I’m not sure what Suoni means but I do know that it’s synonymous with the very best of musical ingenuity and is one of Montreal’s most loved festivals that delights the city for the entire month of June. The festival is a celebration of the eclectic and this year is no exception, with a lineup that includes artists who play free jazz, noize, bent rock, electronics, country, folk and underground pop. The program features familiar faces, new groups and people you’ve never heard of…
The festival itself, June 5-25, spans two venues, Sala Rossa and Casa del Popolo, situated in the neighbourhood of Mile End (we legally have to tell you that it’s “hip”), on St-Laurent, the city’s main party artery. What makes Suoni so great is that it grants concertgoers the opportunity to see artists that you probably won’t have a chance to see again, like the Syrian sensation Omar Souleyman, who is coming to play on June 13 at Sala Rossa.
This year boasts musicians like the Japanese gem Keiji Haino who has a baffling musical resume. He fronted a band that played psychedelic covers of songs by The Rolling Stones, The Ronettes and Jimi Hendrix and morphed them into garage psychedelia. He plays on June 10 at Sala. But if you want to see some real renegade jams, check out Satoko Fujii ma-do on June 19 at Sala Rossa.
The contemporary Baltimore outfit Future Islands is one of the best bands around right now; they team up with Montreal sweethearts Valleys for another excellent double bill on June 5 at Casa. But you’d be sorely remised if you don’t check out the talented Shalabi Effect and Volcano the Bear on June 8 for some homegrown music as well.
Speaking of locals, some of Montreal’s best are involved in some of the fest’s most anticipated shows. Junior Boys may be the first name on the June 11 bill, but you can be damn sure that much of the crowd will be there to see Montreal’s Miracle Fortress, who will be bringing along his brand-new album, Was I the Wave? Another hugely hyped show with be Colin Stetson‘s June 17 apperance at Sala. Stetson may have grown up in Michigan and only lived in Montreal for 4 years, but he’s played with Tom Waits, Arcade Fire, Feist, Bon Iver, Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed, David Byrne, Sinead O’Connor, LCD Soundsystem, to name just a bunch, and his new album solo album, New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges, is an incredible piece of artisty, so we’re claiming him as our own.
Because Free Jazz has always been the real Suoni vibe, their Free Jazz series is where you should be. Even if you haven’t heard of the artists, trust that they’re the best of the best. Now just to be clear, what Suoni means by “free jazz” is simply that the music is informed by an “exploration” of sound”, so there’s no need to recoil. Check out David S. Ware on June 13 and Charles Gayle on June 8 among others from all over the world.
The Illuminated Music series is a showcase of Canadian avant-garde and experimental musicians in a multimedia performance paired with video installations and live graphics throughout the performances. Because Suoni is typically a community-oriented festival, they’re offering a free Tools of the Trade workshops with Palestinian hip-hop artist Shadia Monsour. These workshops are geared toward aspiring musicians who wish to learn about different approaches to music. Expect some audience participation to make the affair less formal and encourage a free environment where people feel comfortable participating. These talks are generally 2 to 3 hours in length and are centered around a performance.
Suoni Per Il Popolo, June 5-June 25, 2011
Sala Rossa, 4848 Saint-Laurent, (514) 844-4227
Casa Del Popolo 4873 Saint-Laurent, (514) 284-3804