2012 INTERNATIONAL PERCUSSION FESTIVAL
annual and much anticipated Longueuil
International Percussion Festival (LIPF),
a summer celebration of music and culture, keeps getting better
and better. Under the expert and inspired leadership of Gilbert
Lucu and programming prodigy France Cadieux, the festival continues
to evolve, and now, deservedly, attracts tourists from around
the world. I overheard -- at one of the makeshift mini bars
on the pedestrian-only, festive rue St. Charles -- a German,
Japanese and American communicating in the lingua franca
of this year’s festivities: mas Tequila por favor.
the occasion of the 11th edition of the LIPF (July 10-15th),
wonderfully provided for by the weather gods that didn’t
miss a beat, the amazing music and culture of Mexico was featured.
relationship between Quebec and Mexico is as precious as it
is practical: we invade them in winter to escape ours, while
they come north looking for place and opportunity.
Canada is a relatively young country, Mexico’s formal
history goes back to 2,000 BC. In recognition of its profound
and eventful past, the organizers constructed a simulacrum of
a Mayan temple in the heart of the festival site, satisfying
both aesthetic and pedagogical curiosity. Inside the temple
were video documentaries, murals of glyphs, plinths and calendars
from the classical Mayan Age (250 to 900 AD), guided tours,
and a stage where all day long both traditional and modern dance
and music were performed.
who have been to both Mexico and the festival temple emerged
from the latter (and not necessarily the former) wiser and more
appreciative of the subtleties and nuances of Mexican culture,
especially its rituals and unsurpassed architecture. And for
impressionable children whose minds are like sponges, the experience
doubtlessly opened their horizons to the richness and diversity
of the world and world culture. What became very apparent as
the festival unfolded is the ease with which ancient Mexican
art forms lend themselves to modernity. Mexican culture is dynamic
and constantly evolving and the festival organizers made certain
that fact was given its due.
bears repeating, even though the reputation of the festival
has grown by leaps and bounds, that
the LIPF is “the complete festival,” which is why
record numbers turn out year after year (200,000
in 2012). Everything and more is there -- and it’s 99%
visiting country is honoured with full treatment and coverage
in an hospitable and eye-friendly environment that includes
turn of the century provincial architecture fronted by a profusion
of the region’s legendary maple and oak trees.
year, the centrally located Park St. Mark served as the local
zocalo (public plaza), lending itself to a rest area
and meeting place, an elaborate children’s playground,
and an extensive market place where not only Mexican fare and
food were available but also handmade crafts and percussion
instruments from Africa.
the festival, there is so much happening everywhere it’s
hard to decide what to take in. There’s
always a concert to catch or one can take a leisurely stroll
along the incomparable rue St. Charles, where from one minute
to the next you never know what’s going to erupt. If it’s
your thirst or appetite, you’ll find watering holes and
ethnic snack bars on every corner and in between, there’s
a huge selection of outdoor restaurants offering the menu equivalent
of world music. From the many booths that line both sides of
the pedestrian-only thoroughfare, you’ll happen upon instructional
schools especially geared for children and adolescents. They
not only offer samples of their programming but exciting live
demonstrations of, for example, from Arthur Murray and Bahia
Dance Studio workshops, salsa, merengue, line dancing and break
dancing; there were also group percussion jams, belly dancing
pointers and lessons in the visual arts. If, according to Australian
novelist Patrick White, “a party is everyone’s responsibility,”
no one does it better than Longueuil. From the opening hours
of the festival until closing time, rue St. Charles is a party
that doesn’t end.
was more music than ever at this year’s event, with concerts
programmed from the afternoon until late into the night. Two
stages were dedicated to encouraging the development of new
talent in both dance and music. And for folklore enthusiasts,
there was a super abundance of authentic colour and costumes.
the many concert highlights from the main Lotto Quebec stage
Ruiz, recently arrived from Mexico City, and from Cancun,
the highly engaging group Chak,
whose plaintive melody lines were infused with rock and reggae
beats as well as note-perfect, three-part harmonies that won
over the large crowd. Mamselle’s mostly original music
featured highly original, jazz-inflected horn arrangements with
very unusual but evocative pairings of trumpet or sax with voice.
We can expect to hear a lot more from both groups in the future.
year, Australia, a country that for 40,000 years before the
arrival of the Europeans was home to the Aboriginals, will be
the festival’s special guest. I’m looking forward
to going on a Walkabout,
learning about the Dreamtime, the haunting sounds of the didgeridoo,
the secrets of cooking kangaroo, and trading tall tales with
you have already decided that Old Longueuil is where you want
to spend more time, don’t forget the FREE summer concerts
that take place every Friday and Saturday in
St. Mark Park.
June 23, Fête
Nationale (St-Jean-Baptiste Day), featuring Brigitte
Boisjoli, Judi Richards and Kevin Parent (FREE outdoor concerts
St. Charles Street, City Hall).
don't forget the FREE 2013 outdoor Aug. 8th, concert featuring
tenor Marc Hervieux and Coeur de Pirate with the celebrated
Orchestra. The concert begins at 8 pm. at Park
Michel Chartrand in Longueuil, corner of Adoncour and Curé
filed by Robert J. Lewis
© Robert J. Lewis