SLĀV shows scheduled in Drummondville, Saint-Jérôme despite Montreal jazz fest cancellation

The show, performed by lead singer Betty Bonifassi and directed by Robert Lepage, is described as "a theatrical odyssey based on slave songs," but critics are calling it cultural appropriation.

Controversial performance explores slave songs, but critics are calling it cultural appropriation

Betty Bonifassi is the lead singer of SLĀV, a Robert Lepage production being featured at the Montreal jazz festival based on slave songs. (Radio-Canada)

Despite being cancelled at the Montreal International Jazz Festival, the controversial SLĀV performance will go on in Saint-Jérôme and Drummondville next year.

The show, performed by lead singer Betty Bonifassi and directed by Robert Lepage, is described as "a theatrical odyssey based on slave songs," but critics are calling it cultural appropriation.

Bonifassi and Lepage are both white, and that's drawn criticism for their project, which brings together "traditional African-American slave and work songs, from cotton field plantations to railroad yards," according to the event listing.

Following protests in Montreal, the show was cancelled due in part to security concerns, the festival said.

But a performance is scheduled to go on in Saint-Jérôme, a town about 60 kilometres northwest of Montreal, in January.

According to the Gilles-Vigneault theatre, where the show is being held, there are almost no tickets left.

Another performance of SLĀV is scheduled in Drummondville, a city in the Centre-du-Québec region, on January 29.

"For the moment, we are not in cancellation mode," said a spokesperson from the Drummondville theatre.

With files from Radio-Canada