IRIE Fest 2008; Launch, August 1, 2008, Toronto

Come and celebrate the launch of The Seventh Annual TD Canada Trust IRIE Music Festival, Friday August 1st from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m. at Nathan Phillips Square . This event will feature performances by the multi-talented African music specialist, KOBENA ACQUA-HARRISON, Montreal-born singer-songwriter and instrumentalist, TRÉSON and the NGOMA DANCE AND DRUM ENSEMBLE. Also on hand to say a few opening words, will be a representative from TD Canada Trust – the title sponsor for IRIE Fest this year -  and from the Artistic Director, Mr. Phil Vassell. Free admission. For more information, please visit

Performances by:

An exciting and dynamic performer, Ko-bè-NA (pronounced: Kaw-ben-nah) is a creative catalyst. The multi-talented media maven has his hand in all aspects of the music industry (performance, production, promotion), film (music & acting), radio (host), print (writer), television (jingles) and theatre (music) and has become known as somewhat of an African music specialist. He was recently made Music Director of the Toronto African Film & Music Festival. Kobè is the accompanist of choice for award-winning artists like Andrea Henry (Sugar Jones), Ruby Goralia (Ruby), Cheka Katenen (griot, Guinea ), Liziwe Mahashe ( S. Africa ), COBA dance company, Drum Café and others. HIs current band features Toronto’s top African musicians: Kwanza Msingwana (Tanzania), Suliman Hasabala (Sudan), Kofi Ackah (Ghana), Rich Brown (USA), Andrew Craig (CAN), Lizzi Mahashe (S. Africa), Waleed Abdulhamid (Sudan), Zoe Ackah, Amina Alfred. But really, you just have to check out his vibrant myspace page. Kobè performs and produces everything heard on the sample tracks. He sings, builds and plays guitars, and plays bass, drum kit, keys, gyil & balafon, djembe, apentoma, tama, dondo, voices. Oh and he also does all the graphics!  

Tréson, the Montreal-born singer-songwriter and instrumentalist, emerged on the international music scene in 2005. His gift for expressing raw emotions and channeling a spiritual energy through his music is akin to those who have inspired him, including Ernestine Benson, Bob Marley, Kenny Rogers and Ray Charles. His soulful voice and guitar playing is captivating and Reggae Xclusive Magazine says, “Every moment I spend with this man and his music is a moment to cherish.”

NGOMA is pronounced “goma”, meaning both drum and dance in Swahili, was formed in1995.

The group burst onto the scene with a distinctive new vibe and the desire to encourage youth to develop their self-pride, self-respect, self-confidence and a sense of community. This youth ensemble is committed to honoring their African ancestry through the dynamic presentation of drum and dance pieces. NGOMA educates, empowers and embraces its members and audiences through the colourful blend of dance and two main traditional drums, the djembe and djun-djun.