Salsa North of the 40° Parallel: Latin Popular Music in Toronto

November 2, 2017 @ 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm
Kaneff Tower 626

Salsa North of the 40° Parallel: Latin Popular Music in Toronto.

Thursday, November 2, 2017
Kaneff Tower 626
3:30pm – 5:00pm

All are welcome!

¡Toronto tiene su cosa! (“Toronto has its thing”) is how one Chicago-based journalist, Catalina Maria Johnson, recently described the salsa scene in Canada’s most populous city. This shout-out confirmed what many local players had already suspected. From the 1990s to the late 2000s, Toronto’s salsa musicians had progressed from performing mainly in cover bands to becoming part of accomplished ensembles with original repertoires and identifiable styles. Some reasons for this transition appear intensely local such as the fact that so many performances occur in one venue: Toronto’s Lula Lounge. Others are tied to events taking place much further afield, including the steady arrival of Cuban musicians since the mid-1990s and their concentration in Toronto. As a genre, salsa is powerfully identified with specific cities in the U.S., Caribbean and Latin America, and for this reason Toronto musicians were typically overlooked by international recording labels. But this, too, is changing as Toronto is emerging as a key site for salsa composition and performance in the hemisphere.
This talk examines the economic underpinnings of Toronto’s salsa scene, focusing on the social and economic challenges facing local musicians and their impact on the way salsa is performed.

Sean Bellaviti is a lecturer in the Department of Philosophy and Music at Ryerson University and an Associate Fellow of CERLAC. He earned an M.A. in Ethnomusicology from York University and a PhD from the University of Toronto (2013) with a dissertation on Panamanian cumbia. Sean also directs the Sean Bellaviti Trio and salsa ensembles, Salsa Norte and Conjunto Lacalu. He is currently the director of the Toronto salsa project, Lula All Stars, whose debut album “Salsa de la Buena” was released in May 2015, with his follow up, “Toronto Mambo” this past June. (