"The Juneteenth Story" Band
This year's 2023 5A1L Band
O’Shane is a multi-skilled musician, playing the drums, bass, and piano in his free time.
“Growing up in the church, my first instrument was the drums. Everything else I just picked up later on. My brothers Rohan and Sean also play instruments, so I just follow their footsteps". O’Shane’s older brother Rohan is a pastor at Freedom Life Church of Edmonton and he’s the musical director at the church.
Morgan Hanna is a guitarist based in Edmonton. Originally from The Bahamas, she is a rising star in both the jazz and R&B scene. Morgan has played at various Edmonton venues, including the Yardbird Suite, and the Winspear Centre, and has played at The Citadel Theatre in 9 to 5:The Musical as well as the world premiere of Almost A Full Moon.
Composer and multi-instrumentalist Moni Mathew’s career span the ethnic, roots and classical canons. A performer and arranger with the Vinok Worldance ensemble since 1992, he assumed the mantle of Musical Director in 2007, appearing with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra in 2015. Moni is also a member of the Cifra Hungarian Ensemble and as such has been heard in national broadcasts with CBC and also with the ESO in 1997. Moni’s talents as a keyboardist and electric bassist were integral to the success of the Alberta funk/hip-hop group, the Hi-Phonics and he’s been heard gigging with the likes of FenderCase, Jay Sparrow, Jeff Hendrick and the Mocking Shadows. Venturing into the classical world, he has played Shostakovich and Beethoven as violists with the Strathcona String Quartet, as well as with the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra. As a graduate of the Grant MacEwan Community College Music Program (Performance/Bass), Moni has enriched the vibrant Edmonton music scene with his commitment to diverse ongoing projects, and by performing at live venues, playing on recordings, and by arranging for a variety of Edmonton artists and ensembles.
Ruvarashe Lynn Mutseka, better known as “RUVA” is a Zimbabwean- Canadian Edmonton-based gospel recording artist who debuted her first EP, No Boundaries. Ruva born in Harare, Zimbabwe inspired by her passion and love for God as well as influence from artists such as Yolanda Adams, Sharon Manyonganise, Ntokozo Mbambo and acapella groups such as Gleams, Sweet Symphony, and Shower Power has been driven to pursue music as an avenue to spread the message of love to all those she comes in contact with. Her hope is that her body of work would continually be one that encourages us all to invest in a relationship with Christ and dwell in the fullness of his presence. With the support of her family and friends, RUVA endeavours to achieve the dream of uniting all, through music, under the banner and sheer love of God.
Riwo Egor is a Nigerian-born singer and songwriter based in Edmonton, AB. She is the lead vocalist of the band Melafrique. Riwo has been performing in Alberta since moving to Edmonton in 2015 and has done so alongside various local and international artists. She is very passionate about sharing messages and personal stories through music and enjoys doing so through the Neo-soul, R&B and Afro-Jazz styles of music. She believes in the power of music to heal wounds and cause people to connect with each other on so many levels. One of Riwo's biggest goals in life is for her music to bring unity in the diversity of our crazy world.
Performance Artist/ Vocalist
Beyond his remarkable career as a performing artist, Gary Martin instils in his audiences a deep appreciation of his culture, the blues, inspiring them to delve further into its history.
Gary Martin has become a bridge between generations, connecting the past with the present, ensuring the culture of African Americans continues to thrive for years to come.
Martin, known as the Prince of Blues, is a true Ambassador of his culture, the Blues in all its forms.
Vocalist/ Storyteller/ Performance Artist
Thomas Alexander AKA Thomas Alexander is also known as “The Voice” which is a perfect moniker for Mr Alexander. He is a singer and songwriter, who has travelled as the lead vocalist across Canada, States, and Internationally. He has an amazing musical range from Rock, Funk, Jazz, R&B, Country, Pop, Dance, Reggae and all the way to
A Truly amazing career spanning from its start with The Patchwork Quilt in 1968 to being in Edmonton’s first Funk band The Key, rocking with Southbound Freeway, and co-hosting local CJSR’S "The shoebox" as part of the Legends of the Edmonton Music Scene Series!
His family’s roots go back to the first Black pioneers that settled in Alberta and because of that, he was asked to sing the song” Blue Alberta Blue” produced by Legendary Edmonton musician Gerry Dere, which was written by a descendant of the first Black Pioneers. It should be noted that Thomas also a Legend, has worked with another Legend of The Edmonton Music Scene Tommy Banks fronting The Tommy Banks Big Band.
Sokhana Mfenyana is a South African singer, actor, mover and performance educator. Born and raised in South Africa she has always had a passion and knack for the performing arts. She has been part of the Edmonton choral community for a few years and has worked closely with the Kokopelli Choir Association teaching African Choral Music with Scott Leithead and all over Canada, Africa, and Europe. Sokhana just completed the MacEwan University Music Theatre Performance program last spring, and soon after made her Citadel debut in The Wolves. Previous credits include: The Drowsy Chaperone (MacEwan University); Nitecap Cabaret (Plain Jane Theatre); Thunder (Cats) (Grindstone Theatre); and Naledi: An African Journey (South African State Theatre).
Growing up in a very musical church, Timothy began singing and playing instruments at a very early age. He is best known for his rich vocal tones and natural ability to engage his audience. Like many well-known vocalists, Timothy Noel developed his rich vocals and vibrant performance chops in the church. His foray into Soul, Rhythm & Blues and Jazz has been seamless while maintaining the same passion, but with an old-school, speakeasy vibe. Timothy performs with a number of Edmonton bands including 5 Artists 1 Love, The Retrofitz, Funkford Family and 6 Minute Warning.
Timothy is also a singer-songwriter and producer, that immerses you in a genuine, heart-felt yet exciting musical experience. His love for all people shows in the way he connects with audiences. In 2016, Timothy started The RearViews, a collection of Edmonton's top professional musicians performing hit songs that are guaranteed to, please.
Some may say Nigel Williams was born to make people laugh and sing. Singing all through childhood from choir to choir he developed an ear for sound. He has played the piano for over 23 yrs. It is from this experience that he has tuned his voice and learned to train his ear for the sounds of Soul music. He has also been an Emcee for many events all over the world including Canada, The U.S.A., all over The Caribbean, and Europe. Currently, he is part founder of Melanistic Magazine. CEO of NJ Williams Inc. & Radio Personality co-host at "The Black Multiverse Theory" Podcast.
Poet/ Playwright/ Performer
The story of Titilope Sonuga’s emergence as a globally renowned poet, playwright and performer is a testament to the transformative power of storytelling. She renders, both in verse and performance, a quality of rootedness and unflinching womanhood that extends beyond the bounds of a single poem or poetic performance.
Her genre-defying work has propelled her to a vibrant life in the arts. She is the author of three collections of poetry: Down to Earth (2011), Abscess (2014), and This Is How We Disappear (2019) and has composed two spoken word albums, Mother Tongue (2011) and Swim (2019). Titilope Sonuga has written three plays: The Six (an intergenerational exploration of womanhood), Naked (a one-woman play) and Ada the Country (a musical). She played a lead role as an actor in the hit Nigerian television series Gidi Up.
She was the first poet to perform at a Nigerian presidential inauguration in 2015 and is the 9th Poet Laureate of the City of Edmonton.
Performer & Cultural Worker
Ana Carla Laidley is a Brazilian psychotherapist and samba dancer from Rio de Janeiro who is best known for dancing and teaching malandro and samba dance, as well as being the daughter of the famous pandeiro player, Carlinhos do Pandeiro. She is also the producer of the International Samba Congress based in Los Angeles and Rio de Janeiro. Ana has been teaching samba for over 23 years in the United States. Ana’s classes integrate traditional and contemporary Samba styles. Ana has also developed a methodology to teach samba that integrates her life experiences with Samba and her psychology background. Her methodology provides a space not only for people to develop their knowledge and understanding of the Brazilian culture but as she puts it, "as well as reconnect with their body, mind, and soul".
Ana is the founder of the group's Samba N Motion and Malandro N Motion and has choreographed several numbers that reflect the Samba of the Malandro (Brazil's street-wise guy), Gafieira, and samba itself.
Ana has been at the Brasil Cultural Center in Los Angeles for over a decade, and she has developed several workshops and programs such as Samba, Sweat and Chicken Soup for the Soul, Super Samba Intensive, Samba Lele and Samba Madness. Additionally, she teaches at several other organizations and cultural centres such as the "Casa de Cultura" in Berkeley.
Ana also provides consultation for other groups involved with Brazilian events and collaborates with several organizations and institutions. She is part of the Board of Directors of Brasarte in Berkley