David Dacks, Co-Chair, is a Toronto-based music advocate who constantly champions innovative forms of audio expression and its social impacts. He became Artistic Director of the Music Gallery in January 2012 and has since produced four seasons of acclaimed, genre-bending programming. Prior to joining the Music Gallery, David was the editor of Exclaim Magazine’s coverage of jazz, R&B, reggae, experimental music, and global grooves. His work has also appeared in the Grid, CBC Music, Weird Canada, BlogTO, Paste and Musicworks. His journalism expertise has been acknowledged with selections to both Juno Award and Polaris Music Prize juries. David was a Grand Juror for the Polaris Prize in 2011. He was a programmer and host at University of Toronto radio station CIUT-FM for 25 years and produced four documentaries for CBC Radio. David has lectured at the University of Toronto and the International Academy of Art And Design.
Etmet Musa aka Ayo Leilani, Co-Chair, is a queer, Ethiopian/Eritrean, singer/songwriter, the Co-Founder and Director of Toronto based music and multi media collective/ label 88 Days Of Fortune, a member of feminist based electro dub hop group, Above Top Secret (fka Abstract Random) and a solo artist under the name Witch Prophet. As the Co Founder and Director of 88 Days Of Fortune she has helped organize, host and sustain an artistically diverse, bimonthly showcase of local and international talent, financed music videos and albums, and provided a platform for musicians and artists to showcase their talents since 2009. As an artist, she has shared the stage with and opened for acts like: Diana King, Shad, Njena Reddd Foxxx, Rae Spoon, Zaki Ibrahim, Lido Pimienta, Kae Sun, TheeSatisfaction, Shabazz Palaces, LAL, Lucas Silveira and Michie Mee. Toured Europe twice; playing shows in Paris, Amsterdam, London and Berlin, as well as performed at music festivals like: Black Women Rock, Manifesto, Wavelength, Pride Toronto, Soul Of Brooklyn, Montreal Jazz Festival, Ottawa Capital Pride, Allied Media Conference, Afro Punk, CMW, Inside Out, Under The Volcano and International Women’s Fest. Leilani has independently released two mix tapes “Bonjour” 2009 and “Ayo x Exile” 2010. Along with a handful of singles from 2013-2015. She also has written songs and sang on two Abstract Random albums “Disrupt Dis Reality Bluuuurd’ 2010 and “Siren Songs” 2012 and has additional vocals on the Shad album “Flying Colours” 2013. Currently, her band Above Top Secret released their self titled album via Daps Records + 88 Days Of Fortune with distribution through Outside Music in July of 2016. Her solo projects “H.P.B” and “The Golden Octave” as Witch Prophet, are due for release fall of 2016 + Spring of 2017.
David Abel is the Executive Director of Art of Time Ensemble. An arts management industry veteran with experience in producing commercial and not-for-profit theatre and managing large and small organizations, David began his producing career with Mirvish Productions in 1987 and moved to Canadian Stage in 1996 where he rose to Managing Director, overseeing all of the company’s business and theatrical affairs until he joined Art of Time in 2012. He is a recipient of the Mallory Gilbert Leadership Award, recognizing outstanding leadership in Canadian theatre, and was named an Inaugural Fellow of the TAC Cultural Leaders Lab. David was a member of the PACT Board of Directors for six years and has consulted for and/or acted as an advisor to Young Peoples’ Theatre, Native Earth Performing Arts, Collective of Black Artists, OAC, Metcalf Foundation, and Business for the Arts.
Amirali Alibhai is the Head of Performing Arts at the Aga Khan Museum. His professional experience includes roles as a curator/educator/administrator within the fields of visual, performance and community-based arts. He has worked with diverse artists and organizations, representing multiple disciplines and cultural traditions. Prior to moving to Toronto, Amir worked in British Columbia where he was part of the team that established the innovative Roundhouse Community Arts Centre in Vancouver (1996-2008). He has worked in the cities of Richmond, BC (Richmond Art Gallery 1989-1996), Surrey, BC (Surrey Art Gallery 1994-1996), and the District and City of North Vancouver (Cultural Planner 2008). He was Executive Director of the Greater Vancouver Alliance for Arts and Culture (2009-2012). Amir has served on a number of Boards of Directors, including Canada Council for the Arts (2005-2008) and Canadian Conference of the Arts (2010-2012).
Vivian Barclay is the General Manager of Warner Chappell Music Canada Ltd., the publishing arm of Warner Music Group. She works directly with a diverse roster of Canadian songwriters including Barenaked Ladies, Jully Black, Saukrates, Michael Bernard Fitzgerald, and Gordon Lightfoot, and is also responsible for the administration of the 200-year-old company’s global catalogue, which includes Cole Porter, Katy Perry, Radiohead, Jay Z, and Michael Bublé. A Radio and Television grad from Ryerson University, Vivian joined CKLN-FM in production before taking to the airwaves as host of her own show. She then served as Program Director for 3 years before leaving to work with Toronto-based Jones & Jones Productions, a company that offers a wide range of event and entertainment services. Vivian joined Warner Chappell in 2001, and then spent two years at the head office in Los Angeles before returning to Toronto to head up the company in Canada. Vivian sits on the boards of the CMRRA, Canadian Music Publishers Association, SOCAN and the Phemphat Entertainment Group, producers of the annual all-female Honey Jam Showcase. Vivian works with Habitat for Humanity as Toronto Woman Build Ambassador and is a part of National Association of Black Female Executives in Music & Entertainment (NABFEME)
In a world where almost everything — people, music, cultures — get labelled and slotted into simple categories, Cris Derksen represents a challenge. Originally from Northern Alberta she comes from a line of chiefs from NorthTall Cree Reserve on her father’s side and a line of strong Mennonite homesteaders on her mother’s. Juno nominated classically trained cellist and composer braids the traditional and contemporary, weaving her classical background and her Indigenous ancestry together with new school electronics to create genre-defying music. Derksen has performed Nationally and Internationally with some of Canada’s Finest Including; Tanya Tagaq, Buffy Sainte Marie, and Naomi Klien, to name a few.
Tracy Jenkins is co-artistic and executive director of Lula Music and Centre which presents year-round jazz, salsa and global music series, the annual Lulaworld festival and many cultural workshops for youth. While most of these activities take place at the Toronto venue Lula Lounge, Tracy oversees many strategic partnerships that allow LMAC to expand its reach, regionally and nationally. Tracy’s recent projects have included Canada’s first Women in Percussion festival, the development of the world/Latin music label and publishing company Lulaworld records and a series of workshops and panels on diversity in the music industry (spearheaded by Polyphonic Ground). Tracy serves on the board of directors for Music Canada Live, the Dundas West BIA and the Toronto Music Advisory Council. She is co-chair of the MCL’s Regional Advisory Committee on venue sustainability.