We would like to thank everyone who joined us on November 20th 2017 at Bar Robo for another edition of Music Monday!  The evening featured performances by up and coming singer-songwriter and vocalist Zoe Haggarty-Leblanc and the Franco-ontarian rapper Kimya.

The evening also featured a panel discussion titled ‘The Franco and Anglo Music Communities in Perfect Harmony’. The panel featured Natalie Bernardin (APCM), Matias Munoz (Ottawa Showbox) and board member Patrick Harrison (PRH Agency, The Great Diversion) and was moderated by Akeem Ouellet (OMIC employee and French/English Artist Singer-Songwriter). The conversation between the members present and the panelists served as the beginning of a bigger conversation that the Ottawa Music Industry Coalition wants to have with its members and the wider Francophone and Anglophone music communities of the Capital region.

Those present during this panel suggested these simple ways of collaborating between the two communities:

1) Bring together French and English artists on the same bills. 

Panelist Patrick Harrison has done some bilingual booking through his management agency in the past. Bands like The Great Diversion (English), Règlement 17 (French) and the now defunct French band AkoufèN have done successful bilingual bills in the past.

Other regional artists who have done the same with success include Hull-staple Fet.Nat and bilingual folk duo Moonfruits. Local festivals and events such as MEGAPHONO and Arboretum Festival, and independent record store The Record Centre have also been very supportive when it comes to supporting both Francophone and Anglophone art.

2) Writing articles about French and English artists in both languages.

In attendance was Squerl Noir, Francophone rap artist and employee at l'APCM - An association that represents francophone artists in Ontario and Western-Canada. He suggested that the English Media should be writing reviews about French artists' work. He believes that doing so could give the art a completely different outlook and could encourage other English-speaking music consumers to consume Francophone music. Panelist Mathias Munoz of Ottawa Showbox mentioned the possibility of including French articles and writing about Francophone artists on their website.

In an article written by the panel's moderator Akeem Ouellet, he states that in the 1970s it was common for Anglophone music consumers and critics to consume Francophone music, as it was thought to be exotic. French Canadian Progressive artists such as franco-ontarians CANO and Québecois' Harmonium were praised by the English media. They played on English-Language radio stations and signed to huge labels.

Is the Ottawa music industry due for a similar movement?

"I was thrilled to walk into Bar Robo and participate in a community dialogue about bringing together anglophone and francophone musicians in order to foster more bilingualism in Ottawa" says Natale Dankotuwage, a student at OCAD and an avid consumer of local music. "I grew up as an English speaker in Toronto, but I want to live in a city where both official languages persist. I think it's a distinct part of our Canadian Identity. It sets us apart from other nations and we need to do more to preserve it. I believe fostering more collaborations between local francophone and anglophone musicians is an amazing approach!".

The Ottawa music scene's diversity is perhaps what makes it a special one. Panelist and General Manager at l'APCM Natalie Bernardin, believes that it is important for both communities to come together in order to grow and strengthen Ottawa's music industry. Those present at November's Music Monday agreed with our panelists and believed that the Anglophone and Francophone music scenes are part of the reason why the Ottawa music scene is unique.

How can we make music events more accessible? How can we market events for both communities? How do we keep the conversation going? Let us know what you think about November's Music Monday panel subject! Email info@ottawamic.com.

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