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Ottawa's Latest and Greatest on Sights & Sounds

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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Escape…with an Ottawa company offering scenic bicycle tours

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A cycling path in Aylmer: all photos taken by the author along the tour route.A cycling path in Aylmer: all photos taken by the author along the tour route.

A bicycle. That’s what it all began with. I had been wanting to buy a bike for a while now, given that my boyfriend is a pretty avid cyclist and enjoys exploring the city from this unique vantage point. When I came across the opportunity to join a Leisure Bicycle Sightseeing Tour with the new company Escape Bicycle Tours right here in Ottawa, I decided that it was finally time to make that purchase. $60.00 later, I had my very own bike, courtesy of Cycle Salvation, and although it’s used and rusty, in... | Continue reading article

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Laughter first, yoga second: Through the Gaze of a Navel

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Photo by Itai Erdal, from the Magnetic North websitePhoto by Itai Erdal, from the Magnetic North website

Well, it finally happened folks. There I was, bent over in my Downward Dog when Emelia Symington Fedy – the yoga instructor, professional advice giver, self-proclaimed pop psychology expert and witty performer – told the class to “twerk it like you can work it”. I never thought I’d see the day I’d be encouraged to twerk in a yoga class, let alone in front of an audience, but I can (somewhat) proudly strike that off my bucket list now. I’m not saying it was Emeila’s very real threat to keep... | 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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S’éclater pleinement au festival Fringe d’Ottawa

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Affiche originale de la pièce HOOTENANNY!Affiche originale de la pièce HOOTENANNY!

La 19e édition du Festival Fringe d’Ottawa a pris son envol mercredi soir au théâtre de la Cour des arts. Pleine à craquer, les spectateurs ont chaleureusement accueilli 32 performances présentées en format « échantillon ». La palette de couleurs est attrayante; cet avant-goût a fait son effet, nous trépignons d’impatience! Jusqu’au 28 juin, toutes les têtes curieuses et friandes d’expérimentation théâtrales pourront se délecter d’une programmation riche de 56 œuvres originales. Pour ceux qui n’ont même jamais entendu parler du festival Fringe, est venu le temps de vous plonger dans cette... | Continue reading article

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Review: Dangerous Corner at Ottawa Little Theatre

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All photos by Maria Vartanova.All photos by Maria Vartanova.

In Dangerous Corner, we see that as good as the truth might be, too much can stir up some rather serious trouble. Geoff Gruson directs the Ottawa Little Theatre’s production of the psychological thriller/ mystery written by J.B. Priestley, best known for An Inspector Calls.   Dangerous Corner is one of Priestley’s “time plays” where he plays with J.W. Dunne’s theory of time. Dunne believed that past, present and future all take place simultaneously and it’s our consciousness that keeps us from seeing outside of the piece of time we’re... | Continue reading article

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