Urban Noise Festival Kicks Off in Rexdale

Wanna Make Some NOISE?

Rexdale's urbanNOISE festival kicked off yesterday, bringing together young people from across the Toronto's northwest in a celebration of song, dance, and art, and making noise against violence in the city. A collaboration between Arts Etobicoke, Expect Theatre, and various organizations from across the city, the festival is the culmination of four months of workshops where neighborhood children expressed their talents through urban arts such as spoken word, film and video production, drumming, break dancing, and hip hop.

Hosted by Jully Black, the festival — which began yesterday and runs until this evening at the Albion Centre in Rexdale — showcased the poetry, photography, and videos of local youth artists, and brought together local and international artists on the main stage in an expression of this year's inaugural theme: hearsay.

Day One of the festival brought out a large group of young people and interested citizens from the neighborhood, despite the rain earlier in the morning. The venue was split into three sections: the Marketplace, the Main Stage, and the Boogie Zone, each highlighting the work of the urbanNOISE workshop participants.

The youth in the Beatboxin' workshop enjoy a break after their performance

The urbanNOISE Marketplace showcased photography, writing and videos made by the city's youth, giving visitors a chance to see the world through the eyes and the words of oft-maligned young people, and ran as a complement to the shows on the Main Stage.

Writing, Photography, and Video get showcased in the urbanNOISE MarketplaceWriting, Photography, and Video get showcased in the urbanNOISE Marketplace

The urbanNOISE Main Stage was a true area of spectacle, with local street artists creating live mural art on the backdrop while DJ Fase holds it down and keeps the crowd alive. The show featured dance numbers by April Mullings and participants of the African/Urban Dance Fusion workshops, beatboxing by Jugular and his workshop participants, and hip hop performances by great Toronto rappers Motion and Theology 3, along with the youth from the Emceein' workshop. Rexdale group TN1 brought some sun to the cloudy day with their conscious reggae vibes, and even DJ Fase got some help from the young people that attended his DJ workshop over the past three months.

Local artists create a live mural on the Main StageDJ Fase helps out some of his workshop participantsTN1 heats up the crowd with their reggae

The Drunken Monkz Breakin' Crew kept the urbanNOISE Boogie Zone alive by offering workshops to spectators on the art of the b-boy, and in general wowing the crowd with their amazing break moves.

Drunken Monkz run break workshops in the Boogie ZoneDrunken Monkz run break workshops in the Boogie Zone

The evening was highlighted by a performance by internationally renown Toronto rapper Jelleestone, as well as visits from local politicians, who outlined the importance of speaking out against the violence and instead showing the talent of Rexdale's youth.

urbanNOISE runs from 3-9pm on Tuesday and Wednesday

The festival runs from 3pm to 9pm today as well, so be sure to check out performances by Rochester, Melanie Durrant, and many other youth performers. While you're there, be sure to pick up the urbanNOISE CD (only $5!) that features original pieces by famous artists and workshop participants. (You can get a taste of the music on the CD by downloading the original musical piece "Everybody Knows" from the urbanNOISE website.) And while you're there, don't be afraid to shout and holla; after all, we're all here to make noise against violence in the city.

(Photos: SV. Mouse over images for descriptions.)

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