After two editions weakened by the viral threat, the Abitibi-Témiscamingue Emerging Music Festival (FME) is getting back on track to celebrate its 20th anniversary. Since last Thursday, the two major outdoor sites of the event have been full of music lovers, first attracted by the Acadian poster for Thursday evening – with Lisa Leblanc, Les Hay Babies and P’tit Belliveau – then that of yesterday dedicated to local rap, with LOUD, Koriass and Sarahmée. Tormented by current events, the city of Rouyn-Noranda is getting back to partying, at least until the conclusion of the musical gathering on Sunday evening, which should then have attracted nearly 35,000 spectators.
Mild weather on Thursday evening, deliciously summery yesterday with almost 30 degrees C, the FME organization could not have hoped for a better start to this anniversary edition. The streets and alleys adjacent to the large main stage, newly installed on Murdoch Street rather than on one of the perpendicular avenues, are teeming with festival-goers. The atmosphere in the Noranda sector is one of celebration and reunion, most of the players in the music industry who had deserted the meeting for two years due to the pandemic have once again followed the migratory route of the most exciting musical offerings from here: heading to Abitibi.
The poster is full of these attractive proposals, Le Couleur, Naya Ali, Connaisseur Ticaso on Thursday, Choses Sauvages overseeing an electronic-flavored program yesterday on the shores of Lake Osisko, with composer Sheenah Ko in the first part. For our part, novelty has guided our journey, starting with the Medicine Singers concert, which yesterday afternoon offered a surprise concert redeeming that of the day before, which witnesses described to us as undisciplined and tainted by frequent feedback. .
Medicine Singers is a project born from the meeting between guitarist, composer and improviser Yonathan Gat and members of the Eastern Medicine Singers ensemble, Algonquin musicians from the Rhode Islands region. The album, released last July, superimposes electronic, psychedelic, sometimes jazz passages on the traditional songs of the Singers, and this is what the formation, reduced to five musicians (they are often double on stage in concert) has managed to offer during a performance of about thirty minutes, delivered in the middle of the afternoon, very close to the lake. Hypnotic, spiritual, and raw, Gat’s electric guitar shatters the constancy of the rhythms of the two First Nations musicians. The cover of Link Wray’s mythical Rumble, one of the most famous electric guitar riffs in rock history, must have resonated on the other side.
At aperitif time, we find the European friends in the small backyard of the Cabaret de la Dernier chance, on the stage of which two Toronto orchestras were to be heard. Tallies, the first, has the melodious but harmless rock, pop and shoegaze at the same time, the guitars lining the rhythm and giving a little pain to the singer, whose voice lacked authority. Pretty, but nice – quite the opposite of Bonnie Trash which followed, a female quartet led by a duo of sisters, Emmalia and Sarafina Bortolon-Vettor, the first guitar enthusiast with heavy and heavy sounds, the second singing while taking this posture him looked like a granite statue.
The duo’s debut album (complete with a bassist and a drummer), released earlier this year, is called Malocchio, and their songs are inspired by horror stories their grandmother told them, nothing too jojo, but in concert, the effect is striking, the girls playing with impressive mastery this rock as hovering as it is icy. The only problem: at 6 p.m., it was too early to fully appreciate this sound, which is best listened to once the sun has set.
Last stop of the evening at the Petit Théâtre de Rouyn-Noranda, for an evening of stripped down and dilapidated rock, that of Chad VanGaalen and Gus Englehorn, interspersed with the curiosity of the evening, the warm and psychedelic rock of the author-composer -Israeli interpreter Tamar Aphek and her three companions.
The musician from Tel Aviv opens her singing tour by copying the rhythm of Led Zeppelin’s The Immigrant Song, which immediately sets her playing field: rock of the late 1960s and 1970s, preferably psychedelic – more later, it is the late Beatles that transpires from her songs, before she then turns to a form of electric soul. A vacuum cleaner with retro rock references, Aphek, whose merit is to manage to use it to create a musical personality rich in melodies. As for Chad and Gus, they seemed demure in comparison, but even more endearing, especially VanGaalen, with his singular song themes and irresistible jovial air.
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