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Harbourfront Centre is bringing the heat to the waterfront with Hot & Spicy: India


August 15, 2023 – TORONTO, ON – Spicing things up on the waterfront this summer, Harbourfront Centre presents Hot & Spicy: India, bringing India’s exceptionally diverse artistic, culinary and cultural vibrancy to Toronto. Happening over the Labour Day long weekend (September 1–4), the festival lineup of free and ticketed events will honour the country’s rich heritage and 75 years of independence, featuring highly anticipated musical performances from beloved award-winning artists, live comedy specials and plenty of quintessential culinary delights for visitors to indulge in, from aromatic curries to sizzling street food, with every event hosted across Harbourfront Centre’s iconic lakeside venues.

Known for creating a thoroughly original musical landscape, Padma Shri awardee Kailash Kher and his band Kailasa will bring audiences a mix of Bollywood folk, Sufi, rock, funk and electronica to the Concert Stage along with Canadian Indo-Pakistani music group JoSH the Band and their eclectic fusion of hip hop, pop and Bhangra music. Guests can listen to JUNO-nominated contemporary jazz and funk ensemble Autorickshaw with key vocalist Suba Sankaran and world-renowned musician and sitar maverick Hidayat Khan, who has previously graced the stage with The Rolling Stones, Yo-Yo Ma and Alicia Keys, performing his classical Indian musical performance, Mausiqui.

Visitors can laugh the evening away with YouTube superstar and comedian Abish Mathew. Most notably known for his popular Amazon Prime comedy special Whoop and his late-night talk show, Son of Abish, Mathew will kick off his first stand-up tour in Canada at Harbourfront Centre with his new comedy show, Sounds of Abish. Audiences will also enjoy highly acclaimed, award-winning film screenings, folk dance competitions and experience an authentic Indian kitchen where chefs-in-the-making can learn the nuance of classic cuisine and spices. 

For detailed information and dates for all events as well as food and market vendors can be found at HarbourfrontCentre.com.



Kailash Kher 

September 2 at 9:30pm, Concert Stage

International sensation and Padma Shri awardee Kailash Kher, backed by his Indian fusion band Kailasa, takes traditional Indian music and Sufi and mixes it with the modern influences of rock, funk and electronica. With more than 8 million monthly Spotify listeners, the singer and composer brings his soulful vocals to the stage and on his international tours, where he’s been invited to perform at historic music venues like London’s Hammersmith Apollo and the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.

To secure a seat at the Concert Stage, audiences must purchase a ticket via the Harbourfront Centre Box Office. This performance is expected to sell out quickly! ​ 

Sounds of Abish

Abish Mathew

September 3 at 6:30pm, Harbourfront Centre Theatre

Comedy legend and YouTube superstar (with more than 1.1 million subscribers and 157 million views on his channel), Abish Mathew is best known for his clean stand-up comedy gigs and his popular late-night talk show, Son of Abish, now running its 9th season, and the Amazon Prime comedy special Whoop. Hot & Spicy: India marks the start of his first-ever stand-up comedy tour in Canada.

Harbourfront Centre presents Hot & Spicy: India, bringing India’s exceptionally diverse artistic, culinary and cultural vibrancy to Toronto. Happening over the Labour Day long weekend (September 1–4)



JoSH the Band

September 1 at 9:30pm, Concert Stage

One of the world’s most widely recognized Indo-Pak-Canadian bands, JoSH the Band has produced chart-topping albums, selling more than three million records worldwide, and has also collaborated with artists such as Nelly Furtado, Apache Indian, Rishi Rish and Sukhbir. The band brings their unique fusion of hip hop, pop and bhangra beats to Harbourfront’s iconic Concert Stage, promising audiences a night of electric music and moves. ​ 

Mita Baruah 

September 2 at 1pm, Stage in the Park

With roots in Assamese folk and Hindustani classical traditions and a love for jazz, pop and blues, musician Mita Baruah creates original music that is happy and upbeat while also reflecting on the themes of lived experiences, her home country and Canada. Backing Baruah are music director, composer and guitar player Jayanta Pathak, Ian D’Souza on bass, Mehboob Thawar on keyboards and Santosh Naidu on tabla, supported by Jeet Das on drums.


Hidayat Khan

September 2 at 3:30pm, Stage in the Park 

Bringing the sound of the soul from the sitar, musician and vocalist Hidayat Khan is globally acclaimed as one of the greatest of all sitarists. He has collaborated on stage with The Rolling Stones, Alicia Keys and Jay-Z and performed at prestigious venues like the Royal Albert Hall, The Kennedy Centre, Carnegie Hall and more. Khan brings his Eastern classical music to the Concert Stage with Mausiqui: songs that will capture audiences through the beats of tabla and drums, bass chords, guitar and powerful spoken words.


September 2 at 8pm, Stage in the Park 

Blending Indian Carnatic and Hindustani music with Western pop, funk and jazz, critically acclaimed, JUNO-nominated music ensemble Autorickshaw has been called one of the most “interesting acts in the world music landscape.” Their layered sonic sounds, showcasing the vocals of Suba Sankaran and anchored by electric bass lines, beatboxing and the band’s signature tabla grooves, makes Autorickshaw a highly danceable show, offering a mix of vintage Bollywood, Indian folk and Canadian pop with a twist.


September 3 at 7pm, Stage in the Park

An Indian-alternative artist exploring the multitude of influences that create her sound, Shirsha weaves her pop aesthetic with unconventional chord progressions and vocals for a mashup of original songs and popular covers in Bollywood and Hindi to urban jazz and R&B. With an experimental and improvisational approach to her music, audiences will enjoy her performances of underrated gems and chart-topping tunes.


Jhankaar: Aesthetics of Ghungroos 

Panwar Music and Dance Productions

September 1 at 8pm, Stage in the Park 

Exploring the dynamic artform of kathak, this thrilling dance performance fuses traditional percussions indigenous to India with Spanish dance and movements, jingling ankle bells and the nagada, tabla and pakhawaj instruments. Raaga-based vocal compositions will mix with the sounds of ghungroos for a sound that marries Indian classical and European music together.


Safa Jabrani

September 2 at 5pm, North Orchard

September 3 at 2:30pm, Stage in the Park

Join in for a fusion of music, dance and fitness where East meets West with BollyX: a Bollywood-inspired cardio session that will make you sweat.

Mid-Day Masti

Puja Amin and Sanskriti Arts 

September 4 at noon, Stage in the Park

An afternoon of dance and cultural celebration as dance company Puja Amin Sanskriti Arts presents Mid-day Masti, a vibrant two-hour dance program at Stage in the Park. Audiences will enjoy different dance styles like classical kathak and Bollywood and how each type showcases the rich traditions of Indian dance.

Navrang Folk Dance Competition

Sanskriti Arts

September 4 at 3:30pm, Concert Stage 

Welcome to the vibrant world of Indian folk dances. The Navrang Indian Folk Dance Competition, presented by Sanskriti Arts, is an extraordinary celebration of the rich cultural tapestry of India. This event will showcase a variety of folk dances from different states, including Garba-Raas, Bhangra, Rajasthani, Lavani and many others. Get ready to witness the incredible diversity, energy and artistry of Indian folk traditions.


The Lunchbox

September 2 at 12:30pm, Studio Theatre

The Lunchbox is the acclaimed Hindi-language debut drama written and directed by Ritesh Batra. Warm, affectionate and sweet, the film, shot in Mumbai, is a story that follows the neglected lives of two very different people (played by the brilliant actors Nimrat Kaur and Irrfan Khan) and what happens when circumstances bring them together and how even something as simple as a lunchbox can connect people.

Director: Ritesh Batra

Writers: Ritesh Batra, Vasan Bala

Cast: Irfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur, Nawazuddin Siddiqui

Angry Indian Goddesses

September 3 at 12:30pm, Studio Theatre

Join us in our Studio Theatre for a screening of Pan Nalin’s Angry Indian Goddesses– one of the first films to put modern-day Indian women and their friendships at the story’s heart. You will be taken on a journey through the experiences of Indian women as they navigate everything from love and family to their careers and society. Post-film, audiences can participate in a panel discussion with the director.

Director: Pan Nalin

Writers: Pan Nalin, Shubhadra Mahajan, Dilip Shankar

Cast: Amy Maghera, Rajshri Deshpande, Pavleen Gujral, Sandhya Mridul, Sarah Jane Dias, Tanishtha Chatterjee 

Ram Leela

September 3 at 8pm, Concert Stage

Ram Leela is a modern adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet with an Indian twist. The film focuses on the story of Ram and Leela, their love, lust and the drama that unfolds afterwards.

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Writers: Sanjay Leela Bhansali, William Shakespeare, Siddharth-Garima

Cast: Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Supriya Pathak


East Meets West

Chef Dev, hosted by Rup Magon

September 2 at 5pm, Lakeside Terrace

Experience an authentic Indian kitchen experience learning to cook and understand the nuances of the food, ingredients, techniques and spices used to create classic Indian recipes. Each cooking demonstration offers a one-hour demonstration led by guest chefs focusing on local and seasonal cooking. Areas covered will include the seasonality of ingredients and how to eat more locally. 

Cooking with Millets

Siva Swaminathan

September 4 at 2pm, Lakeside Terrace

Experience an authentic Indian kitchen with experienced chefs to learn the nuance of Indian cuisine and spices. Learn all about the staples, including millets, and the techniques behind classic recipes. 

Mighty Millets – Fad or Fabulous?

Siva Swaminathan

September 4 at 4pm, Lakeside Terrace

An educational panel discussion and demonstration on the mighty millets – the grain of 2023, and why it’s high time more Canadians knew about them and enjoyed their nutty-nuanced goodness. Apart from the obvious (it’s a reliable source of income for farmers in developing countries), it helps revitalize depleted soil when planted, tastes great, and is climate adaptable amongst other things.

About Harbourfront Centre

Harbourfront Centre is a leading international centre for contemporary arts, culture and ideas, and a registered, charitable not-for-profit cultural organization operating a 10-acre campus on Toronto’s central waterfront. Harbourfront Centre provides year-round programming 52 weeks a year, seven days a week, supporting a wide range of artists and communities. We inspire audiences and visitors with a breadth of bold, ambitious and engaging experiences, and champion contemporary Canadian artists throughout their careers, presenting them alongside international artists, and fostering national and international artistic exchange between disciplines and cultures. Harbourfront Centre gratefully acknowledges its Programming Partners: Government of Canada, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council and City of Toronto, as well as its Corporate Site Partner: Labatt.

SOURCE Harbourfront Centre

Images supplied by Harbourfront Centre

Other articles from totimes.ca – otttimes.ca – mtltimes.ca

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