February is almost over, nicer spring-like temperature is around the corner and a vaccine is on its way, and with it, the possibility we all may be able to be out past 8pm once again. For now, though, there is plenty of Montreal arts and music we can enjoy online.

Let’s get started:

Black History Month Wraps Up

February is also Black History Month and in Montreal that always means plenty of music, film and other artistic performances as well as conferences and panel discussions. The 30th official edition hasn’t let the pandemic slow it down by going virtual and surely won’t be slowing down in its closing weekend.

There is a Nuits d’Afrique concert tonight, there’s a Black Utopia panel discussion tomorrow courtesy of the Massimadi Afro LGBTQ+ Film and Arts Festival and much more.

For details and schedule, please visit MoisHistoireDesNoirs.com

Wake Island Release Nouvelle Vague

Wake Island, the duo composed of producers Philippe Manasseh and Nadim Maghzal, are no strangers to Montreal music fans, ditto for those in New York and Beirut. They offer an “80/90’s electronic esthetic with melodies drawing from their Middle Eastern roots.”

With Nouvelle Vague, the latest single from their album Born to Leave, they are doing something so very Montreal. They are releasing the French version today and plan to release an English version in exactly one month, March 26th.

Here is the tune in French:

Firas Nassiri Releases Music Video for Taksim Featuring Christina Enigma

Montreal electro music fans may know Firas Nassri from the the 2020 GAMIQ ectro EP of the Year winners Beige-à-Coeur. Last January, he released his first solo album La Levantine.

With it, he hopes to “explore the bridges between electronic music and his oriental influences” in a style heavily influenced by his Syrian origins.

Nassiri’s latest single, released today along with a music video, is called Taksim. The lyrics are taken directly from the poem On Death by Lebanese-American poet Kahlil Gibran and recited by Canadian vocalist Christina Enigma.

Here is the video:

Featured Image of Firas Nassiri and Christina Enigma courtesy of Indie Montreal

If you know of an event that you feel should be covered, please contact arts@forgetthebox.net or music@forgetthebox.net

No promises but we’ll do our best

Everyone knows Montreal has no shortage of music festivals. But there is a real lack of focus on the local music scene. Enter Passovah Productions and their annual Passovah Summer Music Festival.

This year is the second edition of the new festival and it has already established itself as a vital one among Montreal’s various cultural happenings during the summer season. Its inaugural edition featured 24 local acts spread out over two nights. This year’s edition has doubled in size with over 50 local acts. They’ve also added an extra night of shows as well as daytime shows on Saturday and Sunday.

The festival’s success and great potential for further growth can be attributed to a few factors.

“The fact that it’s all local is a big thing,” said Passovah’s creative director and co-founder Noah Bick. “The fact that it’s pay-what-you-can and the fact that we have short sets, those are three things that set it apart from other festivals.”

The PWYC model is one that is gaining in popularity in the local music scene. Bick and many others agree that this is a very effective way of promoting local talent and exposing less well known acts to a broader audience.

“It’s a good way of making sure that whoever wants to come to the concert is going to come and cost is not going to stop them,” he said. “I think a lot of artists would rather have 100 people in the room, 50 of which have paid, than 50 people in the room.”

Another thing to consider is that if you’re paying less to get into a show to see a band, you’ll be more willing to spend that money elsewhere on their music or merch available at the show.

Aside from the fact that the musical acts featured in the festival lineup are all local, there is nothing that they all have in common. The lineup is an eclectic collection of genres and styles that exemplifies the wide range of talent that Montreal’s thriving music scene has to offer.

“A lot of these bands are either people that I’m friends with or people whose music I’ve really gotten into and I’m just so glad that Passovah’s organically grown into this way of helping local artists do their thing,” Bick said. “The different ways in which some of these bands have gotten on the bill is really cool and inspiring.”

The following is a small taste of some of the acts performing in the festival, which runs from Friday, August 9 to Sunday, August 11. For a complete list, consult the Passovah Summer Music Festival’s website.

SALTLAND / Friday, August 9 at Il Motore.

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FRAGILE FEET / Friday, August 9 at Il Motore

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RUBY KATO ATTWOOD & ALASKA B (YAMANTAKA // SONIC TITAN) / Friday, August 9 at Il Motore.

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WAKE ISLAND / Saturday, August 10 at Il Motore

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SPECIAL NOISE / Saturday, August 10 at Il Motore

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PIGEON PHAT / Saturday, August 10 at Il Motore

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*Photo by POP Montreal

MIRACLE FORTRESS / Sunday, August 11 at Il Motore

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CINEMA L’AMOUR / Sunday, August 11 at Il Motore

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ISLE OF PINE / Sunday, August 11 at 185 Van Horne

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