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The 36th Quebec City Summer Festival

After a 2002 presentation deemed a huge success by one and all, the Québec City Summer Festival has put together a 2003 program that shows this event is here to stay as one of the world’s greatest cultural happenings. The 36th presentation of the festival this July 3 to 13 will feature representatives from over 22 countries and 8 Canadian provinces and programming more noted than ever for its flavor, daring, and originality.

With its heady mix of name performers and rising stars, the 36th Québec City Summer Festival lineup will have festival-goers wishing they could be everywhere at once. In addition to the venues that have become such a familiar part of the Québec City’s summer scene, including the Bell Stage on the Plains of Abraham, the Molson Dry Stage at Parc de la Francophonie, and Place Metro at Place d’Youville, a brand new venue has been added-Parc forain Canada on the Plains of Abraham. At day’s end, it will come alive with entertainment that’s brimming with imagination-street and traveling theater troupes, wandering stilt-walkers, and other colorful characters will wow the crowds from there to neighboring venues. Parc forain Canada, which rounds out the Street Arts component of the festival, will also be a hit with night owls. On weekend nights, the site will present lively, festive performances until the wee hours of the morning.

Another new space, the Télé-Québec Stage at Complexe Méduse, will host shows that merge electronic music with song, and a musical improvisation series hosted by LIMQ (Ligue nationale d’improvisation musicale de Québec). A truly out-of-the-ordinary experience.

The Francophone Diaspora In keeping with the event’s mission, the Québec City Summer Festival reserves a special welcome for artists from Québec and other French-speaking areas. The Festival will thus be hosting some of our most gifted performers, such as Daniel Bélanger, who has been enchanting Quebecers for over ten years. This talented songsmith, who recently released the album Rêver mieux, will follow two other artists on the cutting edge of francophone song: the popular Marc Déry, and Jérôme Minière, a musical pioneer whose attention to detail is rivaled only by his originality. Carried on the waves of their phenomenal concert tour success, Les Cowboys Fringants will also be delighting audiences as they transport festivalgoers to their party song world where having a good time doesn’t preclude saying something intelligent. Attendees will have the chance to discover or rediscover the raucous and inventive indy rock band Vulgaires Machins, and La Rue Kétanou, a quickly rising French group who’ll be serving up the best of new reality music.

Stephen Faulkner and Plume Latraverse will also appear on stage for a night entirely dedicated to poetry and free expression. These two bums of Quebec songwriting are sure to light up the night, with Stephen Faulkner fresh off a huge hit with his recent album Capturé vivant, recorded in concert, and Plume Latraverse, who outdid himself with his latest work, Chants d’épuration. Kevin Parent, a fan favorite from the Gaspé, will also be rocking the Plains of Abraham once internationally acclaimed bassist and unabashed Québec admirer Tony Levin has warmed the crowds up first. Tony Levin is one of Kevin Parent’s collaborators and will be accompanying him during his set.

Natasha St-Pier, currently a huge hit in France, will be treating us to a rare summer performance. This Victoire de la musique award-winning musician will follow young artist Jean-François Breau, who made his mark in the hit musicals Notre Dame de Paris and Jeanne d’Arc. In a night filled with catchy tunes and passionate performances, two more of our stars will be captivating fans: Sylvain Cossette, who won a Félix for Pop Album of the Year in 2002, and Nicolas Ciccone.

For those looking for a concert with kick, seasoned Festival performer Robert Charlebois will have the crowd soaring (on the wings of an angel, as his famous song goes?) and Lulu Hugues is sure to win over audiences with her sultry voice and undeniable magnetism. Speaking of energized performances, the Québec City Summer Festival will also be the opportunity to discover the young group Papillon, which is shining as bright as the summer itself, and Marie-Chantal Toupin.

The alternative scene will have its own headliners, including Les Chiens, who always deliver a biting performance, followed by Galaxie 500 starring Olivier Langevin, Pierre Girard and Fred Fortin. Also on the bill, Alligator Trio, Spanish rockers Colectivo, and the vibrant group Yelo Melo. Also, on a night featuring new talent, the Québec City Summer Festival will welcome artists from what many people call new music-a mix of fun, groove, and mind-blowing sound. Performers include Martin Léon, Yann Perreau, Antoine Gratton, and Dumas.

Louise Forestier will provide a shining new take on some of her greatest hits in a show inspired by her recent, highly acclaimed album Lumières. Also watch for Chloé Sainte-Marie, who will enthrall poetry lovers with her inspired melodies, and the young Pierre Lapointe, disciple of Alain Bashung and Brigitte Fontaine. As for the always hip Yves Desrosiers, he’ll perform moving interpretations of songs by the Russian poet Vladimir Vissotsky that make up his masterful album Volodia.

The Festival, which is no stranger to stirring tributes, will feature two shows entirely dedicated to paying homage to two of music’s greats. Hosted by Diane Dufresne, the show Salut Brel! will give Luce Dufault, Bruno Pelletier, Claude Léveillée, Pierre Lebeau, and Benoît Brière the chance to wow crowds with their renditions of classic Jacques Brel songs, while the tribute L’âme à la tendresse will showcase Linda Racine, Luce Dufault, Richard Séguin, Claude Gauthier, Boom Desjardins and Jean-François Dubé as they breathe new life into the songs of Pauline Julien. Prepare to be moved!

Rock, blues, and roots musicThis year’s festival is one rockin’ show! First with Gord Downie, solo singer from the Tragically Hip, and his new project The Country of Miracles, which includes singer Julie Doiron. As for Hawksley Workman, he’s back and ready to perform after a major first tour of France where he opened for Noir Désir on many occasions, in leadup to the release of a new album this fall that already has everyone talking. The legendary Daniel Lanois and Bruce Cockburn will add their own regal flair to the festival, along with the California Guitar Trio, who will be joined on stage by Tony Levin. Listen to Jurassik Rock, a Quebec’s group of classic rock.

This year, festivalgoers will also two-step to the sound of country music-with music that ranges from the neo-traditionalist sound of Rosanne Cash or Mary Gauthier to the fringe of alternative rock with Howe Gelb (Giant Sand), and including the inimitable Derailers, Sadies, and New Pornographers (starring Neko Case). A bit closer to home, Laurence Jalbert and the Good Brothers blend country music with the spirit of Quebec.

On a swinging note, we’ll be jazzing things up with HLM, which the "M" means the belgian star Maurane, Coral Egan, Susie Arioli (whose velvety voice lends itself perfectly to her repertoire of jazz classics from the 30s to the 50s), the Trio Marc Vallée, David Foster's new protégé Michael Bublé, ex-Oregon members Glen Moore and Paul McCandless with Theodosii Spassov, and the Pirate Jenny Trio. On a bluesier note, the Festival takes us from Austin to swingin’ London of the 60s with Peter Green, founder of Fleetwood Mac and author of the immortal Black Magic Woman. Premiere. Other legends: Watch for guitar ace Jimmie Vaughan and Robert Randolph, who was discovered by Martin Medeski & Wood and featured on the unanimously acclaimed 2002 concept record The Word. Harry Manx, Andre Williams, and Steve Hill will play with all their usual fever and fervor, while it’s up to the Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir, directed by Trevor Payne, and the righteous Campbell Brothers, to wrap things up. With their soul sounds, Michael Franti and Spearhead should prove to be one of the highlights of this year's edition, along with Mélanie Renaud, whose well-known vocal mastery and sensitivity will remind us why she was chosen for the coveted Félix award for Revelation of the Year. Torontonian and festival newcomer Graph Nobel is also worth keeping your eye on.

Another festival treat: guitarist Rick Haworth in the intimate setting of Pub Saint-Alexandre. Backed by his friends Mario Légaré and Sylvain Clavet, best known for his successful collaborations with Paul Piché, Daniel Bélanger, and many others, he’ll delight one and all as he takes us through his world of alternative country music.

Finally, celebrate the American roots of rock with the great masters of Americana Sonny Landreth-alter ego of Ry Cooder-and Tony Furtado, a devotee of Landreth and Cooder and very popular on the jam bands circuit. More than likely to be a hit (according to Bob Dylan), Australian band of the hour The Waifs bears more than a passing resemblance to Ani DiFranco.

World tour in songOver the ten-day run of the festival, the British Isles won’t seem so far away thanks to the legendary band The Strawbs, alter ego of Fairport Convention and Pentangle, and Rick Wakeman’s first foray into music before moving on to Yes. And we can’t forget Lunasa, the ideal mixture of Bothy Band and Riverdance. Lastly, two big names, Billy Bragg and Bob Geldof, will be making their Québec City Summer Festival debuts.

The hot sounds of Africa and Cuba will resonate with Orchestra Baobab, Sierra Maestra, Lokua Kanza, and So Kalmery. Madagascar musician Solorazaf together with Antibalas and Electro Bamako will shake things up with their eclectic mix of traditional, modern, and electronic music. For a complete change of scenery, see White Cockatoo, for Australian aboriginal music.

Our voyage continues on to Italy with the Neapolitan airs of Spaccanapoli and the Tuscan tunes of Riccardo Tesi and Maurane, moves on to Celtic rock with Great Big Sea and renowned violinist Ashley McIsaac, explores the colors of Intakto, the flamenco guitar of Robert Michaels, the bossa nova of Marcio Faraco Quintet, spans the globe with the world beat sounds of Lo’Jo, then returns to Québec with alternative folk rock of Paul Cargnello. Next up is the Middle East with the magician of Arab melodies Natacha Atlas, who will first be appearing solo, then later with the French group DuOuD. Moving east of Istanbul, Gawwali singer Shahid Ali Khan and his group Mast Mast will imbue our programming with even more soul and global appeal.

Back in Québec, audiences can also be proud of the hard work of Québec bands who blend the old with the new, drawing deeply on folklore from home and abroad to break new ground in music. These artists include the highly talented bands Suroît, Les Chauffeurs à pied, Mes Aïeux and Polémil Bazar, who just released an impressive new album.

Finally we’re happy to announce a very special event called Présences autochtones, which will bring together some of the most worthy artistic representatives of the First Nations, including, Gérald Laroche, Don Ross, the Kanenhi:io Singers, and singers from the Nunavut gorge Alacie Tullaugak and Lucy Amarualik. Also, we will find again Buffy Ste-Marie of Saskatchewan.

Night flightAnother special guest: singer and cellist Jorane, who will not only be joining Orchestre symphonique de Québec, but will also be appearing with Hawksley Workman, violinist Olivier Schroer, Pakistani singer Shahid Ali Khan, and brothers Éloi and Jonathan Painchaud. Cristobal Tapia de Veer, the One Ton talented multi-intrumentalist will present its Cristo E.W. Project. Those who see machines as instruments of fertile musical experimentation won’t be disappointed with performances by Ramasutra-undoubtedly Québec’s premier world electronic band-or British sensation Cinematic Orchestra, which produces a brilliant mix of trip hop and sophisticated dance. You definitely won’t want to miss the electronic alchemy and sampling of Akufen, Crackhouse, and Deadbeat.

Sing me a songVariety devotees will have something to sink their teeth into with the "frenchy-jazzy-swing" dance entertainment concept C’est Extra!, which will take us on a joyous journey from Dalida to Michèle Richard, with performances by Quebecer Steeve Diamond and Belgian francophones Freddy Birset and Philippe Lafontaine, who have always had a special place in their hearts for Québec...

Children of all ages will be elated about the return of Gala Ça m’chante. For a 7th year running, finalists of the contest organized in conjunction with the 275 Allô/Ados-Radio show on Radio-Canada’s Première Chaîne will hear their lyrics put to music and interpreted by stars of the music world, including Marc Déry, Ariane Moffatt, and Les Frères Painchaud. Traditionally held at Parc de la Francophonie, this event has always been a highlight of the Québec City Summer Festival and will be hosted for the second year in a row by the inimitable Gregory Charles.

Courting summer enjoyment: a classical program to serenade the skiesClassical enthusiasts are in for a real treat in 2003. Playing in the Seminary courtyard, the Orchestre symphonique de Québec will accompany noted pianist Alain Lefèvre as he interprets no fewer than three concertos in a single performance, as well as cellist Jorane a few days later. Internationally known André Gagnon will also be on hand to perform some of the most striking works of his prodigious career. Appearing together, Gianna Corbisiero, Mark Hervieux, and chamber orchestra I Musici de Montréal will share a compelling rendition of Verdi, while Robert Marien, Hélène Guilmette, and Geneviève Charest interpret a parade of Broadway’s greatest hits.

Historic Bon-Pasteur chapel will welcome harpsichordist Catherine Perrin and the much-praised duo John Holloway (violin) and Lars Ulrick Mortensen (harpsichord). Also on the program are reputed gambist quatuor Phantasm, cellist phenomenon Bruno Cocset, and a Jacques Offenbach operetta, the irresistible Pomme d’Api, produced by Claude Soucy, directed by Jacques Leblanc, and starring Albert Millaire, Sabrina Ferland, and Marc Duguay.

To crown it all, OSQ and director Yoav Talmi will be transforming the Plains of Abraham into an open-air concert hall with their performance of two major works from the symphonic repertoire-Beethoven’s Sixth, or the "pastoral symphony," and Ravel’s Bolero. Admission free to all festival button wearers.

Our partnersA program of such note owes much to the numerous partners who generously lend their support to the Québec City Summer Festival every year. A particular word of thanks to event presenter Bell, copresenter Molson Dry, and our major sponsors Fédération des caisses Desjardins, Hydro-Québec, Metro, McDonald’s Restaurants, and Groupe Jean Coutu. The Festival also salutes the support of partners such as official event carrier Air Transat, event music store Archambault, the Québec Hilton, Pepsi Alex Coulombe ltée, Société des Alcools du Québec, the Government of Québec, the City of Québec, the Government of Canada, Galaxie channel, Radio-Canada, Radio Énergie, Le Soleil, and Loto-Québec, a special concert partner of OSQ.

Thanks to their generous support, the Summer Festival can once again turn Québec City into a giant, open-air stage where the world’s borders fade away and its musical performers come to share their art and emotion.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Various Artists
  • Subtitle: A Window on the World
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