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Upcoming Events By Ellen O’Connor
November 9: Orient Productions presents Simon Shaheen & Ensemble in “The Call: Songs of Liberation.” Palestinian-born Shaheen is an Arab musician and composer, who has earned international acclaim as a virtuoso on the ‘oud and violin. Shaheen is joined by the Near Eastern Music Ensemble and will be performing a range of music from traditional Arab sounds to jazz and Western classical styles. It is held at Bronson Centre Theatre, located at 211 Bronson Ave. and begins at 7:30. Ticket prices range from $35 - $55. November 9: CHIN Radio’s Michael Qaqish invites you to an evening with mezzo-soprano Julie Nesrallah for a community fundraiser in honour of our veterans. Held on Saturday, Nov. 9 over Remembrance Day weekend, all funds will go toward the Barrhaven Legion. The concert begins at 7 p.m. at Cedarview Alliance Church, 2784 Cedarview Road. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased from the Barrhaven Legion. November 10: Mushfiq Ensemble presents Mystic Heart. Join the Mushfiq Ensemble in its journey into Sufi poetry of the greats such as Rumi, Kabir and Hafez. Performances will include a wide variety of styles from South and Central Asia. The concert will also feature an art exhibit of original paintings and calligraphy. Attend and experience the depth of universal message of love. The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Centrepointe Sudio, 101 Centrepointe Drive. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. November 22-24: Get in the holiday spirit at the St. Mary Coptic Orthodox Church’s Pre-Christmas Bazaar. Located at 1 Canfield Rd at Greenbank, the three-day free event features Christmas carols, a choir, Christmas play, and a clown on Saturday, Nov. 23, as well as Egyptian food, crafts, copper plates, pharaonic papyrus and more all weekend. Seniors receive at 10 per cent discount. November 24: The 5th annual Suhaag Show is coming to Ottawa and is a must-attend event for all soon-to-be brides and grooms and their families. Called the longest-running and largest South Asian show in North America, it will feature a variety of vendors that have everything you need for your dream wedding including entertainment, fashion, food, and decor. The show is located the Ottawa Conference and Event Centre, 200 Coventry Rd. December 2: The Ottawa Chinese Community Service Centre is holding their Annual Fundraising Gala at the Chu Shing Oriental Restaurant, 691 Somerset St. W. Hosted by CTV news anchor, Vanessa Lee, the evening will feature a 10-course banquet, performances, a silent auction and draws. Tickets are $65 with a $35 tax receipt available and all proceeds go toward supporting the OCCSC employment, language and settlement programs and services for immigrants.
Ottawa Star • November 7, 2013
Bhangra meets Bollywood in Ottawa By Ellen O’Connor
f you’re looking for a new type of entertainment for your wedding, business event, or party, a fusion of India Bhangra and Bollywood music and dance may be just the thing. This month, Gabroo Shokeen, a Bhangra dance school headed by 22-yearold Mandeep Singh is joining forces with Live2Dance, an academy run by Deepali Jamwal that operates out of Chad Wolfe Studio in Nepean. With the union of Gabroo Shokeen and Live2Dance academy, dancers will be able to take a variety of lessons, from folk and modern Bhangra, to Bollywood and dhol lessons in a formal studio space, and Ottawa audiences will have the opportunity to enjoy the fusion entertainment. Jamwal’s lessons combines a variety of dance forms, including jazz, jive, hip hop, and salsa, and puts them to Bollywood music.
Jamwal said the focus of joining the academies is to share choreography and dances styles, as well as appeal to both Canadian and Indian audiences. “The beauty about dance is that any two dance forms can join forces and find some sort of fusion,” said Singh. Singh has been competitively dancing Bhangra for five years with other Ottawa and Toronto dancers. “Last year is when it hit me and my brother, as some fellow dancers began to graduate and move on, that we wanted to create an academy and team to represent Ottawa on a national level,” said Singh. It was then they founded and launched Gabroo Shokeen. Complete with a senior, junior and under 12 team. Singh said an eight man squad of junior members is already practicing for a national competition in July at Niagara Falls. This will be the first time that an Ottawa-based team
Deepali Jamwal Photo: Smiles Photography
will be represented at a national level, with a full dance team, singer and dhol drummer. Singh’s brother also launched the Algonquin Bhangra Club last fall, as an educational, open-door club for any student or teacher at Algonquin College to drop in and learn about the dance.
Cuadra’s A-List elevator pitch By Samantha Ammoun
“When I was 15-years-old, panhandling on the streets in downtown Ottawa, lost and on drugs, there was no way that someone could have tapped me on the shoulder and said this is where you will be at 36,” said Alfonso Cuadra. Having opened a successful clothing chain, worked in real estate, written an autobiography and success guide, and hosted his own TV show Success by Design, now in its third season, the father of two young girls and of a business aimed at motivating entrepreneurs said none of his accomplishments happened by accident. “Anybody is capable of anything…I found a purpose, and I held on to that purpose. I always tell people, your reason why should make you want to cry,” he said.
But like all stories, there was a time when Cuadra’s life was not as bright. At the age of nine, he and his mother came to Canada from El Salvador as political refugees after escaping war and a corrupted government. For years, his mother had been targeted for writing about human rights abuses and finally landed herself with a 30-year prison ticket. It was not until Amnesty International swapped her prison ticket for a ticket to Canada for her and her son, that Cuadra’s mother had a second chance at a life. As a child, Cuadra was labeled as the boy with multiple learning disorders, which made it difficult for him to blend in. “I dropped out of high school at 15-years-old and left home. I was completely homeless. My turning point came
Guyana wants Ottawa to “Enjoy de Mix” By Samantha Ammoun
An evening filled with laughter, music, dance, poetry and delicious food were on the menu at Centrepointe Theatre, October 26. The Guyana Ottawa Cultural Association hosted their fourth annual heritage night, “Enjoy de Mix” that left the audience with smiles on their faces as many hummed folkloric hymns on their way out of the theatre. The evening began with one of its special guest performers, Cyril Dabydeen, poet and creative writing professor who shared with the audience some of his favor-
ite pieces including, his most famous poem, Multiculturalism. The evening continued with video presentations, dance numbers, singing, performances by the group Divine Connection and a fashion show by local designer Frank Sukhoo. “Guyana is often referred to as the land of six peoples where Eastern Indians, Chinese, Portuguese, Amerindians, British and Africans have played an active role in our history,” said Sylvia Barrow, secretary with the association. “We share each other’s festivals, foods, customs and what has become Guyanese today is truly a marriage of all those things.”
at 17 when my girlfriend at the time told me she’s pregnant. Nine months later, they put this little girl in my arms and my life changed from there,” he said, as he points to his personalized iPhone case showing a picture of himself and his two children. Rebuilding his life from the ground up began at that exact moment. Cuadra decided to return to high school and eventually enter the world of business. “I started selling from my backpack. I opened up my location in 1998 called Rugged Culture, and by the time I was 20-yearsold I had 15 locations across Canada, got into real estate and never looked back,” he said. Today, Cuadra helps people find a purpose and build a business plan from A to Z. He blogs on YouTube and hosts networking events with other successful entrepreneurs.
Barrow said while the rest of South America has its blue seas and white sand to share, Guyana has its homes and heritage, even here in Ottawa. “We want to rejuvenate the association with some youth and it is reflected in our program as we reach out to the talented and creative members of our community,” President Denise Moore-Isaacs said. “The kids are truly the ones who drive us to these things. When my daughter started asking me questions about our heritage, I found myself asking the same ones,” said David Sutton, communications chair and assistant treasurer. “Heritage night is one of the ways we are able to connect with each other. It informs us of who we are, where we came from and how we fit in the larger diaspora. I always felt it to be empowering, the thought that I am not just out there, I am part of something bigger.”