Montreal artists hold benefit concert for families of mosque shooting victims

A group of Montreal artists have rallied and, in less than two weeks, put together a concert to benefit the families of those killed or injured in the Quebec City mosque attack.

‘Those who passed away, they were all fathers’: Artist NARCY organizes Friday night concert at Rialto Theatre

NARCY, an Iraqi-Canadian rapper, actor, professor and activist, takes the stage at the Rialto Theatre with his son. He put together a benefit concert for the mosque shooting victims because "they were all fathers." (CBC)

A group of Montreal artists has rallied and, in less than two weeks, put together a concert to benefit the families of those killed or injured in the Quebec City mosque attack.

"It hits very close to home. Those guys are fathers. Those who passed away, they were all fathers. They have kids," said Montreal rapper Yassin Alsalman, who is better known as NARCY.

"It just felt like the only way to use the power, and the space we have in the city, was to come together and try to help the families and bring some ease to the pain."

The shooting at the Quebec City mosque on Jan. 29 left six men dead and another 19 wounded. Seventeen children are now fatherless.

So NARCY called up his friend Dan Seligman, the creative director of POP Montreal, and mentioned he wanted to organize a benefit concert for the families.

"Dan said, 'I'm down!'"

So were all the other artists NARCY contacted to join him on stage.

Art as community building

The lineup for Friday night's show at the Rialto Theatre includes artists Deejay NDN and Bear Witness (A Tribe Called Red), Tali Taliwah, Wake Island, Lunice, Koriass and Socalled, to name a few.

"I think this is a human issue, whether the people that were shot were of whatever denomination of religion," NARCY said. "It's a narrative that exists that we need to come together and create art — not against but create our own stories together. So this is a great opportunity for us to build in a positive direction as a community."

Andrei Roman and Amy Tang were looking for something to do Friday night. When they heard about the benefit concert, they knew that's how they wanted to spend their time and money.
Andrei Roman and Amy Tang wanted to attend the show to show their support for the Quebec City mosque shooing victims and their families. (CBC)

"It's more like an act of solidarity...just to make sure we are connected and show our support," said concert-goer Amy Tang."

"I thought the concert was a great cause that reflects on the unfortunate events that just happened," said Andrei Roman. "I hope it will never happen again. It's close to home. It's horrible."

The show is called Yusra, which references a line from the Qur'an.

"After every hardship, there will be ease. It's a line that we repeat to ourselves a lot. If you are in a hard time, just remember that there will be an easy part that's coming afterwards," NARCY says.​
Musicians rehearse before doors open at the Rialto Theatre Friday night for the benefit concert. Tickets were $20. (CBC)

With files from CBC Homerun