Influential Canadian Music Venue Lula Lounge Celebrates 10th Anniversary

In May of 2012, renowned Toronto music venue Lula Lounge will celebrate its 10th Anniversary. Defying all odds, Lula is still solid after a decade of presenting the best of local and global artists of every genre. To mark the occasion, Lula Lounge has scheduled a full slate of expansive activities throughout the rest of this year.

Lula Lounge has grown from humble beginnings as a Latin/Brazilian club to Toronto’s exemplary home to exceptional music of all genres. It has hosted such varied and well-respected international artists such as Norah Jones, John Cale and Eliades Ochoa. Lula has also encouraged the development of many Canadian musicians who have gone on to gain worldwide recognition like Hilario Duran, Amanda Martinez, Autorickshaw and Alex Cuba.

Having presented almost every genre (and cross-pollinated genre) of music including folk, world music, country, rock, hip-hop, pop and even classical, the club boasts a wide range of past performers including Feist, Broken Social Scene, Jim Cuddy and Carl Palmer. Over the years Lula has partnered extensively with Small World Music, Batuki Music, CBC Radio and many community-based groups.

The annual Lulaworld Festival is the main avenue for Lula to showcase the very best in both foreign and domestic world music artists. This May, Lulaworld 2012 will prove no exception, featuring hot local musicians alongside those hailing from Brazil, Cuba, the U.S and Italy. Confirmed international guests so far include world-renowned percussionist Ralph Irizarry and Cuban-born drum master Ignacio Berroa. Programmers José Ortega and Tracy Jenkins want to draw attention to the way musical collaborations continue to take place across borders, inspiring an ongoing creative dialogue that enriches the diverse musical scenes around the globe.

The anniversary celebrations also include a compilation CD, Sí Canada, that will highlight the work of Canada’s vibrant salsa scene. With profits going to support the visionary local charity Dancing with Alzheimers, the album aims to increase the international profile of top Canadian Latin musicians. Contributors to the album, named after a song by Mario Allende, will include Roberto Linares Brown, Caché, Son Aché, Hilario Duran and other artists to be confirmed.

In preparation for the 10th year events, the club has also enjoyed a facelift that includes new signage, tiling, windows and doors. Owner José Nieves felt that the venue needed a fresh look as it embarks on its second decade.

In addition to all of its musical pursuits, Lula also provides a unique dining experience; decidedly international cuisine with a Latino soul. Concertgoers often dine and enjoy a cocktail or a glass of wine while taking in the shows, a combination that receives rave reviews.

In other news for this year, Lula will be expanding the vision and reach of its non-profit organization, the Lula Music And Arts Centre (LMAC). It will continue to focus on offering music that might not otherwise have an audience; for example LMAC presents a weekly salsa series and delivers programs for intermediate and secondary school music, dance and language students. It will also feature many world-music and dance-related workshops (Son Jarocho, Colombian Percussion, Cuban Dance) this May, along with the annual Lulaworld Festival concerts.

Lula Lounge is located at 1585 Dundas St. W., west of Dufferin. Phone: +1 416 588 0307

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Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.


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