A circle of participants watch Beny Esguerra demonstrate traditional Afro-Colombian music in this 2017 photo. Esguerra is back for a 2020 performance for the Still Running Online concert series brought to you by the Harrison Festival Society (File Photo)

Harrison Festival continues concert series with ‘From Roots to Routes’

Second video in three-part series is now online

The second installation of the Still Running Online Concert Series courtesy of the Harrison Festival Society is online now. “From Roots to Routes” is a 26-minute online concert that delves deep into the roots of the music that makes Harrison, tracing its ancestry to Toronto, Colombia, Ireland and Italy.

“From Roots to Routes” features the music of Beny Esguerra, Nuala Kennedy and John Doyle and Ilaria Graziano and Francesco Forni. This is the second installment of the Still Running Online Concert Series, the first of which was “Off and Running.” “Off and Running” featured four western and northern Canadian artists. It drew more than 100 views on the Harrison Festival YouTube channel.

JUNO nominee Beny Esguerra hails from Colombia and now lives in Toronto. He is a skilled multi-instrumentalist and has been to the Harrison Festival of The Arts before with a well-received beach performance and music lessons back in 2017. Esguerra has shared his music with several countries, including Cuba, the United States, Venezuela and Chile. He currently hosts workshops through the Ontario Arts Council, bringing drumming and storytelling to inner city schools and rural areas across his home province.

WATCH: Afro-Colombian drum and dance at Harrison Festival

Nuala Kennedy is an Irish singer and flautist. She has collaborated with a number of groups all over the world, including The Alt, Irish group Oirialla and The Snowflake Trio. Her roots are deep in traditional Irish music, but she has worked with a number of indie artists and those on the cutting edge of Canadian music.

John Doyle is long said to be the most influential Irish guitarist of his generation. His skill as a rhythm guitarist, finger-style guitarist and his singing voice gained him international recognition with the Irish group Solas back in the 90s. When he left the group, he launched a successful solo career and collaborated with fiddler Liz Carroll, violinist Martin Hayes and floutist Kevin Craford. His recent work with Usher’s Well only adds to what continues to be a prosperous career for Doyle.

Ilaria Graziano and Francesco Forni hail from Naples, Italy, successfully melding multiple genres of folk, blues and la dolce vita. The multi-lingual duo performs in English, French, Spanish and Italian, bringing the flavours of southern U.S. folk to the tangos of Argentina and cabaret music of central Europe.

There are many things Festival Society members have missed about live concerts, but they took time to acknowledge their performances on Sts’ailes land.

RELATED: Harrison Festival Society announces intimate concert series with July 11 show

“One thing that unfortunately has been lost since this pandemic began has been the opportunity to verbally acknowledge the land on which the Festival gathers and is based out of,” the Festival Society wrote. “Even though the video contains performances from across Canada, we would still like to acknowledge the land on which it has been compiled and produced. We would like to acknowledge the sacred land on which we gather, as the unceded territory of the Sts’ailes Peoples.”

While not in its traditional form for 2020, the Harrison Festival Society has created a festival of sorts throughout the summer beyond the Still Running Online series. The series of events throughout July included a concert by Betnal Taylor Ulrich and Children’s Day with Will’s Jams, followed by an Indigenous drum making class courtesy of Darren Charlie.

The Festival Society teased that there will be at least a few more workshops and possibly another live concert provided COVID-19 numbers start to go back down again.

While watching the YouTube concert series is free, the Harrison Festival Society is accepting donations through PayPal.


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