Bringing a world of music to St. Jacobs

Neruda Arts event expands to two outdoor stages featuring local, Canadian and international talent July 13-16

Last updated on Jul 12, 23

Posted on Jun 29, 23

3 min read

Neruda Arts’ signature event is back for another year. The Kultrun World Music festival returns to St. Jacobs on July 13-16, this time on two stages: the baseball diamonds and the Neruda stage a short distance away.

This is the 11th year of the festival and second in St. Jacobs. Kicking off on the Thursday at 2 p.m. will be a pre-festival symposium entitled “Elevating Women in the Arts,” featuring a five-member panel discussion focusing on the challenges women still face in the arts.

At 6 p.m. on Thursday will be Feel the Music, a concert specifically designed for the deaf and people who are hard of hearing that will feature music by Maru Corodnado. The Neruda Arts team, including Paddy Gillard-Bentley, designed vibrotactile chairs to make the concert possible.

Each chair has a speaker on the bottom, however instead of air moving the sound the chair becomes the speaker, explained Gillard-Bentley, who has made a 14-minute video featuring music from a full orchestra.

“I introduced all the instruments of the orchestra. It’s a string section first, and then each piece. I have pictures of them playing so they know what instrument it is. Then I’ll have a little bit of music from the string section, and then so on with all the rest. Technically, it’s not any different if it’s a live band, because it’s still going through,” sad Gillard-Bentley, who is Neruda’s director of communications.

“For me, that’s the most exciting thing,” she said.

While there are many local and Canadian acts performing, there will also be acts from around the world. It’s a list that includes bands such as Groove& from South Korea and solo artist Luta Cruz, who is Afro-Chilean.

Cruz performs a wide range of music including jazz, opera and evangelical songs. She is an activist and anti-racism advocate who has faced discrimination both for her race and because she has facial hair.

“In Chile, she’s not accepted because she’s part African. She has a beard – not a few stray hairs – and she just doesn’t shave it. She doesn’t care, but she gets hassled over that. She’s beautiful, and her spirit is so incredibly generous and kind and lovely after going through a whole lot,” Gillard-Bentley said of Cruz.

The many different cultures and countries being represented is indicative of Neruda’s mission, Gillard-Bentleyn said.

“Neruda Arts’ mandate first and foremost is to build bridges in the community via the arts. Now with our studio, it’s all kinds of arts, from theatre, to visual arts to classes we hold here, but primarily Neruda Arts is known for music.

Another group Gillard-Bentley highlighted is the Swedish-Estonian band Fränder, who will be performing around 3:30 p.m. on July 16.

“The whole Estonian community is waiting with bated breath to come and see music that comes from their country.”

The goal is to try and make the region a little more welcoming to new music and the cultures the music comes from, Gillard-Bentley said.

“Fear is always based in the unknown. And I think when you are trying a different national food, to conversing with someone, to loving the music of a country you’re not familiar with… it bridges that gap between the cultures and creates a connection.”

Also on the Kultrun Festival bill are Chola Y Gitano (Chile), Conexion Latina (Central/South America/local), The Bongo Hop (France/Colombia), Valérie Ekoume (Cameroon/Paris) and Laura Niquay an Atikamekw artist from Quebec.

Schedules and more information can be found online at

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