Kitchen Concerts at the Inn

Kitchen Concerts at the Inn* is a music series celebrating life and honouring the story of Joshua Glover, a freedom seeker who escaped enslavement and jail in the United States and then lived and worked at Montgomery’s Inn.

The commissioned song “Freedom Heights (A song for Joshua Glover),” reflects on Joshua Glover’s fight for freedom and his will to survive and live as a free man. “Freedom Heights” speaks directly to his journey and celebrates his spirit, courage and determination. After escaping enslavement and capture in Missouri and Wisconsin, in 1854 he found refuge in Toronto, where the abolitionist movement was prominent at the time. Here Joshua Glover created a new life ― one that was a true testimony to resilience and human dignity. He still inspires us today to fight for life and freedom, not only our own, but for those who need help the most. For Joshua Glover himself wouldn’t have made it to Toronto, if it wasn’t for the extended network of mutual care that was the Underground Railroad.

This song is produced by Kardinal Offishall, with additional instrumentation by Joel Chambers and Mylez McLymont. It is performed by Jully Black, Susan Carol, Savannah Ré, Emanuel and Kardinal Offishall. “Freedom Heights (A Song for Joshua Glover)” is available on digital streaming platforms, with proceeds donated to NIA Centre for the Arts, Canada’s first professional multi-disciplinary Black arts centre. The City of Toronto is supporting the building expansion of NIA Centre for the Arts.

Freedom Heights (A Song for Joshua Glover) – “Raptorized” lyric video

The City is excited to announce the first collaboration with the Toronto Raptors as part of the community partnership with the team for Awakenings. This current collaboration is a “Raptorized” version of the lyric video for the song “Freedom Heights (A Song for Joshua Glover),” which first debuted February 2021 for Black History Month as part of the Kitchen Concerts at the Inn series. The team is committed to amplifying the voices and stories of the Awakenings artists and here they champion Joshua Glover’s story of inspiration, resilience and strength.

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Freedom Heights (A Song for Joshua Glover) – Original lyric video

The original lyric video features musicians Jully Black, Susan Carol, Savannah Ré, Emanuel, and Kardinal Offishall contributing to this song of revolution, empowerment and resistance that pays homage to Joshua Glover, aiming to bring an awakening of inner light and peace during current times of struggle. Lyric video created by Kardinal Offishall, Weyni Mengesha and AVA Animation & Visual Arts.

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Awakenings Reflections: Behind the Scenes Discussions

Weyni Mengesha, Artistic Director and Luke Reece, Associate Artistic Director from Soulpepper Theatre are joined by acclaimed artists, Jully Black, Kardinal Offishall, Emanuel, Savannah Ré and Susan Carol to discuss their recent collaboration with the song “Freedom Heights (A song for Joshua Glover).” During this conversation recorded earlier this year, they celebrate Black History and reflect on their dreams for the future.

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Artist Bios

Emanuel is a Canadian R&B singer and songwriter who made his major-label debut in 2020 with the potent ballad “Need You.” Released that April through Universal Music, “Need You” received a boost in profile from actor Idris Elba, who urged his social media followers to send images and clips―visual representations of how they were coping with the COVID-19 pandemic―for a video collage set to the song.

Jully Black is a platinum selling recording artist, whose music career has yielded multiple singles reaching the Top 10 pop, R&B and dance music charts. She has taken home multiple Juno Awards, earned many industry accolades and was hand selected to sing for the Queen of England. Jully was named as one of ‘The 25 Greatest Canadian Singers Ever’ by CBC Music and dubbed ‘Canada’s Queen of R&B Soul’ by her fans and peers.

Kardinal Offishall is a Canadian rapper, record producer, DJ, and record executive. Often credited as Canada’s “hip hop ambassador,” he is regarded as one of the country’s best hip hop producers, and is best known for his distinctive reggae and dancehall-influenced style of hip hop.

Savannah Ré is a Toronto-based artist and songwriter who has become one of R&B’s brightest new voices. Her carefully-refined formula for songwriting brought her under the mentorship of Grammy Award-winning producer Boi-1da and has made her the go-to collaborator for R&B’s upper echelon where she’s written with artists like Babyface, Normani and Wondagurl. In 2019, her single “Best Is Yet To Come” was selected as one of the 100 Best Songs of the Year by Apple Music.

Susan Carol is a singer-songwriter based in Houston, Texas. The struggles of life resonate in Susan’s sound. Her ability to take that emotion and transform it to song always touches her audience. Dealing with homelessness and other problems in life, she still has managed to make it to college and still pursue her dream of being a singer.

Kitchen Concerts at the Inn is co-curated by Soulpepper Theatre Artistic Director Weyni Mengesha, with the participation of DJ, scholar and curator Mark Campbell.

* Content posted on Kitchen Concerts at the Inn as part of the Awakenings program operates under the principles of anti-oppression, anti-colonialism, sustainability, advocacy and storytelling. The content, views and opinions expressed are those of the individual story teller/presenter/producer and does not necessarily represent the City of Toronto’s views or opinions or an endorsement of such views or opinions by the City of Toronto.

Any content provided on Kitchen Concerts at the Inn is not designed or intended to constitute medical advice. It is not meant to be used for diagnosis or treatment. Please talk to your medical doctor to help you make decisions about your treatment or medication.

The City of Toronto is not responsible for any legal claims, costs, damages, liabilities, or obligations arising from the use or misuse of any content presented or filmed as part of the Awakenings program. The City of Toronto does not guarantee or warrant the quality, accuracy or completeness of the information presented or filmed as part of the Awakenings program.

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