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Urban Women at Toronto Street Festival Review (Originally Published in Pride Newsmagazine)

In Culture, Events, Music, Writing (all kinds) on June 23, 2012 at 3:00 AM

Image result for Sonia Collymore - Canadian Singer

Juno-nominated Jully Black kicked off the presence of the African-Canadian women performing at the Toronto Street Festival on July 8th to 10th. Black rocked the big crowd at Yonge & Dundas with jazzy R&B sounds.

To add that club feel, Black even had her own DJ who is featured on City-TV’s “Ed the Sock.” But, it was Black’s voice, singing live, not like Ashley Simpson, which kept it real.

Her second live song from her new album, “This is me now” merged a twang of reggae with DJ scratching. She segued right into a slower beat that was more like grooving music, singing “To hell with you.” Her fourth song was for her mother.

The song is called “I traveled” and it was a ballad that got the audience snapping. She also got the audience screaming out “love” after she said “peace.” The crowd seemed happy, and on Saturday the 9th a diverse group of Torontonians came out to see Juno Award winner Sonia Collymore at Yonge & Dundas.

Collymore did a fantastic job – putting on a show that I’m sure most people would have paid for. It’s amazing it was free. At one point, she pulled a young man out of the audience on stage with her. Her song “No cash flow” got everyone dancing, including her four Baby Boy dancers. The dancers showed the audience some dancehall moves – getting everyone ready for their afterparty. This song and more is on her new album “WYSIWYG” which means “what you see is what you get.”

Collymore put on a great performance, dressed in a gold bustier with a jean skirt with fringe. The unexpected surprise to her stylish on-stage presence was her comfortable white tennis shoes.

One would need comfortable shoes to catch all the action at the Toronto Street Festival. The venues were being held at sites from Yonge & Dundas to Yonge & Lawrence from the mid-town areas of Yonge & St. Clair and Yonge & Eglinton. The Yonge & Eglinton spot is where Andreena Mill and the Honey Jam Alumni performed on the 10th.

Mill, who was on first and has been compared to Alicia Keys. She is a classically trained pianist. Her sound had a definite funky vibe which was also expressed in the bright yellow jacket and knee socks with stripes she had on.

It was a hot day on Sunday and Mill did a jamming tune to heat up the crowd even more. Mill did a ballad she wrote after a bad relationship. One of the highlights was a song called “Rewind” where she also showed her vocal talent by singing without the band from the beginning. Her debut album will be out in 2006.

After Mill was the Honey Jam Alumni. This was a rare performance of all-female African-Canadian talent. The alumni included Kelly Lee Evans, Jocelyn Mercer, Andrea Lewis, Joy Lapps, Queen Cee, Lori Nuic, Black Pearl, and Motion.

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