The 6TH Annual desiFEST concert brings South Asian Heritage Month to a close with a bang!
Another successful year for desiFEST (presented by Rogers)! Attendance reached an estimated 35,000 once again, as fans celebrated South Asian music and arts live at downtown Toronto’s Yonge and Dundas Square. Host SatsB kicked off the 12-hour concert bright and early with local group Raaga Toronto Music performing top Bollywood covers. As the day progressed, more than 20 musicians and vocalists took the stage and commotion continued to build at the desiFEST vendors and fan booths.
This year’s show was the first desiFEST to promote a bill comprised of widely female talent. Singers Stephanie Braganza and Anusha Sivalingam gave a strong start to the afternoon, not only representing South Asian talent but women as well. And when everyone thought they knew what was coming next, Urvah Khan took the stage with her band and caught everyone’s attention! Her half-buzzed hair, tattoos, and electric energy left an impression for all to remember!
Continuing in its tradition of showcasing a diverse blend of music and artists, desiFEST delivered better than ever this year. Dhol N Bhol and Deep Jandu brought the Bhangra element – complete with dhol players, dholki vibes, and all of their friends! On the Bollywood end, Shweta Subram kept the pace going with her popular Bollywood covers, each with their own, unique twists. And YouTube sensation Synsational drew a young and excited crowd for the group’s desiFEST debut, working the stage without any signs of inexperience or fright. The raw talent on stage not only impressed industry eyes, but left fans in sheer awe.
The day progressed into a showcase of desi-urban music. Hip-hop artist (and desiFEST veteran) Blitzkrieg stunned the crowd, keeping everyone on their feet with a fleet of instruments – including the tabla and bongos! Roach Killa, known for his hard raps and hip-hop swag, surprised everyone with his finale: Roach sang his song “Oh Girl” accompanied by a six-person choir! And Toronto R&B singer Parichay made sure to bring his A game back home to desiFEST. Parichay took the stage with a full band and dancers, stunning the crowd.
Rounding out the show was UK’s The Stranger Family, a group of five unique artists who kept the crowd dancing into the night. Junai Kaden, protégé to lead member Mumzy Stranger, opened the show. His boyish looks and blazer mesmerized the crowd until Tash Tah hit the stage with her Punjabi single “Haan De Munde”. Mumzy followed the act with some of his more recent hits, before youngster Ramee showed everyone how Punjabi boliyan are supposed to be done! Finally, desiFEST fans were introduced to R&B sensation Char Avell, who later into the night wowed the crowd by performing shirtless! Needless to say, The Stranger Family ended desiFEST with a bang.
Other honorable mentions go out to Paul the Drummer, who accompanied four acts on stage, and Broken Dance, semi-finalists on Canada’s Got Talent. Paul kept everyone’s performances hot and his energy never faltered, while Broken Dance surprised the entire audience with a new platform for South Asian culture. Who better to grace the desiFEST stage?
desiFEST would like to thank all of the artists, sponsors, partners, and fans for another successful year! Official pictures and videos will be posted soon, so keep checking www.desifest.ca for more. We look forward to seeing you again next year at desiFEST 2013!
Check out some of the pictures from desiFEST below. Photo credits: ByAmoor/ByAmoor.com