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dimanche 10 octobre 2010

Karkwa kings of French Side like Arcade Fire would be the Kings of the English side


I have to admit, when it comes to Karkwa, I’m totally sold.   They could add music to the telephone directory and I would be in awe!  I will do my best to forget about my preconceptions and do a fair review of the show I saw last week during the Pop Montreal International Music festival.

First of all, a little history:  Karkwa just won the 2010 Polaris prize.  In other words, their latest album, ‘Les Chemins De Verre’ won the best Canadian album of the year.  They are the first francophone band to ever win this prize.  Everybody is familiar with the English Montreal scene (Arcade Fire, Besnard Lakes, Patrick Watson, Land of Talk, etc) that was once compared to the 1990’s Seattle rock scene for its influence on the new bands and new music genre; although if you don’t live in Quebec, you don’t know the French side of that scene.  Karkwa’s members are a small part of that scene, but definitely the kings of it; like Arcade Fire would be the Kings of the English side.

Karkwa records amazing albums but it really is live that you can get a full sense of their talent.  Their sonority is unique, like nothing you’ve heard before, but at the same time, you can clearly hear some of their influences; Patrick Watson and Radiohead certainly being among them.  The five members each have their own style and they each bring their uniqueness into the band and their sound.  It’s simple, a Karkwa show is a journey.  At the beginning of the concert, you embark into their wagon of music and get off only two hours later when they are done.

As Louis-Jean sings his evocative and profound words, you want to vibrate with him.  His voice is rich and full of nuances.  You just want to follow him in his own world.  As I’m writing this, I’m listening to “Mieux Respirer” (from their 2008 album ‘Le Volume Du Vent’).  This song is the best example of Louis-Jean’s talent.  You can check a live version similar to what they did at the Metropolis right here.

I can’t write about a Karkwa show without mentioning their amazing keyboardist Francois Lafontaine.  I’m not condemning any of the other members, but Francois’ charisma on stage is undeniable.  He’s a piano prodigy or that’s the impression he gives to everyone who sees him live.  You can also see Francois in the video I posted above.

It wasn’t my first Karkwa experience, but I have to admit that this one was one of my favorite.  What differed from the others was the lighting.  The atmosphere was sometimes hushed, sometimes psychedelic, sometimes delicate and sometimes aggressive, just like their sound.   The twelve tiny lighting poles placed symmetrically on the stage sure helped to make the lighting effects out of the ordinary.  Totally synchronized with the music, we were plunged into a fantastic musical ride.

The only down side of a Karkwa show (or a Karkwa album for that matter) is that it’s always too short.  Last night, I left that building saying to myself: I’ve been in there for two hours, they gave themselves, played most of their hits and it’s still not enough for me.

As you can see, I clearly failed my mission.  I’m biased.  The thing is, I hope you will be too after checking them out live or buying their latest album.  Stay tuned for our special Pop Montreal Exhibit A in November as we also had the chance to interview them!

For more on Karkwa please visit: http://www.karkwa.com

View more pictures here!

Written by Christine? Confront Magazine – Metropolis, September 30th, 2010


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Messages les plus consultés

"[Karkwa] qu'on en dise" le cap des 40 000 visiteurs a été dépassé le 21 juin 2011 alors que Karkwa performer à Paris pour le cinquantième anniversaire de la délégation générale du Québec à Paris.

Je remercie tous ceux qui ont trouvé,
depuis avril 2008, intérêt à visiter ces pages dédiées à mes amis de Karkwa et aux musicien(ne)s et musiques qui leur sont proches.

Rendez-vous est pris pour le 50000 éme visiteur ! :-)

Avertissement: Ce blog à pour but de regrouper et archiver les articles parus sur le net à propos de Karkwa. Il est fait par amitié pour les membres du groupe et leur entourage. Les liens vers les sites et articles d'origine sont faits, les auteurs sont cités lorsque possible. Si quiconque se sentait lésé dans ses droits, il n'aurait qu'a me contacter pour que je puisse remédier à la situation.