CMW 2019: Zaki Ibrahim at Longboat Hall17 May 2019 / by Nam-An Dinh (author)
In a typical Canadian Music Week Friday night jam packed with excellent shows across the city, music lovers who chose to check out Longboat Hall that night were rewarded with beats, vibes, soul, and a whole lot of fun. A CMW showcase spotlighting South Africa, the lineup promised hip hop, soul and R&B vibes.
Amidst the lineup was Zaki Ibrahim. With her fluid songs fusing hip hop, jazz, R&B and soul, she has earned a Juno nomination as well as a Polaris shortlist appearance, and created a name for herself within the Canadian music scene.
Though scheduled for 10pm, a brief delay left showgoers in anticipation of Zaki. The stage was dark, and Longboat Hall flooded with blue light, giving everything a moody atmosphere. Zaki took the stage dressed head to toe in black, flanked by backing vocalist Kyla Charter to her right and James Baley to her left. A testament to the interconnectedness of the Toronto music scene, Alister Johnson, whom just the night before played a show, takes the stage to handle the beats for Zaki. Jemuel handles keyboard duties.
The singer strikes a pose, before launching into her first infectious number. Amidst the lush harmonies and beats, Zaki and her backing vocalists weave in choreography throughout. Dressed in striking skintight black jumpsuits, they, along with Zaki, are framed perfectly on the small stage as Longboat Hall's backlights wash them in various hues of light.
Zaki does not take much time between songs, choose to pack in as much music as she can. The audience is lulled along, and as she launches from one number to the next, the packed hall is vibing and dancing.
By the time she performs her final song, the audience is fully into it, shaking and moving along. It's an uptempo song, and towards the end of it, Zaki's supporting musicians take turns shining with their own solos. It's a wonderful way to close out an excellent set, and as the lights dim, Zaki exits stage right with her musicians, leaving behind a very satisfied audience.
For more info on Zaki Ibrahim, please click here.