LSM Newswire

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Nathaniel Dett Chorale Presents Voices of the Diaspora...Haitian Voices

Voices of the Diaspora…Haitian Voices

World premiere performance of celebrated Haitian composer Sydney Guillaume’s compositions

to illuminate and celebrate Haiti’s history, strength and unwavering resilience.

For Immediate Release – Thursday, January 27, 2011: January 12th marked the first anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. With all eyes focused on the effort to aid,Canada’s own voice of the African Diaspora, The Nathaniel Dett Chorale, seeks to illuminate the history, the roots, the compassion and strength of this island nation with a musical tribute, two-years in the making. Founder and Artistic Director, Dr. Brainerd Blyden-Taylor has been developing Voices of the Diaspora…Haitian Voices to highlight the poetic and musical traditions of Haiti, in particular its Creole language and spirituality.

The spectacular evening of music begins with a brief history of Haiti with themes ranging from, what music represents for the Haitian people to an exploration of their strong roots. A witness to their resilience in the face of the harsh violence and injustice, the musical tribute goes on to honour the unwavering compassion, faith and solidarity the Haitian people continue to display. Each offering will be introduced with the poetry of Gabriel T. Guillaume, and the concert will conclude with the world premiere of Ayiti 1-2-3, a large work written by his son, celebrated Haitian composer Sydney Guillaume, which was commissioned for the occasion

Ayiti, based on the poetry of the elder Guillaume, will focus on the three aspects of the Haitian culture: the African, European, and American influences, and will incorporate Haiti’s slogan“L’Union Fait La Force” (Unity Creates Strength). The performance will also feature earlier father-son collaborations including Mama Afrika, Anmwe, Pour Toi Mère, Koudjay, and Kalinda, Sydney’s first and much acclaimed choral work. Also receiving a world premiere during this concert are the first and third movements of Sydney’s Diplomasi, for which the second movement was commissioned by a choir in Singapore. The first movement “Onè-Respè” (Honor/Respect) and the third movement “Men Ale – Men Vini (Give a Hand, Take a Hand) celebrate the future of Haiti and the steadfast fortitude of its people.

Voices of the Diaspora… Haitian Voices debuts in Toronto at 8PM on Wednesday, February 23rd and is repeated at 8PM on Saturday, February 26th at the Glenn Gould Studio, CBC Broadcasting Centre, 250 Front Street West. A special presentation will also take place in Montreal at 8PM on Friday, February 25th at The Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul, 3415 Redpath Street.

These remarkable concerts will be staged at the conclusion of The Nathaniel Dett Chorale’s 2011 Black History Month Winter Tour. The annual tour includes concerts in at Festival Place inSherwood Park, AB on February 6th; at the famed Igloo Church (Our Lady of Victory) in Inuvik, NT on February 9th; and at the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre, (NACC), Yellowknife, NTon February 11th and 12th. The Yellowknife performances are the first of The Nathaniel Dett Chorale’s three-year residency with NACC.

In addition, The Nathaniel Dett Chorale celebrates the recent release of their brand new CD, Nguzo Saba. Nguzo Saba Suite, the title track from the new album and written by the late composer, pianist, and conductor, Glenn Edward Burleigh, has seven movements that each represent principles celebrated during Kwanzaa. A seven-day festival in late December, Kwanzaa celebrates African culture including unity, purpose, creativity and faith, which inspires a year-round way of life. Nguzo Saba is a musical masterpiece that combines African musical elements with classical, jazz and gospel themes giving listeners a new piece of The Nathaniel Dett Chorale magic to take home.

The Nathaniel Dett Chorale’s 2010/2011 Concert Season takes place at the Glenn Gould Studio, in the CBC Broadcasting Centre, 250 Front Street West. Tickets for each performance are individually $39.50, Seniors $35.00, Students $30.00 or attend Voices of the Diaspora…Haitian Voices and And Still We Sing…Esperanza y Luz, on May 25th or28th for a package price of $70.00, Seniors $65.00, Students $55.00. Tickets are available by calling The Nathaniel Dett Chorale ticket-line 416-340-0550 or on-line

The Voices of the Diaspora…Haitian Voice performances in Toronto and Montreal are generously supported by TD Bank Group.

The Nathaniel Dett Chorale’s Winter 2011 Tour is made possible by funding from the Canada Council for the Arts and Ontario Arts Council.


Sydney Guillaume (b. 1982) originally from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, came to the United States at the age of 11. His compositions have been praised by the Miami Herald as showing “impressive maturity and striking melodic distinction.” In 2004, he was named the Outstanding Graduate for the Department of Music Theory and Composition at the University of Miami Frost School of Music where he received his Bachelor of Music in Composition with emphasis in Media Writing and Production.

Sydney takes great pride in his Haitian roots. He hopes that his music will serve as an ambassador for his country and create an awareness of the beautiful culture that exists amidst the economic and political turmoil. Sydney is an active member of the choral community both as a composer and singer. He has received commissions from renowned choirs such as The University of Miami Frost Chorale, Seraphic Fire, The Young New Yorkers Chorus, The Miami Children's Chorus and Kokopelli Choir, and The Nathaniel Dett Chorale. He is in high demand for commissioned works and his music has been performed at ACDA, All-State conventions and abroad. Sydney resides in Los Angeles, California, where he is also pursuing a career in film.


Magical and transformative. The voices and community of The Nathaniel Dett Chorale carry audiences on a journey through the beauty and intricacies of Afrocentric music from around the world. One of Canada’s “national treasures”, the Chorale takes its name for the celebrated African-Canadian composer, R. Nathaniel Dett who is highly regarded for the vocal works he composed based on African American spirituals, as well as works for solo piano in a 19th century Romantic style. Now in its 12th season, this 20+ member ensemble features a diverse group of outstanding classically-trained musicians who have shared the stage with internationally recognized artists such as Juno Award-winning jazz pianist Joe Sealy, opera star Kathleen Battle, and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. The Nathaniel Dett Chorale has also been invited to take part in concerts honouring Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mohammed Ali and recently had the distinct honour of performing at various ceremonies in Washington on the occasion of President Obama's historic inauguration. Specializing in Afrocentric musical traditions ranging in style from classical, spiritual, gospel, jazz, folk and blues The Nathaniel Dett Chorale’s highly anticipated third commercial recoding was released this fall.

For more information please visit



Voices of the Diaspora… Haitian Voices

Wednesday, February 23rdh and Saturday, February 26th, 2011 8PM

And Still We Sing … Esperanza y Luz

Wednesday, May 25th and Saturday, May, 28th, 2011 8 PM

Glenn Gould Studio, 250 Front Street West, Toronto
Subscribe to 2 concerts for $70.00, Seniors $65.00 / Students $55.00

Individual tickets are available for $39.50, Seniors $35.00 / Students $30.00
Tickets are available by calling the Nathaniel Dett Chorale ticket-line 416-340-0550

or purchase on-line at

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