It’s the first of its kind, celebrating the fusion of Canadian-Jamaican culture; a reggae lover’s dream concert with Freddie McGregor, Etana, Anthony B and Khago. And from Canada; Belinda Brady, Iley Dread and Leroy Gibbons.
The 2012 CanJam Festival is more than a concert; it is an evening that highlights the best of Jamaica through fashion, film, music and art. “We want to give people a total experience of all the cultural goodies that the relationship between Canada and Jamaica has spawned,” says Nardia McKenzie, a member of the planning committee. “We’ll treat them to a fashion show, film and theatrical performances and art displays.”
But of course the main draw is the powerhouse line up. Songstress Etana) says she is excited to meet all her Canadian fans. “When I get on stage I transform into something totally different…the person on stage is much freer, it’s a different high that cannot be explained,” says Etana. “On stage there’s nothing to think about but music and the energy of the crowd. Sometimes I even get goose bumps, it’s an amazing feeling.”
And for Etana, the CanJam Festival will be part of a dream come true. When asked who she would love to collaborate with and what her dream concert would look like, without skipping a beat, she named Freddie McGregor. “I am still star struck around him, he’s the type of artist who you just can’t stop being a fan of,” she says. Her brand new new album Better Tomorrow will be available March 2013.
And there is equal love and excitement from Freddie McGregor for the powerful female songstress. “Etana is such a blessed vocalist, she is so special and the song we recorded together is pure magic,” he says. McGregor says he is most excited about performing the duet Let It Be Me with Etana, which is featured on his much anticipated new album titled Freddie McGregor The Captain (available August 2012) “We have never performed it on stage together and Etana doesn’t know it yet, but we are going to perform it at CanJam together,” he says laughing. “And when Canadians hear that song, trust me… it is one monster of a song!”
Fans can also anticipate sizzling performances from Khago and Anthony B. Rising reggae star Khago, with his club favorite smash hit “Nah Sell Out” will make his Canadian debut at the CanJam Festival. He has never performed in Canada and his fans can’t wait to finally see him live.
Conscious reggae artist Anthony B just came off a 5 month tour in Europe and after a short break he is ready to bring his electric stage performance to CanJam Festival.
One of the most anticipated parts of the festival is the Fusion Fashion Show, presented by the Jamaican Fashion Collective. “The fashion show will be inspirational, comfortable, exciting, representing 'Out of many one people'. It will feature several designers that will be putting together a cohesive collection that shows the strength and the tenacity of our people,” says Carone Fisher-Messado, the fashion show’s organizer. “As a nation we may be very small, one might even say a dot on the map, but we have been very influential over the last 50 years. We now need to use that influence to make a positive impact on lives of Jamaicans and those around us.”
The festival will be hosted at The Sound Academy and features The Appleton VIP Lounge; including preferred lounge seating, and complimentary food and drinks. “We’re very excited to have Appleton as a sponsor,” says McKenzie. “They are an iconic Jamaican brand and Canada is their largest international market, so they really embody the Jamaican Canadian fusion.” The Appleton VIP Lounge is also where the after party happens; an exclusive gathering where ticket holders can meet and mingle with the artistes and local celebrities.
The artistes selected for the show cater to a wide variety of music lovers. “Most events in Toronto are either strictly dance hall or reggae, but the CanJam Festival really allows people to enjoy all the genres of Jamaican music as well as experience all the other arts forms we have become famous for around the world,” says McKenzie.
When you buy a ticket to CanJam you will also be helping a great cause. Part proceeds are going to Food For The Poor, which is helping to build 150 basic schools in Jamaica.
Artists performing at CanJam Festival Concert:
Freddie McGregor | Grammy nominated, longstanding reggae artist with a career that started at the age of 7. Hits include “Big Ship” and “Sitting and Watching”
Anthony B | A socio-political reggae star who has collaborated with artistes such as Wyclef Jean and Snoop Dogg. Hits include “Raid De Barn” and “Fire Pon Rome”.
Etana | Compared to South Africa’s Miriam Makeba, her style fuses acoustic folk with roots reggae and neo soul. International Reggae & World Music Awards winner. Hits include “Wrong Address”; “I'm Not Afraid” and “Blessing” from the album "The Strong One”.
Khago | Up and coming reggae sensation. His 2010 hit song “Nah Sell Out” is a regular party and radio favourite.
Leroy Gibbons | Lovers Rock Reggae Singer, hits include “Cupid” and “This Magic Moment”.
Iley Dread | Juno Nominated Reggae Artist, Winner of Canadian Reggae Music Awards.
Belinda Brady | Contemporary Reggae Singer, Juno Nominated, Canadian Urban Music Award Winner
Hosted by Canada’s Favourite Comic Jay Martin and one of Jamaica’s most loved stage actresses Terri Salmon.