As part of Black History Month celebrations, the 10th annual Fade to Black festival features 51 guest performers and speakers from Feb. 17 to 21, entirely online and entirely free. Created by the Fabienne Colas Foundation and presented by TD Bank, Fade to Black 2021 is showcasing five women musicians from Montreal in a series of livestream performances, kicking off with Sarahmée at 8 p.m. tonight.
“Women of colour are not in the spotlight as much as they should be,” says Fabienne Colas, “so I applaud our programming team and I applaud the festival for featuring an all-female lineup. It was not my decision because I’m not in the programming, so when I discovered this, I was thrilled.”
“Dawn Tyler Watson is the queen of blues in Quebec,” she adds. “Lorraine Klaasen is a queen herself, and Sarahmée is a new artist who is a true sensation. They are just amazing power houses.”
The festival’s first event, tonight at 6 p.m., is an interview with French former footballer (and 1998 World Cup Champion) Lilian Thuram about his book La pensée blanche (White Thought). Thuram has been president of the Education Against Racism Foundation since 2008.
“These conversations are biens essentiels,” says Colas, who is also the founder of the Montreal International Black Film Festival. “Some of them are hard conversations to have, but they are really uplifting conversations, they’re really inspiring conversations, and we need them because we are looking for solutions. We’ve got to dig ourselves out of the chaos of systemic racism and unconscious bias.
“I invite everybody — especially people who are not Black — to come and listen because that’s the way you can learn, you can understand the other person’s perspective and put yourself in their shoes. That makes you a better person because you have empathy and you can understand the broader picture.”
For the complete Fade to Black program and to tune in, please visit the festival’s website.
For more Montreal music coverage, please visit the Music section.