But last night at the Festival d'ete de Quebec, Place d’ Youville stage, The Barr Brothers pulled a full Monty and laid the stage bare with raw improvisation and a jam flavoured performance. They were a different band then I have seen before. After a five hour drive from Ottawa to Quebec City I was disappointed that the collaboration with Bassekou Kouyate and Amy Sacko was cancelled. Presumably, they couldn't get in to the country (not really sure why). The collaboration has a back story with the two bands having a history of rehearsals. The stage was set for a showdown of Rhode Island come Montreal come Mali mash up. Only two opportunities to see this magic, a free performance in Quebec City and a Jazz fest show at the Theatre de Maisonneuve in Montreal.
This summer has seen slim pickings for The Barr Brothers shows, so I was fully committed to this road trip. The cancellation appeared on my phone just about an hour before we landed on the Grand Allee in Quebec. Crest fallen was my first response. Then I was determined to make the best of the situation. After all, the amazing Afro Beat band from San Paulo Brazil, Bixiga 70 was lined up for the 7:30 pm slot before the Barr Brothers 9:00 pm slot. The Barr Brothers didn't back out of the shows. Instead they soldiered on with a reworked line up and collaboration with Mamadou Koita, Sabio Sissoko and Joe Grass.Read More