Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Much More Than Alouette: La Musique Francophone

By Daniel NOYE

Often overlooked and even ridiculed by many, it seems as though all in search of a new sound have missed what is hiding behind the language barrier in Atlantic Canada: Francophone music. Versatile, this genre comes in all shapes and styles from punk (Notably, eXterio), to rock (Grand Dérangement), Rap (Zubda), and the list goes on. Under the assumption that this is your first encounter with Francophone music, I'd like to take a close look at Luc Tardif's 2003 ECMA Nominated release Kilogrammes, Reason, Sexe, Taekwondo & Amour.
A native of Sept-Îles, Quebec, Tardif cites his numerous voyages (to England, Morocco, Russia, Iceland, Senegal, Tunisia, the Czech Republic and all over North America) and the small town of Point de l'Église, Nova Scotia (where he has spent the better part of the last ten years teaching at l'Université Sainte-Anne) as major influences on his style of Indie-torched folk-pop. Throughout the album's twelve tracks, Luc expresses himself self-depreciatively yet in a serious tone through his emotionally-driven vocal melodies and captivating guitar work.

The album’s opening track, Leur Dieu, shows one of the many directions Luc’s music can venture; an upbeat marriage of funk and country paired with a soothing vocal line. He carries this sentiment through the album’s next two tracks, Aujourd’hui and Vieux Singe, before Tardif takes an opposite tone on Un, an acoustically driven ballad. From this point on you must brace yourself for the emotional pendulum. The album climaxes during Le Troisième Quinze, an irresistible down-to-earth piece seeing Luc and his guitar accompanied by strings.

Recorded locally in Comeauville, Nova Scotia (minutes from Point de l'Église), it was finished between 2002 and 2003. Appearing on the album are guests Briand Melanson, Armand Dionne, Jean-Pascal Comeau, Lana Tomlin, Steve Caron, Louis Del Vecchio, Maxime Bigras and Daniel Heïkalo. It was released on Plages Records.

With the maturity and musicianship demonstrated by Tardif, it’s difficult to believe that Kilogrammes, Reason, Sexe, Taekwondo & Amour is a debut album. Conversely and at the same time, it thrills his closely-knit fan base knowing that his sophomore release will be available in early 2009. Surely it will be as embellished with top notch guest musicians as was his debut. In synopsis, Luc Tardif is a fresh face in the Francophone music scene with a style that’s easy for anyone to enjoy, Anglo- and Francophone alike.

Head over to www.luctardif.ca or www.myspace.com/luctardif to hear some of Luc's work.

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