Step dancers wearing armor composed of bike tires, bike frames and found objects dash onto the stage in battle-dance formation, launching into an infectious polyrhythm. They encourage the audience to clap along. A high-pitched cry pierces the air as drums beat out a syncopated pulse, stringed instruments chime in while tone-drums and pipes provide a melodic backdrop. An MC steps to the fore and controls the crowd. Welcome to the world of Abdul Lateef and The Distraction Machine, grandmasters of performance and rhythm.
Abdul Lateef and The Distraction Machine hails from Miscellaneum Studios’ Z’Isle, a transmedia story set on Montreal seven years after a zombie apocalypse. In a small city with very few guns and its bridges blown, bullets ran out. Survivors turned to the most readily-available resource to create weapons: bikes. They eventually turned the tide against the undead while establishing a new culture. As much of the city was destroyed fighting the undead, machinery, tools and even new types of instruments were built using bikes. Enter The Distractors: masters of sound and rhythm. They control entire hordes of the undead, distracting them so that comrades could escape them or attack them from behind.
Distractors are also masters of entertainment, recounting tales of the war against the undead through dance, music, and vocals. A cross between Tao: 17 Samurai and Stomp, the live performance is part of a larger story told through the Z’Isle comic book series (now on issue # 6 sold in stores across Montreal) and a video game (presently under development) yet bearing its own unique flavour.
Ryhna Thompson, Envision Management & Production: email@example.com
SOLD OUT: September 28-30 2018 at the MAI (Montréal, Arts Interculturels) presented by POP Montreal
Lateef Martin is a multi-disciplinary artist with a background in illustration, dance and music production and beatboxing. He along with a top production team of art direction and costume design created a show like no other.
He also worked alongside an array of Montreal talent including singers Aiza Ntibarikure and Nadia ‘Halwa’ Balde sound manipulator Chimwemwe Miller (The National Parcs), drummer Eric Cohen (Balboa, Interceiving), bassist James Challenger and guitarist Nadine Altounji (of music collective Kalmunity).
His dancers included Worldclass waacking dancer Leah McFly Waackeisha, step dancer Kayin Queeley and Jennifer Casamir and Kate Lynx, formerly of the all-female breakdancing troupe Solid State.
Director: Lateef Martin
Art Director: Isabelle Duguay
Musicians: Lateef Martin, Nadine Altounji, Chimwemwe Miller, Eric Cohen, James Challenger
Vocalists: Aiza Ntibarikure, Nadia Balde, Lateef Martin
Dancers: Leah McFly Waackeisha, Jennifer Casamir, Kayin Queeley Kate Asterlund
Costume Design: Lateef Martin, Isabelle Duguay & Kiri Skuce
Make-up: Jennifer Casamir & Isabelle Duguay
Producer: Miscellaneum Studios
Co-producer: Envision Management
“Abdul Lateef and the Distraction Machine is a musical offshoot of Lateef’s celebrated Z’Isle comic book series — a lurid depiction of the zombie apocalypse, Montreal style. Expect a true performance, incorporating step dance, singing, beatboxing and music played on upcycled objects and bicycles.” – Lorraine Carpenter, Cult MTL