By Owen Maxwell

Hilda comes from our ‘hood:

Though you likely have already binge-watched the new animated series Hilda on Netflix, you may not have known it was from your own backyard. In fact, the series debuted from Mercury Filmworks at the Ottawa International Animation Festival. The show is an adaptation of Luke Pearson’s award-winning graphic novels, which follows the blue-haired Hilda’s fantasy adventures. Each episode explores the world of giants and magic through the grounded reality that Hilda comes from.

Mercury selected Hilda based on the great sense of humour it brought to an adventure series, while still taking advantage of the emotional and narrative range that the medium offers. More than anything the series shows Hilda as a real kid instead of just a blank character. With one season already up, Hilda and Mercury have a bright future ahead of them.

Ottawa shows talent at the Grammys  
While no Ottawa musicians made the cut for albums or singles at 2019 Grammy Awards, our best is representing the city from behind the scenes. Mastering Engineer Phil Shaw Bova found out earlier this month that he was nominated for a Best Engineered Album Grammy for his work on Bahamas’ album Earthtones.

“It took me completely by surprise,” said Bova, “I’ve never been nominated for anything so being recognized at this very high level is a huge honour.”

Bova has worked on all of Bahamas’ records and even worked on Afie Jurvanen’s earlier work, so the award is a long time coming.

As a mastering engineer, Bova sees his job as preserving the artist’s hard work while making every other mix done on the record sound like one cohesive piece.

“It should sound great on everything from earbuds to expensive hi-fi systems,” said Bova. With his work finally getting the recognition it deserves, Bova still sees his work the same way. “Ultimately I’m trying to make masters that sound great today, and will still sound great in 10 or 20 years from now.”

Chill at Winter Jazz Fest:

With the cold in full swing 2019’s Ottawa Winter Jazz Fest has already announced its lineup. From February 7-9, Jazz will take over La Nouvelle Scène studios A & B for a great weekend of music. Tickets are already available so you can get ready for artists like Pugs & Crows, Nellie McKay, Megan Jerome Together Ensemble, and the Michael Blake Trio.

The Winter edition is also seeing tribute project 33z cover Aretha Franklin with a rotating cast of vocalists to tackle the legendary singer’s tracks. One of the most exciting aspects of the fest is the Jazz Jams, which sees artists from in and out of town at one of the few free shows of the weekend. There will also be three artists-in-residence collaborations shows which will have several in-residence jazz artists tackling music together with different arrangements of their own groups.

Megaphono gets ready for another round

Five years in, Ottawa’s Megaphono festival has found a rhythm that makes their brief weekend flow like a dream. From February 7-9, the city-wide fest is taking over bars all over downtown to bring stellar local (and nearby) talent.

“The purpose is to connect local artists to people from the outside,” says Jon Bartlett, Director of Megaphono. “A lot of artists have trouble making it because they just can’t leave here.”

On this note, Bartlett insisted  many acts were chosen based on their drive and having the vision to really make it, to make sure that the industry members coming in can find the right artists. They also didn’t want to have to many artists that had played multiple years of the festival already, to give everyone a fair shake.

It’s no surprise then that artists like Doxx, Sparklesaurus, Rebecca Noelle, and Silla + Rise. The usual speaker series is bringing out the big guns this year like Susan Rogers to really show a strong female side to the industry.

“She worked with Prince on Purple Rain, she’s worked with David Byrne and she just as a super interesting background between production and psychology,” said Bartlett.

Along with several delegates from Europe, Megaphono is looking to bring fresh eyes to the city and hopefully see our musicians making their way to Europe in the long run.

tags: Megaphono, Jon Bartlett, Susan Rogers, jazz fest, La Nouvelle Scène, Phil Shaw Bova, the Grammys, Hilda, Netflix, Mercury Filmworks, Ottawa International Animation Festival, Owen Maxwell