Cow Town became Soul Town on Saturday night at the Calgary Festival Hall. The Inglewood venue, in partnership with Calgary Folk Music Festival, hosted Soul in the City: Volume 2-A Seat at the Table, one of a series of events across Canada during Black History Month, to celebrate the achievements and contributions that Black Canadians have made to the culture, outlook, and prosperity of our country.
Soul in the City’s collective, a contemporary, and thoroughly entertaining variety show featured music, art, and spoken word that explored a more collaborative, inclusive world. A world where we all have a seat at the table.
Soul Tracks and Words
DJ Fatrok cheered up the audience with a nice eclectic selection of black music including the notably, Sweet Love voice of Anita Baker. Priscilla Bukasa opened chapter one of the show with rap/slam poetry from one of two satellite stages set on either side of the room. Later, Pierre Mvono, a rapper from Lethbridge, stepped up to the other podium and eloquently articulated with her across the audience with a sea of words that sometimes cajoled, sometimes castigated, all ebbing and flowing with rhythmic delight.
Girls singing hip-hop? Fairly unusual. Sisters singing hip-hop? Sounds pretty rare. Two Indo-Canadian sisters singing hip-hop? You what? Priya and Bhagya Ramesh formed Cartel Madras in Calgary last year. Their vibrant combo of dancing and singing signalled that hip-hop has room beyond the badass guys and gives a loud female perspective on urban life. Now that’s a new seat at the table!
Soul in the City
The House Band, One Big Jam, led by guitarist Barry Mason, singer/guitarist Jared Clark and also comprising sax, trumpet, and plenty percussion laid down variously soulful, funky or hip-hop grooves to accompany the singers on the main stage. Calgary singer/songwriter, Wyatt Louis performed a reflective piece from under his wide-brimmed hat. Jared Clark sang a nice duo with Lynn Olagundoye (Maric), who also combined beautifully in voice and stage presence with Marina Athanasius. They all made it clear if anyone needed it: Calgary’s got Soul!
For more photographs from the Soul in the City gig at Festival Hall, please visit J. Ashley Nixon Communications