London, Ontario’s celebration of global cultures, has grown into one of Canada’s signature summer festivals. With free admission and a roster of top world music artists from all over the planet, the event now attracts over 220,000 annual visitors—in a city of around 330,000.
The 2013 edition features Africa’s reggae icon Alpha Blondy, Malian vocalist and rising star Fatoumata Diawara, and Romania’s hottest Gypsy brass band Fanfare Ciocarlia —rub shoulders with intriguing new voices from across the Americas. Innovators channeling Southern Italy’s furiously rhythmic musical cure for tarantula bites (Canzionere Grecanico Salentino) and Chilean cumbia hotshots (the stadium-packing party champions Chico Trujillo) will cross paths with Trinidadian legend Calypso Rose, whose sassy, gritty voice changed the (male) face of Caribbean music.
This summer’s edition also features a mini-festival within Sunfest dedicated to the world’s burgeoning Afrofunk and soul scenes (Headliners include UK/Trinidadian visionaries Anthony Joseph & the Spasm Band; Canadian nu-jazz pioneers Sekoya Revisited and Toronto’s popular The Heavyweights Brass Band). All in spacious, green Victoria Park, amid one of the most eclectic food, handicrafts, and art markets anywhere.
Other artists include Los Vega, the family son jarocho group from Mexico who will be making their Canadian debut this year, or Algeria’s Hasna El Becharia, the poetess who unites Gnawan and Berber sounds with an Afropop vibe). The festival also attracts a bevy of premier jazz artists with a global sensibility, be they a New York City pianist originally from Azerbaijan (Amina Figarova, who’s touring with her sextet of European musicians), or multinational bands based in The Netherlands (Traeben, and Van Merwijks’ Music Machine, which this year is collaborating with renowned Cuban pianist Ramon Valle).
TD Sunfest Website