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Friday, September 7th, 2012

FME 2012 Day Four

Jean-Pierre Ferland and Fanny Bloom at Festival de musique émergente 2012

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangSince I’ve covered the essentials of FME in the first two posts, I’ll just preface this one with a curious statistic. Of all the meals I ordered in Rouyn-Noranda over the five days I was there, I’m pretty sure I got the wrong order at least half of those times. Wrong size, wrong topping, wrong food, whatever. And my French isn’t that bad. I mean it’s bad, but I know what I said. Strange. Anyways.

The Sunday of FME was decidedly light on programming – there were still shows, certainly, but not nearly as much and an itinerary of hanging out with friends new and old doing nothing took precedence. Still, there were a couple of things I definitely wanted to catch before the festival was over. Fanny Bloom was the stage name of Fanny Grosjean, former frontperson for Sherbrooke electro-pop group La patère rose, who came to my attention after being Polaris longlisted in 2009 for their self-titled debut. The band dissolved last Summer and Grosjean released Apprentie guerrière, her excellent debut as Fanny Bloom, earlier this year.

She was showcasing this record with an afternoon show at Salle Evolu-Son by way of a set of piano-led modern pop with a light but distinct synthetic edge. It was less arty than I expected; her persona in La patère rose was kind of manic so I thought that might have carried over to her solo context, but it still got pleasantly unhinged at points. As with all Francophone acts, the language barrier was an impediment to fully enjoying/experiencing the music, but melody, emotiveness, and charisma still go a long, long way.

Photos: Fanny Bloom @ Salle Evolu-Son – September 2, 2012
Video: Fanny Bloom – “Parfait parfait”

For the evening, there was really only one option for FME – indeed, for the entire town. I have never heard of Jean-Pierre Ferland, but I was informed he was something of an entertainment legend in Québec and a quick inspection of his credentials would back that up. A recording career that spans more than a half-century and an Officer of The Order Of Canada and Knight of the National Order of Québec are not accolades that many can lay claim to. Nor would the festival have erected a giant stage on the beach of Lac Kiwanis for just anyone, but they did for this rare live performance, and while I can’t find an estimate of how many people came out for the free show, it wouldn’t surprise me if it was in the five digits.

A performer of the old school chanson tradition with a presence not unlike a mischievous uncle, he was accompanied by a big band and backing singers and while I (again) didn’t understand hardly any of what he said or sang, his charm was self-evident and the songs rich with balladry and melodrama, covering bases from folk-pop to disco-rock. I’m sure that it was all slightly – or maybe very – cheesy, but in the very best way and I can’t imagine a more appropriate or authentic way to close out my visit than lying on a hill beside a lake, watching the sun set and the stars rise and taking it all in.

Photos: Jean-Pierre Ferland @ Range Kiwanis – September 2, 2012

And thus ends my FME coverage. It was a decidedly unique experience and while its location makes it difficult to suggest that people just head over and check it out, if you’re looking for something off the beaten path, can speak passable French – not absolutely necessary, but this ain’t Montréal – and have a taste or interest in Canadian Francophone music, it’s worth investigating. And come on – 24-hour poutinerie. Spinner, The National Post, and Exclaim were also all up there this weekend and have shared their experiences and insights.

Anyone remember Friday Night Videos? Yeah? Congratulations, you’re as old as I am. Here’s some new shorts that came out this week to help distract you from that ugly reality. Stereogum has premiered the new video from Sweden’s Holograms, in town at The Shop Under Parts & Labour on September 11.

Video: Holograms – “Fever”

DIY has premiered the new video from Calexico’s Algiers – out next week – and also talk to director Paloma Zapata about the clip.

Video: Calexico – “Splitter”

Rolling Stone and Vulture talk to David Byrne & St. Vincent, who bust a move in the first video from Love This Giant, out next week. They’re at The Queen Elizabeth Theatre on September 20.

Video: David Byrne & St. Vincent – “Who”

Vulture brings you the first video from Beth Orton’s new album Sugaring Season. It’s out October 2 and she plays The Mod Club on September 30.

Video: Beth Orton – “Magpie”

Ellie Goulding has released a video from her new album Halcyon, out October 8, and has confirmed a date at The Sound Academy on October 14. Tickets for that are $25 in advance.

MP3: Ellie Goulding – “Anything Could Happen”
Video: Ellie Goulding – “Anything Could Happen”

Rolling Stone is first up with the new video from Jason Lytle’s new record Dept. Of Disappearance, out October 16.

Video: Jason Lytle – “Your Final Setting Sun”

Sigur Rós’ Valtari video project has produced another clip.

Video: Sigur Rós – “Dauðalogn”

A Music Blog, Yea? – a new site from the Toronto area – has a chat with The Cribs, who have a new video from In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull.

Video: The Cribs – “Anna”

By : Frank Yang at 8:31 am
Category: Concert Reviews

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RSS Feed for this post2 Responses.
  1. Thierry says:

    While it’s true that the language barrier doesn’t help, Jean-Pierre Ferland is probably as highly regarded as a francophone Leonard Cohen and considered one of the great lyricists of French Canadian popular music. Also, Charlotte Gainsbourg covered his “Le chat du Café des artistes” on IRM at Beck’s suggestion, who is a big fan of the song (as he explains here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eebET3EH-BI) from Ferland’s 1970 masterpiece, Jaune. Incidentally, that LP was named the greatest Québec album of all time by Montréal daily La Presse in 2008.

  2. Frank Yang says:

    yeah, Leonard Cohen was the reference point I wanted to use most frequently, if just generationally and broad musical style, but without being able to compare lyrical content I couldn’t comment on Ferland’s stature as a poet or whatnot.