Suoni per il Popolo, Montreal’s self-proclaimed festival of “liberation music,” has adapted to the coronavirus pandemic by moving their 2020 edition online. To celebrate Suoni, Stefan Christoff has prepared a mix for us.
Over the past two decades, Suoni has consistently proven to be the anti-festival par excellence, a rich program spanning the spectrum of experimental, electronic, free jazz, punk, metal, psychedelic and new music, films and workshops across nearly a month of programming. Founded by Mauro Pezzente (Godspeed You! Black Emperor) and Kiva Stimac (Popolo Press), Suoni can still boast the most amazing programming (and the best posters), the right combination of tradition and innovation, of local flavor and international art forms.
A casual glance at the programming might suggest a random grab-bag of weird music, and in fact Suoni does bring together a wide variety of experimental and avant-garde genres, including “free jazz, noise, electronica, turntable art, soundscapes, experimental rock and pop, musique actuelle and spoken word.” But what connects psychedelic folk with free improv, or ethereal ambient melodies with classical composition? At closer inspection, Suoni is a nexus point in which these diverse players and scenes overlap.
Suoni is also just a very unique type of gathering, one that is not only shaped by but could really only happen in Montreal. Suoni’s guiding spiritual principle of “liberation music” resonates with those whose dedication to their craft is inseparable from who they are, and hence retains an ethical dimension that has nothing to do with commercial art. Music for the people! In times of global pandemic, we must find alternate means of bringing the music to the people. Suoni has been an important node for me personally since moving to Montreal over a decade ago, and while I am very sad that Suoni, like virtually ever other event planned for this year, is unable to proceed as originally planned, their Twitch stream has been some consolation.
Stefan Christoff is a Montreal-based independent journalist, community organizer, and musician with a long history with Suoni per il Popolo. He is also a friend and collaborator of mine. He remains admirably active in various pursuits, and his network of collaborators is wide, including multiple records in duet with Sam Shallabi, the duo Anarchist Mountains with his brother Jordan Christoff, and collaborates with Nick Schofield as Rêves Sonores. I would strongly recommend anyone reading this check out Raven Raven Raven, a recent collaboration in which Matteo Uggeri reshapes improvisations between Stefan and a quartet of Montreal players.
Stefan has been a friend of the site since the earliest days of ACL. In 2014, Stefan and Xarah Dion presented Regards sur le 7e feu ensemble mix, to celebrate the realization of an ensemble work by that name, inspired by protest movements like Idle No More and the long standing struggles of indigenous communities for justice. The struggle continues today, with the Wet’suwet’en protests and railway blockage. The pandemic has seen so many cultural initiatives migrate online, and I know we will see the same creativity and enthusiasm in pursuing activism online as well.
For this mix, Stefan draws on a variety of performers from the 2020 editions, including Suoni mainstays such as Quatuor Bozzini, Xarah Dion, and Marie Davidson, as well many exciting new artists. Enjoy. (Joseph Sannicandro)
Stefan Christoff: “Suoni Per il Popolo has moved into the virtual space this year, although there aren’t live shows, there will be many performances. Sharing a mix that features work by the artists presenting work this year, thought it would be positive to make a mix for A CLOSER LISTEN that highlights this important community arts event.”
1. Paradis Artificiel – Nirvana Paradise 1
2. Future Perfect – Side B
3. Pelada – Aquí
4. DREGQUEEN – No Angel
5. Xarah Dion – Honey Trap
6. Eliza Kavtion – Nashville
7. Quatuor Bozzini – John Cage: String Quartet: Quodlibet
8. Yves Charuest – Rohrwurm
9. Kee Avil – thinkstill
10. Silvervest – 10,000 birds
11. Cheryl Duvall & Anna Höstman – allemande
12. Secondsight – NDE Connectomics
13. Heathers – Daughter
14. BiG SiSSY – Suuck Up
15. Backxwash – Dying Seems Like Fun
16. Deidre – Charon
17. Apocalypse 8 – Sky Piece
18. Crystalgriche – (solo)
19. Skin – Calluna Vulgaris
20. Q-052 – Gespeg
21. Marie Davidson – Lara