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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

2nd Annual SPEAK Music Festival is Going Virtual

Following a spectacularly successful first year, organizers of the Second Annual SPEAK MUSIC Be Kind Festival – taking place February 5-6, 2021, as a free, virtual event – are excited to announce a sensational lineup and proudly declare once again, it’s diverse, and gender-balanced! Artists including Alysha Brilla, OKAN, Nick Sherman, Mimi O'Bonsawin, Desirée Dawson, JV's Boogaloo Squad and more, will be presented in pre-recorded video performances, from our festival website to our SPEAK Music Be Kind YouTube channel. All net proceeds and individual donations this year, will go to Black Lives Matter Canada in response to the current climate and as part of Black History Month.

The 2021 edition continues the non-gender specific, diversity-supporting approach of the inaugural festival. Among the highly varied performers are: Al Qahwa ensemble who brings us original and traditional songs from Syria, Egypt and Iraq; three-time JUNO Award nominated Alysha Brilla, who blends global roots sounds with expansive lyrical themes and meditative undertones; Communism, which features party music with reactive psychedelic projections; Vancouver's Desirée Dawson, who won the CBC Searchlight contest in 2016, soothes the savage beast with her healing sound; Emilyn Stam and John David Williams, whose latest album Honeywood merges the sounds of clarinet, violin, and accordions showcasing original compositions and traditional tunes for European folk dances ("Bal Folk"). Honeywood is nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award.

JV’s Boogaloo Squad showcases a soulful sound featuring Visentin's massive Hammond B3 organ skills; Mama’s Broke is a powerful Montreal-based folk duo that delivers a compelling performance with heart and raw energy using fiddle, banjo, and mandolin; award-winning roots songstress Mimi O'Bonsawin sings songs that are heavily influenced by her French Canadian and Abenaki roots and flow through a centre of love and creativity with an honest and raw intensity; Nick Sherman tells stories of the remote north, celebrating the tenacity and resilience it takes to survive it, with a haunting, hardcore, and gospel-informed folk-rock sound; The JUNO-nominated women-led ensemble OKAN fuses Afro-Cuban roots with jazz, folk and global rhythms, in songs about immigration, courage and love.

There’s something for everyone to enjoy at the virtual SPEAK Music Be Kind Festival. It’s the ultimate event for anyone seeking new and exciting things to do during lockdown, and who want to contribute to a kind and respectful atmosphere.


Emilyn Stam & John David Williams

JV's Boogaloo Squad

Mimi O'Bonsawin



7:00 pm Emilyn Stam & John David Williams

8:00 pm Desirée Dawson

9:00 pm Communism

10:00 pm Nick Sherman

11:00 pm Alysha Brilla


7:00 pm Al Qahwa

8:00 pm Mama's Broke

9:00 pm JV's Boogaloo Squad

10:00 pm Mimi O'Bonsawin

11:00 pm OKAN

For more information on the festival and for updates, please visit website | Facebook

MORE ABOUT SPEAK Music Be Kind Festival They’re a non-profit Canadian music festival, with net profits distributed to a different charity each year, held annually in Toronto, showcasing a diverse blend of Canadian music creators in performances and workshops. We endeavour to invite more kindness into our own lives and into the world.

MORE ABOUT Black Lives Matter Canada– is the Canadian chapter of #BlackLivesMatter, an international organization and movement fighting police and State violence and anti-Black racism. We are a platform upon which Black communities across Canada can actively dismantle all forms of anti-Black racism, liberate Blackness, support Black healing, affirm Black existence, and create freedom to love and self-determine.

The Sound Cafe and Blues & Roots Radio are proud supporters of the festival.

Just Some Of The 2020 Featival Performers


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