An electrifying platform for different voices
Founded in 2002 and coordinated by Les Filles électriques, the Festival Voix d’Amériques (FVA) offers up eight days of engaged and effervescent experimentation every February in Montréal. It is now the most important spoken word festival in Canada.
The phenomenon of oral literature, which integrates storytelling, poetry in performance and spoken word, is a key component in the cultural vitality of Quebec. For its part, the Festival Voix d’Amériques makes a brilliant and unique addition to this “intervocal network,” and its shows appeal to audiences all ages.
While the FVA has its roots in literature and the written word, it is different from other literary festivals in that it is multidisciplinary and welcomes creative freedom, experimentation, risk-taking, as well as emerging artists. At the FVA, audiences see shows, not just readings. The stage is handed over not only to poets, writers, storytellers and spoken word artists, but also to singers and performers — all sharing the same stage, often in different languages, and accompanied by experienced improv musicians.
We assign enormous importance to innovation and creativity. For the most part, the FVA features original works — one-of-a-kind shows mounted especially for the occasion. Our events take the form of no-holds-barred cabarets, hosted by a saucy and colourful personality who lets each performer create his or her own universe on stage.
The sound of Montreal’s many languages and accents are part of its cultural richness. The FVA program is bilingual: here, diverse communities rub shoulders in a rare, festive atmosphere. We also make a point of programming shows where artists from varied backgrounds perform not only in French or English but also in their first language (Spanish, Aboriginal languages, Creole, and so on). Les Filles électriques has accomplished quite a feat in having the “two solitudes” meet in a warm and welcoming space — in the middle of winter in Quebec.
Having a Guest of Honour each year allows Les Filles électriques to recognize the unique approach, creative process, and commitment of a particular artist:
- In 2003, we helped audiences to discover an important and major poet: Patrice Desbiens;
- In 2004, writer-composer-poet Urbain Desbois contributed a light and playful touch;
- In 2005, we featured the charisma and commitment of the ineffable Chloé Sainte-Marie;
- In 2006, we did what no one else had done before — brought the Aboriginal playwright Tomson Highway to the attention of the Francophone community in brilliant style.