Odysseo brings the ‘wow’ factor out for its audience in Toronto

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danharper cavalia

Cavalia’s Odysseo is a show that features horses, acrobats, stilt-walkers and more. Show’s running at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga until July 16. Photo by Dan Haper/Cavalia

So, while I do realize the event I am recommending doesn’t have any South Asian element to it, but nevertheless, I feel obliged to share this because quite frankly, I have not seen a show of this calibre. It took my breath away.

First, a disclaimer: I was offered a pair of complimentary tickets to catch the Cavalia’s Odysseo show in Mississauga recently.

What I write here is my purely my personal experience.

So, what’s Odysseo?

It’s a two-and-half-hour show featuring horses, stilt-walkers, dancers, acrobats and musicians. To me, it felt as though all my senses were on assault. The sheer beauty of all the elements coming together was a sight to behold.

Chris Waits Cavalia

An acrobat performs a stunt. Odysseo is a show that features horses, human and technology. Show running until July 16 at the Big Top next to Hershey Centre. Photo by Chris Waits/Cavalia

The audience’s standing ovation for the cast, both human and the equine, told me that the feeling was universal.

If you have watched Cirque du Soleil, now reimagine that with beautiful horses, live music faintly reminiscent of a Anya playlist, set designs that are jaw-dropping and never-seen-before death-defying acts.

In this show, the horses dance, prance, trot, gallop and more, in synchronized choreography against a larger-than-life screen that transports you to places—deserts, snow, mountains…drums and vocals added a mystical element.

The show features 65 sleek beauties (horses), 48 artists and demonstrates the beautiful relationship and trust between man and horse.

Cavalia Inc., the Montreal headquartered entertainment company was founded by Normand Latourelle and Dominique Day. I thought it was a perfect way to celebrate Canada’s 150 birthday.

At the show I was at, there were 1,000 Syrian refugees in the Big Top all equally enthralled. Cavalia had generously given away tickets away to the newcomers in the spirit of everything Canada stands for.

Tickets are priced from $39.50 to $139.50 + applicable taxes and fees.

Matinee and evening performances for Odysseo are scheduled through July 16 and are now on sale online at www.cavalia.com or by calling 1-866-999-8111.

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Happy 150th Canada! Let’s party desi style and celebrate the true north

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P-South Asian Canada Day-WS-7

Sana Umer is at the 2nd annual South Asian Canada Day held at Mississauga Valley Park in this file photo. Photo by Claudio Cugiliari, courtesy of Mississauga News

Saturday, July 1

Event: Little India: Village of Dreams
Details: Nina Beveridge’s intimate documentary Little India: Village Of Dreams, will premier on TVO at 9 p.m. The film captures the stresses of old world conflicts and New World challenges that have reshaped Little India on a stretch of Gerrard Street.
Contact: Here

Event: Odyesso-Cavalia
Details: This spectacular equestrian event featuring acrobats, stage-art and more is happening at the White Big Top, adjacent to the Hershey Centre, 5399 Rose Cherry Place, Mississauga until July 16.
Contact: Here

Saturday, July 8

Event: Ehsaas
Details: Ehsaas: A Feeling of Eternal Love, a live concert features Bhavin Shastri and will kick off at the Rose Theatre, 1 Theatre Ln. Brampton at 8 p.m. Shashtri will deliver a mix of old Bollywood songs as well as some Sufiana ones.
Contact: Here

Sunday, July 9

Event: Rung De’ One
Details: The Holi-type event celebrating Canada’s diversity will take place outside Sheridan College in Mississauga, 4218 Living Arts Dr. from noon until 6 p.m.
Contact: Here

Friday, July 14

Event: Vibrant Brampton
Details: Garden Square in Downtown Brampton be filled with samples of South Asian culture July 14 to 15. Organized by Arts and Culture Initiative of South Asian (ACISA) Vibrant Brampton.
Contact: Here

Saturday, July 15

Event: BMM does Brampton
Details: Bollywood Monster Mashup (BMM) does Brampton is an evening of stand-up comedy, spoken word and urban music showcase. Action starts and ends at the Rose Theatre, 1 Theatre Ln. at 4:30 p.m.
Contact: Here

July 15 to 17

Event: Punyah Krishna
Details: Sampradaya Dance Academy will present Home Season production Punyah Krishna other works by Parshwanath Upadhye at the dance academy’s theatre, 3250 Ridgeway Drive – Unit #4, Mississauga.
Contact: Here

Saturday, July 22
Event: BMM Concert
Details: Bollywood Monster Mashup, a hit summer staple, is back again with its characteristic masti. The concert portion featuring a celebration of Bollywood includes Brampton gal Jonita Gandhi, Aakanksha Sharma, the voice of Sunny Leone in “Main Adhoora to the main stage. Events start at 2 p.m.
Contact: Here

Make some ‘Noyz’ for this hip-hop artist

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Amrit Singh aka “Noyz” continues to create waves in the hip-hop scene in Toronto. Supplied photo.

When you have to rely on tone, cadence and a stream of words, without a medley of instruments, you have to be pretty darn good at what you do.

That’s probably why Noyz seems to be on everyone’s playlist these days.

Having never met him, but just exchanged few emails and a phone chat, I can say with absolute degree of certainty Amrit Singh, 30, aka Noyz, a rising hip-hop star is not only a great wordsmith, MC, producer and mental health advocate, but Mr. Nice Guy: polite and modest to boot.

Two solo projects, a few albums created in collaboration with like-minded artists (God Degree, Grey Matter, Degrees of Freedom etc.) and dozens of concerts appear to have solidified his brand.

Early this year, Noyz dropped his first EP with B Magic (Movin’ Cool) So Far Gone.

“What makes rap such an effective medium is that the MC speaks in a conversational way, so as a listener, it’s as if you’re getting direct insight to the person’s thoughts,” he explained. “The lyrics are written in an honest way. So, you’ve to go deep into your own experiences to truthfully tell the story.”

Noyz began writing rhymes in Grade 6. He was influenced at that time by the music his cousins heard (Tupac, Biggie, Nas).

Young Amrit inexplicably was drawn to boom rap and R&B. (Boom rap, for those unfamiliar, is a style of production in the hip-hop genre. Drum sounds sort of dominate the music and hence the name.)

Phil Witmer, a writer for Noisey, an interactive music magazine, was at a Toronto concert featuring Noyz and B Magic and watched the duo bring the crowd to its feet.

Hip-Hop artist Amrit Singh aka Noyz is making waves in Toronto. Submitted photo.

“Their chemistry (Noyz and B Magic) resulted in an old-school-modelled presence that managed to transport the previously unmotivated crowd from the bar onto the floor,” wrote Witmer. “The duo prowled the stage as one unit, reading each other as they nonchalantly traded bars and emphasized the other’s punch-lines even on their own solo material. It was a block party, Brampton-style.”

30-year-old Noyz has experienced depression, but before he was handed the official diagnosis, he struggled with the symptoms and idiosyncrasies of a mind that well, had a mind of its own.

So, when he realized there was a need to educate the South Asian diaspora about mental health and remove the shame and stigma tethered to the issue, he used his voice. His video for #BellLetsTalk last year raked some serious views.

Growing up, Noyz admits to watching Bollywood movies, but he didn’t have the same deep connection with it as he did with hip-hop. His songs tackle oppression immigrant experience, mental health and what not.

“There’s so much space to be filled in a 16-bar rap verse that MCs have to go deep into their own minds and experiences to truthfully tell the story,” he said. “Because of the breadth of writing that needed for each verse, song and album, you get an insight into who the MCs are as people.”

When I was researching Noyz’s music, I came across a video of a Brampton Cypher. Cyphers are hip-hop jam sessions, BTW. Enjoy. Visit http://noyzhiphop.com/ for his music.