I had the honour and great pleasure of performing at Soul City Music Fest in Laroche Park, a vital section close to the excellent Ottawa arts and cultural hub in Mechanicsville, the Origin Arts and Cultural Studio. Ali aka Captain – of Soul City Barber Shop and urban music, and culture, clothing store – was a key organizer of this tremendous event, now in its second year. It is unique in its contribution to the vitality of Ottawa urban music, with presentations of up and coming performers that thrilled audiences with some dynamic presentations of hip hop, dancehall, zouk, Afro-pop, and other types of music, as well as dance and spoken word poetry (aka yours truly, with John Akpata providing the VISUAl17E info for the people!).
Ottawa’s own Allan Andre, the National Art Battle Champ, was on hand for some amazing live painting, and booths from folks like Sankofa Bookstore, Island Flava, and the ever popular snow cone vendor magnified the vibes on this brilliantly sunny day (a rarity these days!). I went home with a delicious bootle of pepper sauce from the producers of Ayiyiyi (nah, it’s not a creole word, it means exactly what you say when the potent pepper hits your taste buds!)
Just Jamaal handled MC duties lovely, and some of Ottawa’s finest DJs were on hand to provide the music, like Sligo and Bo Jangles, and I had a chance to lime with the likes of Papa Richie, Trevor from Ebony and Ivory, Toni from Rootz Regge Radio, and many more, and it was great to just generally meet up with my peoples.
Many congratulations to my brother Ali and his crew on a strong success in their second year, and I encourage everyone to come out and check it next year: onward and upward!!