The Québec Chronicles

with Danielle Tremblay

Summer festivals 2000!!! Part two...

At last, here are the program guidelines and highlights of Québec City's summer 2000 music festival, soaring from July 6th to 16th. Over the years this festival has evolved in a very interesting way to include in its midst multicultural avenues and musical exchanges between musicians from 5 continents and maybe 40 countries, including Québec and Canada. Where else can you find Indian master Debashish Bhattacharya sharing the stage with, maybe, «cuban rumba cowboy» Ned Sublette and French-Spanish guitarist Angelo Debarre or even I Musici, our versatile chamber music ensemble from Montreal? I say «Maybe» because all these musical encounters are kept spontaneous: you don't know what to expect and this concept has made the festival's best nights in the last three or four years. Aside from that, there are wild combinations ahead: Shooglenifty from Scotland; California Guitar Trio with Tony Levin in the progressive music realm; Kalman Balogh from Hungary; favorite René Lacaille from Ile-de-la-Réunion; contemporary celtic trio Jacques Pellen, Riccardo Del Fra and Kristen Nogues; «Los Amigos Especiales» (stellar jam session) and the trio Ekova from «France-meets-India-meets-Morocco»! There's also a much expected tribute to Édith Piaf from several French names. The festival doesn't forget die-hard and new Québécois folk, rock and pop song amateurs with the likes of Éric Lapointe, Marc Déry, Laurence Jalbert and Dan Bigras (duo), Vincent Vallières, veteran rocker Michel Pagliaro, Vénus 3 and Hip Hop Connection on the alternative side, unusual cellist-singer Jorane and our staple songwriter Gilles Vigneault, maybe the last of the great sixties «chansonniers». Youngsters at heart are also invited: Claire Montambeault, Québec City songwriter, plays and sings her musical and theatrical interpretation of Saint-Exupéry's novel «Le Petit Prince». Québécois and European artists like Cirque Éos, La Sifflerie, Robert M. Lepage on clarinets, Fanfare Le S.N.O.B. and Italian Riccardo Tesi will initiate and expose all the family to multiple instruments, traditions, acrobatics and fantastic stories and games. Cirque Éos and other troupes are also planning workshops for the children and the audacious. QUÉBEC CITY will be THE PLACE to have fun and experiment incredible cultural heights in July!!! Complete program with a beautiful search engine on the updated website...

But maybe there's a little competition for Québec City's summer fest... From July 13th to 23th, the 14th edition of «Nuits d'Afrique» dances its way into the hearts of Quebecers of all origins and tourists from the world over. The superb Miriam Makeba, the eloquent Voice of South Africa's many cultures, presides over the ceremonies. Among the luminaries and surprisingly fresh resources of African multilayered musical web, come Cuban Omar Sosa, Madagascar Slim, Guadeloupe's Van Lévé, Montréal's Cheb Dino of Algerian descent, Brazil's Assar Santana, Cape Verde's Fantcha, Guinea's Jorge Da Silva Bidinte, girl group Go de Koteba from Ivory Coast and Canada-Rwanda's «bluesman» Mighty Popo. The free outdoor events include an African dance workshop with Oumar N'Diaye, percussion history and demonstration by Glen Clark from Trinidad, Tam-Tam (percussion) Stars Jam and sweet singing by Intercultural Choir of Montreal, rich with 45 voices from seven different countries. Aside from Miriam Makeba's at the Spectrum theater, all indoor shows take place at the Balattou and Kola Note, two nightclubs famous for featuring world music in Montreal. Run through the website in full color for more details.

Once again, I wish you the best trips in our very musical, hot and wide open cities!

Surf on  LA TOILE DU QUÉBEC (IN FRENCH BUT WITH EASY-TO-USE CATEGORIES) to accompany you in your search for a good quantity and quality of Québec's music and culture websites!

Danielle Tremblay
Quebec music correspondent