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Patchworking with Poirer 

Montreal producer and DJ Ghislain Poirier mixes up world music with hip-hop, reggae and grime, this Thursday at the Paragon.

Ghislain Poirier has his hands full. The Quebecois producer is talking about why he can't attend the Junos---his track "Wha-la-la-leng" is nominated for Reggae Recording of the Year---while two of his neighbour's young children play in the background. Judging from the shouts and crashes, they are getting into trouble.

"It's just nice to be recognized by the music circle in Canada," he says. "We're not looking forward to winning or not---it's just like a playoff. And I'll be on tour, so I'll be missing out on meeting all the nice people, and---lèves les mains! Lèves les mains," he scolds a child, leading me to wonder if sticky hands have found their way onto his gear.

Poirier---he dropped his first name from his DJ moniker---knows patience. Since 2001 he's produced a wide array of work, from ambient to hip-hop to popular remixes of songs by Lady Sovereign and Cadence Weapon. By 2005, Poirier was developing an interest in grime, reggae and ragga and began sharing it with the city of Montreal during his DJ night, Bounce Le Gros. His recent album, Running High, collects several of his vinyl EPs in two discs and dives elbow-deep into a mix of soca, reggae and Caribbean-infused hip-hop. Poirier's interest in world music was triggered by a stint working in West Africa as a radio host nearly a decade ago.

"I was really focused on hosting, but at the same time if someone says, 'Hey listen to this,' I can't help listening," he says. "I like digging through new styles. I want it to come through naturally, though---I don't plan it."

Poirier became a musical sponge when he participated in the Red Bull Music Academy, an educational retreat held in London. He soaked up the multicultural music scene, networked and held court with visiting DJs, producers, managers and other industry folk. He's a bit of a veteran himself, but says he was gratified and humbled by the experience.


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