Muhtadi drum fest starts with parade

Not only is it a driving force behind most traditional music, the drum is representative of a common cultural element, particularly for those of African descent in the Diaspora.

This year, Toronto residents and visitors from diverse backgrounds help celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Muhtadi International Drumming Festival (MIDF).

The celebration starts with the official launch on Thursday, June 4 at 7 p.m. at the new Artscape Wychwood Barns at Christie Street and Benson.

New to the MIDF this year is its Parade of Drums featuring some of Toronto’s best-known percussion groups, such as Maracatu Nunca Antes.

Beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday June 6, the parade will leave from Ramsden Park, at Davenport Road and Yonge Street, travel south on Yonge to Bloor Street, west to University Avenue, and south to Queen’s Park for the main event starting at noon for two days of rhythmic fun. The MIDF will end on Sunday, June 7.

Some of what attendees can expect are Brazilian beats by Samba Squad, traditional West African and diasporic rhythms from Baro Dununba as well as Caribbean steel-pan music from Afropan.

From the first festival that took place in 2000, the event has since grown to entertain an audience of approximately 20,000 people. This year, the festival’s main event offers over 30 acts on two stages, free of charge. The MIDF is the largest of its kind in Canada.

The MIDF’s founder and creative director, Muhtadi, was born in Trinidad and plays a variety of percussion instruments. He has worked with internationally recognized artists such as Mary Wilson from The Supremes and the legendary Lord Kitchener.

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