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World Music Program

Ontario Presents is pleased to offer Ontario-based presenters the chance to participate in a new World Music Program. Thanks to the Department of Canadian Heritage, this curatorial development program will support the programming of World Music genres in communities across Ontario through grants to selected presenters.

Over the past 18 months, we’ve seen the need to amplify and celebrate the cultural differences of non-European traditions. Through this World Music Project, we hope to develop presenters’ capacities to better connect with their new audiences while simultaneously providing opportunities for communities to experience vibrant music during this COVID-19 recovery Period. This project will also provide opportunities for World Music artists and collectives to build audiences in their local communities.

Definition of World Music:
World Music usually refers to non-commercial or mainstream music that is coming from different world’s cultures. While this term has become controversial during the last several years, it remains the term that festivals, presenters, and artists associate with music that is based in the traditional or Indigenous roots of a culture and stands apart from commercial or mainstream genres such as rock, indie, pop, and others.

About the Project:
Led by Project Consultant, Alfredo Caxaj, a small group of presenters will be selected to receive grants and to learn about the World Music sector and to later program a series of music concerts within their community. The program will feature workshops developed and led by Alfredo, who will work with the successful participants to create a learning community.

Alfredo Caxaj has served as the Executive and Artistic Director of the non-profit Sunfest-London Committee for Cross Cultural Arts Inc. for more than two decades. SUNFEST World Music & Jazz Summer Festival is a free-admission festival of music, dance, crafts and cuisine from around the globe that has grown into “Canada’s Premier Celebration of World Cultures”. 

For this project, up to 5 presenters will be selected to engage in peer learning and conversations with Alfredo Caxaj, Artistic Director of Sunfest Canada, with the short term goal of being able to program 2 or 3 music concerts in the spring of 2022. Through the Department of Canadian Heritage’s Live Arts Support grant, Ontario Presents will provide fees for artists programmed for these events. 

The program is designed to be the genesis for future events. Therefore, participants should have an interest in World Music programming and an intention of developing long-lasting relationships between artists and their local communities. 

Participants must commit to participating in 4 professional development workshops, with Alfredo Caxaj from January to April 2022. Meetings will take place virtually and in-person once regulations permit. Participants are expected to present at least two separate concerts featuring Indigenous, Black and/or POC artists whose work is rooted in diverse cultural traditions that will take place between April 2022 and June 2022. All projects must follow local health guidelines. Projects may take place anytime before June 30th, 2022. 

This Program is Designed to:

  • Increase the amount & quality of World Music being presented in Ontario communities where there is currently a gap in such programming,
  • Create new performance opportunities for artists from the World Music genres,
  • Develop participating presenters’ capacities for presenting World Music genres in the long term, including supporting them to establish specific strategies for developing the local audience for this work.

Available Funds:
Grants will be distributed to each presenter to cover artist fees for the concerts. Grants can be used to cover performance fees for the artist, but all other costs of the presentation should be covered in-kind by the presenter (staffing, marketing, venue costs, etc.).

Applications are open to any presenting organizations (professional or volunteer, venue-based or not) that are based in Ontario. Applicants do not need to be members of Ontario Presents. 

In order to be eligible for this funding, presenters must show that they are interested in engaging with IBPOC artists within their communities and building lasting relationships with the broader World Music community. Presenters should describe their capacity to continue to engage with Global/World Music artists and their intention to continue  programming this genre after this project is complete.

If we receive more applications than grants available, applications will be assessed based on geographic location and the desired outcome of supporting presenters as they establish strategies for developing local audiences for culturally diverse music within their community.

How to Apply:
Interested applicants are invited to fill out this form prior to December 13th, 2021. If you have any questions please contact Deb at

About Ontario Presents:
Ontario Presents is a province-wide network of touring and presenting organizations that work collaboratively to facilitate an equitable distribution of live, diverse performing arts shows – and their engagement with all citizens – into communities across Ontario. The largest portion of our members are regional presenting organizations, from large performing arts centres to volunteer-run presenting series.

Ontario Presents operates a number of participatory programs and services that help members adopt inclusive approaches to build capacity, develop leadership and create opportunities to grow and diversify their audiences.

Our office is located in Tkaronto, on the traditional territory of many nations including the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, the Wendat, and the Anishnabeg peoples, including the Mississaugas of the Credit.

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Funded by the Government of Canada