Through its brief three-day run, Megaphono is keeping Ottawa warm with more concerts than otherwise seen this time of year.

By Owen Maxell

As usual the festival will also be running informative seminars on the music industry to help artists get ahead. This year’s programming runs from February 8-10, so we’ve picked a few of our favourites to help you get started.

Lido Pimienta

Colombian-Canadian musician Lido Pimienta has continuously been pushing boundaries since she started her career almost a decade ago. Her lush and abrasive music is often just as scary as it is wondrous, making any performance by her worth checking out.

Her latest album “La Papessa” is bursting with raw emotion, blending her lyricism with more abstract vocal styles to keep her music charged. With her unique aesthetics and explosive energy, this recent Polaris Music Prize winner will likely be hard to get tickets for.

Native North America Gathering

One of the most important shows of the festival is the Native North America Gathering, at the National Arts Centre on February 9. The show features indigenous musicians featured on Native North America Vol. 1, a gripping album that charts the culture and turbulent history of indigenous people in Canada.

Performers like Duke Redbird, Linda Saddleback, Leland Bell, Willy Mitchell, Eric Landry and more will be bringing the record back to life. Abenaki musician and filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin will also perform a tribute to the late Willie Dunn, who was also a filmmaker and songwriter.

Silla And Rise

Mixing intense throat-singing with beats that defy definition, it’s not surprising that Silla and Rise came together in less conventional ways.

Featuring blistering vocals from Cynthia Pitsiulak and Charlotte Qamaniq and the production of Ottawa’s Rise Ashen, the group have developed to make something bizarre and gripping in their fusion sound.

Cynthia and Charlotte’s back and forth chemistry makes every show a dynamic experience that can fall apart at any moment, and Ashen’s work to keep the whole thing moving at any moment keeps the tension high


A truly collaborative experience, Halifax’s Mauno come off as much more of a band on stage and on record rather than one artist’s vision.

Comfortable with each other to say the least, each member’s eccentricities have been fine-tuned into a group that dials it all to its limits. If you ever wanted to hear Fleece get gritty and get weird, then Mauno fits the bill.

Mushy Gushy

The powerful pop-rock tones of Mushy Gushy made them an instantly addictive member of the Ottawa music scene.

Taking notes of reverb and fun from the world of surf music, the band has a constant momentum and excitement that makes their music ecstatic. There’s depth however, as the band is constantly pushing themselves technically and sonically, making each song more of a journey than a simple listen.

Nap Eyes

While their music is quirkier and more subdued than most, there’s always something fun to catch during a Nap Eyes set.

Although the Halifax indie rockers haven’t put out a new record since 2016’s Thought Rock Fish Scale, they’ve managed to finesse the already great album into a sublime performance.

Whether it’s the glistening guitar work or explosive drops, the band elevate their music above a simple live album, without ever trying to overstate it. Even if you’re there to check out possible new music, you’ll be instantly entranced by Nigel Chapman’s wonderfully coy banter between songs.


Always finding the edge between exciting grooves and explorative psych pop, Sparklesaurus is an experience to say the least. To say you can dance at a Sparklesaurus show doesn’t do it justice, since you’ll be moved by the music and the energy behind it as well.

Even in all this their ability to push their sound and the experimental tones of what they’re playing gives their music a heady aspect as well. Powerfully visual and cleverly inspired, Sparklesaurus will keep you entranced.

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