Le Vent du Nord: Territoires

Oz, Neverwhere, Asteroid B-612—great artists create worlds or pair real domains with fantasylands to explore larger questions. Count in this company Le Vent du Nord, vanguard of Québec’s progressive folk movement. On Territoires, they tread overlapping realms—the Québec and New France of today and of history, of the heart, imagination and aspiration. No surrealism in these territories but the ensemble more than compensates with soundscapes … More Le Vent du Nord: Territoires

Galant, tu perds ton temps: Nous irons danser

Charmingly deceptive, Galant, tu perds ton temps literally means, “Young man, you’re wasting your time,” but in practice the name of the five-woman ensemble of traditional Québec music seems as much a term of endearment as a brushoff. Their playful songs are filled with courting, flirting, unfaithful suitors and ill-fitting marriages arranged by clueless fathers. On Nous irons danser (We Will Dance), the women—Evelyne Gélinas, Isabelle Payette … More Galant, tu perds ton temps: Nous irons danser

Émilie Janvier

She was a reality show star on Québec TV at 13 and comes from a musical family, but on Émilie Janvier’s eponymous debut album and in the interviews she’s done to promote it, she reveals her core shyness, crafting lyrics and music to channel feelings and tell stories that might otherwise remain hidden. If her acoustic pop/folk songs (with some well-placed country string pulls) can be defined with a single word, it’s warmth. She finds it romance, family … More Émilie Janvier

François Léveillée: La part des anges

When cognac ages, the elusive portion that evaporates is called the angels’ share (La part des anges). As François Léveillée—humorist, singer-songwriter, author, director and beloved fixture of Québec culture—has aged, he has developed a potent formula of comedy and music. “I can take an audience to one place with humor and somewhere else entirely with a song,” he observes. While the love songs from his latest album (French chanson, folk … More François Léveillée: La part des anges

2 Frères: Nous Autres

Erik and Sonny Caouette sing songs of love and social awareness that evoke, in the words of one reviewer, “the belle époque of the chansonniers”—an age of activism that animated Québec culture in the 1960s and 70s. Nous Autres (We Ourselves), their debut album, is a 12-track folk-pop collection that embodies tradition in an uncertain age hungry for authenticity. They are at their most innocent and nostalgic in the record-store romance 33 tours … More 2 Frères: Nous Autres

Le Vent du Nord: Têtu

If you associate the North Wind only with cold air, open your ears. Le Vent du Nord, the four-man vanguard of the Québec folk scene, offers the sounds of melodeon and hurdy-gurdy, assorted strings (violin, bouzouki, guitar), rhythmic foot-stomping and stirring vocal harmonies. Têtu (Headstrong), the band’s eighth album, is a dazzling 15-track collection of original and traditional songs at turns rollicking and sad, fanciful and forlorn … More Le Vent du Nord: Têtu