FrancoFolies de Montréal Kicks Off With a High Note

A Review of the École Nationale de la Chanson Concert

  • Oliver Mitchell gave an invigorating performance at the École Nationale de la Chanson’s end of year performance. Photo by Shannon Carranco

After ten months of practice, 16 recently-graduated young musicians from Cégep de Granby showcased their talent in their attempt to prove they are the future of French music. This is the École Nationale de la Chanson.

The indoor concert lineup for Les FrancoFolies de Montréal was launched by the École Nationale de la Chanson with guest artist Philippe Brach this past Thursday at the L’Astral concert hall. The young musicians performed their own set, each with their own musical genre, such as blues, rock, funk, R&B and Hawaiian.

The first set of the evening was performed by artist Sylvain Papillon-Gignac with his tune, “Enfants Sauvage.” The piece began with synthesizers playing a soft piano melody that was accompanied by a shuffling mid-paced drum beat.

At the same time, a low electric bass tone came in to add body to the composition and the electric guitar was lightly strummed, guiding the audience to follow the musical path being built.

Olivier Lessard played guitar and harmonica for his folk inspired performance. 

The track slowly winded down to a soft piano melody, while Papillon-Gignac sang his message of being a wild child.

The first set of the concert ended with guest artist Philippe Brach, who sang a composition of his called “Dans ma Tête.”

The song began with haunting sounds of laughter that were sung by a number of the young musicians as part of the background vocals. Brach roamed around the stage to a funky electric guitar, drum and bass beat that left the audience surprised, but in good harmony.

The second set opened with artist Olivier Lessard with a tune called “Se Lever.” Lessard blew into his harmonica while lightly strumming his acoustic guitar, creating a soft ballad.

Karolan channeled folk, rock and jazz influences.

As he sang with a rough and mellow tone of voice, the drums made a quiet appearance that slowly escalated the energy of the song, while the bass was lightly thumped away until the tune exploded with every instrument playing at their loudest.

At the end of the song, each of the instruments slowly phased out until Lessard was left picking at his guitar in a dark concert hall.

At the end of the concert, each of the 16 musicians sang together the tune “Les Dauphins et Les Licornes.”

The tune began with a loud electric guitar ballad followed by a vibrant drum beat and funky bass pattern that added rhythm to the song. Each musician sang their own part that demonstrated and characterized their own sound until everyone sang together in the main verse.

The set ended with Brach joining each of the musicians who repeated the words, “Les Dauphins et Les Licornes” to demonstrate how each person is different, but one aspect of life that each has in common is music. The set ended with a standing ovation.

La Dubuc gave an invigorating performance of real Rock and Roll. 

What I enjoyed most was “Le Blues du Perchoir” by Allyson Pétrin. The piece began with an echoed electric guitar ballad that was low toned and mellow, while Pétrin sang the blues with a soft tone in her voice.

Once the tune quieted down, the muted bass tone was played with a slow drum that gave the audience a taste for what is about to happen.

At the end of the track, each instrument slowly phased out, until Pétrin shocked the audience by raising her voice, ultimately elevating the melody of the piece. The loud tone of voice demonstrated her crying out the blues to the public, until the piece winded down with a black background covered in little spotlights.

Les FrancoFolies de Montréal // June 8th-18th.

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