World music pulsates in The Pit

Klinsvin Gilbert performs at Durham College during Oshawa Music Week. Photo credit: Tracey Bowers-Lee

It was all about diversity as the World Music Festival kicked off Oshawa Music Week on April 1 in the Pit at Durham College (DC).

The festival celebrated the multiculturalism of the DC community.

“We pass each other in the halls every day and we don’t know each other’s stories,” says Abbey Donnelly, project manager of the event. “World Music Festival is about coming together and sharing our traditional music because music is our international language.”

Oshawa Music Week is produced by the Music Business Management students at DC. It features everything from live concerts to industry panels.

The event showcased a diverse line up with a duo of Sri Lankan background singing Tamil music, a Polish hip-hop artist, a Caribbean singer, an Indigenous drummer/singer, a steel pan musician, an Indian electric guitarist –joined by a hip-hop artist – and a DJ.

They electrified the packed Pit. Some of the spectators sang and danced along with the performers. The event also featured tastes of dishes from different cultures around the world.

Donnelly says the event is rooted in the love for music and culture at DC.

“The event reflects the cultures that makes up the diversity of the Music Business Management program. It reflects the diversity of Durham College,” says stage manager Katie Howell. “Today, it’s all about celebrating different cultures from around the world, bringing all these artists together in different environments for the city, for the students to enjoy.”

Shahana Gobimanoharan, a second-year student of the Music Business Management program who also performed singing her native Tamil music accompanied by acoustic guitar, says it was a great experience getting to share her culture with the DC community. She hopes the event grows and more students share their cultural music.

“There were a lot of people here and it was great singing for a large audience. Just to share my roots and my background,” Gobimanoharan says, adding the program has taught her how to collaborate with other artists and students. She says there was also a considerable amount of teamwork involved in putting the event together.

The students spent the past three months putting together a list of events which took place all over the city from April 1-6. They drew on their diverse backgrounds to come up with unique ideas for the event.

“We all came together and worked efficiently to put our ideas together,” says Gobimanoharan.

Klinsvin Gilbert is second-year Music Business Management student who returned to the stage for the second time.

“It was an honour because I played in it last year too. I feel like I anteed it up a little bit and delivered a more powerful performance this year,” he says. “The event is a great festival to take part of,” He hopes it happens again next year.

“I’m looking forward to doing more shows in my artist life and this a great milestone.

The event went through rebranding last year. It was previously called the Reel Music Festival. Last year was the first time the event was called the Oshawa Music Festival to reflect exclusivity to music.

Donnelly says 19 years ago the event included film but year after year it became all about the music.