Rhythms of the World Festival

Rhythms of the World Festival

September 20, 2005 10:31 ET

Major Success for the Second Montreal Edition of the Rhythms of The World Festival

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(CCNMatthews - Sept. 20, 2005) - In front of a packed room at the House of Jazz on September 9th, the very talented Harold Faustin, his remarkable musicians, and special guest Samina, treated the public to their Afro West-Indian jazz music, which was at times funky, at times subtly soul. Highlighting African Night at the Rhythms of the World Festival (which took place September 7th to 11th), this quality performance contributed to making this second edition of the Festival a huge success.

According to Harold Faustin, who was spokesperson for the year of tolerance in 1995, "Fusion and mixing are the future. World music is the music of the voiceless, the dialogue between cultures, and is thus the music of the future." For Samina (a sultry singer who diverted from opera singing to jazz after being exposed to this world at a guest performance), the mix of cultures stimulates her musical approach: "World music is an energizing music that makes us smile." "Fortunately there are festivals that help give us exposure as artists and musicians", she adds.

Joe Armando offered a magical performance on September 10th, also before a packed room at the House of Jazz, as part of The Americas night. This energetic drummer charmed the audience with his humour and intensity through alternating between rhythms of salsa, rumba, cumbia, swing, timba, bolero, and bembe. "Each of the rhythms comes from a different part of the world, which represents the heart and soul of the Festival" said Armando. A professional musician for 48 years, he comes from Bogota, but completed his musical studies at Concordia University and Universite de Montreal. He explained that as a youth in Bogota, he was so poor he couldn't afford to buy drums. He exchanged his Swiss watch for an album by his idol Tito Puente. His greatest dream was realized when he was invited to play on stage with Puente in New York, and then again at the Spectrum and Metropolis in Montreal. "I have been happy since the day I began to play professionally" says Armando.

Alex Bellegarde, a versatile and charismatic double bass player, distinguished himself throughout the Festival, notably during the Invitational Series at Place Victoria in which he played in talented Asian, European, and Afro-Cuban trios, at the House of Jazz during The Americas night with Los Tumbadores, his latin group, and during the closing ceremony in a brilliant jazz fusion session.

Winner of the Grand Prix de Jazz General Motors 2005, Alex Bellegarde proved once again that his rhythms of the world are like the "pulse of the Earth". In addition to collaborating with local musicians for the occasion, he played with artists from abroad, like Indian musician Salman Raza and Cuban musicians Frank Durand, Yoel Diaz and Orlando Lavielle. A professional musician for 10 years now, Alex Bellegarde says he feels thrilled to have had the chance to participate in a Festival dedicated to celebrating culture.

This year, the Rhythms of the World Festival also featured an exceptional line-up of artists performing at the House of Jazz: the sultry voice of Sara Franco, the Japanese shakuhachi flute of Beat in Fractions, the funk and soul sounds of Found Nations, the Armenian flavoured jazz of The Arden Arapyan Ensemble, the African rhythms of Wesley and the African Project, the buddha lounge ambience of DJ Mahesh, and the afro-jazz sounds of Tranzit during the 5 a 7 series at Le Quartier restaurant.

Velan Foundation Award

The Velan Foundation Award was presented during the Rhythms of the World Festival's Gala of Flavours at Centre Mont-Royal on September 8th to Dr. Joanne Liu, president of Doctors Without Borders. This prize is awarded every year to a citizen of Canada who has distinguished his or herself through exceptional work overseas. Participants at the Gala of Flavours enjoyed a four course menu of international flavours, a colourful presentation by the Arthur Murray Dance School, the swinging music of the group Havana Nights, and an exhibition of the work of renowned artists like Marc Seguin, Heidi Hollinger, Dana Velan, Michel Vermeulen and Marie-Josee Primeau.

"The Gala was a perfect depiction of what the festival is all about: multiculturalism, artistic expression and harmony. We managed to take our 300 guests through a 'tour of the world' by treating them to food, music and art of various cultures. Just like the other Festival activities, the Gala was truly an event full of visual, tactical and sensory pleasures as well as a great way to learn something new", commented Festival Director Tania Tassone.

Visual arts

In the area of visual arts, the Festival featured a fair and exhibition of art works at the Telus Tower, which gave young artists of ethnic origin a chance to promote their paintings, drawings, sculptures, and photographs. Many artists displayed their works at the musical events as well, including Raymon Fong, Melissa Gervais, Ralph "Tigus" Maingette, Jean-Sebastien Robert and Poli Wilhelm. Gallery Week featured the following exhibitions of exceptional quality: "Montreal La Cosmopolite" at Studio 261 with works by Jean-Francois Andre, Marc A.J. Fortier, Stephanie Gervey, Jacques Leveille, Georges Maman, Andre Schirmer, Nicole Taillon and Nicole Teuliere-Ratti; Serge Clement and Denis Juneau at Galerie Simon Blais; Michael Kudish, Daniel Kudish and Esther Hageman at Art en Majuscule; Kyle Beal, Bill Brandt, Steven James Brown, David Burdeny, Katyuska Doleatto, Roy Hartling, Thaddeus Holownia, Amy Huestis, Colin McNair, D Bradley Muir, Rosemary Scanlon, Verona Sorensen and Patrice Stanley at Galerie Hollinger Collins; and Tristan Tondino, Joseane Brulelle, Galen Cheney, Richard Roblin, Jean-Louis Emond, Helene Fleury and Remigio Valdes de Hoyos at Galerie 1225 Art et Vin.

Culinary arts

In the area of culinary arts, the Festival offered lunch and dinner menus as well as special "Rhythms of the World" tables d'hote at Les Continents at Hotel Intercontinental Montreal, Le Quartier and Fourquet Fourchette restaurants. At Les Continents, renowned chef Christian Leveque even decided to prolong the festivities by a week through presenting his delectable international fusion cuisine menu until September 17th.

Cultural Harmony Family Day

To close the Festival, the Cultural Harmony family day was celebrated on the historic date of September 11th at Place du Canada. Children loved this multicultural day that offered workshops in art, dance, theatre, facepainting, and an impressive tae kwon-do demonstration. The gigantic cultural harmony canvas painted by children on the site has been given to the Share the Warmth Foundation. Afro-Brazilian percussion troupe Zuruba mesmerized the crowd during the afternoon. The day's closing performance featured Jocelyne St-Leger and her Afro-Caribbean dancers, the funk and soul sounds of Found Nations, the hybrid rhythms of soul, hip hop, funk and Caribbean of S.H.A.R.O.N., Tamara Brown and Michelle Henegan in the group 3 Shades of Soul, and the spectacular Rwanda dance troop Isangano.

Herman Alves, founder and president of the festival summed up the day: "The Cultural Harmony day was a success as adults and children from different ethnicities were given the chance to discover elements of other cultures and to appreciate each other." Mr. Alves estimates that the combined activities of the second edition of the festival brought in approximately 20 000 people - double the number of attendants at events at last year's inaugural edition.

The mission of the Rhythms of the World Festival is to foster understanding and harmony between cultures through socio-cultural activities permitting the development, promotion and diffusion of performing arts, visual arts and culinary arts.

Virtual gallery of the Festival's artists, photo gallery of the Festival week and complete information on website at www.rhythms.tv

Contact Information

  • Rhythms of the World Festival
    Valerie Dubreuil
    Director of Communications
    (514) 788-5161