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AFP: Vibrant Montreal brings new Canadian rock sound to world scenes

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Vibrant Montreal brings new Canadian rock sound to world scenes

 

Posted on Thursday, May 10, 2007 (EST)

Montreal, the Canadian city known for its fierce winters, has become an international hotspot for a new wave of indie bands.

 

 

The_Montreal_Arcade_Fire_200705100058568900_afp.jpg

The Montreal band "Arcade Fire" during a performance

© AFP/GettyImages/File Kevin Winter

 

PARIS (AFP) - Led by trailblazers Arcade Fire, guitar-wielding groups have been touring overseas, winning fans and have everyone wondering about the secret of the city’s sudden success.

 

Alongside the rock scene, electronic acts such as DJ Champion, Kid Koala and Tiga have made "based in Montreal" a fashionable stamp of quality.

In the process, the image of Canadian music, once dominated by pop crooners Bryan Adams and Celine Dion, has been redefined.

 

"Montreal is an extremely cosmopolitan and open city," said homegrown singer Pierre Lapointe, giving his reasons for the new vibrancy.

 

"We couldn’t care less about origins. What we look for is good music and interesting ways of doing things," he added during a stop in Paris.

 

Montreal is home to about two million people, making it the biggest city in the French-speaking eastern province of Quebec.

 

Music journalist and commentator for Canadian cable channel MusiquePlus, Nicolas Tittley, puts the vitality of the guitar scene down to North American influences.

The_Montreal_Arcade_Fire_200705100058568901_afp.jpg

The Montreal band "Arcade Fire" during a performance

© AFP/GettyImages/File Kevin Winter

 

"Rock, country, blues, folk. Basically, all the music movements linked to North America are not foreign for 'les Montrealais'," he said in an interview.

 

Indie rockers Arcade Fire have sold a million albums worldwide, according to their record label, and fellow groups Wolf Parade, The Bell Orchestre, Patrick Watson, Stars, The Besnard Lakes or The Dears are following in their footsteps.

 

The francophone movement includes Ariane Moffatt, Karkwa, Ghislain Poirier, Les Trois Accords and Malajube.

 

Malajube is threatening to cross the language divide and break into English-speaking markets after the group’s new album "Trompe-l'oeil" won plaudits from US reviewers.

 

Although Montreal is a majority francophone city, most people can speak (and sing in) both languages and the city is also home to a large, well-integrated ethnic population.

 

"The openness that we have in Montreal is quite unique," said Laurent Saulnier, programmer for the Montreal International Jazz Festival and Francofolies de Montreal event.

 

"Few cities in the world have access to so many sorts of music from everywhere: France, USA, Europe, South America, or Africa."

 

The cross-over of influences and culture is also seen in the music collaborations.

 

Pierre Lapointe, The Dears, Les Trois Accords and Loco Locass, a rap group similar to the Beastie Boys, make guest appearances on the Malajube’s album.

 

Critics snipe that the hype will not last, but for the moment at least, a new, fresh face has been put on Canadian music overseas. ©AFP

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