Northern Lights Festival Boréal is a place where sounds, styles, and cultures mix
to make a brew of truly unique content. Although NLFB isn’t subscribed to one central theme this year, its
lineup explores a vast variety of genres, including music from Africa. “For the past few years, I have been
fascinated with various styles of music from the African continent,” explains NLFB Executive/Artistic
Director, Max Merrifield, “I wanted to share that sincere love with the festival audience.”
With that in mind, NLFB 2018 is excited to present Laetitia Zonzambé, an undeniable leader of African
Music in Canada. Moving from the Central African Republic to Montreal in 2009, Zonzambé’s music
connects traditional accents from the Bantu region of Africa to modern influences of soul, funk, pop and
R&B. Whether she sings in Central African languages, French or English, Zonzambé will take the NLFB
audience on a musical journey of propulsive rhythms, emotional ballads, and transcending melodies. You
can see her Mainstage set Friday evening (July 6, 8:30pm).
Afrikana Soul Sister is expected to be the dance party of the summer with their earth-shaking, electroafro-
house beats. This genre-bending quartet brings together the sharp electronic production of Jean-
François Lemieux with undeniable voice of Malian singer Djely Tapa, heiress to a long tradition of music
excellence in Mali. Add some African percussion specialists and the result is an intoxicating Montreal-style
dance party, with Authentic African roots. Catch this dance party on July 5, 7:30pm at the Mainstage and
Friday night at the Towne House Tavern.
Also joining the roster of international talent, Bonsa is bringing his undeniable energy and koanni (a
traditional two-string bass guitar) to the Mainstage, July 7, 8:30pm. Hailing from Burkina Faso, Bonsa’s
music explores Bissa tradition and numerous contemporary influences. He moved to Montréal in 2016 and,
without losing any time, surrounded himself with musicians including Sébastien Pilon and Pavel
Maximytchev. In 2017, the Bonsa group won the Syli d’Or for World Music.
Nigerian music veteran and pioneer Orlando Julius will grace the festival Mainstage with his band The
Afrosoundz July 5, 8:30pm. Over the years, Julius has been praised for his innovative blending of Afrobeat
and highlife music with traditional African rhythms and American pop, soul, and R&B.Julius’ 1966 effort,
Super Afro Soul, made him a national celebrity in Nigeria and even went so far as to influence the funk
movement that swept over the United States in subsequent years.
NLFB is excited to welcome a few other African acts including JUNO winner Donné Roberts, a guitarist,
singer and songwriter from Madagascar and King Abid, a Tunisian infused dancehall reggae artist from
Northern Lights has a long standing tradition of bringing the world to Sudbury and this year is no exception.
“The goal is not to represent the entirety of the continent through music (that would be impossible), but
simply to share some of this amazing music that has inspired and excited us,” Max Merrifield comments.
You can see the full line up here: www.nlfb.ca/events-schedule/