Exploding from the Motown’s past, Ben L’Oncle Soul (‘Ben the Soul Uncle’) lit up the main stage at Harbourfront as part of Franco-Fête’s “Spotlight on France”. From the opening song, he kept the crowd screaming, singing, dancing and wanting more. What a show. Now, I’m in the photographers’ pit, sporting my press pass, brushing against the (loud) speakers but it was the crowd that almost popped my eardrums. A fellow photographer in the trenches was knocked off his feet at one point, shell-shocked by the screaming ladies in the front row. Hands down my highlight of this years’ festival. What a showman. After making waves in Toronto he went on to bring his soul-stirring, retro vibe to the Montreal Jazz Festival.
Benjamin Duterde a.k.a. Ben L’Oncle Soul (‘Ben the Soul Uncle’), is a French nu-soul singer from the town of Tours. Duterde first gained prominence in his home country with the Soul Wash EP (2009), which featured six covers of songs by Gnarls Barkley, Spice Girls, Katy Perry and, most notably, The White Stripes (Seven Nation Army). Ben’s first full-length album, entitled simply Ben L’Oncle Soul was released in the summer of 2010 and was put out internationally on the Motown label.