It’s a fact – to make it as a musician, you have to tour. As a result, because a musician’s vocals and vibes need to be heard beyond home turf, many local bands are going beyond the greenbelt. This month a slew of Ottawa bands are traveling to Montreal to perform in pop Montreal, one of the coolest festivals to take place in North America. It spotlights an ebullient blast of bands boasting the bellicose and the beautiful – a harvest of music blends that are far removed from ‘topology’. The only pop to use that word consist of artists popping out on stage from all over, and Ottawa talent is thundering ahead, starting with A Tribe Called Red. This native all-aboriginal group mixes traditional Pow Wow music with contemporary club sounds. They call their remarkable brand Pow Wow Step. It’s a mix of hip hop, dancehall and related rhythms steeped in all sorts of electronic sounds. These guys are innovative beyond the max. They turn traditional dance hall music on its ear.
Among the line-up is Hollerado. This name may seem familiar to some because these four guys started out as friends who formed their own Ottawa moving company by the same name. Now they’re a quartet that puts pizzazz and punch into pop rock. Hollerado has enjoyed international success with a world tour as well as a Juno nomination.
Kyrie Kristmanson, a lady of inestimable artistry is also featured in this festival. Ottawa fans describe her as ethereal, challenging, raw and incredible. Integrating her guitar (she took it up at the age of nine) and the trumpet (she plays that too) with her vocals, she has created a sensation in the bilingual music scene across Canada. Evidently, she’s breaking new ground with a new album, and we can expect lots of surprises from her on September 22, when she performs at Théâtre Olympia during the festival. Kyrie is a rare find.
Equally quixotic is Kalle Matteson. For the past years he has been writing music and performing with a Bob Dylan-like delivery. In the past, Kalle Matteson was a solo act, but has now evolved into an experimental folk-rock quintet. Backed by guitar, bass drums and horns, the effect is as soothing as the rippling sounds of waves slipping into the shoreline. Kalle’s performance style weaves a silky cocoon of warmth in the room.
Silken Laumann will also be performing in the festival. This is a duo consisting of CBC’s resident electronic artist, Adam Salkaley and Rolf Klausner of the indie folk troupe, The Acorn. They offer electro-pop retro style in rhythms reminiscent of the eighties. The sounds harmonize beautifully together making an original musical matrix.
Finally, Pop Montreal will also feature some iconic pop stars. For example, audiences will enjoy American Idol’s Jacob Lusk & the R Kelly All Stars. As well, Lil B of hip hop fame will be present.
Pop Montreal’s four-day festival starts September 19th. For more information visit: www.popmontreal.com