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.
HOT & SPICY: INDIA PROGRAMMING
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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?
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