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On November 4, 2023, the Toronto Music Experience (TME) held a concert at the TD Music Hall (part of the new expansion of Massey Hall) called “The Sound of Rhythms and Resistance.” It was TME’s first public event and it successfully served to illustrate the non-profit organization’s mandate of celebrating Toronto music—past, present and future. Inspired by the Rhythms and Resistance exhibit at the Friar’s Music Museum, curated by TME on behalf of the Downtown Yonge BIA, the concert showcased the rich legacy of Caribbean music in Toronto. Over 150 people attended “The Sound of Rhythms and Resistance” event at TD Music Hall, which featured a diverse range of reggae acts young and old. Veteran artists Jay Douglas and Nana McLean headlined the show, while next-generation acts Ammoye and 15-year-old Kairo McLean also performed. All four singers were backed by the Human Rights band. Also on the bill was the all-female reggae group Rayzalution. Meanwhile, the evening saw DJ Chocolate spinning discs and the event was emceed by radio host Carrie Mullings, daughter of Karl Mullings, one of the founding fathers of reggae music in Toronto. TME thanks the Toronto Arts Council for its generous support of this presentation.



Friar’s Music Museum, by the Downtown Yonge BIA, is located inside Shoppers Drug Mart at Yonge and Dundas Square, is currently Toronto’s only museum devoted to music. Opened in 2018, this 144-square foot space on the second floor is packed with displays, artefacts and interactive screens that bring to life the artists that made Toronto one of the world’s top music cities. TME curated the museum’s current exhibit as well as its first exhibit, Toronto Sound: The Yonge Street Scene, featuring legends from Oscar Peterson, and Glenn Gould to Ronnie Hawkins and The Band. The current exhibit, Rhythms and Resistance: Caribbean Music in Toronto, explores how the island sounds of calypso, reggae and hip-hop, and influential artists like Lord Tanamo, Jackie Mittoo and Michie Mee, deeply enriched the city’s musical culture and made Toronto the second-biggest source of reggae on the planet, second only to Kingston, Jamaica. Highlights of Rhythms and Resistance include: •The illuminated sign for the Record Nook, the music store at 1400 Bathurst Street run by reggae legends Jackie Mittoo and Lord Tanamo. •The flugelhorn of the late JoJo Bennett, the beloved bandleader of award-winning reggae band the Sattalites. •The original hand-painted sign advertising the first Caribana, which began in 1967 and grew to become one of the largest annual Caribbean carnivals in the world. •The orange silk shirt worn by Bahamian-born Eric Minns when he performed in the group the Debonairs. The vintage garment, complete with embroidered conga drums, is reflective of the costuming worn by Toronto calypsonians. •A rare recording by JoJo & the Fugitives, one of the scarcest 7-inch 45 r.p.m discs in Canadian music. The recording of “Chips-Chicken-Banana Split” was featured on the acclaimed compilation Jamaica to Toronto: Soul, Funk & Reggae 1967-1974. •“Bob Marley in Toronto.” Along with rare photographs of the international superstar performing and playing soccer in a Toronto park, the exhibit features an authentic Bob Marley autograph and a vintage “Natty Dread” t-shirt, similar to the one he wore onstage at Massey Hall. •A display featuring Michie Mee, Maestro and Dream Warriors. With their Caribbean-influenced sound, these artists were the hip hop pioneers who first put Toronto on the map and paved the way for global superstars like Drake and The Weeknd. •Rarely seen photographs. The exhibit features images by such prominent photographers as Boris Spremo, Joan Latchford, Rick McInnis and Isobel Harry. The latter’s portrait of Bob Marley at Massey Hall serves as the exhibit’s limited edition poster. BlogTO called Friar’s “the secret museum hidden inside a Shoppers Drug Mart.” You can find it upstairs at 283 Yonge Street and admission is always free. Visit our Facebook Page: What they are saying about us:

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