Batuki Music Society: Nurturing Artists
It is a difficult and arduous task to practice music and try to make a living in today’s economy. It is more difficult for new Canadians to grasp the process of creating music, developing, marketing, performing and touring. Batuki Music Society has identified some of the pressing problems that local performers of African music face in Toronto, and Ontario at large. It has taken the initiative to develop new talent by helping design projects such as booking an artist in a venue, work on their profile and kit, connect them with other promoters, or help them work on areas they need help in. Sometimes it may just be simple found advice and encouragement that the organization dispenses, and it works. Batuki Music Society has successfully worked with and helped local musicians such as Daniel Nebiat, a young man who is considered one of the best krar players in the Eritrean community to perform in venues throughout the city. Nebiat opened for Seun Kuti at Harbourfront Centre, and participated at the Horn of Africa concert at Glen Gould Studio.
Batuki Music Society was also instrumental in the formation of Afrafranto (Butterfly), a Ghanaian palm wine group made up of Theo Boakye, Kofi Ackah, Pa Joe, Ebenezer Agyekum, most of them members of the African Guitar Summit. Authentic palm wine music is on the decline, even in West Africa (Sierra Leone, Ghana) where it originated, hence, Batuki Music Society encouraged the four musicians to form a new group to resurrect and nurture this dying form of music. The organization has helped various artists that have sought advice and assistance for CD launches. Valu David, a singer/songwriter, guitarist who sings in various languages self produced a CD, titled Valu David. Batuki Music Society assisted in the launch at the Lula Lounge.
Batuki Music Society’s most recent work is with Tich Maredza, a Zimbabwean artist who has played and toured with Oliver Mtukudzi. The Tich Maredza Quartet formed recently and have performed for the first time as a group at Batuki Music Society and Gladstone Hotel monthly concert series, including opening for Oliver Mtukudzi’s recent concert at the Opera House. Batuki Music Society is here to help local artists throughout the year.