The instrumental creature known as Oktopus extends its creative tentacles across the landscape of East European music with an effervescent concoction of new and reinvented elements of the repertoire. The band’s exuberant harmony of bows, keys, valves and mouths strikes a chord in music lovers’ hearts, bringing pure joy to audiences in quest of memorable evenings, festive occasions and other momentous celebrations.
Since its debut in 2012, Oktopus has roamed across Quebec and the rest of Canada. Shortly after winning Montreal’s Syli d’Or de la Musique du Mondein 2014, the band produced its first CD, Lever l’encre. Some of the performances that followed include, among others: Nuit blanche de Montréal en lumièreat the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde, the Gaspé Festival de Musique du Bout du Monde, Sherbrooke’s Festival des traditions du monde, Montreal’s Festival International Nuits d’Afrique, the Fête de la Musique in Mont-Tremblant (Quebec) and the Franco Festivalin Calgary. In 2016, the band had its first overseas performances, in France, Belgium and Germany, and in 2017, Oktopus released his second album:Hapax(JUNO nomination).
The group was founded in 2010 by Gabriel Paquin-Buki, who from, the outset, has signed dozens of arrangements from the traditional repertoire, as well as from classical, pop and Québécois music and who, more recently, has contributed, along with violinist Vanessa Marcoux, new compositions to the group’s repertoire.
An Oktopus performance whisks listeners away on a vibrant journey, following the trail of the klezmorim across Europe, then eastward to the moving sands and sounds of the Maghreb, and as far east as the Urals, where its soulful renditions of the oral traditions of the Balkans echo the tears of the dispossessed. To see Oktopus perform live, whether in a concert hall, in a park, on a street corner or in a hot-air balloon, will transport you, transform you, entrance you, and enhance your desire to dance on and on.
The music of Oktopus is a fabulous witch’s brew of traditional East- European melodies blended in with classical masterpieces and a sprinkling of Quebec song for good measure, a Quebecois take on a sort of classical-balkanized klezmer.
It is, in a word, spec-ten-tacular!
Gabriel Paquin-Buki: clarinet, composition and arrangements
Vanessa Marcoux: violin and composition
Marilène Provencher-Leduc: flute
Matthieu Bourget: bass trombone
Madeleine Doyon-Robitaille: tenor trombone
Laurianne Bellavance: trumpet
Mathieu Bourret: piano, accordion and guitar
Maxime Philippe: drums