Browsing: Popular Music

War came to an end with the Treaty of Versailles. Music societies and festivals around the world are observing the centenary and paying their respects. Reflections of Wartime is the theme of this year’s Toronto Summer Music Festival, which runs from July 12 to Aug. 4. “I didn’t want it to be just World War I-inspired, but wartime-inspired in general,” artistic director Jonathan Crow explains. “An incredible wealth of music comes from wartime and not all of it dark.” Toronto Summer Music combines a festival with an academy program for pre-professional classical musicians. Most have completed their undergraduate degrees and…

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From July 20 to 22, Ottawa will welcome the fourth edition of the Capital Ukrainian Festival. More than 500 artists from all corners of the country as well as the United States and Ukraine will ­converge for this three-day weekend event. Jane Kolbe, the organizing committee’s ­president, wants the event to be a truly global and multicultural experience. There will be ­traditional music to be heard, songs to be sung and dances to be seen. But the program also ­offers a wide array of cultural activities for young and old, including a village market, a food court, a beer garden,…

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Well-established in Quebec’s cultural landscape for 30 years, the Carrefour mondial de l’accordéon invites musicians and music fans to gather in Montmagny and celebrate the rich heritage of the instrument. Although it’s often associated with the Parisian musette waltz, the accordion has spread across Europe and the Americas to become an integral part of many music traditions. Its 200-year history has seen several developments that have produced an extensive range of instruments with diverse characteristics. With the aim of preserving this heritage and inspiring the development of the practice, the Carrefour will gather more that 40 musicians from different geographic…

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Musique nomade promotes emerging Indigenous musicians from Quebec and Canada regardless of style or nation while seeking fair cultural representation within the music industry. Supporting talented and vigorous emerging artists, this non-profit organization has a positive impact on professional development production and workshops in communities. The organization also wishes to ensure the survival of traditional music through digital media and to encourage cultural exchange. Like the professionals from Wapikoni mobile, created in 2011 by film director and activist Manon Barbeau, Music nomade’s professionals visit communities in remote areas to meet their young people. How do they achieve this? The directors’…

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The awards ceremony of the Indigenous Music Awards is a celebration of First Nations creativity. It is also an important event in the larger program of the Manito Ahbee Festival of Winnipeg, which is named after a sacred site for all peoples in the west part of the Whiteshell area of Manitoba. In Ojibwe, Manito Ahbee means “the place where the Creator sits.” The name of Manitoba finds its origin in this special place. The Manito Ahbee Festival, whose 13th edition just ended, celebrates Indigenous arts, music and culture at large. It presents international powwows, a conference on international Indigenous…

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Now residing in Montreal, Inuit singer-songwriter, film director and activist Elisapie will release The Ballad of the Runway Girl at the end of summer. About 30 concerts are already planned in connection with this new album. Elisapie launches her cross-province tour in Lavaltrie and travels to Val-d’Or. Montreal welcomes her on Sept. 27. Elisapie’s fourth album was inspired by the life of Willie Thrasher, an Inuit singer. “Sent to a residential school in the south, deprived of his language and traditional lifestyle, Willie Thrasher did not have an easy life, but this fighter gave me force and influenced my work,”…

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Singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie is a trailblazer, the first Indigenous musician to come to prominence in Canada. Her first album, It’s My Way!, was released by Vanguard Records in 1964. Last November, Medicine Songs, her 19th album, was released to critical acclaim. It contains some new material, like You Got to Run (Spirit of the Wind), in which she is joined on vocals by well-known throat singer Tanya Tagaq. Almost all the other songs have new arrangements. Overall, Sainte-Marie continues to have a remarkable career, enriched (although commercially hindered at one point) by her educator/outreach work and activism on behalf of…

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Last April, First Nations musician, composer and activist Jeremy Dutcher released his first album, Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa. Bridging traditional music, pop and classical, it pays tribute to his beloved roots in the Wolastoqiyik reserve where he grew up. Can his style be described as Indigenous pop? “I prefer not to be labelled,” says the 27-year-old classically-trained tenor. “I’m more than an First Nation singer. I see myself as metamorphosing from pop to traditional music. A hybrid, if you like.” Dutcher is keen to point out that his pieces were written to be as accessible as possible to a young audience.…

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Get down, get casual, get classical – consider this the cultural mantra for the city of Saint-Lambert this spring from May 25 through June 16, as the eighth annual edition of Festival Classica rolls out with a dazzling and eclectic array of rhythms and sonorities. The festival title promises everything “from Schubert to the Stones.” Yes, that’s Franz Schubert; and yes, that’s the Rolling Stones. Talk about something for everyone. Founder and artistic director Marc Boucher is proud of the annual event’s enormous popularity and dizzying growth over a relatively short span. The festival was conceived in no less august…

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Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything – Like an aurora of dreams, quirks, and visions, this major art exhibition at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal shimmers to a close on 9 April. The brokenness of existence Ring the bells that still can ring Forget your perfect offering There is a crack in everything That’s how the light gets in  — “Anthem” (1992) The Persian poet and Sufi mystic Rumi (1207–1273) wrote that “The wound is the place where the light enters you.” The Canadian poet, novelist and singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen (1934–2016) wrote that “There is a crack in everything…

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