By: Steve Dellar | 07-05-2018 | News
Photo credit: @globeandmail

Canada - Montreal Jazz Festival Caught In ‘Slave Songs’ Scandal (Video)

A scandal erupted during the Montreal Jazz Festival over a performance of the group Slav, consisting of French singer Betty Bonifassi and Canadian stage director Robert Lepage with a small musical ensemble backing them. The group would perform "a theatrical odyssey based on slave songs."

Ms. Bonifassi, a Quebec singer, claimed she has been performing slave songs for some 15 years and had previously defended the production, which was billed as a "tribute to music as a tool for resilience and emancipation through traditional African-American, Serbian, Bulgarian and Métis songs.”

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">(1/2) Since the beginning of SLĀV performances, the Festival team has been shaken and strongly affected by all comments received. We would like to apologize to those who were hurt. It was not our intention at all. Please read: <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Mtl Jazz Festival (@MtlJazzFestival) <a href="">July 4, 2018</a></blockquote>

<script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>

However, given the ongoing undercurrent of protests that have been simmering everywhere in northern America, this time the Montreal Jazz festival was met with protests from people who thought it inappropriate that ‘white’ people were performing ‘black’ songs.

Related coverage:

The event, created by stage director Robert Lepage, who is mostly known for his collaborations with Cirque du Soleil and The Metropolitan Opera in New York City, had played to raving crowds the first times around but was met by ever larger protests outside the festival grounds.

Related coverage:

In the end, due to the social media pressure and negative press backlash, the festival decided to cancel the remaining performances.

The performers released a statement on Facebook, "Yes, the history of slavery, in all its various forms, belongs first and foremost to those who have been oppressed and to the descendants of those people.”

"Diversity and its artistic potential are at the heart of SLAV as much as the legacy of slavery. Do we have the right to tell these stories? Audience members will have the opportunity to decide after having seen the show."

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Montreal jazz festival cancels, apologizes for Robert Lepage and Betty Bonifassi’s slave-song show <a href=""></a> <a href="">@GlobeArts</a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; The Globe and Mail (@globeandmail) <a href="">July 4, 2018</a></blockquote>

<script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>

Ms. Bonifassi did not understand why this time around her performance was met with protests. She stated: "People talk about whites taking black songs."

Related coverage:

"Uniting two colours is modern. We don't talk about black and white in the show. We talk about human pain, experienced together. All cultures and ethnicities suffer the same."

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Protesters take on SLĀV, Betty Bonifassi&#39;s Montreal Jazz fest show on music of slavery <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; CBC Montreal (@CBCMontreal) <a href="">June 26, 2018</a></blockquote>

<script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>

You can still find performances of the group on youtube, even with the International Montreal Jazz Festival logo on it, from a show they did in 2014.

<iframe width="640" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe>

We can only conclude that, as Mr. Bob Dylan already stated, the times they are a-changing.


Twitter: #FIFAFakeLove #slav #QAnon #Happyfourth #ElMijis #Holloway

Share this article
Thoughts on the above story? Comment below!
0 comment/s
What do you think about this article?
Comment *

Recent News

Popular Stories