Culture Fest turned this campus into a party zone last week. The vibrant costumes of the performers alone caught the audience’s eyes as they snuck around the lecture halls quietly to get to the makeshift backstage of the Cultural Show in IB 110 on Thursday. The jingling of some of the costumes amid the black velvet backdrop and changing coloured spotlights was enough to hush the fervent crowd of students.
The event began with a fashion show. The Association of Palestinian Students walked down the center of the stage in their traditional black, white, and red wear. The Hindu Student Council presented their array of vividly coloured dresses fitted at the top with an A-line skirt falling just above the ankles, and the Somali Student Association came in with exuberant personalities that shone through their brightly patterned, loose-fitting garments.
The next performance, a dance by a group called The Classical Girls, was a traditional number “mostly done in temples for a god” with poise and elegance, as one of the members, Shreya Ramesh, indicated. The soundtrack was fused with common beats from mainstream hip-hop culture, giving the conventional dance a sprinkle of modernity.
Several other cultural performances from the Association of Palestinian Students, the Erindale Campus African Students Association, Caribbean Connections, and In the Ends incorporated a modern twist in their audio effects combined with traditional choreography.
A dance group called Rhythm took to the stage to take the audience on a “trip around the world” as the MC for the night put it, and let us feast on the exotic flavours of Indian, samba, belly dancing, tango, and hip-hop genres that the group had prepared.
When asked what most stood out to him, UTMSU president Ebi Agbeyegbe said he enjoyed the HSC performance the most, referring to it as “a Bollywood movie on stage” that included elaborate costume changes. They presented a narrative play-by-play dance about a traditional Indian love story and wedding that group member Kanchan Bhimani said was meant to show the details about marriage in Indian culture to show the audience how it is unique compared to marriage customs in other parts of the world.
A highlight of the night was the performance by special guest Karl Wolf, who in a private interview said he was “humbled” to have been asked by UTMSU to come out and play for our enthusiastic family of students, and indicated how excited he was to be contributing to the community something valued and promoted around the campus.
Wolf’s performance consisted of popular tracks including “Africa” and “Yalla Habibi”, meaning “Let’s go, my love” as he explained mid-song to the audience. The lively crowd roared along with the songs in celebration of common ground despite the differences in their cultural mosaic. In the interview, Wolf said that he chose the tracks based on their popularity and to showcase his own cultural background.
Wolf sealed the festive aura of the night with another popular track called “Mash It Up”. Audience members gushed over the exciting events of the night that left their spirits uplifted as they left the hall. It was a memorable and successful evening filled with strokes of culture that will remain a long time in the minds of those who attended.