The final gala concert of the eighth edition of the Syli d’Or (Golden Elephant) concert series and contest took place May 1 at Montreal’s Cabaret du Mile-End. While we could not attend in person, we have been closely following the series, which showcased the talents of the Canadian world music community throughout a month of biweekly performances at Club Balattou. Syli d’Or is organized by Montreal’s Productions Nuits d’Afrique, our friends and partners in African music promotion for 25 years (just two years after they got started). Check out our coverage of the 2013 Festival Nuits d’Afrique in our program Afro-Montreal and the Progress of Love.
In the contest finals, Rara Soley was awarded the bronze, Alayé the silver, and Oktopus the gold Syli trophy. Rara Soley received two additional awards, one from Mondomix in recognition of the most original and innovative artist, and another from Afropop Worldwide for the best stage presence.
We are honored to present the Afropop Syli d’Or Award to Rara Soley, a Haitian roots group based in Montreal. This group blew us away with their sheer exuberant energy in live presentations of traditional Haitian vodou rhythms and songs with a contemporary flair, avidly pursuing their mission of sharing Haiti’s richesse culturelle (cultural riches). With a frontline of three powerful female vocalists, Laurie, Nadia and Stella, and a backline of skilled drummers, including artistic director and lead drummer Ronald Nazaire, Rara Soley performs with a focus and intensity that goes beyond entertainment and enters the spiritual. When the vaksin bamboo trumpets come out, all we can say is, “Ayi bobo!” Congratulations to Rara Soley, and all the finalists and participants in Syli d’Or! See you this summer in Montreal.