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Artist Biographies

2021

Speakers

Jai Djwa

Jai Djwa

Jai Djwa, MFA, is an artist, facilitator and digital strategist that works in the cross-section of arts, games, technology and people. He incorporates his understanding of the world as a person of colour to his life and artistic practice. He cares deeply about community, creativity and convening. Djwa is appointed to the BC Arts Council, the Vancouver Fringe, and is a business mentor for new immigrants at MOSAIC. Read more at www.djwa.ca

Arianna Basilone

Arianna Basilone

Arianna Basilone is a software developer with both a Bachelor’s degree in Software Engineering as well as in Business Administration. Tackling projects from multiple viewpoints, she combines her technical background, business savvy and creative thinking to find optimal, out-of-the-box ideas. Drawing from her experiences as a mentor and her work in IT, she has a knack for breaking complex things down to understandable, actionable items so as to encourage others to develop their tech skills & comprehension and take advantage of the tools around them to achieve greater success.

Yash Modi

Yash Modi

Digital Lead Yash Modi has a Master’s degree in Mass Communication and a diploma in Digital Marketing with Social Media Marketing specialization. In prior years, Yash has had a career as a news presenter, actor and model. Since his move from India, Yash has been looking to achieve new heights and make his mark in Canada. Art, however, remains his eternal love!

Artists

Black Creek Reign

Black Creek Reign

Black Creek Reign (BCR) is a genre-fluid experience that beckons back to the glory days of artistic freedom and nonconformity. Creating original tracks and reinterpreting their idols for covers (Bill Withers, Jimi Hendrix, John Mayer), this multi-instrumental trio crafts a sound that blends rock, blues, funk, reggae, and everything in between, for a unique sound that belongs in both 1965 and 2021. BCR debuted their first studio EP (Excommunicado) to high praise from critics across the Canadian music scene. Following that success, they ended the year with the single release Culture Shock which rocketed to 20,000 plays in a month.
After surprising their fans with a Christmas release (that saw Canadian radio airplay as well as being picked up by independent curators in Europe), they were lucky enough to have been connected with local sensation Danny Fernandes for their first release in 2021 “You and I”. This dance-pop track once again pushes the boundaries on what BCR is capable of creating, and they were incredibly grateful that after hearing a demo, Danny graciously agreed to be on the track. Black Creek Reign now moves forward by going back to its roots in reggae-pop. Teaming with The Band Destiny, and Logun (both with Caribbean origins), they’ve combined their talents to create a unique blend of island rhythm and catchy pop hooks, on a bed of authentic instrumentation and thoughtful lyricism. Is it too early for the song of the summer?

CrossGen

CrossGen

Peel based musicians and singers who decided to collaborate for this year’s festival. Loaded with versatility and a clear vision, this year we are trying to give the GTA a whole new experience.

N2 The Band

N2 The Band

N2 is an Indo-Caribbean fusion band. We enjoy performing primarily our versions of Caribbean influenced Bollywood music. But our repertoires include Chutney, Soca, Reggae Zouk and Mainstream. N2 comprises of two groups. The Full Band as you will see in our performance. However we also have a more Traditional Team, consisting of only acoustic Indian instruments where we perform Bollywood, Ghazals and Bhajans in the more traditional manner.

Rahul Sathu

Rahul Sathu

Rahul Sathu is a singer/music producer based in Brampton, Canada, who is well known for his melodic voice and hit making production skills. His collaborations as a music producer includes Race 3 for Salman Khan, Do Gallan, Like you & Love you Jatta for Garry Sandhu. His most recent collaboration as a singer was with Bollywood superstars like Raftaar, Arjun Kanungo, Ananya Birla, KING.

Shelisa Akbar

Shelisa Akbar

Shelisa Akbar is a giggling musician from Brampton that has been teaching piano, vocal, and music theory locally, around Brampton as well as Mississauga, for several years at multiple music academies. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree as well as a certificate of Introduction to Commercial Jazz from Humber College. Shelisa is currently working on completing a graduate certificate in music composition. Alongside these multiple commitments Shelisa is undertaking many more musical projects such as forming an EP which involves songwriting, charting, arranging, rehearsals, recording, and editing music. She is also involved in multiple live performance settings such as paid entertainment venues, charitable events, open mic nights, and music festivals throughout the GTA.

Past Artists

2020 Artists ▼

Reign Yash Dance Academy

Reign Yash Dance Academy

Yashwanth Koppala is Toronto based dancer, Choreographer & founder of Reign Yash Dance Academy. He has over 16 years of dance experience and performed in many reality shows in India. The Reign Yash Academy has  performed at over 100 events within the  GTA in the past two years.  Their  entire team is trained professional dancers expert in dance forms like Bollywood, Bollyhop, Hip-hop, Contemporary, Classical. Reign Yash Academy also provides dance lessons to all age groups from their  dance studios that are located in Brampton, Milton & Mississauga.

Melissa Marie Dance

Melissa Marie Dance

Melissa Marie Dance was established in hopes of inspiring self-confidence and discipline while sharing the love for culture and dance. Melissa Marie Dance strives to bring young women together to celebrate their heritage through Bollywood styles of dance and more.

Team NRITYA

Team NRITYA

Team Nritya is a group of former and present passionate and enthusiastic international students trying to leave a mark of their culture and identity. It gets tough to leave your family, friends, culture and passion behind in between the struggle and hassle to settle down in a foreign country at a young age. The motive of our team is to bring such individuals and spread the beauty garba and bharatnatyam. Our team members have represented Indian folk dances at various international platforms.

BollyHeelsTO

BollyHeelsTO

We are two South Asian artists with a background in a variety of western and eastern styles of dance. We’ve come together to create in the style of Bollywood Fusion in heels. BollyHeelsTO aims to bring training in Indian and Western styles of fusion dance to the diverse Toronto community. With the added technique and skills of dancing in heels, BollyHeelsTO draws on the roots of classical and folk Indian dance with a modern flavour.

Giggle Queens

Giggle Queens

Giggle Queens is made up of two long time friends and choreographers: Ria Aikat and Jennalee Desjardins. They love working on nostalgic pop and fusing their styles together, all while laughing their faces off.

Frog in Hand

Frog in Hand

Frog in Hand is a Mississauga-based network of storytellers who contribute to the community by sharing resources, knowledge and experience through creation, performance and education. Our 2020 performance with BMM is presented by the eleven members of Frog in Hand’s 2020 Summer Company. This work is a mix of Bollywood, hip hop and contemporary dance, with choreography by Mississauga’s own Rohan Dhupar.

The R&B United Band

The R&B United Band

R&B stands for “Rock & Bhangra and everything in between”. It is the most versatile southasian band in Canada with over 20 years of experience in performing with the best artists in some of the best concerts in Canada and abroad. It consists of a strong team of seasoned musicians who are well known for their expertise, versatility and musicality. Led by Founder & Ace Keyboardist Asad Khan, the band always manages to surpass expectations with their outstanding performances. Apart from being exceptional at all forms of southasian music, they’re also well versed in other genres like Rock, Pop, Latin, Jazz, Country etc.

Devin Ramoutar

Devin Ramoutar

Devin Ramoutar is a Musical teacher, specializing in the intricacies of Indian, Latin, Western, and West Indian percussion. Known for his unique array of percussion instruments ready to spark life into any song, Devin is one of the most sought after percussionists in the GTA.

N2 The Band

N2 The Band

We are a fusion Indo Caribbean Band. We do all genres but specialize in Bollywood / Hindi Remixes.

EnKaye

EnKaye

EnKaye is a vocal percussionist, or beatboxer, who uses just his mouth and a microphone to move crowds and make magic with melodies and music.

Nick Pandya ft. Vedik Vibez

Nick Pandya ft. Vedik Vibez

Nick Pandya is the co-founder and producer of Darshan Entertainment and Dandiya with Pandya. Nick has been a student of music since the age of 9. Performing alongside Shankar Mahadevan, Jonita Gandhi, Chinmayi, Sukhvinder and other bollywood play singers, Nick has also achieved an award in vocal excellence by Pandit Jasraj.

The Mad Band Project

The Mad Band Project

The Mad Band Project is a rotating band under the Madnetism Arts Inc. platform that strives to creatively bring something completely out of the box and more engaging than you can imagine. Every set is pre-arranged, and composed by one of the rotating producers and this year, Saad Arif Tauseef is bringing together some of the best musicians together to showcase musical talent like never before in a multilingual arrangement.

Wali Shah

Wali Shah

As one of RBC ’s Top 25 Canadian Immigrants, Wali Shah is a poet and motivational speaker. He’s delivered TED talks, narrated voice overs for commercials, and spoken at hundreds of schools and colleges across North America. Wali’s journey as an artist began in his hometown, as he was named the City of Mississauga’s official poet. Since then, Wali has toured Canada coast to coast as a WE Day performer, worked with Fortune 500 companies such as Microsoft, and made mama proud by graduating from the University of Toronto. From being featured on TV with Selena Gomez, to inspiring thousands to follow him on social media: Wali uses his platform for positive change. He’s performed for President Barack Obama, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Seth Rogen, and he’s even freestyled with hip hop artist, Kendrick Lamar.

Speakers

Danny Harvey

Danny Harvey

Danny has been a performing arts professional for the past 19 years. Currently functioning as the Artistic Programming Coordinator for the Rose Theatre Brampton, Danny curates the theatre’s presenting series. Prior to this Danny was the artistic director of the Shakespeare in the Square festival as well as the producing wing of the Rose Theatre Brampton. Danny has been a performer and artistic director on amateur and professional stages for the past 19 years having directed some 30 plays and musicals. A Graduate of Humber College – Comedy Writing and Performance program, Central Peel Secondary School in Brampton. Recently Danny had the honour of adjudicating the National Theatre School festival.

Heine Nielsen

Heine Nielsen

Heine Nielsen is a music industry professional. Originally from Denmark, he now resides in Toronto, ON. Heine has over 10 years of experience under his belt from working with partners and artists worldwide.

As an entrepreneur, Heine has built a record label, a radio promotion company, and achieved multi-national radio and TV coverage in Europe in building a roster of pop artists.

Now, he’s curating artists for Canada’s largest South Asian festival, as well as building and growing a Canadian-based record label with a roster of international marginalized artists.

Heine’s global outreach and collaborative approach is the essence of his work – whether it is with Grammy award-winning producers or Canadian, Danish and Indian artists.

Hear about Heine’s journey from Denmark to Canada, about building talent in Europe vs North America, and get your tips on how to boost your artist applications for MonstrARTity’s programs and festivals.

Demetrius Nath

Demetrius Nath

Owner of antiskeptic entertainment, Demetrius Nath has led countless marketing & promotions campaigns for music (Alexisonfire, Arkells, Bush, Cancer Bats, City and Colour, Dolly Parton, Feist, Melanie C, Paul Brandt, The Sheepdogs, Tokyo Police Club, The Used & Underoath), film (Bon Jovi, Jeff Dunham, Twilight, UFC), brands (Junos, Simon & Schuster, Urban Behavior, Yogen Fruz) & events (Boots and Hearts, Edgefest, Polaris Awards, Virgin Festival, WayHome). He is also the founder of the not-for-profit initiative Mississauga Music, curating & organizing Mississauga Music Awards & Week working alongside community partners such as the City of Mississauga, Living Arts Centre & Mississauga Arts Council. During his spare time, he is the singer-songwriter & front man in the hard rock band MAYBE MAY. In addition, he is passionate about seafood.

Krystal Kiran

Krystal Kiran

Krystal’s artistic practice began with studying dance at the age of three in rural British Columbia. As a Punjabi child, not having access to South Asian dance classes in her area, she started with ballet, jazz, tap and moved into musical theatre and contemporary dance. On yearly visits to India, she studied Kathak – a form of Indian classical dance. Experiencing a sense of “othering” in both countries, Krystal used dance as a tool to explore both sides of her identity as a Canadian and Indian with the intention to create a sense of reconciliation and “wholeness”. As a childhood (and sometimes present-day) stutterer, voice lessons came at the recommendation of her speech therapist and were introduced into her life as a healing modality. She applied the same approach to her dance studies as a vocalist, studying both Bel Canto technique in Canada and Hindustani Classical voice in India.

With a breadth of experience in the commercial entertainment world including being the youngest South Asian woman to date to perform on Broadway (making her debut at age 19), touring the world with Academy & Grammy Winning composer AR Rahman and being a returning company member to the Shaw Festival amongst many other theatre, film and television credits, Krystal is committed to sharing her journey, knowledge and expertise a dancer, singer, actor and choreographer through her work as an arts educator. Having had a plethora of experiences across many different pockets of the the entertainment and arts industries, she is a living example of what is required to create and cultivate an international career as a multidisciplinary performing artist, and the importance of embracing the unique identity and culture of “3rd Culture Kids” as part of this process. Krystal believes that despite the social inequities BIPOC people face, that with the correct mindset and clarity of our intentions and actions, we have the power and ability to meet and transcend these challenges. Her greatest passions are teaching dance in elementary and high schools, seniors homes, and providing classes to marginalized communities that would normally not have access to dance/arts education.

For more information, please visit www.krystalkiran.com.

2019 Artists ▼

Amish Patel

Amish Patel

Amish is a comedian and entrepreneur, he loves writing and performing comedy. Over the years he’s produced incredible live comedy shows, garnered local and national media coverage, and acquired funding to produce his own televised sketch comedy show. Amish started his career as a writer when he created a Toronto based, sketch comedy group called Fade to Brown. He created hysterical, crowd-pleasing content that dealt with real-world issues such as racism, gender inequality and cultural identity. With the troupe Amish wrote, performed and produced original sold-out shows all over the city. He has entertained an audience of over seven hundred people at the Panasonic theatre followed by a TV special for Rogers Television.

Staasia Daniels

Staasia Daniels

Staasia Daniels is an R&B singer/songwriter/turtle-lover from Toronto who emerged from her shell and shared with the world her “Hidden Gems” in 2016: a debut EP that garnered attention, fans, and a confirmation that her decision to pursue music seriously after years of singing was indeed the right one. A year later, Staasia reveals another love: of food, with the release of one of her top songs, “Peanut Butter”, which ultimately became a part of her second major EP, “Mood Roulette”. Staasia has received recognition from top publications including NOW, Exclaim!, and Complex, and has electrified the stages at SXSW, A3C, CMW, NXNE, and popular venues including Toronto’s Mod Club and her own headlining shows at Drake Underground and Rivoli.

Waris Virse De

Waris Virse De

Waris Virse De is a vibrant group of Bhangra dancers, based out of Brampton. They consist of various teams ranging from kids to adults performing on Punjabi folk music. They are not only excellent performers themselves but they can also teach Bhangra, musical instruments, and how to tie a turban!

Peace & Love: Shoba and Dhiraj

Peace & Love: Shoba and Dhiraj

Shoba is trained in Carnatic and Hindustani music whereas Dhiraj is a software developer by profession and singer by passion. Together, they have formed Peace & Love to share their musical talents with the world.

Ankita Music

Ankita Music

Ankita is a Toronto-based singer and performer with a wide portfolio in live concerts. Her genre ranges from pop-rock to Bollywood, and is focusing on stepping into the mainstream South-Asian music scene with her line-up or original productions.

2018 Artists ▼

Uppekha Jain

Uppekha Jain

Uppekha Jain is a former Miss. India Canada Worldwide and the first Indo-Canadian actress to be featured as a permanent cast of one of India’s longest-running, top-rated, prime-time daily soap opera’s Saath Nibhana Saathiya (‘Saathiya’.), on StarPlus. She has been a popular face on Indian television for the last 6 years having been featured in over 30 ads, many with A-List Bollywood celebrities like Shah Rukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Priyanka Chopra & Katrina Kaif. Uppekha is also a sought-after anchor for various live shows across the world and has hosted a slew of awards nights & events with A-List Bollywood, and Corporate Giants.

Shirsha Chakraborty

Shirsha Chakraborty

Shirsha’s musical career began at a young age. Shortly after moving to Canada, her parents enrolled her into Hindustani Classical vocal lessons which guided her on her path to participate in a regional version of Indian Idol, as an international contestant in 2008. After the competition, Shirsha enrolled herself in a regional arts program at Mayfield Secondary School followed by pursuing a Bachelor’s of Music at Humber College. Since then, her musical career has begun to flourish as in 2014 she won a singing competition which was held by renowned singer Shankar Mahadevan – this led to her recording vocals on his composition called “Laadli”. More recently, Shirsha made her first debut in Bollywood as a play-back singer alongside Ustad Rashid Khan in the film Wedding Anniversary.

RAAG Canada

RAAG Canada

RAAG Canada is a group of enthusiastic singers and musicians that came together in February 2018 and now perform in the GTA at various events and music lovers havens. Their three singers Ravneel, Rishabh and Abhinav, all award-winners in Bollywood karaoke singing championship Mere Sung Gaa – a well-known singing contest in the GTA – sing Bollywood songs of different genres (both old and new) with each singer having a completely unique style.

Triple Goddess

Triple Goddess

Triple Goddess is a dance and poetry collaboration created by Ria Aikat, Reshmi Chetram and Sheniz Janmohamed. A musical journey that seeks to embody the Goddess’ qualities of wisdom, compassion and grace. Sheniz’s work has been featured at venues around the world, including the Jaipur Literature Festival, TedXYouth and the Aga Khan Museum. Ria is a former artistic director and current dancer for the non-profit dance organization Culture Shock Toronto where she has performed internationally in Los Angeles, San Diego, Washington DC, and Las Vegas. Reshmi is the Creative Director and Choreographer of Tarana Dance in Toronto where she trains and guides students in the art of dance.

2017 Artists ▼

Noyz

Noyz

Hip hop artist Noyz strives to represent the diversity at the heart of the Greater Toronto area. His music explores the themes of self-discovery and growth while representing the eccentric energy behind hip-hop park jams. Throughout his career, Noyz has headlined in the United States, UK, and across Canada for popular festivals such as TIFF, SXSW, Canadian Music Week, and NXNE. Complex, VICE, GQ, and the Huffington Post are just some of the platforms he’s been featured on.

Sarah Thawer

Sarah Thawer

Sarah is a young and thriving drummer, currently doing session work with international artists playing Jazz, Fusion, Latin (Cuban and Brazilian), Gospel, Hip Hop, Funk, R&B/Soul, Bollywood, Indian and World music. Performing since age 6, Sarah studied Jazz and World music at York University most recently while being the recipient of the Oscar Peterson Scholarship, the highest award given by the institution, in addition to graduating with the Summa Cum Laude distinction. Some of the artists Sarah has performed with include AR Rahman, Benny Dayal, and various other world-renowned artists in the jazz and contemporary music scene. 

Aakanksha Sharma

Aakanksha Sharma

Bollywood sensation Aakanksha Sharma is the stunning voice of Sunny Leone in “Main Adhoora.” Nominated twice at the 2017 Mirchi Music Awards for Upcoming Female Vocalist of the Year for her songs “Tu Alvida” from the film Traffic and “Dhal Jaun Main” from the film Rustom, Aakanksha Sharma is bringing her international star power to Canada for the first time in an exclusive #BollywoodMonster debut. As a seasoned performer, the young singer has been dazzling audiences after winning Chhote Ustaad – Do Deshon Ki Ek Awaaz and appearing as a finalist on Jo Jeeta Wohi Superstar on Star Plus, one of India’s most popular television channels.

Pratik Peters

Pratik Peters

Peters is a Toronto based singer, musician, composer, music producer with the ability to sing in multiple languages with the versatility to sing songs from various genres. Continuous practice is the motto of his success. His hard work and dedication have given him great opportunities to work with renowned Bollywood music producers such as Vishal-Shekhar and Salim-Sulaiman. In 2015 Pratik won the Salim Sulaiman Live Toronto contest.

Jonita Gandhi

Jonita Gandhi

Mumbai-based Canadian raised singer, Jonita Gandhi is coming home to take Mississauga Celebration Square by storm on July 22 as part of the festival’s free concert. Her recent hit “The Breakup Song” from IIFA (International Indian Film Academy Award) winning film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil is the hit song of the summer with over 200 million views on YouTube, and her single “Gilehriyaan” from the film Dangal recently won a 2017 Mirchi Music Award. As Canadian homegrown talent, she made her singing debut in 2013 with A.R. Rahman and her Bollywood debut in the title track of the 2013 hit film Chennai Express starring mega stars Shahrukh Khan and Deepika Padukone

Abhilasha Chellam

Abhilasha Chellam

Abhilasha is a Bollywood playback singer who began her music career after starring in Zee TV’s reality singing competition, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Singing Superstar. Followed by participating in two other reality singing shows, Amul Voice of India as well as Marathi Star where she was a finalist in both. Since taking part in various singing competitions, Abhilasha has gone on to sing in movies such as Malamaal Weekly 2, Miley Naa Miley Hum and Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal.

Stephanie Braganza

Stephanie Braganza

Stephanie Braganza is a powerhouse vocalist whose performances helped her win a Toronto Independent Music Award for Best Live Artist. The vocalist has performed in a wide array of settings throughout her career, including a private event at the Art Gallery of Ontario which was attended by former president George W. Bush, and at the MuchMusic Video Awards. An outspoken animal rights activist, her latest music video; “Chains of Silence” has won two 2017 Global Music awards for “Best Female Vocalist” and “Best Music Video,” and has received support from Bif Naked, Tony Kanal (No Doubt) and PETA. In celebration of Canada’s South Asian Heritage Month in May 2017, Stephanie was listed in CBC Music’s top “10 South Asian–Canadian Artists You Need to Hear Right Now”.

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