Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Ottawa Music Festivals have all the big names and quirky acts too

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Summer Music Festivals: Big Names. Odd Names. Heck just play!
The Hill (and the Ottawa Valley) is alive with the sound of music


Toronto, June 12, 2009 – When the curtain drops on 2009 there will have been almost 50 (48 to be exact) festivals played out in Ottawa. And while opinions may differ on which festival was the best, all will agree that the Capitol’s summer music festivals are something to sing about. Sometimes Unconventional. Always World Class. In Ottawa it is the summer of the Treble Clef.

Jazz. Blues. Classical Music. Three different genres and three separate multi-stage festivals with enough star power to draw visitors from around the world.

The TD Canada Trust Ottawa International Jazz Festival (OIJF) features some of the jazz world’s most popular cutting-edge musicians. The OIJF provides visitors to the city with a
unique opportunity to enjoy free and ticketed performances both indoors and out. Audiences can enjoy over 80 different jazz performances day and night throughout the June 25th to July 5th festival at Confederation Park in downtown Ottawa. There are indoor concerts at various venues, including the National Arts Centre, the Library and Archives Canada, the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites, and the Rideau Centre.

The big names in Jazz will be there this year including Al Green, The Fats Waller Project, Enrico Rava, Stefano Bollani and Gary Burton. There will also be a couple of quirky surprises! Tourists coming to Ottawa may want to sit out under the stars on July 4th and try to figure out how good The Bad Plus really are or marvel at how the Worst Pop Band Ever might be Ottawa’s best!

The Bad Plus is a highly successful trio from Minnesota. Bad Plus is adept at twisting popular songs like Chariots of Fire, Life on Mars and Smells like Teen Spirit into wonderfully ironic, subversive and musically intricate jazz tunes. And the Worst Pop Band Ever? The four Canadian musicians blend improvisation and pop music in an organic and painless manner. They will be performing July 2nd in the National Arts Centre. www.ottawajazzfestival.com.

Six days after the be-boppers, jivers and really cool cats have blown town Ottawa is scheduled to get huge case of the blues. The Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest runs July 9-19, 2009. Some of the biggest names in the biz come from around the world to perform blues, R&B, gospel, world, pop, and rock at the new National Capital Commission festival site at LeBreton Flats, beside the Canadian War Museum.
Kiss, Ice Cube, Jackson Brown, Jeff Beck, Loreena McKennitt, Dead Weather, Ben Harper, Stone Temple Pilots, Joe Cocker and on and on. Most everyone has heard of most of the 100 or so headliners on this year’s bill. But, the organizers did have their quirk guns set for stun when they signed up Japandroid, Spam All Stars and Mannie Makris & The Polaras.

Japandroid is a two-man band from Vancouver that plays so hard and fast you will think there are five people on stage! As for the Spam All Stars, this Miami based Little Havana Salsa band is led DJ Le Spam who says he picked the worst name he could think of to keep it Real. Mannie Makris and the Polaris keep it real in a different way, this local country rock quartet performs with just three musicians (the fourth member on stage is actually a vintage 1960
Dodge Polaris). www.ottawabluesfest.ca

The last big musical festival of the summer comes with strings attached. Chamberfest, the largest chamber music festival in the world runs July 25th to August 8th both indoors and out. In fact music lovers travel from every continent to attend concerts in beautiful heritage churches. The festival features the very best classical musicians from across Canada and around the world.

World premieres, eighteen celebrated pianists and more than a dozen string quartets will be showcased in over 90 concerts and events. Sprinkled amongst the Mozart recitals and string quartets performing Shostakovich and Beethoven, there is also a touch of strange. The American Ying Quartet will be giving late night concerts they call Dim Sum, based on hot and spicy music written by Chinese American composers!

There will also be a performance by the Perfect Cake – three musicians who have created what they call “a virtuosic sock-puppet theatre”. www.chamberfest.com.

Tourists wanting information, tickets and lodging reservations can visit www.ottawatourism.ca, a powerful website operated by Ottawa Tourism and supported by the region’s growing tourism industry. This summer the site offers a special Cultural Odyssey package that includes 2 nights' accommodation for 2 people and admission to two attractions (tourists can choose to get passes to both the Jazz and Chamberfest festivals).

Ottawa Tourism provides destination marketing, strategic direction and leadership in cooperation with members and partners to service the travel media and attract visitors, tours and conventions to Ottawa and Canada’s Capital Region. Its vision is to build recognition of Ottawa as an outstanding four-season tourism destination.

CUTLINE:(top) Ottawa's The Perfect Cake (bottom)Miami's Spam All Stars