Sunday, June 13, 2010

Muhtadi International Drumming Festival

On the weekend of 5th June, Queens Park in Toronto came alive to the sound of thousand throbbing drums, representing various cultures from around the world. This was the Muhtadi International Drumming festival, held for the 11th year in Toronto. Its main purpose is to celebrate the drum and how it plays an important role in many of the cultures around the world.

Music is the language that can overcome cultural barriers. Almost all cultures in the world have some form of music associated with it, and wherever there is music, a drum is sure to take center stage. It performs a key role in keeping the beat and keeping the other instruments in line. When it comes to Toronto, it is a melting pot of many different cultures. Even though they are away from their home, these people make a point to keep their cultures alive. What this festival does is to give them a chance to showcase the role the drum has in their traditional music.

The founder of the festival is a performer by the name of Muhtadi, who has a career spanning over 30 years. He is considered Canada’s premier percussionists, with the ability to play a wide assortment of percussion instruments. He was born in Trinidad and later moved to Canada in 1974, and started the festival in 2000. He also conducts classes on drumming. The performance of the students of the academy, along with Muhtadi, is the headliner of the show. Believe me, they are amazing.

The theme for this year was Women in Rhythm, celebrating the role women play in music and culture. One thing mentioned by Muhtadi was that 90% of those attending his drumming classes are women. This is a fact when most of the performers at the event were women.

One exiting fact was that our little island also had some representation at the festival, albeit a small one. A Sri Lankan lady gave a solo performance on a “udarata bera” and performed a traditional dance, to some traditional songs. The crowd was really into the songs. Kudos for her for putting on a good show, even if it was by herself. I hope it is not a case of our people forgetting our culture as soon as they land here.

There are some videos I took, plus some pics. Unfortunately my camera ran out of juice, so wasn’t able to cover the whole event. I uploaded some of the vids I tool to youtube, but I couldn't also find other vids on youtube. It's something you have to see and hear to truly appreciate.

Hope you guys have a good weekend. Cheers!

Base and Snare Drummers

Mexican Drumming and Dancing

Mexican Drumming and Dancing - Love the costume, especially the feather headpiece

Njacko (pronounced Jacko) Backo and Kalimba Kalimba. Master African drummer hailing from Cameroon. Read bio here
Drummers from Nigeria

Drummers from Nigeria

South Korean Drumming

A Sri Lankan lady did a solo performance of traditional drumming and dancing.

Japanese Drummers

Japanese Drummers

Japanese Drummers

Mexican Drumming and Dancing

Sri Lankan Drumming

Brazilian Samba Troop Baque de Bamba (vid not mine :) )

1 comment:

Chavie said...

very interesting! :)