One thing that happens from time to time when I have so much music is that I forget about artists who are great. But I do love the feeling of rediscovering something wonderful! This happened to me today when I was browsing my music and played Zaho. Zaho is an Algerian R&B singer who lives in Quebec. With my love of French R&B you can imagine how exciting it is to find something new (even if I already had it!!) Her only album so far, Dima was released in 2008. It peaked #20 on the French charts, and it had 5 singles.”C’est Chelou” was the second single from her debut album:
“La Roue Tourne” was the third single from the album and features Tunisiano
Zaho has also been featured in many French songs, including the French version of Sean Paul’s “Hold My Hand”. The album has some great tracks, and just reinforces my love of French R&B. She has a great voice and I just love her songs! You should definitely youtube more of her videos! “Hey Papi!” is the first single from Dima:
Zaho‘s website =)
Montréal how I love you!!! A long weekend in Montréal this last week has brought light to a new wonderful duo – Alfa Rococo! As is my custom, I was browsing and listening to new Francophone albums in Ste. Catherine’s HMV when I stumbled upon their newest album: Chasser le malheur. They have a fun electro-indie-pop sound that I was immediately in love with! The opening track, Phénix, opens with a catchy synth riff and what follows is an album full of catchy electronic riffs. Soldat de plomb is probably my favourite track from the album; as my friend Monique remarked on her first listening, “there is something serious going on here, don’t mess with this stank bitch!”. Actually this track reminds me a bit of Ethero and many of the tracks on her Breath from Another. The following track, Le poinçonneur des lilas has a great James Bond-sounding intro and is another favourite! Their vocals are soft and hypnotic, and it’s an interesting combination with the electro-sound. Every track has a sense of high energy, and yet the entire album is very mellow. The entire album is just fabulous! It is most definitely one of my favourite finds from Montréal to date!
The duo – Justine Laberge and David Bussières – formed in 2004 when they recorded a song just for the fun of it. They loved working together so much that soon more were to follow. In 2007 they released their debut album: Lever l’ancre (which I have not yet got a hold of!) Both Justine and David have had busy musical careers prior to their duo, David playing in the European tour of Cirque du Soleil. Lever l’ancre scored 5 top-100 tracks on the radio charts with four of said tracks having top videos on MusiquePlus and Musimax (I love watching the countdowns when I’m in Montréal!) They two also performed at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. You can check out more about them and their albums on their site: Alfa Rococo
Chasser le malheur was released on November 10, 2010, and so far it looks like the title-track has been turned into a video-clip:
*Youri Zaragoza – lead-vocals, guitars *Nathan Howard – guitars, vocals *François Lessard – drums, percussion *Jordan Larocque – bass, vocals * Béatrice Martin – keyboards, vocals
One of my favourite CDs I own I found on one of many trips to my favourite city: Montréal. I travel up there several times a year (and will hopefully soon reside there) and it is a tradition for me that any place I travel I search out and buy popular music. Montréal has an active and diverse music scene, and I have gotten many albums and artists there over the years. It was my second trip up, I believe, I stumbled upon Bonjour Brumaire and their debut album De la Nature des Foules. It is now a CD that is never out of my car.
The music on this album is just incredible. While my French is limited, I find the flow of the vocals to be catchy and well crafted – I just imagine it being brilliant. I find many of the endings to the album’s tracks well composed, as instead of fading out or abruptly ending many have a sort of interlude quality where new music is presented or at least taken in a direction you would not expect (i.e. the fadeout or predictable cadence); the endings to Prunelle and Argelès are particularly nice. Their instrumentation is also great, especially the use of more ‘eclectic’ sounds like the organ – in L’insouciance ne s’improvise pas particularly which also has great interaction with the percussion. My absolute favourite song on the album is Argelès – which, again, has amazing percussion throughout, and piano. The song really undergoes many transformations as it progresses, featuring piano and guitar riffs. The instrumental interlude about midway through the song is perfect and the re-entrance of the vocals is powerful as accompanied by the rolling drums. The track’s ending – a haunting organ and piano as the song winds down is also impeccable.
The group is pretty young as it only started work on their debut album De la Nature des Foules in January 2007, working with acclaimed producer Ryan Battistuzzi. The album won several awards, including Breakthrough Artist of the Year, Indie-Pop Album of the Year, and Discovery of the Year at the 2008 Quebec Indie Music Awards, as well as the SODRAC prize for best music for their song “Argelès” at the 2008 Francouvertes contest. It has been one of my favourite CDs since I stumbled upon in Monréal’s HMV. I hope I can catch them in a show sometime while I’m up there! Check out their myspace and give their tracks a listen and their videos a viewing: Bonjour Brumaire