15 Years of Unity at Kalmunity

Canada’s largest and longest running urban music collective Kalmunity celebrates 15 years of unity this week with a pool of talented story-tellers, spoken word poets and singers, including the organization’s declared National Treasure, D’Bi Young Antifrika.

The world-renowned dub poet and storyteller began her journey in the city of Montreal with the Kalmunity’s original members, the majority of which are still a part of the collective today. “To the people in this room, this is who I have become and for that, I say thank you,” the artist said to a crowd full of spectators at Petit Campus on Wednesday, May 2nd.

D’Bi Young Antifrika, Wednesday, May 2nd: Photo taken by Emily Vidal

D’Bi Young is well-known for her empowering dub poetry performance, an art which has evolved out of her Jamaican roots and that she has shared around the world. The Jamaican-Canadian is also the founding Artistic Director of the Watah Theatre and the Antifrika Retreat Center, where she teaches artists about issues surrounding gender, sexuality, race class and the human experience. She is also a three-time Dora Award-winning actor and playwright.

Yet throughout her 15 year long career, the city of Montreal has always been very near and dear to her. “My relationship with Montreal has not ended,” she said.

This is something that resonates with a lot of performers who take part in Kalmunity’s events. “For a lot of artists, this is where [their careers] all began,” said CJLO 1690’s Hip-Hop Music Director Amrew Weekes, who has been involved in organizing Kalmunity for a several years.

Performers taking part in the event on Wednesday included poet Jason “Blackbird” Selman, Sar-El Bey, MC June, Blurva, Kalmunity Director, Preach Ankobia, and more.

Kalmunity houses weekly improvised jam sessions at Petit Campus on Tuesday evenings as well as at Café Resonance on Sunday evenings. The collective maintains that they want to continue to provide a stage for local urban talent for decades to come.

Main picture: Jason “Blackbird” Selman, Wednesday, May 2nd: Photo by Emily Vidal

Sar-El Bey, Wednesday, May 2nd: Photo by Emily Vidal

MC June, Wednesday, May 2nd: Photo by Emily Vidal

Preach Ankobia, Kalmunity’s Director, Wednesday, May 2nd: Photo by Emily Vidal

Blurva, Wednesday, May 2nd: Photo by Emily Vidal