Batuki Music Society: Nurturing The Community
Some musicians hail from well established communities (early African immigrants such as Ghanaians, Nigerians, South Africans); and it is often at community events that they have opportunities to play for a fee or an honorarium. Most community functions depend on volunteers as well as artists donating their time. Batuki Music Society has been approached by several communities requesting help in organizing their functions, especially planning and executing performances. For instance in late 2009, the artistic director Nadine McNulty and Girma Woldemichael, a saxophonist from the Ethiopian community were discussing ways of presenting a concert to honour the late Tilahun Gessesse, a man who is attributed to the creation of modern Ethiopian music. A cast of the finest Ethiopian musicians in Toronto was assembled under the guidance of Batuki Music Society’s artistic director, Nadine McNulty. Proceeds from the concert were donated to an Ethiopian Charity, P2P, a group that helps AIDS orphans and their relatives in Ethiopia. The concert was a success, a testament to Batuki Music Society’s outreach skills, forging good relationships with communities.
The Southern Sudanese Community is a relatively small one scattered throughout the GTA, with a core in Toronto. They have young and developing artists who need help in career development, or just opportunities to perform in some of the city’s arts venues. Batuki Music Society teamed up with the Sudanese Settlement Services to present a festival for the community (We Are One). A delegation of the GOSS (Government of South Sudan) from Ottawa attended the festivities. Batuki Music Society is willing to help similar communities or artist collectives in designing or helping run projects as a lead presenter.