Trade Routes

Music Without Borders


How we operate

We are a borderless arts presenter utilizing cooperative strategies to manage risk; support festivals and event activities; and showcase artists to new markets. We develop opportunities for international networking and presenter support, in partnership with industry leaders in the United States, Canada, and abroad. We execute audience development strategies for artists, and develop strong touring routes with dynamic, multicycle tactics in target markets. Our long term strategies for international marketing are customized to cultivate and grow audiences over several seasons.

“Trade Routes is an organization with a focus on developing tour routes for artists going across borders. The organization was conceived out of necessity, partly from trying to navigate crossing borders as an artist myself and feeling as though there was no infrastructure to offer support and guidance.” – Michael Owen, Founder



To support music in performance, especially in the space where cultures intersect and current descriptions fail.


Our vision is to provide a framework of significant infrastructure that enables borderless collaboration in event and audience development,


  • To enable performing artists and arts professionals to have more sustainable careers
  • To support borderless cooperation between Canada, the United States, and the international marketplace
  • To present more culturally diverse artists to audiences and areas that lack access.
  • To promote increased cross cultural understanding and empathy within and across communities


Michael Owen (President)

Michael is a Juno Award-nominee producer, composer and musician. He has been a music entrepreneur for over 20 years. He has toured Canada, the USA, Mexico and Europe and worked with international partners on worldwide record releases and marketing campaigns. In 2011 Micheal created Made With Pencil Crayons, a company providing administrative, production, and marketing support to various Canadian projects in the music industry.

Lyle Crilly (Board Member)

A&R / VP Marketing Roland Canada and a Juno Award Nominated musician with Battle of Santiago, Lyle has been kicking around the Toronto music scene for the last 20 years, primarily as an audio manipulator and producer for acts like Stop Die and CcenturiesS. Several albums and 12 inches were released under the Stop Die name and Lyle has done numerous remixes and production projects for acts like Tegan & Sara, Buck 65, Die Mannequin, Little Dragon, New Buffalo, Apostle Of Hustle, and You Say Party We Say Die, to name just a few. Lyle’s approach to music has always had an experimental side, often featuring live shows and recording with unique instrumentation, live sampling, and noise. He is very excited to combine this with a unique guitar style for the Battle of Santiago.

Michael Butler (Board Member)

Michael is an internationally touring musician and Juno Award Nominee born with Caribbean, French and Mohawk Indian backgrounds and with strong musical ability carrying him to Humber College’s jazz program. Michael has mastered the soprano saxophone, flute, keyboards, electric bass, trombone, trumpet, drums and various percussion instruments. He has also demonstrated success on his own and with projects such as All I See Is Red, High Water Mark, Beats Massive, Battle of Santiago, and Michael B solo.

Mark Marczyk (Board Member)

Mark is a writer and the ring-leader of the infamous Juno-nominated Lemon Bucket Orkestra. He graduated with an MFA in creative writing from the University of Guelph and has worked with some of Canada’s most renowned authors and poets, including Dionne Brand, Dennis Lee, Kevin Connolly, and Janice Kulyk Keefer. The Lemon Bucket Orkestra has toured across Canada and Europe and have been hailed as cultural ambassadors by a number of embassies across Eastern Europe and have been nominated for a variety of awards including the Junos, Canadian Folk Music Awards, and Indie Awards.

Maria Grajales (Board Member)

Maria is a writer and music enthusiast with a background in marketing analytics and creative copywriting. Her 10+ years of experience in client relations have led her to build loyal partnerships and solid client relationships on a B2B and B2C basis. She has also worked alongside digital marketing agencies on a consultancy basis, managing projects and building out campaigns for clients in a number of different industries. Passionate about music and a strong supporter of Canadian artists, she is excited for the opportunity to further support music community through Trade Routes.

Patrice Agbokou (Board Member)

Patrice is a touring artist, manager, and booking agent based out of the South shore of Montreal, Canada. Fostering creativity and diversity, his agency serves as a springboard for Canadian artists involved in innovative music and related arts. With one foot in the indie scene and the other in the flourishing world music scene, Patrice is always expanding and on the lookout for new and original talent. Connecting ideas and cultures, his agency approaches the music industry from a fresh angle while cultivating the art of innovation.

Nicole Rochefort (Board Member)

Nicole Rochefort is the owner/founder of the Toronto-based independent agency AIM: Artists In Motion. For over 10 years, AIM has been touring award-winning artists across Canada. With a passion for developing careers, AIM’s roster is curated to promote talent at all stages. Nicole is currently a member of the Ontario Creates Music Industry Advisory Committee and Folk Music Ontario’s Advocacy Committee. 



Michael Owen


Ayse Barut

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