The Frye Festival is Canada’s only bilingual international literary festival, showcasing local, regional, Canadian and international authors, storytellers, poets, playwrights, graphic novelists, spoken-word artists and more.
Under the ‘more’ category is music, and it has a significant presence in this year’s festival.
Angele Cormier, the music programmer for Frye Fest, says the event lets her introduce artists to a whole new audience.
“If you look at the Frye Jam, which Les Paiens are hosting on Saturday evening, it features authors reading their work accompanied by the band,” Angele says. “It tends to be a little different from what people are used to seeing or hearing from Les Paiens or the authors that are accompanying them.”
“It makes for a great experience for all concerned. Authors typically are not asked to read with bands backing them up but I feel it is these very things that helps to set the Frye Festival apart from other literary festivals.”
Considered he Frye Festival’s signature event, Soiree Frye takes place at Moncton’s Capitol Theatre on Friday evening. The show will kick off with readings by authors Ross King, Robert Lalonde, Lynn Coady and Denise Desautels.
Performances from Moncton bluegrass favourites the BackYard Devils, as well as the Vancouver-based, Laval-born singer-songwriter Petunia will follow.
With a new album in the works, The BackYard Devils have built an impressive fan base through their mix of country, rockabilly and bluegrass music. The band is a live favourite with Metro Moncton audiences.
Petunia’s newest record, Inside Of You, is due for release on May 24. The record is a collection of original material with a twist of western swing, rockabilly and punk. In addition to his show at the Capitol Theatre on Friday evening, Petunia will also perform at the Empress Theatre later that same night.
After their respective sets, Petunia will join the BackYard Devils for an unscripted show, performing in both French and English.
A multi-dimensional musical performance awaits audiences on Saturday evening:
Les Paiens, a Moncton-based jazz-fusion group will host the Frye Jam. The group, already known for their ability to fuse multiple styles of music together, will be primarily showcasing their improvisational skills on Saturday. The group will perform practically unrehearsed background music for readings by five authors – Mathew Henderson, Rose Eliceiry, Gerard Beirne, Merilyn Simonds and MC June.
Les Paiens bassist Marc “Chops” Arsenault says that the band enjoys the improvisation associated with the Frye Jam but is also aware they can’t let the music overshadow or overpower the literary reading.
“The number one thing that we look to ensure is that the writers understand that we are there to serve their works and not vice versa,” Marc says. “The music runs from more ambient-sounding material through blues-inspired music.
“Ultimately, there is a lot of listening going on so that we can match the music that we are performing to the author’s inflections, their tone of voice while also accenting certain portions of the reading. The fun part is being in that moment with the author at that moment in time.”
In addition to the lively Frye Jam, audiences will be treated to performances by East Coast Music Award winner Mo Kenney and Cedric Vieno.
At the relatively young age of 23, Mo Kenney has already made quite an impression in the music business. Her self-titled debut record earned rave reviews while her songwriting earned the admiration of Ron Sexsmith, Gordie Sampson and Joel Plaskett, who produced her album.
Later this spring, Cedric Vieno will release his second album, Maquiller l’Âne. Recorded in November 2013 with the help of Pascal Lejeune, the record follows up his critically acclaimed 2012 debut, NorthShore Love Stories.
Along with the musical performance slated for Saturday evening, MKW will provide multimedia projections during the performances. Since 2002, MKW has been creating event-specific live video installations that are integrated into a multi-media show featuring footage taken from all over the world.
What: Soiree Frye with
The BackYard Devils and Petunia
When: Friday April 25, 8 p.m.
Where: Capitol Theatre, 811 Main St., Moncton
Tickets are $20. Advance tickets are available at the Capitol Theatre Box Office and by phone at (506) 856-4379.
What: After Party with Petunia
When: Friday April 25, 10 p.m.
Where: Empress Theatre, Robinson Court, Downtown Moncton
Tickets are $5. Admission is free with presentation of ticket from Soiree Frye
What: Frye Jam -Hosted by Les Paiens, authors Mathew Henderson, Rose Eliceiry, Gerard Beirne, Merilyn Simonds and MC June will be accompanying the band for literary readings. With Mo Kenney and Cedric Vieno. Multimedia projections to be provided by MKW.
When: Saturday, April 26, 8 p.m.
Where: Empress Theatre Robinson Court, Downtown Moncton
Tickets are $15. Advance tickets are available at the Capitol Theatre Box Office and by phone at (506) 856-4379.