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Counting Down to International Music and Dance at TD Sunfest 2017 | Arts & Culture

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Counting Down to International Music and Dance at TD Sunfest 2017
Counting Down to International Music and Dance at TD Sunfest 2017

TD Sunfest 2017, Canada’s premier celebration of world cultures, returns to nearby London, Ontario’s Victoria Park from July 6-9!

A free admission event, the park will open daily at 11 a.m., with opening ceremonies scheduled to take place at 6:45 p.m. Thursday, July 6. Live music will be featured from 6 to 11 p.m. Thursday and noon to 11 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

How can you whisk around the world, savoring all that summer has to offer while avoiding high admission and travel costs?

The answer is just a short road trip away: TD Sunfest, a free celebration of music, dance, crafts, cuisine and visual art held in London, Ontario’s beautiful Victoria Park. Canada’s largest world music festival attracts major global names, intriguing international newcomers, and an array of increasingly cosmopolitan music heroes. This year’s 35-plus visiting bands include acts from countries like Algeria and Morocco that are difficult to catch in North America.

"We offer the global village in one convenient location, the flavors and tastes of the whole world," boasts TD Sunfest Executive and Artistic Director Alfredo Caxaj.

The festival’s embrace of global cultures is unique. No other event in Canada focuses exclusively on world music and dance. TD Sunfest’s lineup is a study in cultural contrasts, where authentic moments of voodoo spirituality from Haiti (Chouk Bwa Libète) can follow a swampy mix of Mississippi Delta blues, Caribbean rhythms and Big Easy funk and drive from Guadeloupe (Delgres). Alfredo adds: “World music now complements the programming at many summer festivals, but for us, it’s always been the priority. And while paid-admission concerts are the norm in North America, here at TD Sunfest we have outstanding talent free and accessible to the whole community, which creates a unique environment.”

“TD Sunfest is an event unlike anything in this city, or country — an event where whole families turn out to celebrate their origins. It creates so many moments to digest, moments of pure joy, not just for the music but the exchange of culture,” said Joe Belanger, London Free Press Arts & Entertainment reporter.

Fans come for the distinctive atmosphere as well as the music. TD Sunfest’s charming and imminently family-friendly setting means that 225,000-plus visitors from near and far can meet, dance, feast, play and kick back together. Again this July, more than 225 area craft, visual art and food vendors will line the footpaths in Victoria Park. And if festival goers need a change of pace, they are right in the heart of London’s culture and entertainment district, a short walk from museums, restaurants and great places to stay.

Alfredo says, “The food has become one of the biggest attractions of the festival.” In fact, many exhibitors are members of London’s culturally diverse communities who prepare special dishes exclusively for TD Sunfest. And the craft vendors specialize in one-of-a-kind, handmade items that you won’t find anywhere else. For discerning patrons, it’s a winning combination of eye-catching treasures and mouthwatering meals.

But TD Sunfest’s enduring appeal is more than simply the music and dance, or the food, crafts and visual art. It’s the extraordinary way in which everything synergizes to create a multi-dimensional, multi-sensuous outdoor experience. One young fan said: "In talking to friends in other parts of Ontario, it's definitely the vibe that people love — the sun, the fun, the good food — and you just cannot find it anywhere else.”

More than ever, this summer’s international music and dance artists hail from the farthest corners of the planet. All weekend long, patrons can savor the exotic yet strangely familiar sounds of groups like South Korea’s popular six-piece, Coreyah; Brazil’s acclaimed dance juggernaut, Brixiga 70; Venezuela’s legendary pioneers of salsa, Dimensión Latina; Ukraine’s mesmerizing folk/post-punk quartet, DakhaBrakha; and two genre-defying and multi-layered North African bands, Djmawi Africa (Algeria) and Gabacho Maroc (Morocco/France).

Through funding from the Government of Ontario, TD Sunfest ’17 is celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary by presenting the special programs SUN Nation Under a Groove and Suntario150. Both showcase the richness of made-in-Canada world music and jazz, with representation “from sea to sea to sea;” for example, The Jerry Cans (Nunavut), ASHK (Nova Scotia), Delhi 2 Dublin (B.C.), and New Canadian Global Music Orchestra (Ontario).

“I’ve been floored at Sunfest so many times by the calibre of musicians playing there; every band is just phenomenal. To me, that’s the gauge of an amazing festival. The talent that goes up on those stages is some of the best I’ve ever seen in Canada,” said Tayo Branston of Five Alarm Funk.

While TD Sunfest audiences relish the high marquee value of revered headliners like Dimensión Latina, they also appreciate the opportunity to discover eclectic new artists from afar. Alfredo notes, “What keeps the festival fresh is that 90 percent of the groups every year are here for the first time. We’re sharing all these beautiful musical expressions from the same continent, from other parts of the world, that people have never experienced. That is the beauty of a festival like ours, the opportunity to explore possibilities.”

As word of the Sunfest experience has spread, the festival has become a prime destination for Canadians and, increasingly, Americans, too. “It’s so amazing to see the number of e-mails and phone calls we get every year from people asking for the festival date because they want to plan their holiday around our event,” beams Alfredo. “They can spend their weekend savoring every aspect of all these cultures — from music to arts and crafts to food. They come with their family and friends because they can really relax.”

TD Sunfest is a perfect summer getaway for the music lover or family in search of an inexpensive celebration of world cultures!

• Bareto (Peru)
• Bixiga 70 (Brazil)
• Black Umfolosi (Zimbabwe)
• Chouk Bwa Libète (Haiti)
• Coreyah (South Korea)
• DakhaBrakha (Ukraine)                
• Delgres (Guadeloupe)
• Dimensión Latina (Venezuela)
• Djmawi Africa (Algeria)
• Gabacho Maroc (Morocco/France)
• Gustavito (Brazil)
• Korrontzi (Spain)
• Marutyri (The Netherlands)
• Neema Children’s Choir (Uganda)
• Tanghetto (Argentina)
• Throes + The Shine (Portugal/Angola)
• WÖR (Belgium)

• Allison Au Jazz Quartet (ON)
• Quinn Bachand’s Brishen (BC)
• Heather Bambrick Quartet (NL/ON)
• Delhi 2 Dublin (BC)
• Diyet & The Love Soldiers (YT)
• Five Alarm Funk (BC)
• The Jerry Cans (NU)
• Tara Kannangara (ON)
• Kleztory (QC)
• Lazo (ON)
• Lemon Bucket Orkestra (ON)
• Barbra Lica Quintet (ON)
• Monsoon (ON)
• New Canadian Global Music Orchestra (ON)
• Rosie & the Riveters (SK)
• Samba Squad (ON)
• So Long Seven (ON)
• Christine Tassan et les Imposteures (QC)

For more information, please visit www.sunfest.on.ca, email info@sunfest.on.ca or call (519) 672-1522.

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