Whether they're officially affiliated with Caribbean Carnival Toronto or not, the August long weekend brings a slew of musicians into the spotlight - from the island nations, from the Caribbean communities in our own city, and bandwagoners who just want to party.
1. Roll It Gal, Alison Hinds
From the Queen of Soca's debut album. One of the most infectious choruses of the aughts.
Alison Hinds plays the Irie Music Festival at Nathan Phillips Square (100 Queen West), Friday (August 1), 9:30 pm. Free. iriemusicfestival.com.
2. Happiest Man Alive, Machel Montano
This newish cut from the Trinidadian soca giant stipulates that happiness is the true measure of success. We couldn't agree more.
Machel Montano plays the International Centre Arrow Hall (6900 Airport, Mississauga), Saturday (August 2), doors 8 pm. $60-$85. maineventtoronto.com.
3. I'm On One, DJ Khaled
New Orleans-born, Miami-based DJ Khaled has a zillion singles, but seeing as it's OVO weekend, why not go with the one featuring Drake?
DJ Khaled hosts the Sunday Blocko at Skybar (Guvernment, 132 Queens Quay East), Sunday (August 3), doors 2:30 pm. $20-$60. caribanatoronto.com.
4. Reggae Warrior, House of David Gang
The title track on the last album from one of Toronto's premier classic reggae bands. Stick with the original or try the Ed Solo & Stickybuds drum 'n' bass remix.
House of David Gang play Island Soul at Harbourfront's WestJet Stage (235 Queens Quay West), Friday (August 1), 8 pm, $20-$30; Saturday (August 2), 3 pm, Redpath Stage, free; and Lee's Palace (529 Bloor West), Sunday (August 3), 8 pm, $20. RT, SS, TF.
5. Done D Party, Fay-Ann Lyons
This Trinidadian soca star often collaborates with her husband, Bunji Garlin, who's also in town. One of her recent tunes, Done D Party, is misleading: she plays three times this weekend, so the party never ends.
Fay-Ann Lyons plays Caribbean Carnival Toronto: Jab Jab J'Ouvert , Friday (August 1), 10 pm to 4:30 am, $40-$60; and Summer Slamm, Saturday (August 2), 8:30 pm, showtime midnight, $40-$45, both at Wilson Avenue Outdoor Arena (1677 Wilson); Stamina at Wild Water Kingdom (7855 Finch West), Brampton, Saturday (August 2), 9 pm to 3 am, $40-$50; and the Main Event: HD Edition at International Centre Arrow Hall (6900 Airport Road), doors 8 pm, $60-$85.