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Local folk will love these vocals

The summer festival season may be long gone, but there’s no reason to hibernate just yet, since there is lots of good music to be heard around town both familiar and exotic.

In the first week of November, the Festival du Monde Arabe happens at three main venues: Place des Arts, Sala Rossa and Kola Note. Over 20 shows present the richness and variety of music with roots in North African and the Middle East, from Iranian music steeped in ancient Sufism to bluesy Gnawan music to more modern fusions. This is music that knows no borders of religion or nationality. A delight for the ears.

Also in the first week (November 4), the three-decades-old Willelm Breuker Kollectief swings by for a visit at Sala Rossa. This unusual Dutch free-jazz-meets-cabaret big band is entertaining and virtuosic, featuring skilled instrumentalists with a strong dose of humour.

Fans of vocal music are blessed this month with a wide palette of choices. Jazz singer Ranee Lee takes up the mic for some mainstream jazz balladeering the weekend of November 7-8 at Upstairs Jazz Bar and Grill on MacKay Street. Lee’s voice is unique: unlike so many Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald imitators, she has her own sound. The less original but nonetheless pleasant Susie Arioli and her band appear at the Theatre Outremont November 27 as part of the Montreal International Jazz Festival’s off-season programming.

Classical vocal music is also plentiful, with, among many others, the Opera de Montreal’s presentation at Place des Arts of Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers, which contains many well-loved arias (November 1-13). International and local artists take the stage at the intimate Chapelle Historique du Bon-Pasteur at 100 Sherbrooke E to present Czech and Slovakian lyrical gems November 13. Featured artists are baritones Adam Plachetka, Mikulas Scneifer and Pavol Kuban.

Three concerts of note at the Oscar Peterson Concert Hall are those of jazz trumpeter and music professor Charles Ellison, which takes place November 13 at 8pm ($5 seniors), the Klezmatics November 29 at 8:30pm with proceeds from the show going to support the KlezKanada Youth Scholarship Fund, and finally, on November 23 at 8pm you can help support the I Medici Di McGill Orchestra by attending their 20th anniversary concert.

This group is made up in part of members of the faculty of medicine at McGill. They will be joined by guest piano soloist Seth Durst from New York City to perform works mostly by Mozart.

Admission by donation is $10.

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