Bring it on: TD Sunfest roars with Canadian reggae pioneer

Ammoye wants to take you on a trip.

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Ammoye wants to take you on a trip.

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And it’s not just any trip, when the Toronto-based, Juno-nominated reggae star takes the stage July 7 for TD Sunfest at Victoria Park.

“I’m going to take you on a journey that will fill you with light, inspiration and motivation to step out and share that light with the world,” said Jamaican-born Ammoye, real name Shernette Amoy Evans.

Ammoye is one of 41 artists from across Canada and around the world to perform at the free world music festival which usually draws more than 200,000 people over four days.

The musical acts come from some of the most remote corners of the world, like Lindigo, who hails from the tiny island of Reunion, a French overseas region located in the Indian Ocean 1,000 kilometers to the east from Madagascar.

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International artists come from Central and South America, Europe (including DakhaBrakha in Ukraine) and Africa, plus a special showcase of four artists from Spain’s Canary Islands, including Alba Gil, Yone Rodriguez, Olga Cerpa Y Mestisay and Hirahi Afonso.

Upcoming national acts include Sunfest stalwarts Lazo, Toronto reggae star also known as Mr. Sunfest for having performed at all but a few Sunfests since the festival began in 1994, and Samba Squad, whose Extremely entertaining and highly energetic Brazilian percussion Music-based music never fails to delight audiences.

London’s Eagle Flight Singers will also be back and there are several Juno nominees and winners in the lineup, including Laila Biali, Djely Tapa, Lazo, Zaki Ibrahim and, of course, Ammoye, who has five Juno nominations to his assets, including one for his 2021 hit, Give It All, from his new album Water.

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Headliners on the bandstand main stage and beer garden stage all perform at 10 p.m. each day and include Chilean Pascuala Ilabaca Y Fauna on the main stage and two-time nominee Zaki Ibrahim. the Polaris Music Prize, on the beer garden stage Thursday; Reunionese Lindigo on the main stage and Brazilian Francisco El Hombre in the beer garden on Friday; Ukrainian DakhaBrakha on the main stage and Colombian Ghetto Kumbe in the beer garden on Saturday; and, to close the festival on Sunday, South Koreans NST and Soul Sauce on the main stage and Montrealer Sonido Pesao in the beer garden.

There are three other stages with performers from Friday to Sunday, including the North Stage Jazz Village, the Central Stage and the South Stage. All acts perform at least two shows to allow the audience to move between stages.

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Visit for information on performers, schedules and vendors.

There will also be over 200 vendors selling food representing cuisines from around the world, as well as arts, crafts and consumer goods.

Mercedes Caxaj, who shares the title of artistic director with her father Alfredo, the founder of Sunfest, said that two musical acts that were in the festival’s original lineup ran into visa issues and won’t be coming: Cuba’s all-female Morena Son and La Mambanegra from Colombia. A Canadian-based group was added, Big Smoke Brass of Toronto.

When Ammoye takes to the main stage at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, it marks her first Sunfest appearance, though she’s been a part of the Toronto music scene for more than a decade, receiving her first of five Juno nominations for the recording. reggae of the year. for the single Radio in 2013, followed by nominations for Baby It’s You (2014), Sorry (2017) and The Light (2018).

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But it was Give It All and the balance of tracks from his Water album that got Ammoye back on the road and performing in front of live audiences again.

“Give It All is about stepping out into the light, discovering ways to overcome and finding the strength to heal and be a better human,” said Ammoye, who performs just ahead of Chilean headliners Pascuala Ilabaca and Fauna.

“Water is my rebirth, discovering the light within me. I have become a new me. The album is a reflection of things waking up inside me and connecting to my inner network, not my outer network .It’s about how I feel about myself.I want to learn and grow and I want to help others awaken and discover who they are and express it.Water means rebirth.

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Reggae has long been considered a male-dominated genre that emerged in Jamaica in the 1960s. The genre is deeply tied to Rastafari, an Afrocentric religion developed in Jamaica in the 1930s that sees the musician as the messenger, a vision which Ammoye clearly embraces.

Mercedes Caxaj said she can’t wait to see Ammoye play.

“She’s a woman with incredible stage presence, a trailblazer as a reggae band leader who has a great way of getting the crowd going,” Caxaj said. “She has so much energy. She’s a rising star in Canada.

Ammoye said reggae is a genre that continues to resonate with music lovers “because it aims to touch your heart”.

“Reggae is supposed to uplift you and motivate you, make you feel good, and everyone wants to feel good, especially now,” post-pandemic, she said.

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“Reggae is always relatable, the songs are about things that are still happening today. It’s music that gets you moving and thinking about how to be a better human and how you can help others. It brings people together, doesn’t separate us. »

Caxaj urged Londoners who have never been to TD Sunfest to get out there and explore music.

“For people who don’t know about Sunfest, it’s a place of discovery,” she says.

“There are amazing bands, foods, artisans and craft beers to discover. If you’re unfamiliar with world music, this is where you come to learn and see a reflection of what it’s like to live in Canada, a culturally diverse country. It is largely an educational platform for discovering music from around the world and learning about cultures, the fusion of cultures and genres. Each band plays twice because Londoners don’t know who they are and, if you miss a performance, there’s always another to watch.

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What: TD Sunfest World Music Festival featuring 41 Canadian and international musical artists.

When: From Thursday July 7 to Sunday July 10, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Where: Victoria Park

Admission: Free, although donations are welcome. Visit for more information on music numbers, festival and schedule.


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