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Latin Jazz Festival

Mississauga’s Carlos Bastidas
gathers Top Musicians for the G.T.A.’s Hottest New Music Festival


story Christina Kerr   photograph Stephen Uhraney

Whether it’s Latin Jazz, Salsa, Merengue or Bachata, it is undeniable that GTA audiences are crazy for Latin music. And the most sizzlin’ new music festival in the GTA is the Pan American Latin Jazz Festival!

“People love Latin music because it’s sexy and it’s passionate,” explains Laura Fernandez, Latina vocalist and host of Jazz FM’s Café Latino. The Spanish beauty will be one of the headliners at the first annual Pan American Latin Jazz Festival making its way to Mel Lastman Square on Saturday, July 14, 2012.

“Latin music makes people feel happy,” Fernandez continues, as we are stuck on the sexy and the passion of it all. “Latin American countries are warm countries and people can hear the sun in the music.”

Audiences can definitely count on outstanding music when the festival comes to Toronto this summer. After three years of planning by Mississauga’s award-winning flutist and virtuoso Carlos Bastidas, the festival will be an unforgettable one-day event celebrating the culture of the Americas.

“After having travelled to Chicago, Miami and New York City to enjoy their own Latin Jazz Festivals, I could not believe the GTA didn’t have its own festival of this kind!” explains Bastidas. “This was my inspiration to develop our own Pan American Latin Jazz Festival as Artistic Director. I am so excited to be working with a talented and passionate group of artists and volunteers from the GTA music community to bring this event to fruition.”

A celebrated artist in his own right, Bastidas was born in Colombia and has called Canada his home for over 20 years. Carlos has performed with several world music ensembles in the United States, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela and Cuba. In Canada, he has performed at the Harbourfront Centre, the Canadian National Exhibition, Ontario Place, Word on the Street Festival, Celebrate Toronto Street Festival at Dundas Square and many more. Winner of the Latin American Achievement Award in 2005, Carlos was happy to call upon leaders from Canada’s Latin music scene to perform at this event.

Featured artists include an impressive roster of Canadian Latin artists. Audiences can expect exciting performances by the internationally celebrated Juno Award-winning Cuban pianist Hilario Durán, Argentinian singer/songwriter Alicia Borisonik, Chilean master guitarist Pablo Gutierrez, the high energy Brazilian ensemble Samba Toronto, the Cruzao Latin-Jazz Trio, Colombian musician Giovanni Ruiz, up-and-coming Uruguayan percussionist John LaRosa and of course, Carlos Bastidas. Representing Mississauga at the event, Venezuelan singer/songwriter Carla Casanova and award-winning Smooth Jazz Artist Rob Tardik are also set to dazzle audiences with their original music and charismatic stage performances.

With an all-star cast of powerhouse artists, music lovers can expect an authentic Pan American experience complete with the best in traditional cuisine as well as arts and crafts and exhibitors from the travel and tourism industry.

“What’s most exciting about this event, is for the people to witness the power and strength of the GTA’s Latin music community. The festival was created from a grassroots level, built from the ground up,” says Bastidas. “We are lucky to have solid backing from generous sponsors and supporters. Really and truly, the festival’s main inspiration is to empower local musicians. And it will feature a wide range of musical ambassadors from the various Pan-Am countries while focusing on the music. It’s the sheer quality of the music that will be so special and unforgettable.”

So don’t miss your own opportunity to soak up the sun and the sounds of sexy Latin Jazz at the event taking place on July 14th, 2012, from 1p.m. to 10 p.m. Mel Lastman Square is located at 5100 Yonge St. in North York. Please visit for additional details. GL