Metro's Cultural Mosaiq
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Times & Transcript
By: Jennifer Gouche
Topics: Miscellaneous, Arts and Culture
Annual festival celebrates our cultural diversity
This year more than ever, the Mosa´q Multicultural Festival is a reflection and celebration of Metro Moncton's continued growth in cultural diversity.
Following up on a great partnership developed during last year's IAAF games, the Multicultural Association of the Greater Moncton Area (MAGMA) and the City of Moncton will co-produce this unique cultural event, set to take place Friday and Saturday.
Now in its seventh year, the festival has been credited with helping MAGMA to reach out and encourage the appreciation and sharing of diverse cultural values, create cultural awareness in the community and foster harmonious relations and integration amongst people of all heritages.
The city, meanwhile, recognizes the value and strength increased immigration brings to the city and sees working with MAGMA as a way to help welcome newcomers to the city.
Providing an overview of the 2011 activities, event manager Robert Gallant of Raven's Sun Management promises a wide variety of food, art, fair trade crafts, lively music and dance at this year's World Village, once again located along Botsford Street and in front of City Hall in downtown Moncton.
A series of educational workshops are being stagged throughout the week, aimed at addressing community engagement and facilitating healthy dialogue in an effort to combat racism and cultural insensitivities.
The education pavilion is a little larger this year, with some of the demonstrations open to the public and others by invitation only. A handful of performers will put on demonstrations as well and MAGMA staff will run a variety of youth-related workshops including crafts, storytelling and tie-dying.
"We're really trying to boost up the education pavilion," says Robert."There will be a different workshop each hour."
There will also be exhibits by eight different cultural associations, presentations by many ethno-cultural associations and a diverse line-up of about 14 entertainers including musicians, choirs, dancers and performers representing Acadian, Irish, Korean, Chinese and African cultures.
Back for another year are Chris Colepaugh and The Cosmic Crew, a well-known local blues rockers who have performed at festivals and events throughout Canada and the United States. The band has travelled extensively throughout the years, with more than 15 national tours to their credit.
Accolades are many for Chris and his Crew, and include the East Coast Music Awards, the International Acoustic Music Awards, Tthe Toronto Music Magazine Awards, the Contact East Touring Excellence Awards and many others.
The band, which has been together for 10 years, has been compared to The Black Crowes. With the exception of a second drummer from North Bay, ON, all band members are from the Moncton area.
"We're extremely busy these days, mostly in Canada," says Chris, who sings vocals and plays lead guitar. "We played last year as part of IAAF and we're glad to be back for another year.''
The band will play a one-hour show on Frida at 8 p.m.
Sally Ng is a Chinese Plate Dancer. The Malaysian native, whose first language is Mandarin Chinese, first began taking lessons at the age of five at the Chinese Cultural Association of New Brunswick in Fredericton and continued to do so until she went off to university.
It's become a family tradition. In fact, her father built a dance studio at the family home so that Sally, her mother and four sisters could practise the ancient art.
She has performed at events and festivals across the Maritimes throughout the years and will perform the Silver Plate Dance at the festival which is considered one of the most unique. She will twirl and flip the plate as if it was glued to her hands.
"It's all about the presentation of the plate," she says of the dance which at one time was performed for royalty prior to the serving of a meal and focuses on the presentation of the silver plate.
Although her dance is traditional in terms of its basic moves, Sally has added her own unique touches to the routine.
"I tweaked it a bit towards my own style and what I like doing to give it more of an entertainment feeling," she says. "There are a lot of poses in the beginning and then I really get into the movement. I start slow and build up to it."
Belly dancing may not be a new form of dance but it is certainly picking up in popularity these days.
Barbara Aubie has been belly dancing for more than 13 years and opened Studio Sephira a decade ago to teach the dance form.
Although most of her students are women in their 30s and 40s, she has taught dancers in their late 80s. She describes belly dancing as a form of art and exercise which requires a mind and body connection to embody the movement.
"So when they are dancing, there has to be improvisation. My goal is for them to be creative."
Barbara, who has performed at the festival for the past three or four years, will put on a very lively and spirited solo performance to a variety of Middle Eastern music.
"I will be interpreting three or four different pieces so there will be a nice variety within the performance."
She will also offer workshops Friday at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. at the education pavilion where she'll discuss the history and culture of belly dancing and its different styles.
"I'll be teaching the basic moves. The goal at the end will be to take the moves and have some fun with them."
She's appreciative to once again be a part of the festival. "I enjoy meeting the people there and sharing the different cultures."
The festival started out seven years ago as a very small outreach activity of MAGMA staff and for the first four years was a "sideline" for the organization. But in its fifth year, the organization decided the time had come to grow it and Raven's Sun Management Inc. was brought onboard to help manage the event.
The World Village was created, the event was moved to Victoria Park and organizers became determined to make it a destination event.
It was a great year, recalls Gallant, with more than 4,000 people in attendance that weekend.
Typically held at around Canada Day each year, the festival faced fierce competition from events, festivals and activities taking place all over the province.
Last year's festival was held in conjunction with the IAAF World Junior Track and Field championship in Moncton which had an extremely positive effect on attendance numbers both because of increased traffic to the area and more favourable weather.
As a result of last year's success, it was decided to hold the festival during the latter part of July once again this year. Robert is confident the event has garnered enough community support to meet and perhaps even exceed last year's numbers.
"I'm confident it is an attraction local people want to support," he says.
"There is enough local interest and we proved last year that can welcome the world. Each year, we are getting new people out to it."
Organizations across the province are invited to participate in the festival each year, not only in hopes of achieving a good cross-section in terms of cultural representation but because many organizations are operated at the provincial level.
"The festival is meant to celebrate all different cultures and we want everyone to feel they are a part of it."
* Noon: Mik Maq Pow Wow Dancers
* 1 p.m.: African Children's Choir
* 1:30 p.m.: Barbara Aubie
* 2 p.m.:Sally Ng/Cuban Association/ Cameroons
* 2 p.m.: Irish Association
* 3 p.m.: Indo Canadian Association
* 3 p.m.: Korean Association
* 4:30 p.m.: Los Chaskis
* 5 p.m.: UdeM Showcase (Virtuose, etc)
* 5:30 p.m.: UdeM Showcase (Triolet de nord, etc)
* 6 p.m.: Re-Set Stage - World Music CDs
* 6:30 p.m.: Re-Set Stage
* 7 p.m.: Les Pa´ens
* 8 p.m.: Cris Colepaugh & the Cosmic Crew
* 9 p.m.: H'Sao
* 9 p.m.: African Queens
* 9:30 p.m.: Los Chaskis
* 11 p.m.: Filipino CommUNITY of New Brunswick
* 9:30 p.m.: Mik Maq Pow Wow Dancers
* 10 p.m.: African Childrens Choir
* 10:30 p.m.: Indo-Canadian Association
* 11 p.m.: Mambo Chivero
* Noon: Mik Maq Pow Wow Dancers
* 1 p.m.: Maria Osende Flamenco Company
* 1:30 p.m.: Mambo Chivero
* 12 p.m.: UdeM Showcase (Virtuose, etc)
* 12:30 p.m.: UdeM Showcase (Triolet de nord, etc)
* 3:15 p.m.: Dans Encorps
* 3:30 p.m.: Sons of Gael
* 4 p.m.: Korean Association
* 4:30 p.m.: Filipino CommUNITY of New Brunswick
* 5 p.m.: Chinese Association
* 5:30 p.m.: Irish Association
* 6 p.m.: Break
* 6:30 p.m.: Break
* 7 p.m.: Maria Osende Flamenco Company
* 7:30 p.m.: Les Improbables
* 8 p.m.: Nathalie Renault
* 9 p.m.: Slowcoaster