Ruben 'Beny' Esguerra

Ruben “Beny” Esguerra arrived as a child to Tkaronto from Bacatá (Bogotá, Colombia) as a political refugee with his parents, who were receiving threats for their human rights activism. Today, he is a JUNO nominated multi-instrumentalist/producer, spoken-word poet, arts educator and community worker. in 2021, he was chosen as the laureate of the 2020 Ontario Arts Foundation Arts Educator Award. As a musician/producer and spoken-word poet, he leads New Tradition Music, performing regularly in national and international festivals. As an arts educator, he has designed courses taught at Canadian Universities and currently facilitates interactive virtual and in-person drumming, storytelling and beat-making workshops in schools across Ontario. As a community worker, he is the music director/facilitator of several community arts programs within organizations such as: Vibe Arts, Right Path World Arts, Casa Maiz and Children’s Peace Theatre among others. In addition, he co-leads the NTM Wheel It Studios mobile project which provides access to equipment and mentorship to Jane Finch artists across different neighbourhoods.

Esguerra has also just been nominated for, and landed as a finalist for, a Community Arts Award from the Toronto Arts Foundation, to be presented on October 27, 2021, at the Liberty Grand Entertainment Complex. The Community Arts Award celebrates an artist that has made a significant contribution in Toronto by working with, in, and for communities, while creating access and inclusion to arts and culture. For more information please visit any of the links below and at Neighbourhood Art Network for the award information.

Ruben is a PhD (ABD) candidate in Musicology/Ethnomusicology specializing in Colombian traditional music and Hip Hop culture. His upcoming album–Northside KUISi–combines hip hop with Latinx music styles set to be released in the fall of 2021.

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"...upholds a sense of class, professionalism, and charisma both on and off the stage...not only entertainers, but true educators of world music & culture."

~ Ehren Cruz, LEAF Festival Performing Arts Director