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This article was published 26/2/2021 (454 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The second annual Winterruption will put an online spotlight on five Winnipeg bands who have seen their musical careers interrupted.
The West End Cultural Centre joined the Winterruption concept last winter, before the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of a Prairie tour circuit with similar venues in Edmonton, Saskatoon and Regina.
Instead of a tour, it’s been repurposed in 2021 with five free livestreamed shows recorded at the WECC. The first is Saturday at 7 p.m. when the folk duo Small Glories take the stage. They’ll be followed on March 5 with Mise en Scene, Super Duty Tough Work on March 13, Anthony OKS on March 19 and Del Barber on March 26.
The shows can be viewed on the WECC’s Facebook page and its YouTube channel.
"These are five Winnipeg artists that you need to see," says Jorge Requena Ramos, the WECC’s artistic director. "They were in the midst of a big point in their careers before COVID."
Super Duty Tough Work, an eight-piece hip-hop and jazz fusion group, earned a spot on the Polaris Prize long list in 2020 for its album Studies in Grey. Requena Ramos saw the band open for local singer-songwriter Begonia during her multi-show run at the WECC last February.
"Super Duty Tough Work is a group that’s a been a long time coming for Manitoba," he says. "It’s an incredible band with an almost symphonic sound for a hip-hop group."
The WECC received funding from the province’s Safe at Home Manitoba program for the shows and has invested in a new control room that’s outside of its performing space and set up robotic cameras near the stage to keep artists and the production crew as safe as possible.
"We’ve basically built our own (production) truck here inside the building," says Requena Ramos, who won a Western Canadian Music Award in 2020 for his visual media work, and is part of the crew filming the concerts.
The crew and the equipment will also be used for twice-weekly livestream shows for the Manitoba Arts Network, a St. Patrick’s Day livestream with the Dust Rhinos on March 17 and an evening of Italian arias, a collaboration with Manitoba Opera, on March 27.
Alan Small has been a journalist at the Free Press for more than 22 years in a variety of roles, the latest being a reporter in the Arts and Life section.