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Sistema Toronto & OKAN: Oye Como Va

We're excited to share our collaboration with Juno award winning Afro-Cuban band OKAN! The rhythmic Spanish piece, Oye Como Va, is originally by musician Tito Puente and arranged by OKAN for this project. Roughly translated, the upbeat song asks “Hey, how’s it going?”, an apt question in the current climate.

OKAN visited Sistema Toronto online classes where they taught vocal, strings, and body percussion to senior students from all 3 centres – Parkdale, Jane-Finch, and East Scarborough. On top of learning the repertoire and gaining knowledge of different musical styles, the vocal and percussion workshops focused on techniques and the strings workshops highlighted structured improvisation work. This was part of a unit on Black History Month, showcasing a variety of Black Canadian musicians and repertoire by Black artists and composers.

This project was made possible thanks to generous support from the SOCAN Foundation - Fondation SOCAN and the Aubrey & Marla Dan Foundation.

Read our full media release here