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Jazzfest: Victor Nesrallah review

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Victor Nesrallah at the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival. All photos by Terry Steeves.Victor Nesrallah at the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival. All photos by Terry Steeves.

It didn’t take long for a mass of people to gather around the Rideau Centre stage to see Ottawa’s long-time performer, Victor Nesrallah and his band on Saturday afternoon. He was joined by an accomplished trio of Craig Wallace (double bass), Mike Bellavy (drums), and Keith Snider (violin), where they played an hour long set of material, plucked from Nesrallah’s past 20 year repetoire. The songs were well selected, in that they completely showcased the many flavours, sentiments, and genres of his music, which covered the gamut of roots, world,... | Continue reading article

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Jazzfest: Groenland

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Photo courtesy of GroenlandPhoto courtesy of Groenland

Five years ago in Montreal, Sabrina Halde and Jean-Vivier Lévesque started a project that would soon become Groenland. Halde describes the six-person group including her, Lévesque, Gabrielle Girard-Charest, Ariane Gruet-Pelchat, Simon Gosselin and Jonathan Charette, as an indie pop orchestra. “It was my first original project and I kind of wanted it to be big,” Halde, the lead singer, says, “The whole goal was to…play music and pay the rent and make a living out of it”. And they’ve been doing more than just paying rent. The band released their... | Continue reading article

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Jazzfest: Perhaps the banjo is the coolest instrument

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Photo of The Cossette Combo courtesy of the Ottawa Jazz FestivalPhoto of The Cossette Combo courtesy of the Ottawa Jazz Festival

I am a sucker for people who coin cool words.  Whether it’s comedian Stephen Colbert’s “truthiness“, or the brilliant “plutoed,” I appreciate the creation of a new moniker. So I had to smile when I came across “Djangobilly”, which is how the members of the Cossette Combo (aka the Sick Sick Sicks) describe their irresistible music Formed by Ottawa-based Maxim “Banjo Man” Cossette, this group play tunes that are infectious. To get a sense of how awesome this group is, imagine a hoedown in which Jimi Hendrix comes back from the... | Continue reading article

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Dance capital: Escapade festival winds up for a sixth booming year

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Joe Ghost performing at Escapade 2014. Photo from @escapademf on Instagram.Joe Ghost performing at Escapade 2014. Photo from @escapademf on Instagram.

On June 27-28 the Escapade Music Festival is bringing a stacked lineup of electronic dance legends and emerging artists to the Rideau Carleton Entertainment Centre for its triumphant return to Ottawa. Headliners include the world renowned Dutch DJ Armin van Buuren and dance music forefather Carl Cox. These men have more than 40 years of success between them, and they’ve never stopped pushing the boundaries of today’s electronic music. Both play on June 28. Coming to Ottawa for the first time is the Australian dance duo Knife Party, who take... | Continue reading article

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Jazzfest: Freshlyground’s music brings the world together

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Photo courtesy of Ottawa Jazz Festival.Photo courtesy of Ottawa Jazz Festival.

You’ve probably heard of Freshlyground from their incredibly catchy collaboration with Shakira “Waka Waka (This is for Africa)” during the FIFA World Cup in 2010. But they’re no one hit wonder. For over a decade Freshlyground has been an essential part of the South African music scene, with their album Nomuvula going multiple-platinum, and the band winning a MTV Europe award for Best African Act in 2006.  And don’t forget President Barack Obama once described the band as one of South Africa’s gifts to the world. Founded in 2002, Freshlyground... | Continue reading article

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Jazzfest: Eating lunch with melody, harmony and swing

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Photo of Doug Martin Quartet courtesy of Ottawa Jazz FestivalPhoto of Doug Martin Quartet courtesy of Ottawa Jazz Festival

Sometimes in life special surprises are free.  In the case of the Ottawa Jazz Festival, the Jazz at Noon and Rendez-Vous Rideau Jazz series both offer free shows every day until June 30.  These lunchtime soirées are not only a great way to have a break from work, they will also allow audiences to see some of the best musical talent from the National Capital Region. The Jazz at Noon concerts take place at the Laurier Avenue Music Stage, Marion Dewar Plaza, while the Rendez-Vous Rideau Jazz concerts are at the Rideau Centre.  Showtimes are noon... | Continue reading article

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Jazzfest: The dreamily eerie sound of Timber Timbre

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Canadian music group Timber Timbre must have a really good sense of humour.  After the band was first formed in the mid-2000s, they developed a reputation as a spooky ensemble that produced dark and creepy music.  But instead of taking this potential putdown to heart, the group had some fun and named their fourth record Creep On Creepin’ On, which went on to be shortlisted for the 2011 Polaris Prize. The band’s catchy dark music has definitely turned heads, including in the TV world.  (The group’s song Magic Arrow was featured on both... | Continue reading article

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Jazzfest: Interview with Rebecca Noelle

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Photo by Julia Unchurra.Photo by Julia Unchurra.

Ottawa diva and songwriter Rebecca Noelle considers herself lucky to have found out at a young age what direction her life would take. She established an early relationship with all things jazz, a genre she embraced growing up in a family immersed in its music. “I grew up listening to Ella Fitzgerald. My grandfather was a jazz musician and so my mom grew up in a house where the band would rehearse their jazz standards. She developed a love for it and used to play Ella in the car. I... | Continue reading article

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Apt613 Live for June 16, 2015

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Ottawa's Nightshades will be playing Ottawa Explosion Weekend on Thursday June 19 at Mugshots.Ottawa's Nightshades will be playing Ottawa Explosion Weekend on Thursday June 19 at Mugshots.

This week on Apt613 Live contributor Jean McLernon sits down to chat with Island Park Distribution co-owner Martin Conley-Wood to find out what makes them unique.  Plus we’re the fly-on-the-wall for a conversation between Jared Davidson and BIA chair Heather Garrod as they discuss this year’s Glowfair. Music as always throughout the program: we’re giving you a little teaser from folks who will be taking the stage at Jazzfest and as part of Ottawa Explosion which will be taking over music venues around town this weekend! Tune in to Apt613... | Continue reading article

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Interview: Victor Nesrallah’s diverse musical roots

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Victor Nesrallah playing at the NAC in 2011. Still from a video from Nesrallah's YouTube channel.Victor Nesrallah playing at the NAC in 2011. Still from a video from Nesrallah's YouTube channel.

Longtime Ottawa musician Victor Nesrallah has spent his life forging a well-rounded career through his never-ending thirst for knowledge in nearly all aspects of music. He shared with me how his 35-year musical journey has been shaped by learning, experience, and answered calls of opportunity. “Earlier in the 70’s, I used to back up my brother, Stephan, who was fairly well-known back then. When I started on my own in clubs, I knew in order to make my bread and butter, I’d have to get by with playing some cover tunes.... | Continue reading article

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