Small World Music has been featuring local and international acts to audiences in Toronto for 25 years and their year long celebration for their 25th anniversary begins September 13th with live and online concerts and events for music lovers to enjoy. We spoke with them recently to find out more.
Describe your charity/non-profit in a few sentences:
Small World uses the unifying power of music to break down barriers, build community and celebrate diversity. We do this by presenting live music, creating original online content, supporting the careers of marginalized artists and connecting like-minded parts of the music industry.
What problem does it aim to solve?
When we started, there was much less representation of the ‘real face’ of Canada on its stages. I wanted to share the richness of music from around the world that represented the cultural mosaic of the country. In doing so, we were also able to support the careers of newcomers and other musicians who often struggle to find opportunities.
When did you start/join it?
The first concert under the name Small Works was presented in 1997, hence our big celebration of a quarter century in our ‘25 -for -25’ program!
What made you want to get involved?
It was the desire to share discoveries of music from outside my cultural upbringing… to open people’s ears to the richness of traditions from around the world and connect them to Canadians, increasing representation on stages.
What was the situation like when you started?
Small World was formed at a time when people were waking up to the fact that the mainstream didn’t necessarily represent our culture. Community organizations presented concerts from various cultures, but it was still relatively rare to try to encompass the global perspective. Institutions and funders were open to the idea which enabled us to grow.
How has it changed since?
Many more organizations and presenters understand the importance of representing diversity. Which is fantastic, but also makes it harder to stand out from the crowd.
This is in part why our recent activity as a charitable organization has emphasized artist support and sectoral development in addition to music presenting. Small World Music is now the producer of the Global Toronto Music Conference (June), which last year gathered over 1100 delegates from over 70 countries. We are also just restarting our second annual eMERGEnce Music Incubator, an artist development program to assist newcomer, refugee and other equity deserving artists know more about the Canadian music landscape in order to increase representation on Toronto stages and beyond.
What more needs to be done?
We continue to strive to make space for artists and organizations who represent the incredible cultural diversity of Toronto and the country. We envision a future where music from many cultures, regardless if it is sung in English or another language, displays instruments not typically heard on the radio, is accepted as ‘normal’.
How can our readers help?
Buy tickets to our shows!
Help spread the word and follow us.
And feel free to donate to our organization.
Do you have any events coming up?
Our year-long celebration of the 25th anniversary begins September 13-19 with the launch of ‘25 for 25’… A fantastic combination of live and online music to end the summer on a high note!
Where can we follow you?
PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity that you love?
I really love the work that is happening at New Circles!