SPEAK Music Be Kind Festival Going Virtual for 2021

All net proceeds from the two-day event will go to Black Lives Matter Canada.

Following a spectacularly successful first year, organizers of the Second Annual SPEAK MUSIC Be Kind Festival – taking place Feb. 5 & 6, 2021, as a free virtual event – are excited to announce a sensational lineup and proudly declare once again, it’s diverse, and gender-balanced! Artists including Alysha Brilla, OKAN, Nick Sherman, Mimi O’Bonsawin, Desirée Dawson, JV’s Boogaloo Squad and more, will be presented in pre-recorded video performances, from our festival website to our SPEAK Music Be Kind YouTube channel. All net proceeds and individual donations this year, will go to Black Lives Matter Canada in response to the current climate and as part of Black History Month.

The 2021 edition continues the non-gender specific, diversity-supporting approach of the inaugural festival. Among the highly varied performers are: Al Qahwa ensemble, who brings us original and traditional songs from Syria, Egypt and Iraq; three-time Juno-nominated Alysha Brilla, who blends global roots sounds with expansive lyrical themes and meditative undertones; Communism, which features party music with reactive psychedelic projections; Vancouver’s Desirée Dawson, who soothes the savage beast with her healing sound; Emilyn Stam and John David Williams, whose latest album Honeywood merges the sounds of clarinet, violin, and accordions showcasing original compositions and traditional tunes for European folk dances (Bal Folk). Honeywood is nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award.

Alysha Brilla. Photo by Lisa MacIntosh.

JV’s Boogaloo Squad showcase a soulful sound featuring Visentin’s massive Hammond B3 organ skills; Mama’s Broke are a powerful Montreal-based folk duo that deliver a compelling performance with heart and raw energy using fiddle, banjo, and mandolin; award-winning roots songstress Mimi O’Bonsawin sings songs that are heavily influenced by her French Canadian and Abenaki roots and flow through a centre of love and creativity with an honest and raw intensity; Nick Sherman tells stories of the remote north, celebrating the tenacity and resilience it takes to survive it, with a haunting, hardcore, and gospel-informed folk-rock sound; the Juno-nominated women-led ensemble Okan fuse Afro-Cuban roots with jazz, folk and global rhythms, in songs about immigration, courage and love.

There’s something for everyone to enjoy at the virtual SPEAK Music Be Kind Festival. It’s the ultimate event for anyone seeking new and exciting things to do during lockdown, and who want to contribute to a kind and respectful atmosphere.




7 p.m. | Emilyn Stam & John David Williams
8 p.m. | Desirée Dawson
9 p.m. | Communism
10 p.m. | Pressgang Mutiny
11 p.m. | Alysha Brilla


7 p.m. | Al Qahwa
8 p.m. | Mama’s Broke
9 p.m. | JV’s Boogaloo Squad
10 p.m. | Mimi O’Bonsawin
11 p.m. | Okan

For more information on the festival, please visit the event website.

Okan. Photo by Ksenija Hotic.
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