Montreal jazz festival cancels controversial show after criticism

MONTREAL — The Montreal International Jazz Festival has cancelled the remaining presentations of a show that has been criticized because it features a white woman singing songs composed by black slaves.

The festival said Wednesday it was apologizing to anyone who was hurt by the decision to put on the shows.

“Since the beginning of SLAV performances, the festival team has been shaken and strongly affected by all comments received,” it said in a statement.

“For the Festival international de Jazz de Montreal, inclusion and reconciliation between communities is essential. We made the decision with the artist Betty Bonifassi to cancel all performances of the show at the festival.”

Bonifassi, a Montreal-based singer known for her Oscar-nominated work on the soundtrack of “Les Triplettes de Belleville,” was the main performer.

The show, which was directed by renowned Quebec playwright Robert Lepage, has been mired in controversy since the get-go.

At the premiere last week, about 75 protesters staged a demonstration outside the theatre that was hosting the performance.

Police had to form a cordon to block protesters in order to allow people to enter.

And on Tuesday, U.S. musician Moses Sumney cancelled a gig at the jazz festival to protest the SLAV shows.

Both the jazz festival and Lepage’s public relations firm said there would be no interviews on the matter Wednesday.

“We understand the position of the Montreal International Jazz Festival,” Edouard Garneau, a spokesman for the PR firm, said in an email.

“Considering the current context, we do not wish to add any other comments for the time being.”

In a later statement, the company said Lepage would comment before the end of the week.

Black activist Vincent Mousseau, who spoke at the opening night protest, says the festival was forced to cancel SLAV because of pressure from artists who demonstrated against it and because of widespread media attention that included coverage in the New York Times.

Just Posted

Highway 2/Gaetz Avenue interchange is now open

Work began on the $80-million interchange in 2016

Red Deer’s capital budget talks start amid gloomy forecasts

Failing Kinex Arena will need replacement soon: city manager

Jamie Koe rink kicked out of Red Deer Curling Classic

Skip Jamie Koe and his team from Yellowknife, N.W.T., was ejected from… Continue reading

Red Deer’s Christmas Wish Breakfast helps children by collecting toys

Donations go to Red Deer Salvation Army and Red Deer Christmas Bureau

‘Fantastic Beasts’ flies to top of weekend box office

LOS ANGELES — “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” crawled, slithered and… Continue reading

VIDEO: Stan Lee leaves posthumous message for his fans

Marvel Comics’ co-creator died on Monday at the age of 95

Death of young Thai kickboxer brings focus on dangers

BANGKOK — The sight of two preteen boys pummeling each other with… Continue reading

Teenage driver survives spectacular crash at F3 Macau GP

MACAU — Teenage driver Sophia Floersch was set to undergo surgery Monday… Continue reading

David’s Bridal files for bankruptcy, but your order is safe

David’s Bridal is filing for bankruptcy protection but there is no danger… Continue reading

Taiwan president defends pro-independence film award winner

BEIJING — Taiwan’s president expressed her support for the prestigious Golden Horse… Continue reading

Pamela Anderson calls Australian PM’s comments ‘smutty’

LOS ANGELES — Pamela Anderson is criticizing Australia’s prime minister for making… Continue reading

Trump on Khashoggi death tape: ‘No reason for me to hear it’

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said there is no reason for him… Continue reading

Searchers in California fires step up efforts ahead of rain

CHICO, Calif. — Searchers combing a Northern California town levelled by a… Continue reading

Disney details new ‘Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge’ attractions

ORLANDO, Fla. — “Star Wars” fans will soon be able to pilot… Continue reading

Most Read