By Ellie O’Day : Canada’s arts are so much richer for all the cultures that have been brought here by immigrants. It’s even more satisfying to see some of these artists blossom as performers in Canada, and become internationally known. Many have been showcased at the Vancouver International Children’s Festival over the years, presenting world music since the early 1980s.
This year’s festival brings Elage Diouf. With warmth and exuberance, Elage spins stories through music in French, English and Wolof. Known as one of the finest performers of contemporary African music out there today, his songs are beautiful, triumphant, and utterly contagious. The festival is making Diouf even more accessible to adult audiences by presenting a special evening concert, Friday, June 1 at 8:30pm at the Russian Hall, 600 Campbell Street in Strathcona. Doors at 8pm, and tickets $20.
Elage Diouf and his brother grew up in Senegal, where music and percussion were part of their upbringing. In 1996 they left and settled in Quebec. His first notice came as a collaborator with the popular Les Colocs – in 1999 they won the SOCAN Song of the Year award for their co-write “Tassez-vous de d’la”. He loved combining his Senagalese music with the music he discovered in Quebec, from folk to pop.
In the early 2000s he formed a duo called Diouf with his brother. They released Dund, earning them three nominations at the ADISQ (Quebec Music Industry organization) Gala in 2004, as they toured across Quebec and other parts of Canada.
Another auspicious collaboration came when the brothers toured with Cirque du Soleil’s Delirium, 2006 – 2008, as composers and performers. This relationship continues.
It was another seven years until Elage recorded again, this time a solo outing Aksil, a Wolof word meaning ‘welcome’. Diouf wrote most of the songs in Wolof, but called in a number of his Quebec musician friends to play on the album. It won Best World Album of the Year at the Junos and World Music Album of the Year at the ADISQ awards. Performing at the first Montreal Mundial festival, Diouf won Galaxie Rising Star Award. In addition, Radio-Canada’s Revelations award in World Music in June also went to Diouf.
Performances by Diouf at the 35th annual Vancouver International Children’s Festival are Tuesday, May 29 at 12:30; Wednesday, May 30 at 12:30 (bi-lingual English/French); Thursday, May 31 at 10:30 and 12:30 in French; Saturday June 2 at 2pm (English/French) and he’s also part of our Variety Show at 6:30pm.