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After 4 years as a Montreal resident, I was finally able to make it last night to the Jazz festival (I was travelling outside of the country for the last 3 summers), and what a night it was! First we heard the great music of Simon Shaheen & Qantara. Shaheen, an arabian oud and violin maestro plays an engaging mixture of jazz, world beat, latin rythms and classical arab music. There were a lot of bellies happily dancing in front of the stage last night! I first discovered the oud, a beautiful middle eastern instrument that sounds and looks a little like a mandolin, with the music of the Anouar Brahem Trio. Their CD called Astrakan Caf� is one of my all time favorites, an album I often listen to while working on articles or writing this blog. I hope Anouar Brahem will be invited to a future edition of the jazz festival.

We walked around, taking in the crowd and catching a glance of punk looking portugese singer Mariza, and made it in front of the stage in time for the mind blowing performance of Bauchklang. These 6 austrian guys are alone on stage. No instrument, no beat box, nothing but microphones. With the sole contribution of their voices, they produce some of the hotest « electronic » techno sounding music I’ve had a chance to hear. When they started doing their amazing a capella performance, I closed my eyes and in a second, I forgot that there was no band or d.j. on stage.

When we first talked about going to that show, E. was afraid that the novelty effect would wear off after a couple of songs, but we were both surprised to see that it didn’t. Bauchklang’s compositions are good and their sense of rythm and knowledge of techno and musical experimentation goes far from the simple imitation of a beat box. As they explain on their web site « Bauchklang is not about imitating or satirizing instruments, it’s about discovering and creatively using the infinite variety of human voice. » The energy in their performance was contagious. The young, rave looking crowd went crazy and called back the group for 5 encores.

To get an idea of their talent, listen to some of the mp3 files available on their web site, particularly Don’t ask me, Fire below, and the trippy I Transmission. If you want to be able to compare their performance with a song you already know, listen to their version of Sting’s Roxanne.

They will perfom again tonight in Montreal at the Metropolis, and then they move on to Le Festival d’�t� de Qu�bec, where I’m sure the crowds will go crazy once again!

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Avis aux automobilistes et aux c�libataires

Apr�s plus de 12 jours � me promener partout dans les environs de Montr�al avec mon nouveau scooter, j’ai finalement d� m’arr�ter � une station d’essence pour faire le plein. Total: 2.86$

Conseil aux c�libataires: Je vous recommande fortement l’achat d’un scooter plut�t que d’un chien (ou encore l’emprunt d’un b�b�) comme pr�texte pour faire des rencontres. Depuis que j’ai mon p’tit bolide, de nombreux inconnus/voisins/passants s’adressent � moi pour me poser des questions ou pour me « f�liciter » sur mon nouveau moyen de transport et ce, m�me si j’ai l’air ridicule avec mon casque sur la t�te. Malheureusement, le mod�le que j’ai choisi ne me permet pas de prendre un passager…

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They Came, They Cooked, They Left

Two women had the great idea of creating a cookbook based on ex-lovers recipes. It’s called The Ex-boyfriend Cookbook. They Came, They Cooked, They Left (But We Ended Up with Some Great Recipes).

« We swear we didn’t conceive of this book as a way to pick up guys. At least it didn’t start out that way. Really: One day we were planning a barbecue at the Iowa farmhouse where we lived and Erin said, « Oh, I’ll make Davis’s spicy BBQ rub! » And we kind of looked at each other and said, « We should write a cookbook of all the recipes we’ve gotten from ex-boyfriends over the years! » And an idea was born. »

And what a good idea! I can’t remember what most of my ex-boyfriends tasted like, but I sure can remember the taste of some of their dishes! M.H. wasn’t big on cooking but he made a great cornish hen stuffed with ham and cheese. I wasn’t a big fan of M.K.’s tofu and brown rice dish but he put together a memorable vegetarian chili. I didn’t mind if F.’s Pernod and green grape pasta sauce reminded us of his ever present ex-girlfriend (who had passed it on to him) because it tasted so good! And of course, I can only imagine the influence of my sweet E.’s fabulous cooking repertoire on his ex-girlfriends!

How about you? Do you remember ex-loved ones through your heart or your stomach? And what recipe or dish makes you remember them the most (in a good or a bad way…)?