10 Toronto concerts to catch on International Women’s Day 2019

Feminist folk, Afrocentric hip-hop and soul, improvised music, live streams and an Ariana Grande dance party – here's what to check out this IWD


International Women’s Day is coming up this Friday (March 8), and it’s become a big day for the city’s music scene. Aside from all the other best IWD events, there’s a strong collection of concerts, shows and special radio broadcasts happening around town dedicated to showcasing and empowering women making waves in Toronto.

IWD is Friday, but the events start tomorrow and go all weekend. Here’s what to check out. 

Imprints: Hannah Georgas

Indie sweetheart Hannah Georgas is celebrating IWD with the release of her EP Imprints. Rather than a straight-up Georgas show, she’ll be sharing the stage with Rae Spoon, Donovan Woods and The Weather Station (who we interviewed this week about her increasing environmental activism) to collaborate on cover songs by female-identifying and non-binary artists, along with their own work. 

Thursday (March 7) at Lula Lounge (1585 Dundas West), 7 pm. $29.50. See listing

Queens of the Game

Revival is hosting a panel discussion, networking session and music showcase focusing on the advancement of women in the music industry, specifically in the genres of hip-hop, reggae, soul and R&B. The discussion will cover topics like funding programs, application fundamentals, marketing trends and how to get into a music festival. And then there’s a stacked lineup of performances from Witch Prophet, Haviah Mighty, Aphrose, Sydanie, Latoya Jane and more, hosted by Cheffy and local hero DJ Mel Boogie. 

Thursday (March 7) at Revival (783 College), 7 pm. Free until 9 pm, $10 panel and show. See listing

She Be Lady

She Be Lady is an Afrocentric concert featuring Nigerian Afrobeats artist Teni, Lagos-via-Toronto singer Falana and hip-hop/jazz lyricist Akua Naru, supported by an eight-piece band. They’ll be joined by guests Ndai and DJ Revy B. It’s also a chance to check out the legendary Concert Hall, which we could use more of.  

Friday (March 8) at the Concert Hall (888 Yonge), 8 pm. $30-$60. See listing

Ivy Mairi

Who better to spend IWD with than Venus Fest? They present this release party for local folk singer Ivy Mairi‘s new EP Polarity with special guest Carmen Elle of DIANA. The five-song EP explores the highs and lows of love and growing up. 

Friday (March 8) at Burdock (1184 Bloor West), 9 pm. $15, adv $12. See listing.

Afrobeats @ SoSo Food Club

Afrocentric collective Kuruza has curated a party at Dundas West night spot SoSo Food Club featuring all women of colour DJs. Hangaëlle, Minzi Roberta, Ace Dillinger and Chanlmarshl will spin Afrobeats, South African house, future beats and hip-hop. Free for women all night. 

Friday (March 8) at SoSo Food Club (1166 Dundas West), 11 pm. $10, women-identifying people free. See listing.

IWD concert at Hugh’s Room Live

For a jazzier vibe, this west-end music venue’s eclectic concert features pianist Laila Biali, Afro-Venezuelan-influenced singer/songwriter Eliana Cuevas, bluesy vocalist Miss Emily, soul-jazz artist Joni NehRita and singer/guitarist/bassist Suzie Vinnick.

Friday (March 8) at Hugh’s Room Live (2261 Dundas West) 8:30 pm. $25, advance $20. See listing

God is a Woman: An Ariana Grande Dance Party 

DJ collective Bangs & Blush will be playing nothing but Ari at Clinton’s, and that’s cool – you were probably going to listen to thank u, next all night anyways

Friday (March 8) at Clinton’s (693 Bloor West) 8:30 pm. $10. See listing

IWD Takeover on ISORADIO.TO

New online radio station ISO Radio is putting on an all-female lineup on the air for two days. Women from all avenues of Toronto’s music scene — DJs, journalists, producers, writers and personalities – will showcase their work for 17 hours of music and three hours of talk programming featuring DJs like JAYEMKAYEM, Babygirl, Minzi Roberta, plus NOW’s own Michelle Da Silva and Claudia McNeilly. Find the full lineup here.

Friday and Saturday (March 8-9). Stream here

Women From Space Festival

Women From Space is a monthly event run by Kayla Milmine featuring mostly women performers. This year, she’s teaming up with Bea Labikova to make it a full-on festival, with four shows at four different venues: Wenona Lodge, Tranzac, Arraymusic and Burdock. It’s both a celebration of women making experimental music in Toronto and a way of addressing the gender imbalance within the city’s improvised music scene. “For me, it is quite common to be the only woman involved in a project or onstage,” says Labikova. 

The lineup features jazz, free improv, avant-garde, electronic music, dance and poetry. Performers include Milmine and Labikova, Tova Kardonne, Christine Duncan, Laura Swankey, Ashley Urquhart’s Colour and Noise, New Chance and many others.

Friday to Monday (March 8-11). Various venues. $10/pwyc per show. See womenfromspace.com for details.

SongBird North

Legendary rapper Michie Mee, songwriter Elana Harte and teen folk-rock duo Moscow Apartment come together to play and tell us the stories behind their music at this International Women’s Day concert. Kinnie Starr hosts. A strong Canadian lineup, front to back.

Saturday (March 9) at Royal Conservatory’s Temerty Theatre (273 Bloor West) 8 pm. From $35. See listing

@nowtoronto | @mariannalozo 

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