The 5th edition of the Festival Voix d’Amériques (FVA), February 10 to 17, 2006, was a roaring success—proof once again that celebrating oral literature, text performance and spoken word belongs in Montréal.
The Festival gambled and won on its guest of honour, Tomson Highway, hitherto unknown to Francophones here. Recognized around the world as the best Aboriginal writer in Canada and certainly one of its best playwrights, Tomson Highway is a stranger to Quebec no longer. Audiences were delighted with his stories—both epic and emotional, as well as his songwriting, performed by one of the revelations of this year’s FVA, the young singer and actor Patricia Cano.
Besides Tomson Highway, other discoveries lay in wait for delighted FVA audiences, who filled the rooms to overflowing. The Fugitives collective, storyteller Ivan Coyote and performer Kinnie Starr could have kept the crowds calling for more all night. Chanti Wadge meanwhile went straight to the heart of a broken heart in a wrenching performance marrying poetry and movement.
Among the highlights of the Festival were the Jolis garçons in an evening hosted by Alexis O’Hara in which poet Jean-Paul Daoust, only one among many, was allowed to “loosen up and let go.” The Body and Soul 3 show, in French at last, saw some explosive performances from people like Catherine Lalonde and Sylvie Laliberté who charmed the crowd with their energy and feeling. D. Kimm, the soul of the FVA, hosted the evening and contributed her own powerful performance. The 2nd Combat contre la langue de bois sparked with electricity, from the delicate determination of Jim Corcoran to the provocative input of Jean-François Poupart and his two wives and the dynamic output of Francine Pelletier on the omnipresent nationalist discourse, not to mention Michel Vézina’s excitement on the topic of politeness. The group Caniche Hara-Kiri did it again—more than once, while the young Algonquin rapper Samian charmed everyone who heard him. Loco Locass ended the scintillating week with a fiendish surge alongside Raôul Duguay.
The Night Shift cabarets and 5 à 7 every evening at the Casa del Popolo threw out a few surprises of their own, while the second Salon de la marginalité once again created a space for various organizations and small publishers to network.
This fifth edition of the FVA went off with all the marks of its new maturity. Les Filles électriques, the group responsible for organizing the FVA, has expanded and consolidated over the past year. A fundraising campaign will be launched shortly to ensure the Festival’s continued growth.
The next FVA will take place February 2 to 9, 2007 and FVA executive and artistic director D. Kimm already has some major projects in her sights!