Mimi O'Bonsawin

Tap into a world of music at Mundial Montreal

Over 30 acts from Korea to South Africa to Peru to Canada are playing the ninth annual festival.

Mundial Montreal is the sister festival to M for Montreal, dedicated exclusively to a 21st century version of “world music.” The event, which runs from Nov. 19 through Nov. 22, is a gathering of Canadian and international acts playing a wide array of styles — contemporary, traditional and areas in between — from as far as Korea and South Africa and as close as downtown Montreal. As Mundial’s artistic director Derek Andrews puts it, the mandate is “highlighting the work and talent of artists from diverse, under-represented communities and backgrounds, and with an important focus on Indigenous artists.”

In keeping with that commitment to promoting music from indigenous communities, the eighth annual Indigenous Sounds series is bringing eight artists to the stage (all Canadian with the exception of one duo from Finland), half of them — including award-winning contemporary/roots singer-songwriter Mimi O’Bonsawin — playing a free show at Café Campus on Wednesday, Nov. 20 at 3:45 p.m. Idle No More IV is a roundtable discussion “between artists and organizers that will invite reflection on the relationship between Indigenous arts professionals and the world music community.”

Nomadic Massive

Also among the 30+ acts playing Mundial 2019 is  Montreal-based, South Africa-born “retro-Afrofuturist” artist Zaki Ibrahim, headlining the evening showcase at Café Campus on Wednesday, Nov. 20, and local hip hop collective Nomadic Massive, who are celebrating their 15th anniversary at Théâtre Fairmount on the festival’s closing night, Friday, Nov. 22 at 11 p.m. Mundial officially wraps with a local edition of Montreal duo Wake Island’s “electro Arab” party Laylit, which they’ve been rocking in NYC over the past year or so.

Mundial overlaps with the more pop/rock/hip hop-oriented M for Montreal by three days, both festivals showcasing artists for national and international music industry delegates who could provide considerable boosts to the careers of the bands in question. According to Andrews, over the past eight years Mundial has “opened doors and changed the financial fortunes of hundreds of artists and their representatives.”

“At a time where the world is grappling with immigration and Canada is seen as a beacon of good will,” he says, “we invite our delegates to fight for the rights of artists and break down barriers.” ■

The Mundial Montreal music festival runs from Nov. 19-22. See the complete program here.