A Port Theatre Spotlight Series Presentation
Oktopus is a major presence on the Canadian world music scene, with over 250 performances to its credit at home and abroad. The group is primarily devoted to klezmer—the musical heritage of Eastern European Jews—distinguished by a novel approach that incorporates various components of classical, Québécois, and jazz repertoires.
The group’s eight virtuoso musicians offer festive, high-energy performances, at once melancholic and profound, sprinkled with humour and spiced with narrative, in which original compositions and finely crafted arrangements combine with improvisation. Its members’ complicity, shared passion, and hard work are what makes each of their performances so memorable—whether on stage, in the street, on a ship, in a hot air balloon or in your living room, Oktopus is simply… spectentacular!
Oktopus’ distinctive music is undeniably rooted in the klezmer tradition, reflecting the rich history of a thousand-year-old community, its persecutions and celebrations, tears and laughter, or both at the same time. Musicians of yesteryear incorporated in their repertoire the music they encountered on their journeys, and just like them, the members of Oktopus are inspired by the music they hear throughout their own travels. Thus, the melodies of several classical composers, such as Bartók, Brahms, Prokofiev or Enescu are rearranged by the octet, particularly their works derived from folk themes. Quebec songwriters are also sources of inspiration, with Leclerc and Vigneault being added to the group’s repertoire.