Sound Seekers by Fateema Sayani is published weekly at OttawaMagazine.com. Read Fateema Sayani’s culture column in Ottawa Magazine.
Ottawa native Eternia is back in the capital as part of House of PainT , the annual festival celebrating the city’s hip-hop culture. The storyteller in song, based in Queens, New York, headlines a showcase
of Ottawa MCs Friday, August 5 at Ritual Nightclub on Besserer Street. It’s also the launch of the first volume of the 613 Sessions, a compilation featuring the works of 22 MCs and other rhyme-wranglers from the region.
House of PainT (the spelling an amendment on the band name), started in 2003 as a one-day event under the Dunbar Bridge near Brewer Park. Grafitti artists would paint, breakers would bend and contort to the music of DJs and the rhymes of MCs. It grew steadily over the years with more people participating and more events added on subsequent days. This year’s festival is already in full swing with an arts show at Fall Down Gallery (Bank and Somerset) featuring photos that depict the non-postcard bucolic view of Ottawa.
“There’s this other side to Ottawa,” says House of PainT founder Sabra Ripley, herself a B-girl dancer and longtime community builder. “It has energy and hustle and bustle and chaos. That’s what we’re celebrating.”
Ripley, a definite “doer” has never hid from a challenge. She was instrumental in getting the city to establish “legal walls” for graffiti painters to practice their work, free from bylaw violations. She recently finished a master’s degree at the University of Toronto focusing on health promotion — a longtime interest of hers. Way back in 2001, she led the OATS initiative (Ottawans Actively Teaching Safety), which taught safe partying tips at raves. She’s currently working in health promotion for the City of Toronto, but will continue spearheading the annual House of PainT event, in conjunction with a collective of six other artists, who each head a section of the festival.
House of PainT. Aug. 3 to 7. Under the Dunbar Bridge, near Brewer Park. Full festival schedule at www.hop613.com.