Malak Joins the Ottawa Grassroots Roster Rich in Diversity and Participation

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March 16, 2017 – The eclectic line-up for both the daytime and evening performances at the Ottawa Grassroots Festival (OGF) is finalized.  Now in its 6th year, this not-for-profit music event will take place from April 20-23 at The Southminster United Church, 15 Aylmer Avenue, in Old Ottawa South. Anne-Marie Brugger  (CHUO host) will be the MC Saturday evening which will start with an opening address/prayer by Algonquin elder, Albert Dumont. Canadian folk/roots singer-songwriter, Ken Whiteley and The Beulah Band will headline the evening which will draw folk enthusiasts to watch a legend perform.

Opening for Whiteley will be Malak, whom Showbox calls “one of the most powerful and beautiful voices in town.” Previously scheduled Twin Flames will not be performing. In a letter to Festival Producer, Bob Nesbitt, Jaaji of Twin Flames explained there was an immediate need for them to participate in a workshop for youth in Kugluqtuq NWT, where there is a high rate of suicide, sexual and physical abuse due to drugs and alcohol. As a result, he advised they will be unable to fulfill their commitment to perform at the festival, offering apologies for the short notice.

“Line-up changes can happen and we think that people coming out on Saturday night will be thrilled with Malak,” says Nesbitt. “Her multi-octave, pitch perfect vocals are mesmerizing and presented with such incredible emotion you’ll get goosebumps.”  Malak grew up in Eygpt and now calls Ottawa home. She has won numerous vocal competitions across Europe.  Recently, Malak was a showcased artist in Megaphono 2017 and is working on her first full length CD, set to be released later this year.  In Arabic, her name translates to “angel”, which describes this unique songstress beautifully.        

The opening night of Grassroots offers evening performances with a powerhouse of Francophone artists including headliners Mélanie Brulée, Anique Granger and Cindy Doire, who have grouped together to present, Une soirée avec les filles. The audience will enjoy the popular/folk acoustic duo, Geneviève RB & Alain Barbeau, who are slated to open and who also performed at the festival launch, March 2 at Pressed Café.

Tonya Price (CKCU host) will MC during the Friday evening performances which will begin with the One World Choir, led by Chris MacLean.  This unique choir brings together voices of new Canadians and refugees in a welcoming setting, creating new friendships and helping the singers learn English along the way.  Co-headliners, Shout Sister Choir and The Durham County Poets complete the evening that promises to fill the sanctuary at Southminster United with sweet songs, many of which will surely have the audience joining in.

Tickets for Ottawa Grassroots evening performances are on sale, available online through the festival website. They are priced to be affordable for families (children 15 and under are free when accompanied by an adult). The daytime events on both Saturday and Sunday are FREE for everyone!  “We are excited about the daytime programming we have lined up this year,” says Nesbitt.

Daytime performers scheduled for Saturday and Sunday include an array of talented local artists: Jill Zmud, Acacia Lyra, Jamie Anderson, Julie Corrigan, Francine Leclair, The Shirt Tearing Boys, Vince Halfhide, James Blondeau, The Paugan Dames, Jillian Kerr and Emma Lamontagne (winner of Ottawa Bluesfest’s 2016 “She’s The One” contest). Spoken word artists, Albert Dumont and Deborah Kigjugalik Webster, along with singer-songwriter Larissa Desrosier are a few of the Indigenous performers scheduled to appear, in a year which finds the festival broadening its vision towards full inclusivity. The Grassroots Festival would not be complete without OGF favourites, The Sparrows. Led by Chris White, this group of home-schooled children between the ages of 4 and 11, along with some very talented adults, will be presenting a workshop geared towards children on Sunday.  

For folks interested in workshops — where participation is key — there is plenty to explore. For example, festival participants can learn how to build a cigar box guitar or they can join in song with The Terry Penner Weekend Choir, where anyone can lend their voice. Or, “learn how to build your own band” with Pat Moore and Garry Greenland.  Also, new this year, the festival is hosting a few of the talented songwriters of the Canadian Song-Along, an annual song writing challenge and performance event where established singer-songwriters write a song from amongst 4 or 5 topics and then perform their new tune. Jam sessions, Gil’s Hootenanny Contest, an open stage event, KidZone and another festival favourite, a workshop for toddlers and babies, led by singer-songwriter Kristine St. Pierre and a workshop with the Festival of India are all synonymous with grassroots.

The Grassroots Festival is a family-friendly gathering of folk music, dance and spoken word. It’s called Grassroots because it is! This organization is run entirely by volunteers and prides itself for the participatory workshops it provides, cultivating community and nurturing inclusivity in a fun and friendly way.

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Franco-folk Night Opens the Ottawa Grassroots Festival in 2017

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Passer à la version française …

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 14, 2016Melanie Brulée, Anique Granger and Cindy Doire will headline the Ottawa Grassroots Festival on Thursday, April 20 2017. Now in its 6th year, this music event will take place from April 20-23 at The Southminster United Church, 15 Aylmer Avenue, in Old Ottawa South. The talented female Francophone singer-songwriters have independent successful solo careers and have side projects that united them, as they are doing at the festival with a show called “An evening with the girls”. Their vocals and their twist on folk music, touching on elements of rock, pop, jazz, blues and psychedelia, is certain to generate new fans.

Melanie Brulée is known for charismatic live performances and contagious energy. She launched her latest Francophone release Débridée to a sold out crowd at The Burdock Music Hall in Toronto on May 26, 2015. Radio listeners throughout Canada and Québec have been enjoying these atmospheric folk tracks infused with rock in perfect symbiosis. Her song Antidote du doute earned Melanie the 2015 Folk Music Ontario Stingray Music “Songs From the Heart” Award. Outside her music, she is a proud ambassador for mental health, offering bilingual self-confidence workshops for youth across Canada.

Originally from Saskatchewan, Anique Granger has represented the Western Francophones brilliantly for over 15 years. She has toured Canada and Europe, showcasing her first two solo albums. Her album, Les outils received accolades from the industry and was nominated for the Trille Or awards in 2013 for Best Album in Western Canada. Granger also won the Canadian Folk Music Award in 2012, in the Francophone Album of the Year category. In 2011, la Foundation SPACQ presented her with the Edith Butler prize for her first album, Pepins. In 2015, she released her most recent collection of songs called, Aimee comme une émeute, offering the listener a folk-pop sound, with electric infusions amid poetic lyrics.

Slim and petite, Cindy Doire has a voice that can whisper a lyric in your ear that will startle your heart (and maybe your libido). This is a woman who can channel the moody atmosphere of French singers from Piaf to Françoise Hardy and pin you against the back wall with a Joplin-esque wail to shatter your soul. She just recently released her first album of English songs, Sticks and Mud, to whom she dedicates to “all the troubadours, vagabonds and bandits with whom I’ve crossed paths.” A troubadour and a vagabond herself, she’s also an inventive, collaborative, thoughtful songwriter and a dynamic on-stage performer, and one who’s been at home in a recording studio since she made her first CD back in 2007. She has two other award winning CDs, La vie en Bleu and Chapeau de pluie that earned her Best Album by a Solo Artist at the Northern Ontario Music and Film Awards and major awards at Quebec’s prestigious Festival International de Granby and from Contact Ontarois. And she has been nominated for no less than three awards at the upcoming 2011 Gala des Prix Trille Or.

“We have put together a solid evening of extremely talented singer-songwriters that are Francophone and who are independent artists but have also performed together before” says Bob Nesbitt, Festival Producer. “You will be impressed with their music and the unique way they combine music genres. If you are new to these artists, you will walk away a fan.”

Opening the evening are duo, Geneviève RB & Alain Barbeau, a folk / popular acoustic universe, where one escapes in harmony, sweetness, complicity and emotion. Geneviève RB’s vocals are at once enchanting and melodic that mingle with the notes of her piano. Alain Barbeau, offers a folk, warm and soothing voice that follows the rhythm of his acoustic guitar. When their songs intertwine, they take the audience on a journey that is both therapeutic and good for the soul. They are a duo in life, as in music and will present to you the album and the show: On est les deux.

Showcasing music in different languages, especially in French, is something that is valued by everyone involved with the festival. It breaks down barriers between the music solitudes that exist in this region” says Bob Nesbitt, Festival Producer. “When you receive overwhelming positive feedback, as we have with our past Francophone nights, you realize you are helping to build a stronger supportive community.”

Tickets for Ottawa Grassroots evening performances are now on sale, available online through the festival website. They are priced to be affordable for families (children 15 and under are free when accompanied by an adult). The daytime events on both Saturday and Sunday are FREE for everyone! “We are equally excited about the daytime programming we have lined up this year,” adds Nesbitt. “Announcements will be made in the New Year.”

The Grassroots Festival is a family-friendly gathering of folk music, dance and spoken word. It’s called Grassroots because it is! This not-for-profit organization is run entirely by volunteers and prides itself for the participatory workshops it provides, cultivating community and nurturing inclusivity in a fun and friendly way.

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Media contact: Bob Nesbitt, 613-794 9161, e-mail: nesbittr@sympatico.ca
For more information:
Facebook: https://facebook.com/pages/Ottawa-Grassroots-Festival/210912422324113
Twitter:     https://twitter.com/OttGrassroots

Une soirée franco-folk marquera le début du Festival Grassroots d’Ottawa 2017

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POUR DIFFUSION IMMÉDIATE

Le 14 décembre 2016 – Mélanie Brulée, Anique Granger et Cindy Doire seront les têtes d’affiche du Festival Grassroots d’Ottawa le jeudi 20 avril 2017. Le festival, qui en est à sa sixième année, aura lieu du 20 au 23 avril à l’église Southminster United Church, située au 15, avenue Aylmer, dans le Vieux-Ottawa Sud. En plus d’avoir chacune une carrière solo fructueuse, ces talentueuses auteures et interprètes francophones mènent en parallèle des projets qui les réunissent, comme le spectacle qu’elles prévoient présenter au festival et qui s’intitule « Une soirée avec les filles ». Leurs harmonies vocales et leur façon d’enrichir la musique folk en y ajoutant des éléments de rock, de pop, de jazz, de blues et de psychédélique leur vaudront sans doute de nouveaux fans.

Reconnue pour son charisme sur scène et son énergie contagieuse, Mélanie Brulée a lancé son plus récent album francophone, Débridée, le 26 mai 2015 devant une salle comble au Burdock Music Hall, à Toronto. Les auditeurs de la radio de toutes les régions du Canada et du Québec se sont délectés de cette musique atmosphérique dans laquelle le rock côtoie le folk en parfaite symbiose. Une chanson de cet album, Antidote du doute, a remporté le prix Stingray Music Songs From the Heart 2015 de Folk Music Ontario. Fière ambassadrice pour la santé mentale, Mélanie offre aux jeunes du Canada des ateliers bilingues sur la confiance en soi.

Originaire de la Saskatchewan, Anique Granger défend la francophonie de l’Ouest avec brio depuis plus de 15 ans. Plusieurs tournées pancanadiennes et quelques allers-retours en Europe, où elle a présenté ses deux premiers albums solos, ont meublé les dernières années. Son album Les outils a reçu plusieurs coups de chapeau de l’industrie, dont une nomination au Gala des prix Trille Or 2013 dans la catégorie Meilleur album de l’Ouest canadien, ainsi que le titre de Finaliste aux Canadian Folk Music Awards en 2012, dans la catégorie Album francophone de l’année. En 2011, la Fondation SPACQ lui décernait le prix Edith Butler pour son premier album Pépins. La dernière année en fut une de création, d’introspection et de grands bouleversements pour Anique Granger. En 2015, elle a lancé son plus récent recueil de chansons, intitulé Aimée comme une émeute, qui offre aux auditeurs un son folk-pop avec infusions électriques ponctuant des paroles poétiques.

Petite et menue, Cindy Doire a une voix pouvant chuchoter à votre oreille des paroles qui éveilleront votre cœur (et peut-être aussi votre libido). Cette femme pouvant chanter d’un ton langoureux digne des grandes voix de France telles que Piaf et Françoise Hardy peut aussi lancer, à la Joplin, un cri qui bouleverse l’âme. Cindy vient de lancer son premier album de chansons anglaises, Sticks and Mud, qu’elle dédie à « tous les troubadours, vagabonds et bandits que j’ai rencontrés au cours de ma vie ». Elle-même troubadour et vagabonde, Cindy est une compositrice inventive, collaborative et attentionnée, une chanteuse dynamique sur scène et une artiste fort à l’aise dans un studio d’enregistrement depuis qu’elle a enregistré son premier CD en 2007. Deux autres de ses CD, La vie en bleu et Chapeau de pluie, ont remporté les honneurs du meilleur album d’artiste solo au Northern Ontario Music and Film Awards, de même que d’importants prix dans le cadre du prestigieux Festival international de Granby et de Contact Ontarois. Elle a aussi récolté trois nominations au Gala des prix Trille Or 2011.

« Nous avons réuni un solide ensemble de chanteurs-compositeurs extrêmement talentueux qui sont de culture francophone. Ce sont des artistes indépendants, mais qui ont joué ensemble plusieurs fois, déclare Bob Nesbitt, réalisateur du festival. Vous serez impressionnés par leur musique et par la façon unique dont ils combinent les genres musicaux. Si vous n’avez jamais entendu leur musique, vous en deviendrez grand amateur. »

Le duo formé de Geneviève RB et d’Alain Barbeau ouvrira la soirée en créant un univers acoustique folk/populaire qui invite à s’évader dans l’harmonie, la douceur, la complicité et l’émotion. Geneviève RB, c’est une voix pop à la fois envoûtante et mélodique qui se mêle aux notes de son piano. Alain Barbeau, c’est une voix folk, chaude et apaisante qui suit le rythme de sa guitare acoustique. Lorsque leurs chansons s’entrelacent, ils nous font vibrer, nous laissent fermer les yeux et nous emportent ailleurs. C’est thérapeutique, ça fait du bien. En duo dans la vie comme en musique, ils vous présentent l’album et le spectacle : On est les deux.

Présenter de la musique de différentes langues, spécialement le français, revêt une grande importance pour tous ceux qui participent à l’organisation du festival. « C’est un moyen d’éliminer les barrières qui divisent les solitudes musicales dans la région, affirme Bob Nesbitt, réalisateur du festival. Lorsque vous recevez des commentaires aussi élogieux que ceux que nous avons reçus lors des soirées francophones antérieures, vous réalisez que vous aidez à bâtir une collectivité plus forte et plus bienveillante. »

Les billets pour les spectacles en soirée sont maintenant disponibles en ligne sur le site Web du festival. Les prix sont abordables pour les familles (accès gratuit pour les enfants âgés de 15 ans et moins lorsqu’ils sont accompagnés d’un adulte). Les activités de jour le samedi et le dimanche sont GRATUITES et ouvertes à tous. « Nous sommes tout aussi enthousiasmés par les activités de jour que nous prévoyons offrir cette année, ajoute M. Nesbitt. De plus amples détails seront annoncés au cours de la nouvelle année. »

Le Festival Grassroots d’Ottawa est un événement pour la famille mettant en vedette la musique folk, la danse et le « spokenword ». Le Festival Grassroots d’Ottawa porte bien son nom! Cet organisme sans but lucratif est entièrement dirigé par des bénévoles et se fait une fierté d’offrir des ateliers participatifs rassembleurs qui resserrent les liens d’appartenance à la collectivité dans un esprit de divertissement et d’amitié.

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Personne-ressource pour les médias : Bob Nesbitt, 613-794-9161; courriel : nesbittr@sympatico.ca
Pour plus d’information :
Facebook : https://facebook.com/pages/Ottawa-Grassroots-Festival/210912422324113
Twitter :     https://twitter.com/OttGrassroots

2017 Friday Headliners

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Shout Sister Choir and Durham County Poets join headliner line-up in April 2017

November 30, 2016 – The Ottawa Grassroots Festival (OGF) is pleased to confirm that Shout Sister Choir led by Jody Benjamin and The Durham County Poets and will co-headline the Friday night (April 21) at the festival in Old Ottawa South. Now celebrating its 6th year, the event will take place from April 20-23, 2017 at The Southminster United Church, 15 Aylmer Avenue, Ottawa.

shout-sisterShout Sister Choir numbers 100+ female singers. They sing a fun variety of music from pop and Motown, to folk, to a touch of country and blues and pack venues, wherever they perform. New members are welcomed into a warm and supportive community of singers, without the stress of auditions. The act of singing with others is both powerful and joyful and, while their choir fills the need for those new to singing in a choir, experienced singers will find the relaxed atmosphere and alternative repertoire a refreshing change.

“We have had the Shout Sister Choir perform at the Ottawa Grassroots Festival as part of our daytime programming, which is completely free to the public.” said Bob Nesbitt, Festival Producer. “Their unique method of welcoming singers of all abilities is a winning formula and is a perfect match to what our festival values. They are a lot of fun and are back by popular demand!” exclaims Nesbitt.

durham-county-poetsDurham County Poets are a lively and soulful five-piece folk and roots band from Southwest Quebec’s Chateauquay Valley that performs an eclectic blend of blues, folk and rock with tinges of country, gospel and swing tossed in for good measure.  Its members collectively have more than a century of diverse musical experience – having previously played in blues, rock, country, Cajun and vaudeville outfits.

Reflective of the variety of genres its members have delved in over the years, the band’s musical influences include a broad range of artists — The Band, Eric Bibb, Dire Straits, Jimmy Reid, Leon Redbone and James Taylor among them. All of the Durham County Poets are songwriters. Either individually or collaboratively, they compose a musical potpourri of ballads, gospel, blues and country-rock songs – making for varied sets while performing in concert.  The obvious joie de vivre they feel playing together is reflected in the good-time feel the Durham County Poets share with concert audiences and listeners to their two recordings to date — Where The River Flows (2011) and Chikkaboodah Stew (2014).

Upcoming line-up announcements for the opening night of the festival, showcasing Franco-Ontarian performers is expected by mid-December. This festival values inclusivity and one can look forward to a mosaic of musicians offering rich performances that will ultimately expand your musical palette.

Tickets for Ottawa Grassroots evening performances will be available online before Christmas. They are priced to be affordable for families (children 15 and under are free when accompanied by an adult). The daytime events on both Saturday and Sunday are FREE for everyone!

The Grassroots Festival is a family-friendly gathering of folk music, dance and spoken word. This not-for-profit organization is run entirely by volunteers and prides itself for the participatory workshops it provides, cultivating community and nurturing inclusivity in a fun and friendly way.

Media contact:   Bob Nesbitt, 613-794 9161, e-mail: nesbittr@sympatico.ca

For more information:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ottawa-Grassroots-Festival
Twitter:     https://twitter.com/OttGrassroots

“The Ottawa Grassroots Festival: Cultivating Community.”
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Grammy and Juno nominated Ken Whiteley and The Beulah Band Headlines The Ottawa Grassroots Festival in April 2017

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 20, 2016 – The Ottawa Grassroots Festival (OGF) is pleased to confirm that Canadian folk/roots music legend, singer-songwriter, Ken Whiteley and The Beulah Band will headline the Saturday night (April 22) at the festival in Old Ottawa South. Now celebrating its 6th year, the event will take place from April 20-23, 2017 at The Southminster United Church, 15 Aylmer Avenue, Ottawa.

Deeply rooted in traditional North American folk music, Whiteley and the band have performed together for over 10 years! They will deliver songs rich in roots, blues, gospel, swing, string and jug band sounds.  The Beulah Band is comprised of great harmony singers: Ben Whiteley (Ken’s son) on string bass, banjoist, Frank Evans and fiddler, Rosalyn Dennett. Their arrangements come alive with  a three part vocal blend. Canadian folk legend, Ken Whiteley has a long and honored history on the roots music scene.  He has received Juno and Grammy Award Nominations, a Canadian Folk Music Award, a Genie Award for the Best Original Song in a Canadian movie and Lifetime Achievement Awards from Folk Music Ontario and the Mariposa Folk Festival.

“I sometimes joke that I never went to university” said Ken Whiteley. “I went to folk festivals instead, starting from when I was 13 years old. I think that’s where I absorbed the idea, that there are connections between music all over the world, that the lines which divide us are pretty arbitrary, and that music has the capacity to bridge some of those lines. I remember being up in the highlands of Haiti in the late ’70s with my guitar where no one spoke English and my Canadian French was useless too, but we could play music and sing together.” For a guy who found his ‘promised land’ in music decades ago, the Beulah Band seems to be one of the most satisfying encounters yet. (Reviewer: Rob Levesque, Penquin Eggs, 2015)

The Ottawa Grassroots Festival prides itself in bringing together music of different genres and languages that encourages audience participation. “It’s an honour to have one of Canada’s most respected roots musicians headline for us in 2017 ”says Bob Nesbitt, Producer of the Ottawa Grassroots Festival. “He’s energetic, funny  and you’ll love how he gets his audience participating in humorous ways.”

Nesbitt is finalizing the line-ups for the Thursday and Friday nights, with more announcements coming soon.  This festival values inclusivity and one can look forward to a mosaic of musicians offering  rich performances that will ultimately expand your musical palette.

Tickets for Ottawa Grassroots evening performances will be available online before Christmas. They are priced to be affordable for families (children 15 and under are free when accompanied by an adult). The daytime events on both  Saturday and  Sunday are FREE for everyone!

The Grassroots Festival is a family-friendly gathering of folk music, dance and spoken word. This not-for-profit organization is run entirely by volunteers and prides itself for the participatory workshops it provides, cultivating community and nurturing inclusivity in a fun and friendly way.

For more information:
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Video

Ottawa Grassroots Festival 2016 Video Summary

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We are an inclusive, family-focused and volunteer-driven celebration of folk music that takes place early every April just as winter is giving way to spring.We are especially proud of being inclusive by involving people of all abilities in our event.Take a look at this video snapshot of the 2016 Ottawa Grassroots Festival, shot & edited by Chad Kirvan. This was the 5th edition of the festival, and our first time in our new location at Southminster United Church, in Old Ottawa South beside the historic Rideau Canal. The video helps explain why so many volunteers, sponsors, artists and community partners get involved every year!