GIMME ONE RIDDIM: Ska & The Soundtrack to Jamaica’s Freedom

Poster with image of a black couple from the 60s dancing

Ska – Jamaica’s new freedom soundtrack having recently gained independence from the United Kingdom.

“It is the year 1963. The heat of the island is soaring through the rooftops and rising from the dancing bodies at the Sounds Systems street party in Kingston, Jamaica.  The new sound and love of music in this island, resides in the heart and soul of ‘ska.’ A unique musical blend of rhythmic African music and New Orleans jazz, this sweet, new and popular sound pumps through the speakers and resonates through the island becoming Jamaica’s new freedom soundtrack having recently gained independence from the United Kingdom after 300 years. This is it; a new sound, a new musical revolution, a new meaning, a new life, a new creation of history influencing the island and the world forever.”(cited from Gimme One Riddim website)

Gimme One Riddim is the newest work by Toronto talent Jasmyn Fyffe. Jasmyn, along with Natasha Powell, co-produced and choreographed this play

Gimme One Riddim runs March 13 – 15
Winchester Street Theatre
80 Winchester Street
Toronto, ON M4X 1B2
Click here for a map

The Ska beat and style aesthetic went on to inspire mashup culture in places like Coventry, England with the 2 Tone genre – a criss-crossing of Ska, Rocksteady, Punk, New Wave and Reggae whose vibrations crossed an ocean to inspire more fusing in places like Southern California with bands like Fishbone and No Doubt. For many people I know the 2nd and 3rd wave of Ska was the soundtrack of their youth!

And what a great soundtrack it was! Thanks Jamaica! One love!

Grab your tickets on the Gimme One Riddim Eventbrite page.

THE SPIRIT OF SANKOFA: Looking Back at the History of African Dance with Esie Mensah

“Many dances of the past we are still doing in the present”

Each year Harbourfront Centre hosts the KUUMBA Festival to kick off Black History Month. This year take advantage of Toronto dancer / choreographer Esie Mensah’s “A Journey Through African Dance.”

It was very important for me to showcase Africa over the decades. Being a part of a traditional African group I wanted people to experience where many dances originated from. As I did research I realized that many of those dances from the past we are still doing in the present so I turned to the music. In showcasing the dance I am showcasing the music of Africa over the decades. You will see Africa from the traditional, afrobeat (40-70s) and azonto (present). We see people be inspired by politics, love, and just feeling good. I want to represent Africa in a beautiful light. When we appreciate our history we can continue to be innovative at any point in our lives.”
~Esie Mensah

Along with her evening talk Esie will also be leading an Afrofusion dance class at 3 pm. And if dance classes are your thing why not grab a snack then return at 6 pm for more Toronto dance talent – Jasmyn Fyffe with be teaching a workshop in Contemporary Dance.

All events at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre as part of KUUMBA.
Get the latest on  Esie on twitter @EsieMensah & Jasmyn on twitter @JasmynFyffe.

Female dancer leaping into air on beach with water and rocks behind her
Image of Jasymn Fyffe by Rob Rogers.
Female dancer jumping up into air in studio with mirror behind herImage of Esie Mensah by TOPortfolio.