brought to you by TELUS, headlines the #BollywoodMonster Finale, which kicks off at 6 PM on Saturday, July 21 at Mississauga Celebration Square. Trikha is known as the voice of Akshay Kumar in Hookah Bar (Khiladi 786) and Salman Khan in Prem Leela (Prem Ratan Dhan Payo) with a number of other Bollywood hits under his belt. The #BollywoodMonster Orchestra will also return to the festival, blowing people’s minds by featuring top 40 hits from George Michael, Black Eyed Peas, and Gloria Estefan, mashed up with Bollywood hits from films such as Ram Balram, Don and Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna. Singer, songwriter and composer Himmy and the Bollywood Rock Band, dance duo Giggle Queens, and dance group Shiamak Showkids will also take the stage throughout the evening.

Families with kids of all ages can enjoy the #BollywoodMonster Family Day festivities, starting at 2 PM on July 21. Continue reading “#BollywoodMonster Mashup ready for monstrous audience in Mississauga”

desiFEST 2018 Showcases the best in Urban Desi Music

desiFEST 2018 Bigger and Better Than Ever​​

The 12th annual desiFEST wowed crowds once again with 12 hours of entertainment, featuring more than 25 artists in the heart of Toronto at Yonge and Dundas Square.

This year’s festival featured Canadian and International artists including: Calgary born Punjabi singer, The Prophecy; one of India’s most popular rappers and Hip Hop stars, Divine; a special tribute to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan by The Mad Band; Amar Sandhu and Pranna from Dallas, USA and fan favourites hailing from British Columbia, Anjali and
GPS. Thousands of attendees were also treated to a surprise performance by UK legend, Manj Musik.

“We had a dream line-up this year for our 12th annual festival,” says festival founder and CEO Satish Bala. “Giving artists a platform to share their music, their energy and message is what desiFEST is all about. Big Thanks to all the artists, fans and all sponsors including TD Telus and all our media friends, that made this year’s event so amazing.”

This year’s festival featured 3 days of artist meet and greet opportunities, industry events, receptions and more, across the GTA. Continue reading “desiFEST 2018 Showcases the best in Urban Desi Music”

CeleBrampton: Our City. Our Day.

​​CeleBrampton kicks off summer in the city on Saturday, June 9, from 11 am to 9 pm in downtown Brampton. This two-time Top 100 Festival and Event in Ontario award winner is an annual one-day community celebration that showcases Brampton’s open, friendly, diverse community and provides an opportunity for residents to learn about City initiatives and services.

 Parking will be available at the four garages Downtown. Residents also have the option to travel to and from CeleBrampton with Brampton Transit for a dollar. This applies to cash fares only.

 This year’s event will take place across the downtown and include the following fun, family-friendly activities:

 Garden Square, 11 am – 9 pm

·       Garden Square will come alive with community activities and entertainment. The Main Stage will feature all local entertainment with interactive dance classes and live music performances.

·       Also included will be Paint by Number: Community Art Project on the large Muskoka chair, an interactive video booth, the popular MyBrampton sign and more!

 Main Street North, 11 am – 9 pm

·       Celebrating Brampton’s global flavours, 15+ vendors will line the street selling a variety of authentic cultural cuisine. Continue reading “CeleBrampton: Our City. Our Day.”

JASHN- A LAVISH AFFAIRÉ raises the bar for South Asian Fashion Experience in Toronto!

By N. Balani

The Greater Toronto Area fashion world was rocked by this one of a kind event held over the weekend at the Red Rose Convention centre In Mississauga.

Fashion brain and former Femina Miss India, Liza Varma teamed up with locals Sharad Lall Mathur and Rajiv Malhotra, to bring together the best in fashion design, models and global expertise. Top gun fashionistas Anju Modi, Shyamal and Bhumika , Satya Paul, Pallavi Jaikishan, Vikas Makhija, Jainee, Prarena Grover and Mohey-Manyavar creations  from India along with Mississauga-based designer Diinesh Ramsay,  Arpan Vohra from the London fashion scene, Rozzy Surii- a familiar face in the Canadian Fashion weeks of Vancouver and Calgary- plus many more graced the spectacular event.

The three day fashion extravaganza opened with a beautiful gala evening filled with dance, music, food and entertainment keeping true to its name Jashn – meaning a celebration. Apart from the elegant runway shows, this splendid affair had exhibits by luxury wedding planners like Vogue Wedding Company and luxury jewellery brands Art Karat and Red Dot amongst many others showcasing their designs and services throughout the weekend.

This event, one of the first of its kind aims to bring in the world of South Asian designers not just for a fashion show but to further Indo-Canadian ties and meld fashion industry with global business opportunities.

As Designer Shyamal put it “the bridal collections we showcase brings India to the world in the form of craft or couture with sensibility to the Western world- it is a kind of fusion”. Continue reading “JASHN- A LAVISH AFFAIRÉ raises the bar for South Asian Fashion Experience in Toronto!”

Large crowds join Deepak Obhrai and Parliamentarians at the 17th National Diwali Celebration on Parliament Hill

 Hon. Deepak Obhrai, P.C., M.P. hosted the 17th National Diwali Celebration on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday evening (October 18).  

Mr. Obhrai was joined by the Hon. Andrew Scheer, Leader of the Official Opposition, Parliamentarians representing all political parties, members of the Ottawa diplomatic corps and an enthusiastic crowd of people from Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Ottawa.

 At the celebration, Mr. Obhrai along with Canada Post CEO Deepak Chopra, Indian High Commissioner Vikas Swarup, Mr. Scheer and Conservative Party Deputy Leader Lisa Raitt  unveiled two special stamps to mark Diwali and in celebration of Canada’s 150th Anniversary. This is the first time Canada Post and India Post have jointly issued a stamp.

 Mr. Obhrai said: “This has always been a community-driven event. This is your Diwali. It will continue with your support.” This year’s Diwali Celebration was organized with the cooperation of Hindu Temples and Indo-Canadian Community Organizations from across Canada. Continue reading “Large crowds join Deepak Obhrai and Parliamentarians at the 17th National Diwali Celebration on Parliament Hill”