Humber students ready concert to celebrate music of the Black Diaspora

Feb 6, 2024 | Arts

Three Humber Music student ensembles are teaming up for a night of celebrating the sounds and songs of the Black Diaspora as they welcome the start of Black History Month.

The Reverberations II – A Celebration of Music of the Black Diaspora will take place on Feb. 8.

The concert follows last year’s Reverberations concert at the Humber Lakeshore Auditorium, which featured a Gospel Choir, the African Rhythm and Jazz group, and the Rhythm ‘n Soul ensemble.

All three groups are returning for this week’s concert.

Humber Music program coordinator, Kelsley Grant, is hosting the night. He says as a Black Canadian, he hopes the night will offer something most people don’t get to experience during Black History Month.

“I always find that Black History Month kind of goes by and sometimes I don’t even notice it’s gone by because it’s not always a huge celebration here, so I think it concert like this is just nice to have something that celebrates Black History Month at the College.”

Each of the unique groups has been practicing since the second week of January.

“I think these are three really great groups and I think all three of these groups represent this music and our theme of this diaspora of African Music as it moved through the world and how it impacted different musics,” Grant said.

“I just think that the impact of African music is so massive around the world that it’s nice to have three groups that kind of have that at their foundation performing on this evening as well.”

The show will kick off with the gospel choir ensemble led by faculty member Natalie Stewart and consisting of more than 20 students from different musical backgrounds, as they incorporate the performance styles of black gospel music.

Endale Facil, a student who sings with the group, says this show means a lot for representation,not only at Humber but also the GTA.

“I think shows like this represent all that Toronto has to offer. It means being able to represent a community that sometimes doesn’t get represented at Humber.”

Facil says the will help showcase music that many people might not have heard.

“I personally haven’t heard of that many, like, successful gospel artists from Toronto you can really look up to, but here you get to see incredible gospel musicians or students studying the gospel through the ensemble.”

The concert also features the African Rhythm and Jazz Ensemble, led by Waleed Abdulhamid, a Sudanese composer.

The Rhythm ‘n Soul Ensemble is all set to wrap up the night by showcasing a fusion of rhythm and blues, contemporary funk, and soul music. It is led by bass player Will Jarvis.

Grant hopes people leave the show with more awareness of music and the Black Diaspora.

“I hope everybody takes home a bit of an awareness of how important the movement of African music through the country was and how it kind of provided so much of the foundation for so much music around the world.”

The concert starts at 7 p.m. on Feb. 8 in the Humber College A-Building Auditorium. Tickets are free and available through Eventbrite.