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The work of artists is one of the ways we as workers share our history, our struggles and our victories. Since the beginning of time art and culture have sustained our sense of dignity, equity and respect. They have given us another way to dream something better and they fostered a spirit of understanding and resistance. Ultimately the arts help to define a working class culture to showcase our lives and our concerns as workers, community members and union members. By having a cultural program at convention we recognize artists as workers, and their contribution in our lives and the work of the union.

Delegates Reception

Sunday 8 p.m., Grand Salon, Hyatt Regency Montréal

Yves Lambert et Le Bébert Orchestra

Bebert_Orchestra.jpgYves Lambert is considered a reference point for Québécois folk music and is a mainstay of Quebec’s cultural heritage. Originally of the band La Bottine Souriante for 26 years, Yves Lambert formed Le Bébert Orchestra in 2004, with some of Quebec’s new generation of talented musicians: Olivier Rondeau, Tommy Gauthier, Robin Boulianne and Jean-François Déry. This year’s convention (and cultural program) will start with a bang as delegates are welcomed by the sound of both traditional and new Quebec vibes – which will put us in good standing for the week!

Convention Hall Program

Monday to Thursday from 1:30-2pm, Convention Hall, Room 220cde, Palais des congrès de Montréal

Every afternoon in the Convention Hall delegates will be serenaded by an assortment of highly talented and energetic artists, showcasing the diversity of Quebec and CUPE! Arrive early to catch some fantastic talent, on the stage at the front of the hall.


Break Syndical

break_syndical.jpgPierre Fournier and Break Syndical have played an active part in the labour and social movement for years. Break Syndical is the voice of those without a voice. It is a rallying cry, a living reminder of our struggles, the singing battles, victories and hope. Break Syndical has committed itself to a social movement that fights and mobilizes to transform society. In a world that puts markets above people, these songs turn the tide.


La Libertad

La Libertad is a group of musicians who have played social justice and labour music together in different combinations over the past six years. They perform songs in French, English, Portuguese and Spanish. The band members are: Rodrigo Salazar (vocals and guitar), Nico Beki (vocals), Brenda Wall (vocals), Daniel Bellegarde (percussion) and Marnie Niemi (vocals and upright bass).



apadoorai.jpgApadooraï forcefully and uniquely imposes its vision of didgeridoo music - one of the oldest instruments in the world - by melding various musical influences into spellbinding didgeridoo grooves that invariably lead their audience into a sort of unplugged, pure, and inebriating musical trance that is the envy of the best DJs. This young group, which is just taking off, attracts attention everywhere it goes, and is making its mark in Quebec’s emerging musical universe. Their participation in many important festivals in the summer of 2009 predicts a very promising future.



zuruba.jpgZuruba, an Afro-Brazilian percussion ensemble, finds its inspiration in the musical tradition found mainly in Bahia, Brazil, the batucada. Zuruba has been playing for over eight years all over Brazil. Their instruments are the djembe, the surdo, the counter-surdo, the repenique, the snare drum, the tambourine, and the cuica. This instrumental amalgamation is derived from the Carnival in Rio and popular Brazilian festivals, with their hot and sunny Brazilian rhythms, like the baião, the samba, and the reggae samba. Zuruba inevitably gets the crowd dancing. This ensemble is simply explosive. You will be transported directly to the Brazilian Carnival.

Equality Forum

Monday 8 p.m., Room 517c, Palais des congrès de Montréal

Queen Ka and Taqralik

Taqralik.jpgThe theme of this year’s equality forum is the impact of the economic crisis on equality-seeking communities. Two spoken word artists have risen to the challenge of writing two poems each to address these issues. Taqralik is a spoken word performer, Inuit throat singer and writer originally from Kuujjuaq, Nunavik (Northern Quebec). She has performed on stages from Toronto to Iqaluit to the UK and Norway. Her work communicates a mix of influences from hip hop to Inuit storytelling.

queen_ka.jpgBack by popular demand is Queen Ka, who moved the participants of the women’s conference earlier this year to tears with her poetry. For over a year now, she’s also been setting the mic on fire in the French spoken word/slam scene in Montréal! In addition, the forum will be animated at the start and finish by the rhythmic beats of two drummers.

Convention Dance

Tuesday 9 p.m., Grand Salon, Hyatt Regency

Nomadic Massive

nomadic_massive.jpgCUPE members are in for a real treat with Montreal’s own Nomadic Massive. These musical nomads are reflective of Quebec’s immigration patterns and diversity, hailing from Chile, France, Haiti, China, Iraq, Argentina and various parts of Africa. They represent an open-minded hip hop which finds its inspiration in the traditions of the past and combine a wide array of vocal styles. This multilingual, multicultural, super-group has become synonymous with energetic and crowd-moving live shows. The group has spearheaded international collaborations and workshops with communities in Cuba and Brazil and has released two albums to date.

Global Justice Forum

Wednesday 8 p.m., Room 517c, Palais des congrès de Montréal

Mini Massive

A half hour before the Global Justice Forum, Mini Massive, made up of members of Nomadic Massive will be playing for your musical enjoyment. Come hang out with your sisters and brothers and listen to some great instrumental music before listening to the issues that connect our union to workers’ struggles internationally

CUPE Cabaret

Thursday 8 p.m., Room 517b, Palais des congrès de Montréal

Healy_Juravich_head_shot_web.jpgThis year’s CUPE Cabaret promises to be an evening of musical and artistic delights combining the talents of members and musicians. To kick off the night, musicians and labour activists Healy and Juravich, accompanied by James Stephens, will be performing songs inspired by the rich traditions of Irish and North American folk music.

Together, Healy’s crystal clear, Irish-influenced alto combines with Juravich’s rich, resonant baritone, to weave a colourful tapestry of stunning harmonies.

bombolesse.jpgThe Québécois group Bombolessé will bring a contemporary flavour that will have you dancing in your seats! Bombolessé is a high-energy band that gets thinkers dancing and dancers thinking. The music is sung in French, Portuguese and Spanish and is a North American fusion of Brazil’s popular music movement. We will also cheer on some very talented CUPE members from across the country who will courageously take the stage to entertain us.

Convention Choir

Convention Choir with Pierre Fournier and you!

Everyone is welcome to participate in the lunchtime Convention Choir led by Pierre Fournier of Break Syndical. No experience is necessary, join in and have fun!


Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 12:30-1:30 p.m., lunch provided, Room 513e, Palais des congrès de Montréal


Friday at 8:30 a.m., in the Convention Hall, Room 220cde, Palais des congrès de Montréal

Convention Drumming

Convention Drumming Group with Joe Mephisto and you!

Everyone is welcome to participate in the lunchtime Convention Drumming Group led by internationally renowned drum master Joe Mephisto, known for his north Brazilian samba drumming style! No experience is necessary, join in and have fun! Everyone welcome!

Drums will be provided.


Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 12:30-1:30 p.m., lunch provided, Room 513f, Palais des congrès de Montréal


Friday at 8:30 a.m., in the Convention Hall, Room 220cde, Palais des congrès de Montréal

Exhibit - all week

Monday October 5 to Friday October 9 L’Esplanade

Squat Polaire: A climate change action by ATSA

squat_polaire.jpgSquat Polaire is a militant allegory based on the tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. It showcases a family of completely depressed polar bears no longer able to feed themselves as a result of the accelerated thaw of their ice caps. The installation unfolds like a play and the public plays its role by entering the trailer, where it is guided by an audio tour through this modern-day Goldilocks tale, at once dreamlike and informative. ATSA (Action Terroriste Socialement Acceptable) is at the forefront of Quebec’s visual arts scene. Recognized nationally as well as internationally for their thought-provoking work and meaningful engagement of their viewers, this arts collective was founded in 1997 by artists Pierre Allard and Annie Roy. Their work investigates and transforms the urban landscape and restores the citizen’s place in the public realm, depicting it as a political space open to discussion and societal debates. ATSA promotes an open, active and responsible vision of artists as citizens contributing to the sustainable development of society.


Florencia Berinstein of the Mayworks Festival in Toronto organized and coordinated the cultural program. Sound technician is Kevin Moon. Both are members of CUPE 1281.

Musicians are members of the Quebec Musicians Guild, AFM Local 406, as well as AFM Local 1000.

If you like what you hear, support musicians by buying their music, which will be available during and immediately after each performance.