Panamania Toronto 2015: Concert Picks

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PANAMANIA, presented by CIBC, is the 35-day arts and culture festival to enrich the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games experience. More than 250 unique performances and exhibitions, both free and ticketed, will take place across Toronto from July 10 to August 15. PANAMANIA will showcase the diverse cultures and artistic excellence of Ontario, Canada and the Americas through music, theatre, dance, visual arts and fashion.

Juan de Marcos & The Afro Cuban All Stars


After gaining international fame for reviving the classic sound of Cuban son, tres master Juan de Marcos turned the Afro-Cuban All Stars into a sensational showcase for Cuba’s most prodigious young musicians. While long revered in Latin America and Europe as a founding member of Cuba’s great son revival band Sierra Maestra, de Marcos first gained notice in the US as founder of the Buena Vista Social Club. It was de Marcos who assembled Ibrahim Ferrer, Eliades Ochoa, Ruben Gonzalez and the rest of the crew for Ry Cooder when he came to Havana looking for illustrious old timers. But de Marcos is just as interested in promoting Cuba’s brilliant young musicians as in highlighting Cuba’s senior talent. The Afro-Cuban All Stars not only features a multi-generational cast, the group draws on both classic Cuban styles like son and danzón and contemporary dance rhythms like timba.
FREE CONCERT: Thursday, July 16 at 8:45 pm | VENUE: Distillery District
FREE CONCERT: Friday, July 17 at 1:00 pm | VENUE: CIBC Pan Am Park

Alexander Abreu y Havana D’ Primera (Cuba)


Alexander Abreu y Havana D’ Primera is the Cuban Timba band directed and founded by Alexander Abreu in 2008, widely recognized as one of the greatest trumpet players of his generation – enriching most of the musical productions on the island. The band was formed by a collective of the best musicians and Cuban-All-Stars artists in the current Cuban scenario. Alexander has established himself as a dominating vocalist and renowned songwriter. His highly sophisticated melodic voice has made him remain as an outstanding vocalist with the added melodic sophistication of a skilled instrumentalist. He is considered one of the most versatile Cuban musicians, who has made of his music a fascinating rhythmic and musical fusion of Salsa, Jazz, Funk and Afro-Cuban.
FREE CONCERT: Friday, July 17 at 9:30 pm and 9:45 pm
VENUE: Nathan Phillips Square

Plena Libre (Puerto Rico)


Led by founder and bassist Gary Nunez, Plena Libre is recognized for taking the once dormant, Puerto Rican plena style of music and reclaiming it for a new generation of listeners to enjoy. The group became instantly popular in Puerto Rico, with National Geographic crediting Plena Libre among other Puerto Rican acts in “spearheading the Latin invasion of American popular music. Plena Libre features three vocalists singing in captivating three and four-part harmonies which complement the group’s danceable, Afro-Rican compositions. The group’s use of call-and-response, percussion and polyrhythms keeps each show feeling groovy and fresh.
FREE CONCERT: Monday, July 20 at 8:30 pm
VENUE: Nathan Phillips Square

Spanish Harlem Orchestra (New York)


Spanish Harlem Orchestra, the two-time Grammy winning Salsa and Latin Jazz band, sets the standard for excellence for authentic, New York style, hard core salsa. Live or recorded, it doesn’t get any better. Whether a concert hall or an outdoor jazz festival, there is no easing you in, they are coming at you full force from start to finish. Their energy on stage, rich sound and musical precision leave audiences mesmerized until the last note is played. With an unwavering respect for the musics rich history, thirteen world-class musicians and vocalists come together to create an unparalleled musical experience.
FREE CONCERT: Monday, July 20 at 9:30 pm
VENUE: Nathan Phillips Square

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