As horrible, sad, and at times despairing as this year has been, we find ourselves seeking some moments of respite and even joy wherever we can. One of those places we have sought out for this purpose has been the wealth of online streaming from around the globe, from artists we might never have or rarely have had a chance to see perform live.
Here in Montreal, we are about to go back into lockdown as COVID cases jumped from the low double digits back up to 800 new cases per day over a matter of weeks. So as autumn breezes in cooler weather, we will be at home streaming concerts from two festivals highlighting the incredible musical and cultural diversity of the city.
The first, Festival International Nuits d'Afrique, which was hoping for some normalcy, had planned an ambitious series of live concerts that had to be quickly cancelled due to the new lockdown. However, Nuits d’Afrique will be presenting concerts each week at 8 p.m. ET every Thursday for the next four weekson their Facebook page.
10/8: Matteo (Colombia/Quebec), Afro-Colombian rock 'n' roll; Wesli (Haiti/Quebec), reggae, funk, rock and kompa.
10/15: Kenzow (Burkina Faso/Quebec), West African Afropop; Ilam (Senegal/Quebec), Afro blues, reggae and soul; Naxx Bitota (Congo/Quebec) modern soukous.
10/22: Ayrad (Morocco/Quebec), multi-genre group that spans rock to rai to bhangra to assouf and even Celtic vibes; Bantü Salsa, whose members, from Africa to Latin America deliver African salsa.
10/29: Dakka Dembélé (Ivory Coast/Quebec), African reggae; Cumbia Gypsy Orchestra (Colombia/the Balkans/Quebec). See what happens when Balkans and Colombians get together to play.
There are plans to add an additional two concerts to be announced soon.
The other festival, Visions Diversité, celebrates its 10th anniversary, and will be running concerts also on their Facebook page every night from Oct. 1 to 10 also starting at 8 p.m. ET.
10/1: Octopus (Quebec), Eastern European klezmer.
10/2: Shauit (Inuit/Quebec), Inuit rock and reggae.
10/3: Queen Ka (Tunisia/Quebec), an eclectic mix of slam poetry and ambient sounds.
10/4: Suzi Silva (Portugal/Quebec), fado jazz.
10/5: Grooz (Algeria/Quebec), reggae/rock/Gnawa fusion.
10/6: Diely Mori Tounkara (Mali/Quebec), modern kora.
10/7: Oriental Blue (Israel/Quebec), jazz fusion of Andalusian and Jewish sounds and African rhythms.
10/8: Ramon Chicharron (Colombia/Quebec), Latin alternative music.
10/9: Veeby (Cameroon/Quebec), Afrosoul.
10/10: Collective Ensemble, a supergroup of Montreal-based world musicians.
So stay safe, and enjoy these musical gifts.