Magic With Ben up to his Old Tricks

Aqpik Jam Music Festival Magic with Ben

Magic Ben up to his old tricks in Nunavik

Aqpik Jam Music Festival

Magicians always amaze us with their sleight of hand and impossible feats, and Benjamin Déziel is no different. Also known by his stage name, Magic With Ben, this performer originally from Kangisujuaq will be reappearing in Nunvavik on Aug. 11. But if you missed him last week, don’t worry! He was one of the many talented performers at Kuujjuaq’s Aqpik Jam Music Festival but now living in Saskatoon

As people shuffled into the Aqpik Jam on Aug. 9, they were greeted by tables of food and art for sale. One person, in particular, caught their eye – Benjamin “Magic with Ben” was entertaining a small crowd of children with his illusions and magic tricks.

Magic with Ben Saskatoon
Ben Déziel who performs as Magic Ben entertains an audience at Kuujjuaqs Aqpik Jam Music Festival on Aug 9 at the Kuujjuaq Forum Photo by Cedric Gallant special to Nunatsiaq News

Ben, who performs as Magic Ben, is one of the few professional magicians in Nunavik. He started performing magic stunts in his hometown of Kangiqsujuaq when he was just nine years old, and now entertains audiences at events like the Aqpik Jam Music Festival in Kuujjuaq.

His first exposure to magic was at his parent’s wedding, where they invited a magician who happened to be a mentor for the famous Quebecois magician Luc Langevin. Ben was mesmerized by the performance and asked his father how the magician did his tricks.

His dad replied, “Well, you’ll have to become one to know.”

The day after his father gave him that advice, Déziel says he started looking up how to do tricks on YouTube.

“I would spend time alone in front of the mirror just shuffling cards,” he said.

With no real resources in Nunavik, he relied on perseverance, using school to practice performing tricks for his classmates — with various degrees of success.

His first trick was with a fork. He demonstrated it; by simply putting any fork at a certain angle between the hands to make it appear folded, only for it to come back intact right after.

For Ben, performing magic tricks was grounding.

“Whatever happened at school during the day, I would come back home to magic,” he said.

At 11, he started competing at the Michele Cailloux International Magic Contest, where contestants must create a routine from scratch, and show it to judges.

“I was a finalist six times, and even though I never won, I gained the respect of my peers.”

In 2019 his parents moved to Yukon, where he kept doing magic tricks.

“I [had] the monopoly,” he said of this time there.

“I would be doing show after show after show.”

I spent years on the road outside of Nunavik, touring throughout British Columbia and Yukon. That was until May, when he was asked to do a show back home, in Kangiqsujuaq.

He agreed on the spot.

Coming back to Kangiqsujuaq was a cathartic experience for Déziel.

“I did one show, and I was greeted with love and affection,” he said.

“Today, I can represent hope and inspiration to Nunavik communities, whatever your dream is in life, it is possible.”

From starting with just a deck of cards and a mirror, Déziel has become one of the few performing magicians in Nunavik. After Aqpik Jam, he’s returned to his home base in Saskatoon, where he is being mentored by a professional magician.

After that, he is set to leave for the United States to perform in Nashville and New York.

“I want more magicians out there,” he said. “I want us to share tricks and illusions.”

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