Pop-up Performances 2019


Pop-up Performances 2019

Date: 2019
Price: Free with Museum Admission

Experience music, dance, and poetry that reflects the rich tapestry of diverse world regions, from the Balkans to the Nordic countries, from the Middle East to Asia.


Our weekly Pop-Up Performances, supported by TD Bank Group, provide a platform for emerging and established award-winning artists to showcase their craft, initiate cross-cultural dialogue, and engage new audiences.


Enjoy informal performances on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays from a range of captivating artists in the Museum’s public spaces, galleries, and even in a traditional Mongolian yurt.


One artist or group performs every week on the following schedule:
Wednesdays at 5 pm, 6 pm, and 7 pm
Saturdays and Sundays at 12 pm, 1 pm, and 3 pm

Interested in becoming a pop-up performer? Submit your application here.


October Lineup:


Zeca Polina
Brazilian Folk
October 2, 5 & 6


This Toronto-based Brazilian singer, composer, arranger, producer, and genre bending multi-instrumentalist has a passion for music and community. He has worked with many musical groups and performed in the US, Mexico, England, and Canada, including at Roy Thomson Hall. Polina’s self-titled album marks the debut of his solo career, with an undefinable genre, finding inspiration in Brazilian country songs, rock n’ roll, waltz, psychedelia, blues, and more. As a producer, he released Lena, an album by the Brazilian samba singer Marilena Torres.


Rose Quartz
October 9, 12 & 13


Jazz-informed, folk-inspired, Brazilian-influenced, Rose Quartz is the solo project of bassist, vocalist, and percussionist Carlie Howell. Performing a catalogue of original songs almost two decades in the making, Howell presents stories from her life. She delivers carefully crafted poetry in conversation with double & electric bass, ukulele, and percussion. Howell has collaborated and toured with Culture Reject, Beverly Glenn-Copeland & Indigo Rising, Os Tropies, and others. She's also played bass for many acts including Kaya Kater, The Weather Station, and Fiver.


Moyo Rainos Mutamba
October 16, 19 & 20


As a Gwenyambira — a master player of the Zimbabwean mbira instrument — Moyo Rainos Mutamba draws from a large repertoire of ritual songs from ancient mbira music traditions. He weaves together diverse sounds, while harnessing the powerful sound of the mbira in one instance to connect audiences with their meditative and spiritual cores, and scratching the mbira in another instance to lure audiences into serendipitous movement. Mutamba accompanies the mbira with chants, yodeling, poetry, and stories, creating a true ceremonial space that is relaxing, joyful, and healing.


Mike Ford
Canadiana Francophone Trubadour
October 23, 26 & 27

Juno-nominated artist Mike Ford is a singer and songwriter who has released four acclaimed albums inspired by Canadian history. He won the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for his ongoing historical, musical explorations. Before this unique musical direction, he was best known as a member of Moxy Früvous. That legendary Canadian band headlined festival stages all across North America and Europe, and sold a quarter of a million records.


September Lineup:

Mushtari Afroz
Kathak Dance
September 4, 7 & 8


Mushtari Afroz has completed advanced training in both the Lucknow Gharana and Jaipur Gharana style of kathak. She is the founder of the troupe Kathak Bandi, the recipient of the Canada Council for the Arts grant, as well as Englands Milapfest grant. In recent collaborations with a visual artist, she created a piece called Bold Expressions, as well as the provocative Am I Only That? To expand her vocabulary of dance, Mushtari has trained extensively in Western Contemporary dance forms, and taken workshops in Sufi-Shamanic dance, Japanese Butoh, and Mindful Dancing among others.

Kianoush Khalilian
Persian Ney
September 11, 14 & 15


A recurring performer at the Museum, Kianoush Khalilian is a composer and highly skilled Persian ney player. Kianoush learnt his art from distinguished Iranian masters in Tehran, and has since won awards for his performances as well as his teaching methods. Kianoush has performed in concerts in Iran, Canada and across Europe and working on publishing a guide to playing the ney.

Brandon Valdivia
Percussive Explorations
September 18, 21 & 22


Multi-instrumentalist composer Brandon Miguel Valdivia is best known for his experimental percussions. Based in Toronto, Brandon has produced award winning musical work, such as the Lido Piemienta that won the Polaris Prize in 2017. His passion for interdisciplinary art has led him to work on live music accompaniment and sound design for theatre and dance, as well as record with prominent Canadian artists.

Maryem Tollar & Dawne McFarlane
Music & Storytelling
September 25, 28 & 29


Professional storyteller Dawne McFarlane and vocalist Maryem Tollar come together for a special storytelling performance.


Growing up with a belief in faeries, Dawne has been telling stories around campfires, kitchen tables, in classrooms and international festivals. She teaches the art of storytelling to teachers in Canada and abroad, and is the Artistic Director of the Toronto Storytelling Festival.


Maryem Tollar is an Egyptian-Canadian vocalist and composer and performer. She is a member of Al Qahwa, a quartet that performs traditional Arabic music alongside original music; and the group Turkwaz, whose recording Nazar was nominated for a Juno for World Music Album of the year in 2017. Maryem was featured in Tafelmusiks production Tales of Two Cities: The Leipzig-Damascus Coffee Houses.


August Lineup:

Tichaona Maredza
Musical artist
July 31, Aug 3 & 4


Tichaona (Tich) Maredza is a Zimbabwean singer, multi-instrumentalist and composer. Tich’s guitar and drum compositions rhythmically convey messages about his life as a musician and immigrant. Tich has performed in festivals across Ontario including Afrofest and accompanied visiting stars like Zimbabwean legends Thomas Mapfumo and Oliver Mtukudzi. He leads The Tich Maredza Band, a five-piece multicultural band based in Toronto, and is also a member of the JUNO Award-nominated Okavango African Orchestra.

Al Qahwa Ensemble
Musical Ensemble
August 7, 10 & 11


Inspired by the coffee culture of the Middle East, Al Qahwa finds its roots in classical and popular music from Syria, Egypt and Iraq. As of 2018, the group began to add original songs to their list. The group consists of Maryem Tollar, known for her limitless voice, violin master Alfred Gamil, Majd Sukar on clarinet, Demetrios Petsalakis on oud, Ernie Tollar on sax and bansuri, and Naghmeh Farahmand on percussion.

Megha Subramanian
Bharatanatyam Dancer
August 14, 17 & 18


Megha Subramanian has dedicated three decades to Bharatanatyam and is an accomplished dancer and visual storyteller. Having studied filmmaking at the University of Southern California, Megha has a background in writing screenplays, television shows and short stories, and brings her narrative to dance. As the director at Abhinayam School of Dance in Toronto, Megha teaches all age groups of people to “tell stories with grace”.

Amin Reihani
Iranian Santoor
August 21, 24 & 25


Drawn to the santoor from an early age, Amin Reihani dedicated his life discovering every aspect of the instrument. Since mastering his technique at the University of Tehran he has been composing his own music, as well as teaching in Iran. Amin moved to Toronto with 20 years of experience, and became involved with the local musical community, playing with Sarv Ensemble, performing at festivals, prominently the Tigran Festival, and in concerts across North America. He now plays with the Navak Ensemble, which he founded.

Amely Zhou
Erhu Musician
August 28, 31 & September 1


Amely Zhou is an award winning Canadian musician trained in both the Eastern and Western traditions. She began her musical studies at the Shenzhen Arts School, and after immigrating to Canada joined the Toronto Chinese Orchestra, where she is currently the bow-string sections principal assistant. Amely co-founded the fusion instrumental band Spire, has performed with the York University Symphony Orchestra, and creates erhu music for television, theatrical and broadcast productions. 

July Lineup:

Jessica Stuart
Musical Artist
July 3, 6 & 7


Vancouver-born guitarist, singer and songwriter Jessica Stuart is an acclaimed musician who made a name for herself through rhythmic and harmonically adventurous art pop. She has toured Asia with her band the Jessica Stuart Few, won Best Album in the Independent Music Awards, played in festivals and made it to radio waves from Australia to Germany. Jessica has been working on a new tune as JESSA, and released her first single ‘Simple Little Song’ in June.

Hanna Touma
Oud and Vox
July 10, 13 & 14


A highly experienced and talented multi-instrumentalist who casts a musical spell over audiences with his naturally wide-ranging style.

Mehboob Tejani
Indian Classical Singer
July 17, 20 & 21


Trained in classical Indian music, Mehboob Tejani is a Toronto-based geet and ghazal singer. He has performed extensively on television and radio, and in concert in the USA, Canada, England, India, East Africa and Australia. Passionately musical, Mehboob is a known artist and performer in the local Indian classical music circuit and beyond.  

Sanaz Nakhjavani
Qanun Player
July 24, 27 & 28


Sanaz Nakhjavani has been performing qanun since 1998. She has contributed to various albums and has performed with Spiral Modes, Andalibi Ensemble and Blue Dot Band in Canada. She is a graduate of the Tehran Conservatory of Music, specializing in piano and qanun. She holds a Master’s in Turkish Music from Istanbul’s Turkish Conservatory of Music and is completing a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology.

June Lineup:

Musical group
May 29, June 1 & 2


Discover Turkwaz combine and rearrange tunes from international musical traditions to create a unique sound of their own; merging everything from mysterious Sufi devotional love songs to Thracian dance music. Each performer in Turkwaz brings their own flavor to the group. Maryem Hassan Tollar draws on her Arabic language heritage, Jayne Brown and Sophia Grigoriadis bring their experience with Greek music and Brenna MacCrimmon adds her fascination with Turkish music.

Contemporary dance & vocals
June 5, 8 & 9


Contemporary vocal and dance trio celeste returns to the Museum with creator Kristin Fung, Mingjia Chen, Anh Phung, and special guest Brandon Valdivia. Taking inspiration from nature the performance explores voice, movement, flute and percussions that “breathe mountain air and starry skies.”

Kianoush Khalilian
Ney - Iranian flute
June 12, 15 & 16


Enjoy the music of award-winning composer and skilled ney player Kianoush Khalilian. Kianoush learnt his art from distinguished Iranian masters and has won awards for his own teaching methods. His musical story has been featured in the book ‘The Face of Iranian Artists’ by Habiboullah Nasirifar. Kianoush has performed in concerts in Iran, Canada and across Europe, and is working on publishing a guide to playing the ney.

Ali Massoudi
June 19, 22 & 23


A recurring performer at the Museum, Ali Massoudi is a renowned multi-percussionist and music educator who has authored five books on respected methods for tomback, daf and udu. He is the music director for Navayeh Kimia Ensemble and has had the opportunity to work with acclaimed international musicians, ensembles and orchestras such as the Tehran Symphony Orchestra and the Iran National Music Orchestra. Ali has shared his gift in concerts worldwide.

Mike Ford
June 26, 29 & 30


Welcome singer and songwriter Mike Ford, a Juno nominated solo artist who has released four acclaimed albums inspired by Canadian history, and won the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for his ongoing musical explorations on the same. Before his unique musical turn, he was best known in his former life as a band member of the Moxy Früvous, that headlined festival stages all across North America and Europe and sold a quarter of a million albums.


May Lineup:


Njacko Backo
Kalimba Cameroonian Music
May 1, 4 & 5


Be transported to a tropical, sun-drenched music festival and feel the spirit of peace, love and social harmony as the award-winning musician Njacko Backo welcomes you to his musical world. Njacko is a master of the Cameroonian instrument kalimba, and well acquainted with euphoric sounds from around the world. Let Njacko’s joyful rhythms, songs and melodies inspire happiness in you.

Valeria Matzner
May 8, 11 & 12


Brimming with melodies from her native South America, experience award-winning singer Valeria Matzner as she brings the excitement of samba, the seduction of bossa nova and the passion of tango in to her music. Valeria has worked with many accredited Canadian artists and associations, and is a recurring performer at Folk and Jazz music festivals in North America, South America, Philippines and Japan. Her album entitled Anima received Bronze in the Global Music Awards.

Meghan Cheng
May 15, 18 & 19


Witness Meghan Cheng bring her poetic spirit into her performances. As an accomplished, classically trained, Toronto-based violinist, she plays in orchestras, chamber groups, music theatre productions, recording sessions, weddings and more. Meghan graduated with a Bachelor in Violin Performance from the notable Berklee College of Music, and completed a masters in violin performance and composition from York. She is also a founding member of unQuartet, a collaborative improvisational string group.

May 22, 25 & 26


KyVITa is a multi-instrumentalist and music producer. His live performances are all improvised, creating an ambient rhythm of R&B, Blues and Jazz with layers of synthesizers, bass, guitar and keyboard. What you will hear is fresh, live, and looped, straight from his musical mind directly to you.

Doors Open Performer Lineup
May 25 & 26
The Offbeat | Amelia Nyla Jassa | Post Modern Disco


April Lineup:

Lineup: Beny Esguerra’s Posse o’ Poetry Folks
April 3


Don’t miss JUNO nominee musician and lyricist Beny Esguerra and New Tradition as they explore concepts of the traditional and modern in this poetic pop-up production. Intertwining an array of elements such as spoken word, beatboxing, a DJ, Afro-Cuban and Colombian drumming, Indigenous flutes, West African balafon, funk, zouk, merengue and flourishes of 70’s Nuyorican salsa, the troupe puts on an intriguing and unique performance.

Tamar Ilana & Mat Sellick
Singer & Guitarist
April 6 & 7


Welcome the powerhouse vocalist, dancer and Torontonian, Tamar Ilana, as she prepares to release her third album with her award-winning band, Ventanas this May. She will be putting on a special performance with flamenco guitarist and composer Matt Sellick, who has played as a featured soloist for the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra and Consortium Aurora Borealis. Matt is also working on his third album and has recently composed a suite of orchestral arrangements for guitar.

Lineup: Khalid Esmail, Fan Wu, Laboni Islam and Friends
April 10


Listen to the painted words and lyrics of this diverse lineup of notable local poets. Take a seat and absorb the intriguing language which connects one soul to another. Be inspired by storytelling styles, narratives about life, relationships, nature, existentialism and the moon. Let words take you on a journey to discover universal truths and find the relief that emerges from sharing experiences.

Kathryn Merriam
April 13, 14


Kathryn Merriam dabbled with a number of instruments before she found her voice and sound. Her music has a base in classical techniques, as well as jazz, and combines folk and mystical sounds that invite the listener to a space of self-reflection and exploration, between storytelling and soundscapes. Growing up with parents who own piano retail and music education centres in North American, Kathryn has a range of musical influences.

Lineup: Artist Health Alliance - Timaj Garad
April 17


Watch a master on stage as Timaj Garad, the Toronto-based, Ethiopian, multi-disciplinary storyteller, brings her poetry, theatre, and music to the Museum. Known for her award-winning, autobiographical art, working at the crossroads of a black Muslim woman challenging injustice, unearthing truths, and healing, Timaj has graced over 250 stages and is a leading poetry and theatre organizer. With multiple successful poetry series and festivals in her founding or care, she is a true believer in the transformative power of arts to engage and build communities.

Paromita Kar
Classical Indian Dancer
April 20 & 21


Witness classical Indian choreography in its prime, as Paromita Kar, the lead dancer of the Toronto-based Ensemble Topaz performs at the Museum. With a PhD in dance, Paromita Kar is the custodian of professional classical Indian Odissi dance, and a student of Guru Durgacharan Ranbir of Odisha, India. Paromita also professionally performs Central Asian dances, including Afghan, Iranian and Uyghur as well as those hailing from Middle Eastern and Romani heritages.

Lineup: BAM! Toronto Youth Slam
April 24


Welcome BAM! Toronto Youth Slam, a platform and community that consists of some of the top youth spoken word poets in Toronto and the GTA. With varying storytelling styles and powerful narratives, these individual voices create an unparalleled poetic chorus of truth, struggle and healing when they hit the stage. They perform on multiple stages across the city, facilitate mentorship programs and participate in a range of international poetry conferences.

Shirlita la Pili
Singer / Dancer
April 27 & 28


Bask in the warm movements and lyrics of the sought-after singer and dancer Shirlita La Pili; a star in the Canadian Flamenco scene. Having honed her art with many master singers, Shirlita brings her learnings back to the flamenco community, participating in festivals and working with many leading companies. Come sway along as she demonstrates some of the most beautiful songs and dances of the art form.


March Lineup:


Syrian Traditional Folk Musicians
March 6, 9 & 10


Keeping traditional Syrian and Arabic songs alive by infusing them with a touch of flamenco, the funky trio that makes up Diar plays rhythms that reminisce life in Syria. Diar’s music recalls memories of childhood, friends, family and first love, connecting the essence of life in Syria to their present life in Canada.

Fusion Band
March 13, 16 & 17


Merging classical Indian rhythms and melodies with contemporary music to create a mesmerizing sound, Rakkatak comprises tabla percussionist Anita Katakkar, bassist Oriana Barbato, vocalist Pratik Rao and multi-talented musician Zaynab Wilson. These eclectic musicians aim to change the perspective of Indian classical music as a male dominated art form and are currently producing their fourth album.  

Ed Hanley
March 20, 23 & 24


Moved by the language of classical Indian drums, Ed Hanley studied tabla and Carnatic drumming traditions for over 27 years in India and Canada. Ed is a multi-dimensional artist – creator, performer, producer, photographer, cinematographer, recording engineer and writer – who brings his unique perspective to the tabla, which and has earned him two Juno Award nominations and a prize in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition.

Dobrochna Zubek
March 27, 30 & 31


With a performance career spanning nearly three decades, Dr. Dobrochna Zubek has established herself as one of the most prominent, multi-award-winning cellists of her generation. In an evolving and multifaceted career, Dr. Zubek has worked as a soloist, chamber musician, recitalist and orchestral cellist in Europe, the USA, Canada, and Mexico.


February Lineup:

Reza Manbachi & Ali Massoudi
Setarist & Percussionist
February 6, 9 & 10


Setarist Reza Manbachi and Percussionist Ali Massoudi will be collaborating to share traditional Iranian music at the Museum. The two seasoned musicians have built individual reputations for themselves, performing with maestros and orchestras around the world and leading ensembles of their own.

Anwar Khurshid
Fusion Setarist
February 13, 16 & 17


Composer and sitarist Anwar Khurshid’s vibrant fusion music has been featured in the Oscar winning movie ‘Life of Pi’. Anwar has collaborated with Jazz, Blues, Flamenco, Oriental, African and Middle Eastern genre musicians, including the Sultans of String, and has received international acclaim for his novel performances and elegant sound.

Roa Lee
Gayageum player
February 20, 23 & 24


Roa (HyunYoung) Lee is an award winning Gayageum musician and Orchestra soloist from Korea, who is passionate about world fusion music. Pushing the limits, Roa adds the serene string sound of the Gayageum to various genres and styles of music, incorporating rhythms from Asia and the West.

Songs of Now
Clarinet & Violinist
February 27, March 2 & 3


Comprising clarinettist Celia Tang and violinist Virginie Laliberté, Songs of Now is a newly formed Toronto-based collaborative ensemble aimed towards exploring a diverse range of music and soundscapes to bring audiences on remarkable musical journey.


January Lineup:

Nuno Cristo
January 2, 5 & 6


Musician, composer and instrument maker, Nuno Cristo performs the soulful Portuguese guitar and specializes in playing fado music. He performs solo and with ensembles Banza Fado and Anima Fado. Nuno has self-produced two albums, collaborated with the likes of Nelly Furtado and played for international audiences in the USA, Macao and Portugal.

Gina Hyunmin Lee
Contemporary classical pianist
January 9, 12 & 13


Toronto-based pianist Gina Hyunmin Lee is practiced in the classical and contemporary classical repertoire. Her music has been heard in prominent concert halls and festivals throughout Canada. Most recently, she was invited to play her first international solo concert at the Shoenberg Centre in Vienna and also participated in the Internationale Sommerakademie.

Kosa Kolektiv Koliada
Carolling troupe
January 16, 19 & 20


The Kosa Kolektiv’s yearly winter ritual Koliada celebrates the festive Eastern European carolling tradition. The lively performance includes singing ancient songs of creation, good tidings and blessing everyone for the coming year. The troupe comprises a sisterhood of Torontonian women who aim to revitalize peasant folklore through song, sewing, food, crafts, and workshops.

Ensemble Topaz
Dance company
January 23, 26 & 27


Ensemble Topaz is a Toronto-based music and dance company dedicated to sharing the classical and contemporary dances of South and Central Asia. With their measured and graceful moves, Ensemble Topaz reawakens the forms, movement and musical traditions of Afghan, Central Asian and Rajasthani culture.

Judith Cohen
January 30, February 2 & 3


Known for her work in Sephardic Jewish music, Judith Cohen is a singer and a teller of ballads. As with Medieval folk songs and storytelling traditions, her old-world music focuses on vocals, embellished by instruments that follow the tone and melody of the voice.

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