UK participants announced for Red Bull Music Academy Montreal 2016

The Red Bull Music Academy’s next month-long workshop and festival series will take place in Montreal, Quebec in Autumn 2016. This will be the Academy’s 18th edition and first full return to Canada since Toronto hosted it in 2007.

The epicentre of Canadian artistic experimentalism for decades, Montreal has a rich history rooted in disco, jazz, folk, hip-hop and techno, and is celebrated as a breeding ground for the sounds of a variety of influential artists, from Leonard Cohen to Arcade Fire.

Travelling the world since 1998, the Red Bull Music Academy lands in a new host city every year to provide a month-long home to producers, vocalists, beatmakers, instrumentalists and DJs from across the globe.


Hosting intimate lecture sessions with some of the biggest names in the music world, participants are also given the opportunity to develop personal projects, collaborating with each other and their world-renowned mentors in state-of-the-art studio facilities. The Academy programme also includes a full month of carefully curated evening and night-time events, inhabiting the host city’s signature venues, cultural hubs, and lesser-known spaces.

Fresh from hosting the SonarDôme at Barcelona’s Sonar Festival, the world-travelling Red Bull Music Academy has been announcing this week who will be winging their way to Montreal from 24th September – 28th October to make up the Class of 2016. Today sees the announcement of the UK participants.


This year, 70 emerging music makers from countries including Lebanon, South Korea, Iceland and Peru have been invited to join the 18th edition of the Red Bull Music Academy. 38 countries will be represented, making it the widest array of nationalities so far to attend a single edition of the Academy.

Four new UK participants have been selected from 3500 application CDs from over 102 different countries, including Glasgow’s Hector Barbour, better known by his alias Denis Sulta. With a distinctive brand of house primed for the dancefloor, his progressive suites have led to releases on notable labels such as Numbers, Dixon Avenue Basement Jams, and Mister Saturday Night.


He joins brooding soulster and multi-instrumentalist Tay Salem who has his roots in jazz and hip-hop, but also gravitates towards the innovative work of producers such as Arca and Oneohtrix Point Never, as he weaves parable tales into his own musical creations.

Psychedelic R&B chanteuse Kidä took her talents across America, first as frontwoman of a New York-based soul band and subsequently singing backup for several artists during her teens in LA. Since moving to London she’s struck out on her own and will be taking her whimsical, lysergic style back to North America this autumn.


The final addition, born and raised in the UK, is Ugandan singer-songwriter and guitarist Daudi Matsiko, who carefully crafts modern albeit reverent folk, with his deft, melancholic picking tempered by contemporary percussion and instrumentation. He has already released two independent EPs prior to being signed by Naim Records and spent the beginning of 2016 touring with Blue Note trio GoGo Penguin.

Following the cancellation of Term Two of 2015’s Paris Academy due to the devastating events that took place in the city on 13th November, two UK artists were guaranteed a spot on the plane to Montreal, namely Drum & Bass prodigy Hyroglifics and jazz composer and trumpet virtuoso Emma-Jean Thackray – who will join in this year’s intake of UK participants bringing the total to six.


The 30 participants from the second term of Paris will join 40 newly-selected ones in Montreal. That means the total number of in Montreal will add up to 70, instead of the usual 60. Participants from the other 37 countries include Toronto’s producer of “ethereal R&B”, River Tiber; Kansas-raised atmospheric guitarist and singer, Your Friend, recently signed to Domino; Latvian artist Sign Libra, known for making “post new age, documentary beats”; Taiwanese trap and grime producer/DJ RayRay; and ArtSaves, a producer of saturated, somnambulant electronica, based in Tehran, where nightclubs are prohibited.


Over five weeks from late September to late October, these artists will come together in custom-designed spaces at Phi Centre, an acclaimed contemporary art gallery and cultural centre in Old Montreal. They will attend lectures by musical luminaries, and exchange personal perspectives and free-ranging ideas on every facet of music making.

At the same time, Red Bull Music Academy will present a five-week festival of concerts, club nights and public talks at the city’s most stunning music and cultural venues. Phi Centre is an institution and performance space at the heart of Montreal’s creative community, with an ethos of exchange and discovery which matches the Academy’s long-term commitment to exploring all aspects of creative culture – providing a space for music lovers to immerse themselves.