World Music Guide to Montreal

Contributed by Dan Behrman, with additional research by Angel Romero

Montreal has been called The most European city in North America. This Canadian city is located in the French-speaking province of Quebec and is a hotbed of artistic and cultural activities year round.

Although it is mostly populated by French speaking Québécois, it has a sizeable group of English speakers and a fast growing immigrant population from Africa & North Africa, the French Caribbean, Latin America, China, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, the Arab world and several European countries. There are two types of music of interest to World Music aficionados: The Folk music from Québec is known as Québecois and it has strong connections with the Celtic cultures of Europe as well as Acadian. Other musical styles found in Montreal have been brought by immigrants from other nations. Mexican-American singer Lhasa is probably the best known import. A popular Dominican merengue artist, Joaquín Díaz, is based in Montreal, as well as many other noted World Music artists and bands.

Free Arts Weeklies

The arts weeklies come out on Thursday mornings: The Montreal Mirror (English), Hour (English), Voir (French), and Ici (French).

Record stores:

Several excellent record stores are located in Montreal aside from the unavoidable HMV type stores. One should definitely check out Archambault (4 locations throughout the city) which has an amazing World Music, Folk & Jazz selection as well as a wide variety of books. The main store which is located on the corner of Ste Catherine Street East & rue Berri also sells fine musical instruments as well as sheet music.

There are many second hand record stores in Montreal which are worth checking out for hard to find albums & discs. Crazy Rhythms on Metcalfe St. is definitely a must-go. There are a lot of used record stores (L’Échange, le Tourne-Livre and many more) on Mont-Royal East not far from the metro station.

The Recording Industry:

Several well known companies are based in Montreal. Distribution Fusion III is one of the largest independent distributors in Canada, with a large catalogue of Jazz and World Music titles. Its record label arm, Justin Time produces Jazz recordings.

Justin Time Records, Inc./Distribution Fusion III, Inc.
5455 Rue Paré, Suite 101,
Montreal, Qc.

Other interesting Montreal-based record companies are:

Cross Current International is run by world music producer Patrick Darby.
Address: 372 Ste. Catherine St. West, # H3B 1 Montreal, QC, Canada.

Oliver Sudden Productions has Chinese, Indian, Vietnamese, Flamenco and Paraguayan releases. Address: Box 1332 Succ. Bon., Montreal, Quebec, Canada H5A 1H1. Phone: (514) 878-8273, Fax: (514) 878-3693. E-mail:

Foulespin Musique Inc. Address: 1133 Saint-Joseph Boulevard East, Montréal, QC H2J1L3.
Phone: +1

Indica Records. Address: 4579 Saint-Laurent Boulevard, Montréal, QC H2T1R2.
Phones: +1
(514) 289-9576 &
(514) 289-0871.

Les Disques AudioGram

La Tribu


As in other Canadian cities, Montreal has several large Folk and Jazz festivals which feature World Music among their varied musical fares (i.e. The Montreal International Jazz Festival, Les FrancoFolies de Montréal, Festival Nuits d’Afrique, The Montreal Reggae Festival, Festival Musiques Multi-Montréal, Musiques & Traditions du Monde, Festival du Monde Arabe, La Nuit du Maghreb).

Festival International De Jazz De Montréal and Les FrancoFolies de Montréal

These two festivals are amongst the largest in the world. The 25th edition of the Jazz Festival (12 days at the end of June/beginning of July) which took place in the Summer of 2004 brought in close to 2 million festival-goers and featured a total of 880 indoor and free outdoor performances with artists such as: Tony Bennett, Keith Jarrett, George Benson, The Four Tops & The Temptations, Ibrahim Ferrer, Oscar Peterson, Bela Fleck, Jon Hassell, Paolo Fresu & Erik Truffaz, K.D. Lang, Patricia Barber, Wynton Marsalis, Gonzalo Rubalcaba & Joao Bosco, Egberto Gismonti, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Cachaito Lopez & Manuel Galban, Vinicius Cantuaria, D’Gary, Lila Downs, Jane Siberry, Chick Corea, Charlie Haden, Los de Abajo,
Ex-Centric Sound System,
Plena Libre, Los Mocosos, Hassan Hakmoun, Ramatou Diakité, Lhasa de Sela, Zachary Richard, Ani Di Franco, Stochelo Rosenberg Jazz Trio, Youssou N’Dour,
The Roots, Burning Spear, George Thorogood, Besh o droM, Kokolo, Garland Jeffreys, Yerba Buena, Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express, David Amram, Buyu Ambroise, Hadouk Trio, Kiran Alhuwalia, Dhafer Youssef, Roomful of Blues and many more…

The 16th edition of Les FrancoFolies de Montréal (11 days at the end of July/beginning of August) which specialize in music coming from all over the Francophone world brought in a crowd of 950.000 people and presented 300 indoor & free outdoor performances with artists such as:
Rachid Taha, Yann Tiersen, Thomas Fersen, Henri Salvador, Nana Mouskouri, Jaojoby, Manou Gallo, Emeline Michel,
La Bottine Souriante, Corneille, Adam Cohen (Leonard Cohen’s son), Kate & Anna Mc Garrigle, Alain Bashung, Fermin
Muguruza, Carlos Placeres, Autour de Lucie, Le Vent du Nord, Les Wampas, Ariane Moffat, Les Ogres de Barback and many more…

Contact for both events: 822 Sherbrooke Est, Montreal, Qc, H2L 1K4, Canada.
Phone: +1 (514) 523-3378.

Festival Nuits D’Afrique.
This large world music festival takes place the second week of July every year. Festival Nuits D’Afrique, 4362, Boul. St-Laurent, Montréal, Qc, H2W 1Z5, Canada. Phones: +1 (514) 272-0585 & +1 (514) 499 9239. E-mail:

– The Montreal Celtic Festival celebrates the common historical bonds that the traditional music of Quebec and the rest of Canada share with music from the Old Countries. Address: 5486 Cote-Saint-Luc Road, Montreal, Québec, Canada H3X 2C7. Phone: +1514-481-3471, Fax: +1 514-481-7379. E-mail:

– The Montreal Arab World Festival (Festival du Monde Arabe) presents works in its three fields: Performing Arts, Culture Fair and Film Festival. Address:

1400 rue Sauvé ouest, Bureau 276, Montréal (Québec) H4N 1C5 Canada. Phone: +1
(514) 747-0000, Fax: +1 (514) 747-1903. E-mail:

Managers & Booking agents:

Fleming Artist Management.
4102 rue St-Urbain,
Montreal, Qc
H2W 1V3 – Canada.
Heidi Fleming. Phone: +1
(514) 844-7393. E-mail:

– Immigrant Music represents artists from Haiti, Greece and other world cultures. Address: 5141 6th Avenue, Montreal, Qc H1Y 2P5 – Canada. Ph/Fx: +1 514 722-5859. E-mail:

Dan Behrman, President. Represents: Kristi Stassinopoulou (Greece), Manno Charlemagne (Haiti), Dobacaracol (Quebec), Simbi (Haiti / Sweden), Célina Ramsauer (Switzerland), Latayé (Haiti).

Philmultic Management Productions Inc. is devoted to the promotion of traditional and classical music of all world traditions. Address: Dr. Risheng Wang, 2137 Old Orchard, Montreal, Quebec H4A 3A7, Canada. Phone: +1 (514) 484-5013, Fax: +1 (209) 391-4891. E-mail: Represents: Liu
Fang, Debashish Bhattacharya, Farhan Sabbagh, Nishikawa Ensemble, Constantinople Ensemble (Montreal, Quebec, Canada)

An exhaustive list of all of Montreal & Quebec management and booking agencies as well as venues, sound & light and record companies can be obtained through an organization called Rideau.

Interesting non-commercial radio stations:

CKUT 90.3FM (Radio Mc Gill – Free form programming in several languages though mostly English speaking)

CIBL 101.5FM (Free form programming in French)

CINQ 102.3FM (Radio-Centreville – Programming in several languages)

CISM 89.3FM (Université de Montréal – Free form programming in French)

Radio-Canada / Espace Musique 100.7FM (Radio-Canada’s new music channel)

CBC 89.1FM (Canadian Broadcast Corporation – all English programming)

Global Village / Musiques du Monde/World Music (World Music Satellite & Cable Channel)

Galaxie Network – Station GX-20.
Patrick Darby. Phone: +1 (514) 396-3388,
Fax: +1 (514) 396-7105. E-mail:


Ballatou in the Plateau Mont-Royal district is a well-known club that features African music. Address:
4372, boulevard St. Laurent,
Montreal, Qc.

Cabaret Music Hall is a popular old-fashioned venue. Address:
2111, boulevard St Laurent,
Montreal, Qc. Phone: +1 (514)

Café Sarajevo, a cafe in the Latin Quarter (Quartier Latin) presents world music and jazz.

Keur Samba, in the Plateau Mont-Royal district, presents African and South American
music, as well as Reggae.

Quai des Brumes. This popular cafe presents blues, jazz and other styles. Address:
4481 rue St Denis,
Montreal, Qc. Phone: +1
(514) 499-0467.

Some other interesting Montreal venues:

Le Spectrum,
318,Ste Catherine St. West,
Montreal, Qc. Phone: +1
(514) 861-5851.

Le Métropolis.
59 Ste Catherine St. East,
Montreal, Qc. Phone: +1
(514) 844-3500.

Club Soda.
1225 boulevard St Laurent,
Montreal, Qc. Phone: +1
(514) 286-1010.

Kola Noté.
5240 avenue du Parc,
Montreal, Qc. Phone: +1
(514) 274-9339.

Le Va et Vient.
3706 Notre-Dame West,
Montreal, Qc. Phone: +1
(514) 940-2330.

57 Prince Arthur West,
Montreal, Qc. Phone: +1
(514) 844-1010.

Les Bobards.
4328 boulevard St Laurent,
Montreal, Qc. Phone: +1
(514) 987-1174.

Casa Del Popolo.
4873 boulevard St Laurent.
Montreal, Qc. Phone: +1
(514) 284-3804.

Le Corona.
2490 rue Notre-Dame West,
Montreal, Qc. Phone: +1
(514) 931-2088.

Le Lion D’Or.
1676 Ontario East,
Montreal, Qc. Phone: +1
(514) 598-0709.

Le Medley.
1170 rue St Denis,
Montreal, Qc. Phone: +1
(514) 842-6657.

O Patro Vys.
356 avenue du Mont-Royal.
Montreal, Qc.

Sala Rossa.
4848 boulevard St Laurent,
Montreal, Qc. Phone: +1
(514) 284-3804.

The Yellow Door. Montreal’s longest running folk music venue.

Zeke’s Gallery.
3955 boulevard St Laurent.
Montreal, Qc. Phone: +1
(514) 288-2233.


Montreal Folk Club. Address:
6312 Saint-Vallier,
Montreal, Qc,
H2S 2P5 – Canada.

Conseil Francophone de la Chanson supports and promotes the music of the French-speaking countries. Address: 550, boul. Saint-Joseph Est, Montreal, Qc, Canada H2J 1M7. Phone: +1 (514) 525 0200. E-mail:

L’Équipe Spectra produces The Montreal Jazz Festival, Les FrancoFolies de Montréal, The Montreal In Lights Festival (Festival Montréal en Lumières), La Grande Parade and other *major* events in Montreal. It also owns and operates Le Spectrum, Le Métropolis, L’Olympia and Le Théatre Outremont as well as runs a radio station (Couleur Jazz), a booking agency, several film & TV production
companies and a publishing company. Ph: (514) 523-3378.

Musical instruments:

Steve’s Music sells guitar, brass, winds, percussion, etc. on St Antoine Street between Rue St Urbain and Boulevard St Laurent. Address: 51 St. Antoine West, H2Z 1G9. Phone: +1 (514) 878-2216.

Italmelodie on Jean-Talon St East (check out the Jean-Talon Market while you’re at it, it’s great!). Italmelodie, 274 Jean Talon E., Montreal, PQ H2R 1S7. Phone: +1 (514) 273-3224.


The University of Montreal has an Ethnomusicology program affiliated with the Music Department. It also has the Research Laboratory on World Music, a musical instrument museum,
library, and sound archive. The collection now includes more than 500 instruments and close to 1,000 unpublished sound recordings. Contact: Monique Desroches, Responsible du secteur Ethnomusicologie, Faculté de Musique C.P. 6128, Succ. A, Montreal PQ, H3C 3J7, Canada. Phone: +1 (514) 343-5877. E-mail:


The McCord Museum of Canadian History.
Located in downtown Montreal. Address: McCord Museum of Canadian History, 690 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, Quebec H3A 1E9, Canada. Phone: +1 (514) 398-7100, Fax: +1 (514) 398-5045.

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Le
Musée des Beaux-Arts). Addresses: Jean-Noël Desmarais Pavilion, 1380 Sherbrooke Street West. Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion, Liliane and David M. Stewart Pavilion, 1379 Sherbrooke Street Pavilion. Mailing Address: P.O. Box 3000, Station “H”, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3G 2T9. Information: +1 (514) 285-2000.

Musée de la Pointe-à-Callières (Montreal Museum of Archaeology and History). The Museum is located close to other attractions, in Old Montréal, next to the Old Port. By metro: Place d’Armes station. Address: 350 Place Royale, Corner of De la Commune, Old Montréal, Québec Canada H2Y 3Y5. Phone: +1 (514) 872-9150, Fax: +1 (514) 872-9151. E-mail:

The Chateau Ramezay, an historic building, opened its doors as a museum in 1895, making it the oldest private history museum in Quebec. Its rich and varied collection of some 30 000 items, from pre-contact Amerindian times to the 1900’s, familiarize visitors with the history of Montreal and the province of Quebec. Chateau Ramezay Museum, 280 Notre-Dame street East, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H2Y 1C5. Phone: +1 (514) 861-3708, Fax: +1 (514) 861-8317. E-mail:

Canadian Centre for Architecture (Centre Canadien d’Architecture). An international research center and museum dedicated to architecture. Address: 1920 rue Baile, Montréal, Québec H3H 2S6. Phone: +1 (514) 939-7026.

Le Biodôme recreates some of the most beautiful ecosystems of the Americas: the lush and humid Tropical Forest; the Laurentian Forest; the St. Lawrence Marine Ecosystem, replicating the Estuary and the Gulf; and the Polar Worlds of the Arctic and Antarctic. Address: 4777 Pierre-De Coubertin Avenue, Montréal, Québec H1V 1B3. Phone: +1 (514) 868-3000,
Fax: +1 (514) 868-3065. E-mail:

The Montreal Botanical Garden (Le Jardin Botanique de Montréal). A
collection of 22,000 plant species and cultivars, 10 exhibition greenhouses, and thirty thematic gardens.

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.