Toronto Revellers: The People’s Band
Interview and article by: Priya Balakumar
Brown Girl Diary sat down with Jamaal Magloire to learn more about the Toronto Revellers.
A brief history:
The Toronto Revellers Cultural Association is a non-profit organization that aims to contribute to the multicultural landscape of Canada by promoting, celebrating and exploring the rich, diverse culture and traditions of the Caribbean.
Toronto Revellers was founded by bandleader Jamaal Magloire in 2006 and has been around for over 14 years. The band is a collective of over 2000 masqueraders, volunteers, and designers who contribute to Toronto’s annual Toronto Caribbean Carnival.
The Toronto Revellers is a band that truly represents the diversity and strong community bonds that can be found all across the GTA.
The band represents culture, unity and innovation— Toronto Revellers is the People’s Band!
Sitting down with Jamaal Magloire:
Jamaal is a well known Bandleader and Hype Man extraordinaire with Toronto Revellers.
BGD: What does it mean to be Toronto Revellers?
JM: We are the People’s band. We take pride in being a family band that consists of all backgrounds, cultures and ethnicities. We love to share our Caribbean culture’s traditions (food, music, costumes) through Toronto Carnival and other Revellers events.
Toronto Revellers not only supports the community through Caribana related events, they also play an important role in supporting and developing the youth of our community. The Jamaal Magloire Foundation was created to improve the lives of at-risk youth by helping them to obtain academic and social skills through the arts and sport. The Toronto Revellers use their love for art and creativity to help empower the younger generation while also preserving the beautiful culture and traditions of the Caribbean.
BGD: What is your biggest accomplishment?
JM: One of our biggest accomplishments is winning Band of the Year, Queen of the Band, and other distinguished awards over the course of multiple years. For me, our biggest accomplishment is being a Toronto Mas Band that provides the best, authentic carnival experience to our masqueraders.
Bringing that one of a kind true Mas Band experience to the people is what makes the Toronto Revellers the true People’s Band.
BGD: Why is Toronto Revellers important to you?
JM: My background is Afro-Trinidadian and I want to pass on traditions to my son that were taught to me. This is a way for me to bridge the gap between generations of those that have been involved in Carnival both in Trinidad and Canada.
Preserving and passing down the culture and traditions of the Caribbean community is key to help ensure that the future generations will continue to be proud of who they are and where they come from.
BGD: Where do you get your inspiration from?
JM: My mom, dad, son, volunteers, masqueraders, all the masses that come together each year to celebrate our culture at Toronto Caribbean Carnival. Being the People’s Band, Toronto Revellers use their community to draw inspiration.
BGD: What do you hope for the future of Toronto Revellers?
JM: Jamaal hopes that Toronto Revellers will continue to expand its family of volunteers and masqueraders so that they can fulfill the purpose of passing this cultural tradition down from generation to generation.
We look forward to seeing what Toronto Revellers have in store for Caribana 2021! Brown Girl Diary is also very excited to follow the growth and success of the Jamaal Magloire Foundation. A band that supports youth, preserves culture and empowers the community is the true definition of the People’s Band.