'The world is not safe, so let's create our own spaces': Toronto band LAL finds power in community

In the face of a polarized American election and a violent year, LAL is finding inclusive ways to express their activist spirit.

Activist spirit in the face of a polarized American election and a violent year

In the face of an election and a violent year, LAL is finding the most inclusive ways to express their activist spirit. 3:37

Communities that have been marginalized and felt violence for generations require strong voices to be heard — and Toronto-based band/collective LAL have used their music as a rallying cry for these communities for the past 20 years.

Centred around Rosina Kazi and Nicholas Murray and featuring musicians from the West Indies, Africa and South Asia, elements of different cultures' musical histories come together to create LAL's hypnotic, downtempo sound (in the video above, you're hearing the band's recent track "Dead Happiness").

Although they've been making music for two decades, many of the alarming events of the past year have given LAL impetus to continue spreading their message. Kazi points to the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Islamophobia, transphobia, and Black Lives Matter in particular — but she sees optimism in the band's music and message: "The hope is to inspire."

In addition to releasing their most recent album, the aptly-titled Find Safety, the band is opening their own space up to the community they've built. As Kazi puts it: "Look, if no one's gonna let you into the club, then make your own club."

In this video, created by filmmaker Karen Chapman, LAL show you that their work is inseparable from their own lives. "The connection between art and activism, for me, is very personal," Murray says. "I don't necessarily see separation between the two. The political is driven by every single decision you make in your life."

Stay tuned here to keep up with the band's touring schedule.

Watch Exhibitionists Sunday at 4:30pm (5pm NT) on CBC TV.


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