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​Women in Percussion

A 5-day festival of concerts and workshops celebrating local and international women percussionists with roots in Brazil, Jamaica, Venezuela, Cuba, India, Korea, Japan and First Nations.

Women in Percussion showcases groundbreaking international and local percussionists who have defied the social norms that have historically deterred many women from pursuing drumming and percussion. While the featured artists are based in diverse musical traditions and genres, they all draw strength from studying, performing and mastering percussive arts and share a passion for music education, especially for young women musicians.

Most of the artists in the festival tell stories about how they were discouraged or even forbidden from studying drumming because of their gender and how they have overcome these challenges to follow their calling as percussionists. The festival is a testament to their courage and dedication in pursuing their chosen instruments as well as to how they can inspire other women to explore the power of percussion.

Women in Percussion is presented in collaboration with The Aga Khan Museum, Small World Music and Emerging Young artists.


Thursday Sep 26 - Opening Night

Y Josephine + Joy Lapps-Lewis + Aline Morales & Vulvas + Adriana Portela

A night of tropical percussion featuring a special guest from Bahia, Brazil.

Doors Open: 6:00 pm / Show Starts: 7:00 pm.

$15 adv | $20 at the door | Limited early bird tickets for $10

Presented in partnership with Small World Music

Friday Sep 27

Lady Son (aka Yeti Ajasin) + Magdelys Savigne with Havana Ventu

Cuban son, salsa and salsa by leading Toronto women percussionists.

Doors Open: 6:30 pm / Afterwork Concert with Lady Son Starts: 7:30 pm. / Dance Lesson Starts 9:00 pm / Salsa Concert with Havana Ventu Starts 10:15 pm.

FREE (arrive before 8:00 pm) $15 at the door after 8:00pm.

Presented in partnership with Toronto Hispano

Saturday Sep 28

Aki Takahashi

Join Aki at this interactive workshop to navigate the history and styles of Japanese Folk Music. Learn how to connect your body and energy with the rhythm of taiko and other traditional Japanese instruments such as bamboo flute and shamisen. Participants of all ages are welcome to develop their own dynamic strikes and let’s play hard with spirit! No registration required.

Doors open 12:00 pm / participatory workshop 2:00 pm / Concert starts at 3:00 pm


Presented in partnership with Emerging Young Artists.

Sunday Sep 29

Kim So Ra + Rajna Swaminathan

Exploring the dance between tradition and innovation in Korean and Indian inspired forms.

Doors Open: 6:00 pm / Show Starts: 7:00 pm.

$15 adv | $20 at the door | Limited early bird tickets for $10

Presented in partnership with Aga Khan Museum


Saturday Sep 28

12:00 pm - Rajna Swaminathan - Improve & Indian traditions FREE

Boston/New York-based mrudangam artist and composer leads an interactive workshop for all ages, using the basic elements of Indian music to explore rhythms and learn to improvise together. Participants will collaborate using their voices, bodies, and any instruments they choose to bring.

2:00 pm - Aki Takahashi - Japanese folk percussion FREE

Sunday Sep 29

1:00 pm - Y Josephine - cajon - FREE

Learn about the history and role of the cajon through this interactive workshop that uses body percussion to lead us through a basic introduction to this versatile instrument. Participants of all ages will create a joint composition and sing it together!

Monday Sep 30

8:00 pm Adriana Portela - Brazilian Samba Reggae - $20 at the door


Please note that reservations guarantee seating, so book early and enjoy the show while exploring Lula’s delicious tropical fusion dinner and cocktail menus as well as their wine and beer offerings. To reserve call 416 588 0307 | e-mail or reserve online


Adriana Portela

A leading figure in the samba-reggae movement of Salvador, Bahia, Adriana Portela was the first woman to conduct a samba-reggae ensemble in Brazil. An accomplished percussionist, drummer and a founding member of the band Didá, Adriana has played alongside Caetano Veloso, Gal Costa, Simone, Elza Soares, Carlinhos Brown, Shakira, Daniela Mercury, Margareth Menezes, Milton Nascimento and Vanessa da Mata.

Follow Adriana Portela on Facebook.

Aki Takahashi

A member of Nagata Shachu since 2003, Aki Takahashi also now serves as the ensemble’s associate artistic director. A highly-accomplished Japanese shamisen player, composer, choreographer and singer, Aki studied traditional folk music in Kyoto. As a soloist she has been invited to give shamisen and vocal performances and workshops across Canada and the US. From 2007 to 2011, Aki taught taiko at Toronto's Royal Conservatory of Music. In addition to her solo activities, Aki is the founder of the Japanese folk ensemble ten ten, which has released two CDs of original music.

Follow Aki Takahashi on her website.

Aline Morales & Vulvas

Brazilian-Canadian percussionist, composer and vocalist Aline Morales debuts a new project featuring percussion and horns. Since arriving in Canada in 2003, Morales has become well known locally as a dynamic singer, percussionist and bandleader. Her debut release Flores, Tambores e Amores (2011) was met with widespread critical acclaim, reached number one on Canada’s Folk/World charts and earned a Juno nomination for Best World Music Album.

Follow Aline Morales on Facebook.

Photo by Michael Zender.

Joy Lapps-Lewis

Lapps-Lewis' pan-driven ensemble explores Afro and Latin-Caribbean Jazz with a hint of R&B and soul. Musician, composer and arts educator, Lapps Lewis has released four recordings, with a new release scheduled for later this fall. Throughout the year she delivers arts education in schools, libraries and community spaces and in the summer of 2019 launched From Skin to Steel and Beyond, an arts education, creation and performance project presented in collaboration with the Evergreen Brick Works. The project will culminate with a free multidisciplinary performance at the CRH Gallery in November.

Follow Joy Lapps-Lewis on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook.

Kim So Ra

A multi-award winning Korean traditional percussionist, composer, and ambassador of Honam Province Jeongeup folk music, Kim So Ra is one of the most skilled and prominent Janggu (Korean double-headed drum) players in Korea. Kim is known for her genre-bending performances combining Korean traditional sounds with creative, charismatic and modern interpretations. Kim has performed at SXSW, WOMEX, and Mundial Montreal as official showcase artist. Her latest album, A Sign of Rain was nominated for the Best Jazz & Crossover Album at the Korean Music Awards 2019.

Follow Kim So Ra on Instagram & Facebook.

Lady Son

One of the most arresting voices on the Canadian music scene, often drawing comparisons the legendary Celia Cruz and Cesaria Evora, Lady Son (aka Yeti Ajasin), brings a powerful yet subtle contemporary voice to the rich vocal and percussion traditions of Afro-Cuban music. Her 2009 debut album, “Semillas”, received the New Music Award for Best World Album. She has shared the stage with the likes of Oscar D’Leon, Los Van Van, Alfredo de La Fe, Jesus "El Nino" Rivera, Ricardo Lemvo of Maquina Loca, Voodoo Souljahs, and Toto Berriel of Los Munequitos De Matanzas, as well as opened for Pupy y Los Que Son Son and is currently working on a second album

Follow Lady Son on Instagram, Facebook & Soundcoud.

Magdelys Savigne

Co-leader of the multiple award winning Afro-Cuban jazz and roots ensemble OKAN, as well as the popular Cuban salsa group Havana Ventu, Magdelys Savigne is also a Juno-winner and Grammy-nominee for her compositions and recording contributions to Jane Bunnett & Maqueque. Classically trained in Cuba, she has performed with Danilo Perez, Brian Blade, John Patitucci, Hilario Duran, Roman Diaz and many others since moving to Canada.

Follow Magdelys Savigne on Twitter & Facebook.

Rajna Swaminathan

Rajna Swaminathan is an acclaimed mrudangam artist and composer. A protegé of mrudangam legend Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman, Rakma tours regularly with renowned Indian classical musicians and dancers. Since 2011, she has been collaborating with eminent musicians in New York's jazz and creative music scene, experimenting with new possibilities at the nexus of multiple traditions and expanding the horizons of her instrument. Rajna's debut album with her ensemble RAJAS, Of Agency and Abstraction (Biophilia Records), was released earlier this year to critical acclaim. She performs extensively in projects led by Vijay Iyer, Amir ElSaffar, María Grand, and Ganavya Doraiswamy.

Follow Rajna Swaminathan on twitter, Instagram & Facebook.

Swift Current Singers

Brought together by hand drumming in community spaces, these Indigenous artists from four nations say Spirit guides them when they are in ceremony sharing the medicine and healing of the drum. They explain that previously it was usually the men in the community who participated in this activity. Only in the last twenty years or so have women taken the responsibility for hand drumming. “A lot of healing happens when we sit in circle together sharing those songs. Some are ceremonial and some are celebratory. In circle we are all equal and share responsibility to each other to hold space and share that Medline.”

Follow Swift Current Singers on Facebook.

Y Josephine

Y Josephine is a Venezuelan-Canadian, and a citizen of the world, whose contagious passion for percussion has propelled her to travel far and wide sharing her epic fusion sounds of the South. Driven by the potent, soothing, and vibrant music she’s helped to create, she is one of the founders of Baobá, a trio formed by Toronto’s top female percussionists taking traditional beats to the next level. Empowered by the natural musicality that flows from South American bodies, that trio-and-sometimes-quartet, featuring fellow Jamphitheatre-er Anita Graciano alongside Mari Palhares and Carla Dias, represents an ideal balance of voice, melody, and instrumentation bringing new life to, and transcending, Venezuelan, Colombian, and Brazilian traditions.

Follow Y Josephine on Instagram & Facebook.

The Women in Percussion festival acknowledges the generous support of the Canada Council, The Toronto Arts Council, The Ontario Arts Council, Ontario Creates and Canadian Heritage

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