Artists Protest in Music and Poetry Quebec’s Secularism Law
“Musicians are not politicians, they’re there to bring to light certain ugliness of a society and to raise awareness”
On Feb. 6 at La Sala Rossa, artists came together to denounce Quebec’s secularism law formerly known as Bill 21. Photo Noemi Stella Mazurek
The band No Cosmos performed at the night of performances dedicated to protest Quebec’s secularism law in art. Photo Noemi Stella Mazurek
Young activist Tasnim Rekik took part in protesting Quebec’s secularism law formerly known as Bill 21. Photo Noemi Stella Mazurek
It was a multifaceted gathering of poets, musicians, and activists that took to the stage at La Sala Rossa on Feb. 6 to protest Quebec’s secularism law formerly known as Bill 21.
“I’m really glad that the artistic community is finally participating in this discourse,” said audience member Sheeta Achha. “I think artists will help to spread the word in a more pervasive way […] in a more accessible way.”
The event was put on by Howl Arts, a community driven group that aims to “create connections between different organizations and struggles for justice and the arts,” according to event organizer and Howl Arts founder, Stefan Christoff.
It was an emotional and connective affair, performers of all different backgrounds took to the ambiently lit stage to share their talents, their feelings, and their art.
The night was a contrast of spoken word and music punctuated with interludes of upbeat political pop put on by the energetic DJ TIGNASSE.
Balkan singers Sarah Albu and Dina Cindrić kicked off the night; they were followed by a speech given by Hanadi Saad who had just been nominated as one of Canada’s Top 25 Women of Influence.
“I think especially as artists, well not just as artists, as humans with other humans, I think it’s important for us to be together and for people who aren’t affected directly to support people who are so that there’s strength in numbers,” said Cindrić.
Audience members swayed to the sounds of the ney (flute), oud (lute), and riq (percussions) produced by the instrumental trio Ensemble Al-Zahawi, and quieted to listen to poetry by Ehab Lotayef.
“Musicians are not politicians, they’re there to bring to light certain ugliness of a society and to raise awareness,” said Zayid Al-Baghdadi, flute player in the trio and criminal justice lawyer.
The night was multilingual, young activist Tasnim Rekik took to the stage with her mother who recited a poem in Arabic then later spoke in French.
“As you saw tonight we wanted to ensure that there was the real diversity that is in Montreal,” said Christoff.
“What we’re trying to do is create […] an environment that is open to many different backgrounds who can come together and oppose this law while also highlighting the voices of artists that come from communities that are directly affected.”
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