TITANS OF TORONTO REGGAE
Browse the photo gallery:
Listen to CBC Metro Morning host Matt Galloway's interview with Culchahworks Founder/Artistic Director Andrew Craig:
PORTRAITS, PATTERNS, POSSIBILITIES
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CAN. YOU. READ. FESTIVAL
Listen to CBC Fresh Air's Sean Foley interviewing Culchahworks Artistic Director Andrew Craig about the Festival:
Watch the Can. You. Read. 2016 promo video:
Listen to CBC Radio Matt Galloway interviewing soloists Molly Johnson and Jackie Richardson (opens in new window)
"WE STILL DARE TO DREAM": THE ORATORIO
WORLD PREMIERE PERFORMANCE
January 20, 2014
Queen Elisabeth Theatre
Watch an excerpt from the concert: the debut performance of "Shalom Salaam", featuring Waleed Abdulhamid, David Wall and Andréa Tyniec:
Watch CBC News coverage of the event, with a particular focus on the Warriors' Chorus:
Browse the photo gallery for this event:
Listen to soloists David Wall and Waleed Abdulhamid interviewed by CBC Radio's Mary Ito.
Read a review
WHOLENOTE MAGAZINE - January 29, 2014
Daring to Dream: Moving on to another choral event – on January 20, the American holiday celebrating the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., the Culchahworks Arts Collective presented We Still Dare To Dream, a new oratorio written to commemorate the 50th anniversary of King’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech.
The work was conceived by Andrew Craig, an astonishingly talented composer, producer and performer who has also worked as a radio personality for the CBC. The oratorio grew out of a promise that Craig made to his mother that he would somehow mark this occasion with a new musical work, even if he had to stand outside and play it on the street on January 20.
Craig had originally hoped to use the text of the actual speech, but when this proved impossible, he simply decided to write his own libretto and set it to music. He enlisted the support of the Faith Chorale and the University of Toronto Gospel Choir, as well as assembling a third choral ensemble, band and violin soloist (Andréa Tyniec).
We Still Dare To Dream is a sprawling and ambitious mixture of solos, choruses and spoken recitations that seeks to bring the ideas and challenges posed by King’s oration into a new century of conflict and challenge.
I was unfortunately not in Toronto during the performance, but I attended the dress rehearsal in an effort to get a sense of some aspects of the work.
I wonder how effective the spoken word facet of the oratorio ultimately was. Dramatic recitation is an incredibly difficult technique to make work; even with musical underscoring, it can too easily slip into earnestness or portentousness.
But the musical sections of the piece were superb. The choral writing generally supported the vocal solos, which were executed by four virtuoso Toronto singers from Jewish, Muslim, East Indian and American gospel traditions: David Wall, Waleed Abdulhamid, Suba Sankaran and Sharon Riley.
There was also a delightful section in which a group of young Toronto primary and secondary school students came out and sang, danced, executed martial arts moves and engaged in a call-and-response rap with Craig.
Craig is a master of gospel composition, but he did not limit himself to that genre, instead executing convincing and catchy compositional riffs on ragas and middle eastern vocal techniques from religious traditions that often find themselves at war. The syncretic aspects of the music reflected the composition’s essential theme, which was reconciliation, unity, peace and activism.
I can see this work having a life beyond this particular anniversary occasion. The American Paul Winter Consort spent years travelling to different cities, performing the Missa Gaia. The experienced musicians of the ensemble often combined with local choirs, especially youth and children’s groups. Craig’s work has the potential to be a Canadian version of this performance model. I hope other ensembles have a future chance to engage with this music – it certainly deserves a repeat performance and a wider audience in Toronto and other parts of the country.
"Reclaiming The Dream"
An event to commemorate the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech
August 28, 2013
Culchahworks' inaugural event received attention from both local and national media. Click below to watch CBC News coverage of the event.
Check out the Photo Gallery for the event: