From September 8th, Les 7 Doigts will present an exclusive show that will inaugurate the brand new studio cabaret at Espace St-Denis in the Latin Quarter. Justified My island, my heart, this multidisciplinary creation, as spectacular as it is poetic, tells the story of the city through the journey of a newcomer who settles in Montreal for a fleeting romantic relationship… but then falls in love with Montreal itself! We attended a media presentation of an excerpt from the show, accompanied by an artist who has followed a similar path to get his point!
Lionel Kizaba is a Congolese afro-electro artist based in Montreal since 2011. In Kinshasa he was a jazz drummer and jack of all trades musicians. After working in Congo for several years, he chose Montreal as his new home, persuaded by Canadian friends who told him, “Canada is the place for artists. Artists are well supported in Montreal. It’s the best place in the world to play music. »
It quickly became clear to him that this was indeed the case. “I did a training course for immigrant artists called Eureka. I was supported, trained, shown different tools, how to integrate, how scholarships work, all that. It made my life a lot easier. »
But beyond the practical aspects, integration into a new country is always an affair of the heart! Like the character of My island, my heart, Lionel Kizaba’s ex-girlfriend, whom he met in Congo, was Canadian. And when it arrived, it wasn’t the training and support of artists that did it to like Montreal, but the small details: the joie de vivre, the famous mood Montrealers. “I’ve been to several cities around the world, but Montreal is really amazing! »
By visiting the excerpt from the show with us My island, my heart Presented this morning, he felt it represented a scene so famous particularly well mood : the kitchen party where friends jam i lost my baby by Jean Leloup in a festive mood!
“This is VERY Montreal! We did so many jams with musicians, with beer, food, making music… I’ve never experienced it like that in Congo! »
The typical Montreal spiral staircase integrated into the stage design also had an effect.
“It reminds me of arriving in Montreal in October and seeing the trees change color and then the snow falling… It reminded me of Montreal, the stairs with the grenade at the bottom and the scene where we see snow!” I will never forget the first time I felt the snow and the cold. I remember feeling it in my veins! But I’ve adapted. »
In addition to circus arts and dance, the show is also accompanied by a poetic narrative held by the hand of the master (of the track) by Didier Lucien, who embodies “The Passer-by”.
His remarks in the show’s introduction soon seduced Kizaba.
“The introduction reminded me of immigration, when you arrive in a country you’re a bit lost… Actually I was out of place, but not too much. In the Congo my friends were almost all foreigners. But what he expressed resonated with me. »
In his case, upon arrival, Lionel Kizaba had first met Mario St-Amand, who took him under his wing and took him on tour throughout Quebec. What to quickly discover the charms of the host country!
A few years later, after participating in a showcase at Mundial with his own songs in the fall of 2021, several presenters from all over the world were so convinced that he had the opportunity to play at the Jazz Heritage & Festival in Louisiana, as well as in Italy, France , England, Vancouver and … St-Georges-de-Beauce! Not to mention an appearance at the Festival International Nuits d’Afrique.
Ten years later, the integration has been decidedly successful!
A new immersive space
My island, my heart is “really a show in the picture of where we want to go with this new space,” as we were told when we arrived at the scene.
The desire of the team behind Espace St-Denis is to “explode” the experience of a show as viewers are literally immersed in the action happening around them. The main story actions take place on the stage in front of it, but characters will appear on platforms in the middle of the stage and will roam among the audience, taking full advantage of this 180-degree virtual environment that the studio cabaret offers.
Several LED screens are used on the walls and can serve as a backdrop for assembled productions video mapping. The possibilities offered by this visual environment are inspiring to say the least.
We have also been informed that in the autumn the Le Marie-Louise terrace bar and French brasserie-style restaurant will open their doors and allow for the presentation of dinner shows.
Visibly impressed with the space, Kizaba considered the possibility of presenting his next album launch there. “I can imagine doing that here. We have an Afro-futuristic concept, with projections we bring the audience into my universe, into space…” he says and looks around the room, from the stage to the balcony. The album in question is planned for November. Apparently we’ll know more soon…
Presented by the 7 Doigts and France Film Company in association with MONTRÉAL COMPLÈTEMENT CiRQUE, the show My island, my heart will be presented to the public on September 8th at the Studio-Cabaret of the Espace St-Denis. Details and tickets here.
* This article was created in collaboration with Espace St-Denis.
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