desiFEST Celebrated Fifth Year in Toronto - article written By: Zaynah Rashid
desiFEST, which is recognized as Canada’s only South Asian Music Fest, took place Saturday, May 28th in Toronto. As the event celebrated its fifth year, desiFEST organizers promised the biggest and best show and they delivered. Younge and Dundas Square was transformed into a mela environment with food and shopping stalls; of course all the focus was on the stage where acts performed giving us a solid twelve hour show.
As the saying goes “save the best for last,” desiFEST’s acts seemed to get bigger and better through the night and the crowds multiplied with time too. After a dance troupe and few acts warmed up the crowd, host SatsB introduced a segment of the program which highlighted up and coming artists. Ray Gill, Rebecca Nazz, and Dav-eh were the three acts showcased this year. “desiFEST is amazing!” Dav-eh remarks after he took the stage. “My performance was hype, the crowd was hype.” Dav-eh shared with us that he was going to be sticking around for the whole show in support of his musical community and wanted to thank his fans as he told us “I love you guys, and I appreciate all the support.” Dav-eh also reveals his next single will be out shortly.
Next to impress fans were Raju Johal and Jasraj. Raju has made his official debut on the Bhangra scene with his single “Nachna Pasand.” Representing Vancouver, Raju was comfortable on stage and his vocals were impressive! Local artists Kat Eyez and Prita Chhabra were sure to highlight their latest singles when then took the stage. Kay Eyez engaged us with his music video while Prita got the audience involved with her dhol player. Not a newcomer to the scene, Indy Sagu let the music do the talking.
When we caught up with Indy we asked what it was he was doing at desiFEST this year and he joked “I’m here because desiFEST booked me!” Jokes aside, Indy says, “I am here because desiFEST is the number one cultural event that goes on in America, huge crowd and it is an honor to perform for my fans and the crowd. I want to be here and it showcases my talent and new talent. More than myself, it is about the new talent and seeing what the next generation of music is like because that’s what I am going to be listening to this year. desiFEST has been absolutely phenomenal [this year]. The crowd is amazing and very interactive. Nothing more important than fans throughout the world.”
As SatsB began to introduce Navin Kundra the girls in the crowd could not control themselves and the love for Navin was incredible! Dressed in his slick suit and shades, Navin walked on stage and got everyone excited. Navin performed his original tracks including “Tere Liye” dabbled with some Bollywood and even treated Toronto to a cover of “Nothin’ on You.” As Navin Kundra got off stage and took in the energy of the night, we asked him how he thought his performance went. “It was amazing, it was electric, and it felt even better than last year! I’m glad I managed to a live set with the guitar. Thank you so much Toronto and desiFEST for having me back. If there is another one, I hope to a part of it.” Navin says.
In awe of Navin, the party did not stop there. Dressed in a red jacket and accompanied by a band, Parichay was on fire! “Queen of Spades,” “Deewana Tera,” and “Yamla Pagla Deewana” all made it to his set and there was something for everyone in the crowd. Roach Killa was next to hit the stage and had special guest Blitzkrieg join him for his set. Roach performed many of his tracks including Bhangra features “Dil De De” and “Good Luck Charm” and his own singles “Yaara Dildara” and “Revolution.”
Urban Desi group The Bilz and Kashif is a local favorite and their fans were in the crowd. Accompanied by a drummer, the new element to their performance added dynamic to the evening. “We are glad we are from Canada and get to travel the world, but we have a lot of love for Toronto,” Vicious comments. Master-D reflects saying “desiFEST is always fun! This is our third year doing it and we always get the love. We love being here because we get to see the kids; they don’t get to come to our shows at clubs.” “It was fun!” Kashif concludes.
The headlining act of the evening was Taz and Stereo Nation. Having entertained crowds for decades, Taz had songs that each generation knew and the crowd loved it! Roach Killa accompanied Taz through most of his performance and Taz’s proud mother was in the audience.
The desiFEST organizers outdid themselves with arranging great local talent as well as international acts. With no other event of its type in North America, desiFEST has started a legacy which we expect will live on; now we will have to wait and see how these guys top themselves next year!
Which act impressed you most?
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