Monthly Archives: February 2008

CUPE BC wraps up historic 1st “worker of colour” conference

Harry Bains MLA and Raj Sihota lead workshops on political activism.

I entered the plenary room looking forward to hearing Yolanda McLean, CUPE National Diversity Vice President.  On my way to my seat, I was greeted by a few people that I had met the day before.

“I saw you on TV yesterday, good job,” they said referring to the the Global News story about cultural diversity in BC.

See the story at: and scroll down to WORLD CLASS BC FEB 26.

I sat down with my fellow CUPE 391 Vancouver library workers to listen to Yolanda McLean speak about human rights, and how it is important for CUPE members to show support for fellow workers, particularly with issues that are prevalent amongst workers of colour.  Following McLean's address, all the delegates were invited to the front to be part of a large group picture.

We started our second set of workshops next, and this was something I was really looking forward to.  “Walking the Walk – Political Arena.”  As soon as I walked into the room, I was greeted by workshop facilitators Harry Bains MLA, and Raj Sihota.  I had first met Raj while she had worked for MLA Joy McPhail, and both Joy and Jenny Kwan had attended the 2005 Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner wearing each other's chinese cheong-sam dress and long tartan skirt.

Raj first shared her personal story, working in the MLA offices of Jenny Kwan and Joy McPhail, as well as running for office herself, and becoming a community outreach worker for the NDP.  She said she had grown up in Kamloops as a Social Credit supporter, but it was while she was at UBC she became inspired by the Mike Harcourt leadership.

Harry told his story about coming to Canada from India, and working hard in foundries and mills to make money, often putting his education aside.  Eventually he became involved in his local unions, and quickly became influential helping to make the mill overcome racist incidents in the work place and one of the strongest and most productive unions in the area.

“Be proud of your union,” Harry told our workshop.  “A lot of people don't know how labour history has help shaped society.  Weekends, 40 hour work weeks, are benefits fought for by unions, as well as health and safety in the workplace, and collective bargaining.” 

It was a very inspiring workshop, with incredible input from all the participants. Most importantly, I liked how Harry talked about overcoming barriers by changing consciousness by union activism.  As people of colour, we began to understand more how cultural differences and traditional behaviors have often prevented people from becoming more active in the union, or simply speaking out when things are unfair.  We discussed how many new immigrants can be intimidated because they are not comfortable speaking in English, or asserting themselves in public because they do not want to draw attention to themselves.  I pointed out that this was often the case for Chinese-Canadian workers in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.  They kept their heads down, worked hard, and settled for less wages to avoid racism and worse treatment.

The 1907 Anti-Asian riots in Chinatown and Japantown had been the labour workers who had believed that Asians were taking jobs away from White workers.  History has since revealed that it was Chinese workers who helped build  the Canadian transcontinental railway, enabling White workers to come to BC and Canada, displacing Chinese labourers.

During the afternoon plenary sessions, each of the workshops reported back from the two days.  These topics included addressing Diversity in the: Union; Workplace; Community; Political Arena, as well as racial profiling. I had been “delegated” to report back from our “Political Arena” workshop. 

I gave a good talk, introducing my fellow CUPE 391 Vancouver library workers to the audience stating that Harry had said to be proud of your union.  These were people who each had been very involved during our 3 month civic library strike.  I had next introduced my workshop companions introducing them by name and asking them to stand up.  In the middle of my report, as I began stating that sometimes it's
uncomfortable speaking about politics in the workplace – the
electricity suddenly cut out.  I used the sudden power outage to
humouressly stress my point.  “Somebody obviously really doesn't want
us talking about politics in the workplace…” as many people laughed
along with me.  It was good to share what we had learned from Harry Bains and Raj Sihota, distilling their knowledge with our own experiences.  Our solutions to racial barriers included: creating role models; changing consciousness; becoming more involved in the union; education programs; and most important of all… identifying and supporting activists in the union. 

It was a good day, I was inspired by the workshops and the speakers.  I had made new friends, and increased my networks.  I had spread the word about Gung Haggis Fat Choy to my CUPE brothers and sisters, and finished off the day by receiving complements on my presentation.

Gung Haggis dragon boat team is part of World Class BC on Global News show Feb 26

Dragon boat racing really does represent cultural diversity in BC.  The Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team is really honoured that we were asked by Global News to represent this topic for their program World Class BC on Feb 26, in a story by Elaine Yong, who shared with me that her husband is Scottish Canadian, and she is sometimes called McYong.  Guess we will have to recruit her for the team!

I watched the airing of the story at a friend's home, where we were having a farewell dinner party for author Sharon Butala.  Sharon has been helping the Historic Joy Kogawa House Committee with grant applications to create a writer-in-residence program, and has been staying at Joy's apartment in Vancouver's West End. 

Sharon shared with me, that she really enjoyed seeing the cultural diversity on Robson St.  Not only were there lots of different students from all across Asia, but people from all over the world, and even men holding hands.  Coming from tiny Eastend, Sasketchewan, Sharon said that it felt like being in a different world.  The great thing she said, was that everybody was happy.  Vancouver's tolerance for racial and lifestyle differences is very high, and this has given support for helping create our cultural diversity in BC. 

And then we heard Global News anchor Deborah Hope say that cultural diversity is one of the things that makes BC World Class.  “It's on!” I called to everybody upstairs to come watch the show with us.  Very appropriately, the feature unfolded with stories about First Nations canoes and carving, featuring Nu-Chal-Nuth carvers Joe Martin and Douglas David.

“Gung Haggis, Gung Haggis, Gung Haggis Fat Choy!” we heard the team cheer.  And we saw the team loading up the dragon boat team.  Elaine Yong explains that Dragon boating is part of a 1000 year tradition from China, and our team blends together Scottish history and culture.  Todd Wong (me) is interviewed and  Elaine states the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team is in training for the 20th Vancouver dragon boat Festival, now North America's largest, and one of the biggest outside Hong Kong.

You can see the Global News feature on the web

Go to:

Scroll down to:
fast forward to 1:34 to 2:27 for Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team.

World Class BC Feb 26.
1) Joe Martin carves Nu-Chal-Nuth First Nations canoes
2) Douglas David carves Nu-Chal-Nuth First Nations masks
3) Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team with Todd Wong
4) Bangra Dancing with Raakhi Sinha

you can see the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team featured on a ZDF
German Public Television travelogue titled “Toronto to Vancouver, by
go to the 54 minute mark to find us!

This show aired December 2007 across Europe.  The race shots were filmed at the ADBF sprint regatta.  Here's the blog story:

CUPE BC holds its first “Worker of Colour Conference”: Jenny Kwan shares personal story of growing up and not fitting in

Moe Sihota rocked the house at the opening session on Monday night.  Jenny Kwan told her personal heart-warming story about the journey to find her cultural and political identity.

It's the first ever “worker of colour” conference, hosted by CUPE BC.  I am attending as a member of CUPE 391, Vancouver Library Workers. We have four members attending the conference.

This morning's session opened with a panel discussion featuring Dr. Sunera Thobani (UBC Professor, Women's Studies), Raj Chouhan (MLA Burnaby Edmonds), Jenny Kwan (MLA Vancouver Mount Pleasant), and Sid Chow Tan (Founding co-chair of Head Tax Families Society of Canada).

Each speaker talked about their own experiences in dealing with racism, as well as their community activism and what they saw as ways to address it.  And each speaker received standing ovations.  Thobani talked about racism in society, and the challenges of racial profiling in the wake of 9-11 and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Chouhan talked about his community work as founding president of the Canadian Farmworkers Union, and how it is important for unions to be active.  Tan talked about the Chinese head tax redress campaign, and how unions have been leaders in racism a century ago, and how they helped lead the CCF party and overturning racist legislation in 1947.

For me, the most powerful talk came from Jenny Kwan.  I have heard her speak a few times, but this was the first time I have heard her speak about the challenges of growing up as an immigrant in a strange culture.  Kwan arrived in Vancouver at age nine, but never felt that she felt in.  She explained how challenging it was for her mother to go to work, so her father could attend ESL classes in order to get a better job.  She described reacting against her immigrant parents, and speaking only
English to them, when they could only understand Chinese.  She also described thinking that she was useless, and nobody would miss her if she died.

The turning point came when Kwan revisited her birthplace of Hong Kong, and saw the life her parents left behind so that they could come to Canada to build a better life for themselves and their children.  She then realized and appreciated the sacrifices they made, and she buckled down returning to SFU to complete her studies.  Kwan also became a community activist, working as a legal advocate.  In an effort to make a greater positive change for people's lives, she became the youngest ever councilor for Vancouver City Council in 1993.  In 1998, she became the first Chinese-Canadian cabinet minister as Minister of Municipal Affairs.

But it hasn't always been easy.  Whether it was because she was young, a woman, or a person of colour – Kwan was not treated with equal respect.  She shared stories from both her time as a city councilor and a MLA when male white opposition colleagues did their best to belittle and intimidate her.

For me, Kwan's story drove home the struggles that many people of colour face, not only from racial discrimination at school, or in the work place, but more importantly the struggle to fit in and find a cultural identity that is not in conflict with parental expectations and mainstream integration.  These same themes were repeated in the workshops that conference attendees sat on, addressing multicultural and racial issues in the union, the workplace, the community, political arena, as well as racial profiling.

I attended the workshop titled “Walking the Walk in the community.”  It was led by Sid Chow Tan and Shashi Assanand.  With 14 other union brothers and sisters, we shared our own experience of racism, and issues of colour.  We discussed barriers to equal opportunity and also suggested solutions to these challenges.  Everybody came up with ideas that could help combat racism, as well as to promote cultural understanding.  We left the workshop feeling positive and vowing to take these informative ideas back to our unions and workplaces.

Tomorrow…. expect more of the same!

CBC Radio needs more coverage in area and local issues for Nanaimo, as well as FM for Radio One in Metro Vancouver

The CRTC is holding hearings for a new FM Radio license in Vancouver this week at the Empire Landmark hotel on Robson St.  The CBC is applying to move CBU CBC Radio One, to the FM bandwidth.

I am speaking as an intervener at the CRTC hearings this week, regarding CBC Radio's second proposal for a transmitter on Gabriola Island.

The competition for radio space is busy.  There are a lot of applicants for commercial radio stations.  But does Vancouver really need another AAA (Adult Album Alternative) or Adult comtemporary or Adult urban radio station?

I would prefer that more people be able to receive better accessibility to our national radio CBC.  It's one of our strongest cultural identifiers and supporters across Canada.  Listening to CBC Radio One is always a welcome joy wherever I am on vacation or travelling across Canada, or even in the United States.  I remember one time especially, driving across the Idaho plains and listening to Peter Gzowsky's voice, probably saying hello to the people in Gander NFL.  A few years ago I smiled when I recognized the warm tones of Shelagh Rogers while I was in a Saltspring Island bookstore. 

CBC radio really brings together the people from across this province with shows like BC Almanac.  I know that my cousins on Hornby Island get excited when they recognize my voice coming across the airwaves speaking about Gung Haggis Fat Choy, Joy Kogawa House, Chinese head tax, the CBC documentary Generations: The Chan Legacy, the Vancouver civic strike, or anything else I get interviewed about.

I am found of saying that “Meaningfullness” is important in life.  For
radio listeners in Nanaimo and its environs, having a CBC Radio that
reflects Vancouver Island issues and especially North Island and rural
topics is much more meaningful than listening to Vancouver city issues
and traffic reports.  CBC wants to put a transmitter on Gabriola Island to increase its' signal from CBC Victoria, instead of Nanaimo being overwhelmed by the CBC Vancouver.  Makes sense to me…

Diversity in radio is great – but simply having more radio stations that sound the same isn't the answer.  Neither is having more radio stations in ethnic languages.  For a strong Canada, we need a strong Canadian identity.  That means creating more accessibility and more coverage for CBC Radio One.  CBC Radio One must in turn, provide the diversity through its programming of ethnic cultural issues, as well as balancing national and local topics.  It's like planting a garden – you need an overall concept to make it work not only aesthetically but also geographically.  Just planting the same flower 20 times in a row because it is popular doesn't make it a garden for everybody.  Gardens thrive on balance, contrast, harmony and use of space.  Better coverage by CBC Radio One will do this for more Canadians.

Here's the scoop:

CBC wants to improve the quality of its Radio One service in the
Greater Vancouver area by converting CBU from the AM band to the FM

CBC is proposing to introduce an FM transmitter on
Mt. Seymour at 88.1 MHz to serve the Vancouver area and an FM
transmitter on Gabriola Island at 98.7 MHz to cover the Sunshine Coast

In a separate application, CBC is also proposing to introduce
another transmitter on Gabriola Island at 104.1 MHz to serve the
community of Nanaimo with Radio One programming that originates from
Victoria instead of Vancouver.

These applications if approved by the CRTC will effectively
replicate our current AM coverage and give the people of Vancouver and
the surrounding area long awaited access to an FM signal

CRTC should approve these applications because:

  • AM reception is poor in the core of Vancouver. Making the move to FM is the only way to ensure that all of the people of Vancouver are able to receive Radio One’s unique and distinctive service.
  • CBC carried out a survey of Radio One listeners in Vancouver
    (Foundation Research, 2004) that told us that almost 40% of respondents
    experienced signal reception difficulties (often or occasionally) with
    CBU either at home, at work or in their car.
  • Tuning to the AM band is in decline and has been for years. Four
    out of ten Vancouver radio listeners do not listen to the AM band at
    all. Making the move to FM is an investment in Radio One’s future. It’s
    about being relevant and staying connected to the people of Vancouver.
  • Radio One is currently available on FM in every major city in Canada except Vancouver. This transition to FM is long overdue.

Global TV News: Todd Wong and Gung Haggis dragon boat team interviewed for story on BC's cultural diversity

Watch GLOBAL NEWS on Tuesday Feb 26 –

Everybody knowns that BC's cultural diversity is one of the best things about living in BC.  Where else can you celebrate almost all the world's cultures worldly cuisines in a single city, go dragon boat racing, go to First Nations pow wows, enter a St. Patrick's Day parade, and learn bangra dancing?

Todd Wong (me) 
was interviewed on Feb 17th for a Global TV story celebrating BC's 150 years.

I talk about cultural diversity in BC, and am seen with the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team, paddling in the background.

Cultural diversity
is the topic, Todd and the Gung Haggis dragon boat team will
represent it to Global TV viewers.  Our dragon boat team itself has a good mixture of not only Asian and Caucasian paddlers, but also one paddler with Iraqi heritage and 3 paddlers with both Asian/Caucasian DNA.

I also explain the history of the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year dinner, which celebrates not only the Scottish and Chinese pioneer histories of BC, but also “everything inbetween and everything beyond.”

From Global TV producer/reporter Elaine Yong:

did a poll asking people what they thought were the things that made BC
a world-class place, and people/culture/diversity was one of the top 10
responses.  To illustrate some of BC's amazing culture and diversity, I
thought you would be a great person to profile.  But of course, we need
some viz of you doing something, and since we missed the dinner, the
dragon boating would be great, as well as another example of cultural
diversity.  The story is scheduled to air Feb 26.

Seattle Gung Haggis Fat Choy II, sells out and sets new standards!

Seattle Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner was very cool – CRAZY – CHAOTIC but cool.

We arrived in Seattle's Chinatown, to see men in kilts walking towards a common direction.

saw a large poster on a street corner with the image of a Chinese Lion
Dance Mask headed kilt wearing figure.  Beside the words “Direct from
Vancouver – Toddish McWong!”

Gung Haggis Fat Choy II
Sunday, February 24: 5-9 p.m.

Ocean City Restaurant Noodle Cafe

609 S. Weller St.

Seattle, WA 98104

The evening opened with 5 Lion Dancers on the dance floor and stage, with drummers up on the stage.  I haven't yet had a lion dance featured at the Vancouver Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner, so this was soooo impressive.  18 people altogether

Next, the Washington Chinese Youth Orchestra took over the dance floor while I did the MC thing and welcomed people to the event.  They played a few songs, on Chinese dulcimers, Chinese zithers, and then a song on drums. 15 people altogether

Bagpipes were heard as the Northwest Junior Pipe Band came marching in.  Bagpipes blaring and drums banging – in perfect tune and rhythm.  About 16 altogether.

Amazing entertainment from:

Red McWilliams, “America's Celt”
Master David Leong's Martial Arts & Lion Dance School
Northwest Junior Pipe Band
Washington Chinese Youth Orchestra
Susan Burk – Cape Breton style fiddler
Don Scobie – Bag Pipes & Bodran
Ben Rudd – Jimbe drum
Lensey Namioka – author of “Half and Half”
Melody Dance Group – Chinese dancing

+ MC Toddish McWong and Joe McDonald/flute/bagpipes/singing

More later….

Sharon Butala packs Kogawa House for reading, and a workshop on memoir writing

Author Sharon Butala mesmerized the packed audience at historic Joy Kogawa House on Friday night.  The Order of Canada author talked how she helped
established a writer in residence program at Wallace Stegner's childhood home in
Eastend, Saskatchewan. 

Butala is giving a weekend writing workshop about memoir writing at Kogawa House, marking the start of turning the historic literary landmark into a true writers-in-residence program for the City of Vancouver and the Canadian literary and writing community.

Butala read from her Governor General award nominated memoir book, The Perfection of the Morning: An Apprenticeship in Nature, and her new book Lilac Moon: Dreaming of the Real West

She also talked about the CBC Fifth Estate documentary she inspired and was a part of:
CBC: The fifth estate – Death of A Beauty Queen – which investigated the unsolved 1963 murder of Butala's former high school friend.

She answered a few questions, some about her writing, and some about how she helped create a writers-in-residence program in Eastend SK.  Then afterwards, she signed copies of her books and chatted with the audience members.

For this past month, Butala has been living as a guest at Joy Kogawa's Vancouver appartment, while Kogawa lives in her primary residence in Toronto.  On Feb 3rd, Butala attended the Vancouver opera production “Voices of the Pacific Rim” with members of the Joy Kogawa House Society, and was introduced to some of the singers who had performed  the Naomi's Road opera, based on the children's novel by Joy Kogawa.

Sharon Butala and Historic Joy Kogawa House seem like a perfect fit.  This house where the 6 year old Joy Kogawa grew up in, and remembered through years of internment during WW2, and for years afterwards became realized in a memoir of sorts, the award winning novel Obasan.  Butala and her husband Peter, are also nationally recognized conservationistsIn 1996, they donated their 13,100-acre (5,300 ha) ranch near Eastend
to the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) to establish The Old Man on
His Back Prairie and Heritage Preserve (OMB).  It was in 2006, that Joy Kogawa House was purchased by The Land Conservancy of BC, to become Vancouver's first literary and historical landmark.

As a member of the Joy Kogawa House Society, I know that we are deeply appreciative of Sharon's work to help us develop a writer's-in-residence program for Historic Joy Kogawa house.  We thank Sharon for her wonderful spirit and commitment to our project.

Seattle's Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner will feature Lion Dance, Asian Youth Orchestra and Northwest Junior Pipe Band

This year's Seattle Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year dinner has sold out at over 300 people!
Bagpiper Joe McDonald and myself are going down to give the Seattle folks our double powered duet version of “The Haggis Rap.”  Apparently everybody loved the rap version of Robbie Burns' immortal poem “Address to a Haggis” that they were asking the organizers if I was going to be back.  Well, I am. And it's going to be even more powerful this year, especially since Joe and I performed it on Robbie Burns Day for CBC Newsworld on national television.


From the 2007 Seattle Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner:  Toddish McWong meets
Seattle “Gung Haggis” couple Rory Denovan and Becca Fong.  Rory is
Scottish-American and Becca is Chinese-American… and they are a
lovely couple! – photo courtesy of Becca Fong.

Seattle Gung Haggis Fat Choy II

Ocean City Restaurant Noodle Cafe

609 S. Weller St.

Seattle, WA 98104

Maps & directions

Sunday, February 24: 5-9 p.m.

The Seattle Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner is organized by Bill McFadden of the The Caledonian & St. Andrew's Society of Seattle.  Bill has now attended 2 Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinners in Vancouver.  He completely loves it.  This year we introduced him to the Vancouver crowd and they gave him a big ovation.  Read my article about last year's Seattle Gung Haggis dinner here:
The Seattle Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner is a fundraiser for the Seattle area Northwest Junior Pipe band who are raising funds in a bid to attend the World Championships in 2008.  Read about their experience at last year's Gung Haggis Fat Choy Seattle dinner on the

It's going to be a crazy night with both the Northwest Junior Pipe Band performing AND the Washington Chinese Youth Orchestra.  Last year featured a young Chinese girl with her brother performing on their traditional Chinese instruments.  This year they are bringing the whole orchestra with them.

Lensey Namioka is a Seattle author, whose book I discovered at the Vancouver Public Library.  Half and Half is about a girl growing up with Scottish-Canadian grandparents in Vancouver, and a Chinese-American grandmother in Seattle.  Yup – this girl is Chinese-Scottish-Canadian-American, and she's going through an identity crisis.  I invited Lensey to the Vancouver Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner in 2006, and in 2007 she was our featured author.

Half and Half


from Vancouver – Todd Wong & Joe McDonald

From Seattle

Red McWilliams, “America's Celt”

Master David Leong's Martial Arts & Lion
Dance School

Northwest Junior Pipe Band

Washington Chinese Youth Orchestra

Susan Burk

Don Scobie

Ben Rudd

Lensey Namioka

Melody Dance Group

Author Sharon Butala reads at Joy Kogawa House Friday Feb 22, and hosts writing workshop

Sharon Butala is helping the Historic Joy Kogawa House Society with our goal to establish a writers in residence programs at the former childhood home of author Joy Kogawa. 

Tonight, Sharon Butala gives a 7:30pm reading at 1450 West 64th Ave.
On Saturday and Sunday, she conducts a writing workshop workshop about memoir writing.

This is the house that the then 6 year old Joy and her family left
behind their wonderful home in 1942, when they were sent to internment
camps because they were Japanese-Canadian.

A writing workshop and public reading with Sharon Butala

Writing the Memoir

Location: Historic Joy Kogawa House, 1450 West 64th Avenue, Vancouver

Reading on Friday, February 22, 7:30 to 9 p.m.; writing workshop on
Saturday, February 23, and Sunday, February 24, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Cost: To be determined. Space is limited. To secure a seat, please register by emailing ametten at telus dot net.

writers have demonstrated that even the most glamorous lives–of
celebrities, war heroes, or politicians–can make for dull reading. Yet
the most ordinary lives can make thrilling reading. How does the
storyteller capture the essence of the story and develop a reader's
interest? What are memoirs really about, and why write them? Through
discussion, question and answer, exercises, and examining successful
memoirs, this workshop will endeavour to answer such questions, as well
as to show how memoirs might be structured, and how a writer decides
what to put in and what to leave out. Memoirs are therapy for both
writer and reader, but they are also good stories: at their best, they
are art.

Sharon Butala is an award-winning author of both fiction
and non-fiction. Her memoir, The Perfection of the Morning, was a
Canadian bestseller and a finalist for the Governor General's Award. Ms
Butala has been called one of Canada's true visionaries. In 2002 she
was honoured as an Officer of the Order of Canada. Her newest work, The
Girl in Saskatoon: A Meditation on Memory and Murder (HarperCollins
Canada), will be in bookstores in March.

Watch this website over the next few days for more information

Indo-Canadian fusion with Highland Dancing, Jazz music and Bhangra

Tarun Nayar of Beats Without Borders occasionally sends me announcements of upcoming events and concerts.  Last night he and the group Delhi 2 Dublin performed at the CBC studios.  We met at the first Delhi 2 Dublin concert – back in March 2006 – see my review:
St. Paddy's Eve in Vancouver – What is a man in a kilt to do? –

Looks like a nice line up of South Asian music with some cross-cultural fusion.  Especially the Transfusion dance show where “Flamenco blurs into Kathak, and
Bhangra is intertwined with Celtic.”

I have seen Kiran Ahluwalia both performing traditional ghazal songs as well as her performance in the jazz opera Quebecite – written by Chinese-Afro-Canadian D.D. Jackson with lyrics by Afro-MicMac-Canadian George Eliot Clarke.

Kiran Ahluwalia
Saturday Feb 23, 8pm
Christ Church Cathedral (690 Burrard St)
Tickets: 604.872.5200 or
is great! Check her out if you can… From the organizers:  “Ahluwalia
sings original ghazals and Punjabi folk songs, backed by her five piece
ensemble; featuring tabla, harmonium, guitar, and bass. She is a multi
award- winning artist, known for her lush compositions, stellar voice
and captivating live performances.  Her most recent album, Wanderlust
(Times Square/Fusion3) is a strikingly beautiful work just nominated
for World Music Album of the Year at the 2008 Juno Awards.”

Rez Abbasi's Bazaar

Sunday, Feb 24. 4:30pm
Performance Works (Granville Island)
the organizers: “This all-star band will delight fans of Shakti, Trilok
Gurtu, and other world-jazz fusion masters. New York-based guitarist
Rez Abbasi whose organic mix of jazz with elements of Indian classical
music creates a singular and distinctive sound leads the group. With
Juno Award winning vocalist Kiran Ahluwalia, Hammond B-3 organ player
Sam Barsh, and drummer Dan Weiss in tow this stimulating cultural
crossover is rhythmically captivating and utterly mesmerizing.”
indian dance inter-relationships

Friday Feb 29 and Sat March 1, 8pm
Vancouver International Film Centre (1181 Seymour Street)
Tix 18$ from ticketmaster or at 604.280.4444

by the VIBC Society and the Cultural Olympiad, this unique event blends
contemporary and traditional folk dance styles spanning the
subcontinent of India and reaching as far West as the Latin world and
the Highlands of Scotland. Watch as Flamenco blurs into Kathak, and
Bhangra is intertwined with Celtic in this presentation of folk dances
from around the world. Bharatnatyam, Odissi, Afro-contemporary,
Chinese, Balinese, Flamenco, Kathak, Bhangra, Breakdance, Celtic – all
re-interpreted with a heavy dose of multimedia. With dancers Sitara
Thobani, Chengxin Wei, Stu Iguidez, Raakhi Sinha, and many many more.
This is gonna be hot!!!!

Bhangra Love
the City of Bhangra dance party

Thursday March 6, 9pm
The Red Room (398 Richards)
Tix 10$ @ the door

BWB crew's biggest annual party, and the kick off to the VIBC festival.
Killer acts including DJ Sandeep Kumar from LA, live bhangra from the
city's hottest bhangra band, En Karma, and a special dance performance
pitting bhangra dancers vs street dancers. More fun times at the red
room! This party will sell out, so come nice and early…

City of Bhangra

For more info about this awesome stretch of events check