Chic Gamine
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Chic Gamine

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2007 | SELF | AFM

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada | SELF | AFM
Established on Jan, 2007
Band Pop Soul




"From Thousands Of Bands, Four SXSW Discoveries"

This week, more than 2,000 bands will perform live as part of the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas — and each will hope to stand out somehow. It's one thing to play SXSW, but another to generate excitement.

The Austin 100: A SXSW Mix
For the NPR Music team, attending SXSW means sifting and winnowing through hundreds upon hundreds of songs for weeks in advance, in an effort to better anticipate the festival's highlights. Each year, writer and editor Stephen Thompson assembles a mix called The Austin 100 — a 100-song playlist highlighting new discoveries from SXSW — and in 2012 that meant listening to more than 1,300 songs.

In an interview for weekends on All Things Considered, NPR's Guy Raz asked Thompson to distill that 1,300-song bundle down to just four discoveries — songs by artists he'd never heard before the process began.

Thompson's choices:

* Now, Now, "Dead Oaks" (from Threads)
A young trio from Minneapolis, Now, Now is led by two women (Cacie Dalager and Jess Abbott) with a remarkably sophisticated ear for irresistibly infectious pop-rock.

* Kishi Bashi, "Bright Whites" (from 151a)
A Kickstarter-funded solo project for a performer named K Ishibashi (a touring member of the band Of Montreal), Kishi Bashi plays homemade toy-box pop with Beatles-esque harmonies and a sense of grandeur.

* Chic Gamine, "Closer" (from City City)
A throwback to girl-group soul with a touch of Francophile pop, Chic Gamine features four Canadian women who take turns singing lead vocals. A Juno winner in its home country, the band sounds poised for a U.S. breakout.

* Silverbus, "Those Forgotten" (from Orange)
SXSW always offers a chance to indulge in something head-clearingly loud and grand, and the Taiwanese band Silverbus fits that bill. (See also: Deafheaven, The Calm Blue Sea.) With big guitars that get bigger as the songs progress, it's instrumental music that makes listeners want to shout along.

Visit for NPR Music's full coverage of SXSW, including live broadcasts, videos, photos, podcasts and more from the festival. - NPR/Stephen Thompson

"SXSW Day Three: a Spotify future, Chic Gamine, musical magick and the dB’s"

Austin, TX—Another long day and night at SXSW started out with my Sound Opinions colleague Greg Kot and I sitting on a panel called “Adult Rock Music Meeting” with several legendary radio programmers, including Norm Winer of Chicago’s WXRT and former Chicagoan Sky Daniels, now of L.A.’s KCSN, listening to a minute and a half of mystery tracks and evaluating their merits—or lack thereof)

This is the second time Team Sound Ops has done a session like this, and each time I’ve felt compelled to point out that this is not how critics listen to music. Once an artist has pinged the radar as someone of interest from a number of sources—blogs and other press, streaming radio stations or podcasts, good word of mouth, and so on—this reviewer almost never listens to an album less than four times through, and often much more. But it’s a fun game, and it yielded one discovery.

Chic Gamine.

No one else on the panel—and few in the audience—really liked Chic Gamine, a quintet from Winnipeg/Montreal fronted by four harmonizing young women working in a style they call “not a cappella... a’capulco!” That is to say, on a self-titled five-song EP, they layer gorgeous girl-group harmonies over a subtle sound that’s equal parts ’60s French pop/spaceage bachelor pad music and Motown. Unfortunately, I discovered them after they’d already played their one and only SXSW showcase, but they’ve made me a believer. - Jim DeRogatis/WBEZ/Sound Opinions

"Chic Gamine "Light a Match" (video)"

Montreal/Winnipeg combo Chic Gamine haven't released an album in five years, but with that finally set to change on October 23 with Light a Match, the group have rolled out a video for the title track.

The video for this choral-style soul-pop sugar rush takes place in a tiny diorama, where scratchy, faux-vintage footage of the band appears in the window of a tiny cabin. We also see life-sized footage of a couple of gentlemen playing what resembles a game of cards; instead of cards, however, they use old photographs, and they eventually send these mementos skyward via a homemade rocket. The video was directed by Mike Maryniuk.

Scroll past Chic Gamine's tour schedule to check out the premiere of the clip below.

Tour dates:

09/29 Lethbridge, AB - Geomatic Attic *
10/01 Edmonton, AB - Horowitz *
10/02 Calgary, AB - Flames Central *
10/03 Saskatoon, SK - Capitol Theatre *
10/04 Winnipeg, MB - West End Cultural Centre *
10/15 Montreal, QC - Divan Orange (Indie Montreal)
10/23 Toronto, ON - The Rivoli

*with Lindi Ortega - Exclaim!

"Kitsap Sun: AT THE ADMIRAL: Chic Gamine Rides the Fast Track into Bremerton"

If it weren’t for Alexandre Sacha Daoud, Chic Gamine could be nicknamed “Chick Gamine” — the Montreal-bred drummer is the only thing that keeps the five-piece band from being an all-female proposition.

His situation doesn’t present him with many drawbacks, though.

“I probably spend more time in the mall than I’d like,” laughs Daoud, who provides the beat for the mostly a cappella Canadian band, who visit the Admiral Theatre May 2. “I have good earplugs, for the van — they like to giggle and laugh. And shop.”

Daoud was the final cog in the construction of Chic Gamine, who rose from the ashes of the acclaimed, Winnipeg French Quarter-based female vocal group Madrigaia. When that group fell apart, three members — Annick Bremault, Ariane Jean and Andrina Turenne — decided they still wanted to sing together, and set about building a new band.

“They found Alexa (Dirks), also in Winnipeg, who’s a great soul singer and songwriter,” Daoud said.

The women already knew Daoud from working together with a band he was in in a CBC-sponsored concert.

“We became friends, from that day on,” Daoud says during a phone conversation from Lafayette, La., prior to a Chic Gamine gig at a music festival. “My band split about the same time as their band split, and I got the call to be part of the new project.”

One of the reasons Chic Gamine was able to get on the fast track almost from the get-go was that they honored some showcase dates (performances for industry insiders who book concert tours and theater shows) that had been lined up for Madrigaia. They had about three weeks to prepare before they found themselves playing their first showcase concerts in Los Angeles. That was in August, 2007.

The band also found time to compose and record their first (eponymously titled) CD, which won the Juno Award (Canada’s equivalent of the Grammy) for “Best Roots-Traditional Album of the Year” for 2008.

“We’re all kind of session musicians, too,” Daoud said, “so we’re used to picking things up fast, being under pressure.”

These days, Daoud says, Chic Gamine has all but banished cover versions from their concert repertoire.

“We do some covers, but nowadays I’d say 95 percent of what we play is our compositions,” he estimates. “In a two-set show, we have maybe 20 songs, and maybe two or three will be covers.

“Because everybody in the band is a writer, we don’t lack for (original) material.”

The writing process, to hear Daoud describe it, is completely organic. All five members contribute everything from ideas to nearly completed songs, in the form of demos. The orchestration is done pretty much as if the songs were to be played by musical instruments, except that in Chic Gamine’s case, the voices each take one of the parts.

“What happens a lot is one person will come in with a melody and lyrics, and the whole band will make the arrangement,” he says. “The songs could have a rock band do them, you know, but with us, this is not the case since our orchestration is what it is.”

The four women in the band all are musicians as well as singers, but non-vocal instrumentation — aside from percussion and an occasional guitar — rarely finds its way into their arrangements. There is ever more percussion, though, as the women are learning to bang on various things, and obliging Daoud to do some singing at the same time.

Daoud says reactions from concert audiences thus far have been buoying, and his original skepticism (”Are people gonna dig this?”) is long gone. He cites the primal nature of the band’s sound — voices and drums — for a lot of that acceptance.

“I think our music gets people in a subconscious and deep way,” he says. “Everyone can relate to it. It’s singing and hitting stuff.”

Daoud refers to his bandmates simply, and charmingly, as “the girls.” And, other than all that time waiting for them to emerge from various malls, he says he’s found a comfortable place performing and traveling with them.”A lot of people envy my position,” he says. “I’m working with four women who are very beautiful and very intelligent, talented women who respect themselves, but don’t take themselves too seriously. I feel fortunate to be in this band. We’re family; we treat each other right. We seem to be a good functioning unit.”

They certainly sound like one. - By Michael C. Moore, Kitsap Sun

"French Canadian Girl Group Chic Gamine has gone full on pop-rock and soul"

CALGARY — St. Boniface, a distinctly French-Canadian borough within Winnipeg, is a well-known breeding ground for some of the most vibrant folk music in the country, which Chic Gamine is most certainly part of. Formed in 2007, a core of female vocalists took their a cappella charm to national and international heights winning a Juno and playing for the Queen.

Alexa Dirks, one of the female leads, although not French herself, is still directly connected to St. Boniface and talks about its big musical heart.

“The Winnipeg musical community in general is very nurturing. Everyone wants to see everyone else succeed, especially in the French community. We just had Festival du Voyaguer [in February], which is the big French music festival in St. Boniface. They call it the world’s best kitchen party. Kitchen parties are big things in the French community, where people come together, make meals and sing. I know that the other girls grew up with that. It’s a big part of their reality. It didn’t matter how good or professional you were. Everyone had a place.”

That equality amongst members extends throughout Chic Gamine. There’s no front person or leader of the group, it’s a shared responsibility that reflects a display of tremendous talent and diversity ranging from soul burnin’ black gospel and American R&B to early ‘60s Brill Building girl group sweetness to gorgeous, sparkling-fresh folk-pop.

“We never set out to be or sound like something in particular,” explains Dirks. “There’s so many inspirations that we draw from, and because we’re such a collective and there’s not one creative voice being heard, it’s all of our voices together that make us what we are.”

Originally Chic Gamine had four female vocalists and was largely propelled by a cappella. Recently that focus has shifted with one singer dropping out and the group bringing in a lot more instrumentation to flush out their style and sound.

“If you were to see us now compared to the show we used to put on, it’s completely different. It’s a full-on rock, pop, soul band with instrumentation on every tune. The vocals are still at the heart of it, and harmonies still drive it, but it’s not just vocally-based anymore.”

Chic Gamine perform at Festival Hall Friday, March 20. -

"Houston Press: Aftermath: iFest in Downtown Houston"

HOUSTON — The 2009 Houston International Festival spotlighting Ireland, is proud to announce the music lineup showcasing a host of top artists from around the globe. The 38th annual Festival returns to downtown Houston April 18-19 and 25-26, 2009, featuring continuous music, dance and cultural performances on 12 stages.

Headlining the Bud Light World Music Stage in Lower Sam Houston Park are funk legends the Ohio Players, April 18; soul/gospel queen Mavis Staples, April 19; South African jazz trumpeter Hugh Masekela, April 25; and Chicano roots-rockers Los Lobos, hosting the festival’s “Celtic/Conjunto” finale, April 26. International acts include Egypt 80, Puerto Rico’s Plena Libre, Algerian-born Rachid Taha, Jamaica’s Rootz Underground and the Wailing Souls, Guinea’s Alpha YaYa Diallo and Quebec’s Chic Gamine, joined by Louisiana’s homegrown R&B/soul crooner Marc Broussard. Each year, iFest’s World Stage puts the best of world music next to the finest American roots music to demonstrate how music can communicate across cultural and linguistic barriers. This year’s lineup is one of our greatest yet. - By William Michael Smith

"Chic Gamine : un concert de langues"

Le quintette pop vocal Chic Gamine profite au maximum de l'intérêt qu'il suscite au Québec, au Canada et aux États-Unis, porté par ses chansons légères et bilingues. De Winnipeg à La Nouvelle-Orléans en passant par Montréal, lorsque l'horaire le permet, les quatre filles et l'unique gars (le chanceux!) jouent les ambassadeurs officieux du 23e Coup de coeur francophone.
Quand on aime, on partage: le Coup de coeur salue cette année 15 festivals itinérants de la chanson. La contagion, puisque c'est dans l'air du temps, s'étend dans les grands centres du pays où l'on s'intéresse à
la musique francophone. Heureusement, au contraire de la grippe, il n'y a pas de vaccin contre la bonne chanson.
Celle de Chic Gamine, légère et scintillante, s'attrape à la première écoute. On ne parle pas encore de pandémie, mais les premiers signes ne trompent pas.
«On donne beaucoup de concerts aux États-Unis: Californie, Michigan, Oregon, Washington... En fait, c'est aux États-Unis qu'on a donné nos premiers concerts», note la chanteuse et instrumentiste d'origine franco- manitobaine, Andrina Turenne. On n'a pas donné beaucoup de spectacles à Montréal ni même chez nous, à Winnipeg.»
Jusqu'au 11 décembre, des artistes de la francophonie canadienne visiteront des grands centres (Moncton, Toronto, Vancouver...) pour répandre la bonne nouvelle dans la langue de Félix, Andrea Lindsay, Michel Rivard, Frederic Gary Comeau, Catherine Durand et plusieurs autres.
Mais pas les filles de Chic Gamine, occupées qu'elles seront à écrire les chansons de leur deuxième album, qui devrait paraître au printemps prochain.
Pour son premier concert à Montréal depuis les FrancoFolies (où on l'a d'ailleurs découvert), le quintette débordede bonnes mélodies et d'arrangements vocaux fins, en anglais (l'une des filles est unilingue anglophone) mais aussi en français, témoignage de cette dualité manitobaine dont les filles se réclament. Le succès commence à poindre ici et plus au sud. Dans leur patelin, on célèbre les musiciennes, lauréates d'un prix Juno pour leur premier album, dans la catégorie World/Trad.
«Le trip, c'est de partager notre musique dans toutes les langues, avec les spectateurs et à l'intérieur même du groupe, explique Andrina Turenne. Même lorsqu'on donne des concerts aux États-Unis, on apporte nos chansons en français puisque nous sommes fières d'être francophones. Pour nous, c'est une célébration des langues et de la musique.»

À l'origine de Chic Gamine, il y a eu le laboratoire de chant pop Madrigaïa, dont trois des musiciennes ont fait partie. Très vocal déjà, présent dans les circuits de diffusion de la musique du monde, le groupe - Andrina, Annick Brémault et Ariane Jean - s'est enrichi d'Alexa Dirks et du percussionniste montréalais Sacha Daoud. Après un an de concerts, le groupe a lancé son premier disque, à compte d'auteur, l'année dernière.
La soul, le R&B, la musique brésilienne, le doo-wop et la chanson influencent le quintette, mais toutes ces traces musicales se fondent et s'effacent derrière les belles compositions et, surtout, derrière les arrangements vocaux inventifs et dépouillés qui font le charme de Chic Gamine.
«Notre musique est difficile à qualifier parce qu'elle s'articule essentiellement autour des voix et des percussions, précise Andrina. Ça donne un peu la vibe roots, bien que nos influences n'aient rien à voir. Il y a des avantages, par contre, à porter l'étiquette world et roots: on peut se glisser dans la programmation de plein de festivals, de jazz, de musique du monde, de folk.»
Ou, plus simplement encore, dans un festival de chanson. Chic Gamine sera en concert mercredi soir, au Lion d'or, avec Alcaz'.

En un mot
Quatre filles, un gars, une chanson faite de cordes vocales et de peaux de tambours
- Philippe Renaud, collaboration spéciale La Presse

"Métro Montréal: Critiques CD de la semaine du 2 au 6 février 2009"

Le groupe Chic Gamine se compose de quatre chanteuses et d’un batteur. Ensemble, ils font une musique où les cordes vocales sont à l’honneur, avec la percussion comme unique support musical. Le résultat est sympa, les filles sachant savamment moduler leurs belles voix et multiplier harmonies et chœurs. Passant d’un style gospel des années 50 et 60 à un style folk, chantant tantôt en français ou en anglais, tantôt en espagnol, Chic Gamine fait plusieurs explorations, mais malheureusement, elles ne sont pas toujours réussies. Un bon concept, mais qui s’essouffle un peu en milieu de parcours. - la Presse, Montreal, Geneviève Vézina-Montplaisir

"Métro Ottawa: Canada Day fun"

Ariane Jean, Alexa Dirks and Andrina Turenne, left to right, of Winnipeg/Montreal-based vocal quintet Chic Gamine, perform at the National Capital Commission’s Canada Day lineup announcement Thursday. Chic Gamine performs in Ottawa July 1.

Juno and Grammy-award-winning singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan, Quebec singer Marie-Mai, country star Shane Yellowbird and Acadian performer and actress Marie-Jo Therio will be headlining this year’s Canada Day festivities in the nation’s capital.

The National Capital Commission announced the entertainment lineup — among other details — on Thursday.

“I love the sight of hundreds of thousands of Canadians sharing in the Canada Day experience,” said NCC CEO Marie Lemay. “They’re all waving flags, and all singing the anthem together. It’s a powerful moment. It’s a day to celebrate our history and our culture.”

An estimated 350,000 people — including 70,000 on Parliament Hill alone — will attend this year’s festivities.

This year’s Canada Day noon show will highlight Canada’s hosting of the upcoming Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, and visitors will have an opportunity to meet some Olympic and Paralympic athletes, as well as Vancouver 2010 mascots.

Activities take place at three official sites: Parliament Hill and Major’s Hill Park in Ottawa, and Jacques-Cartier Park in Gatineau.

While the program at Parliament Hill includes a traditional flag-raising ceremony, the Changing of the Guard ceremony, and the world-famous RCMP Musical Ride performances, the evening show always draws a crowd, and this year, artists from all over Canada, including 2009 Juno Award winner Chic Gamine, Cassiopée and K’Naan will be featured.

Races of 5K, 3K and 1K distances start off the day at Jacques-Cartier Park, and visitors will be able to check out a Canadian Forces CF–18 Hornet and the aerial acrobatics shows of the ski and snowboard athletes, the Flying Canucks.

Visitors to Major’s Hill Park will also have the opportunity to stroll the Avenue of the 2009 Cultural Capitals of Canada, while the Ottawa Jazz Festival presents free programming at Confederation Park. - tRACEY TONG/METRO OTTAWA

"Manitoba artists could dominate at WCMAs"

Local musicians have home province advantage at this year's Western Canadian Music Awards.

A total of 22 different artists are up for awards in 14 different categories at the seventh annual awards show, which takes place tonight at the Manitoba Centennial Auditorium in Brandon.

The show will be hosted by musicians Tim Tamashiro (the host of Tonic on CBC Radio 2) and Andrea Menard. Scheduled performers include Romi Mayes, the Sheepdogs, Paramedic, Souls in Rhythm, Record of the Week Club, Allez Ouest, Dan Mangan, Delhi 2 Dublin, Gordie Tentrees, Hey Ocean!, Library Voices, the Twisters, Trio Accord and 2009 Hall of Fame inductee Loreena McKennitt.

The WCMAs are not broadcast on radio or television.

Old-time folkies the Duhks, rock band the Waking Eyes, composer Sid Robinovitch and singer-songwriters Scott Nolan, J.P. Hoe and Romi Mayes lead the Manitoba contingent with two nominations each.

Manitoba artists dominated in the aboriginal, children's, roots duo/group and songwriter of the year categories, with three artists nominated in the aboriginal and children's categories, and four artists fighting it out in the roots album and songwriter categories.

The four-day WCMAs kicked off Thursday with the annual Brandon University Rock the Block street party. Other events included a music festival at seven different venues, a conference, a songwriter's circle and industry awards brunch, where Paquin Entertainment Group founder Gilles Paquin was given the Industry Builder Award and violinist James Ehnes and neo-crooner Michael Bublé were given international achievement awards.

Honoured to be nominated

Here's a list of the local artists up for awards.

Aboriginal Recording of the Year

Eagle and Hawk, Sirensong; Team Rezofficial, The World (And Everything In It); Billy Joe Green, First Law of the Land: If Broken Return to Maker.

Blues Recording of the Year

Big Dave McLean, Acoustic Blues: Got 'Em From the Bottom.

Children's Recording of the Year

Alphabet Soup, You're It!; LuLu et le Matou, Faites de la Musique!; LuLu and the TomCat, Fossil Rock.

Christian Recording of the Year

Tuesday Bloom, Tuesday Bloom; Steve Bell, Devotion.

Classical Composition of the Year

Sid Robinovitch, Rodas Recordada; T. Patrick Carrabré, A Hammer for Your Thoughts.

Classical Recording of the Year

Alexander Tselyakov, Sonata Album; Sid Robinovitch, Sefarad.

Country Recording of the Year

Doc Walker, Beautiful Life.

Francophone Recording of the Year

Daniel Roa, Le nombirl du monde.

Independent Album of the Year

The Waking Eyes, Holding On To Whatever It Is.

Pop Recording of the Year

J.P. Hoe, The Dear John Letters; Record of the Week Club, Record of the Week Club.

Rap and Hip Hop

Grand Analog, Touch Your Toes.

Rock Recording of the Year

The Waking Eyes, Holding On To Whatever It Is.

Roots Duo/Group Recording of the Year

Chic Gamine, Chic Gamine; The Duhks, Fast Paced World; Scott Nolan, Receiver/Reflector; Oh My Darling, Oh My Darling.

Roots Solo Recording of the Year

Romi Mayes, Achin' In Yer Bones.

Songwriter of the Year

Romi Mayes, Achin In Yer Bones; The Duhks, Fast Paced World; Scott Nolan, Receiver/Reflector; J.P. Hoe, The Dear John Letters.

Urban Recording of the Year

Ishq Bector, Dakku Daddy. - Winnipeg Free Press

"Local artists dominate aboriginal and roots album categories"

Nickelback might be the kings of the Juno Awards — but Manitobans are getting their two cents in as well.

More than a dozen current and former residents were nominated for Juno Awards yesterday in Toronto, with locals dominating two categories. Here’s a quick rundown:

- Perennial favourites Doc Walker earned a nod in the Country Recording category with their CD Beautiful Life.
- The Aboriginal Album category boasts three local names: Guitar slinger Billy Joe Green is up for First Law of the Land, singer Tracey Bone is nominated for No Lies and hip-hoppers Team Rezofficial are up for The World (And Everything In It).
- Locals also monopolized the Roots & Traditional Album category: Chic Gamine are nominated for their self-titled CD, nugrassers The Duhks are up for Fast Paced World, and duo Twilight Hotel made the cut with Highway Prayer.
- Home-town mainstay Big Dave McLean is up for the Blues Album prize for his CD Acoustic Blues: Got ‘Em From the Bottom.
- Brandon resident and WSO composer-in-residence T. Patrick Carrabre could take home Classical Composition of the Year for his work From the Dark Reaches.
- Gilles Paquin and Joan Prowse are nominated for Music DVD of the Year for Buffy Sainte-Marie’s MultiMedia Life.
- Winnipeg-born jazz singer Elizabeth Shepherd’s Parkdale competes for Vocal Jazz Album of the Year.
- Spiritual pop-rockers Starfield are up for Contemporary Christian / Gospel Album for I Will Go.
- Former Winnipegger DJ Brace & The Electric Nosehair Orchestra vie for Instrumental Album of the Year with Nostomania.
- Brandon-born violinist and frequent nominee James Ehnes’ Homage CD is up for Classical Album of the Year: Solo or Chamber Ensemble. - Staff, The Winnipeg Sun

"Manitoba musicians up for multiple awards at WCMA"

Manitoban artists and industry professionals are making noise up in the Yukon this weekend.

Local musicians and members of the music industry are nominated for 43 Western Canadian Music Awards, which are being handed out over Saturday and Sunday in Whitehorse.
Romi Mayes (left) with Jay Nowicki.

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Romi Mayes (left) with Jay Nowicki. (SUPPLIED PHOTO)
Ruth Moody

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Ruth Moody (ART TURNER)

Local artists with multiple nods include a cappella vocal group Chic Gamine, with two for their album City City in the roots duo/group recording and independent album categories; Romi Mayes with two for roots solo recording for Lucky Tonight and songwriter of the year for the song Ball and Chain; and Del Barber, whose Juno-nominated Love Songs for the Last Twenty is up for roots solo recording and independent album of the year.

Ruth Moody is also vying for two awards: one for roots solo album of the year for The Garden and one as a member of the Wailin’ Jennys, whose album Bright Morning Stars is a finalist for roots duo/group recording of the year.

The complete list of nominees is available at

The industry awards are Saturday, while the music awards will be handed out Sunday at the Yukon Arts Centre during a ceremony hosted by CBC Radio 3’s Grant Lawrence.

The WCMAs are part of the rebranded BreakOut West festival launched last year in Kelowna, B.C.

The festival includes seminars, mentoring sessions, the awards and a music festival featuring more than 50 performers from Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories. Thirteen local artists are making the trip to showcase at the festival.

— Rob Williams - By: Rob Williams, Winnipeg Free Press

"Uptown Magazine: Chic Gamine getting slicker - in a good way"

Earlier this year, something unexpected happened to Chic Gamine. The Winnipeg/Montreal vocal quintet won a Juno award for its self-titled debut - an album that was independently recorded on a shoestring budget.

“We were just completely surprised by the nomination,” says vocalist Andrina Turenne, 27, over the phone from Montreal.

“We were like, ‘Holy smokes!’ It was so flattering and so exciting for us, that was it - it was sweet. We had booked shows throughout the Junos, so we kept going on with the tour.

“We were playing a show in Hamilton, Mont., on the night of the awards and a friend had called us and told us we had won. We were in a total celebrating mood for the second half of the show. (No kidding - after the gig, the group recorded a two-minute song/acceptance speech they promptly posted to YouTube.)

“It took a while for it to sink in,” Turenne continues. “We made this record three months after we got together. We did it in a short amount of time, and it was such a labour of love for us. We were so excited it got recognized.”

It’s not just folks at the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences who have taken notice of Chic Gamine and its ethereal, genre-spanning sound. Since forming in 2007, the group - rounded out by singers Ariane Jean, Alexa Dirks, Annick Brémault and drummer/percussionist Alexandre Sacha Daoud - has become one of this province’s most in-demand musical exports, steadily criss-crossing the continent over the past year.

The record, which the quintet has been selling at gigs and online, has a lot to do with Chic Gamine’s success on the road. Despite only being a band for three months, the group wisely decided to lay down an album right away because, as any fledgling band knows, you can’t tour on T-shirt sales alone.

“Sorry I’m hogging,” Turenne says, apologizing to Dirks and Jean, who are also on speaker phone. “I think that making the first record was a necessity. We were serious about being a band, so we needed to get music out there. We were really into the idea of this project, and we wanted to jump into it. We couldn’t lose time.

“We’re making a new record now and the process is completely different,” she says.

“Now, we actually have time to think of a concept - not necessarily for a concept record, but we’ll have more of a vision for the collection as a whole.”

Thanks to their tireless touring, the members of Chic Gamine will also have a better sense of how they work together.

“For the most part, we’re still getting to know each other,” Dirks, 22, says. “The others knew each other from before, but myself and our drummer just sort of jumped in. But I think the most exciting part was discovering that we really loved working together. We took a big risk together.”

The musical partnership between Turenne, Jean and Brémault is a longstanding one. The trio sang together in the renowned local vocal ensemble Madrigaïa, which disbanded in 2007 after eight years and two albums.

“When Madrigaïa ended, everyone went their own ways, but some of us wanted to stick together,” Jean, 29, says.

“The three of us had been singing together since before Madrigaïa,” Turenne adds. “We weren’t done singing together yet.”

Still, Chic Gamine is a new project for everyone involved - but the band is finding its groove.

“We did our first songwriting session for the new record a few days ago and Annick said, ‘Do you notice how much faster we are?’ and I guess that’s true,” Dirks says. “We’re feeding off each other’s instincts more.”

“I feel the same way,” Turenne adds. “I can’t believe we’ve only been together for two years.”

Aug. 18, 8 p.m., West End Cultural Centre - By Jen Zoratti, Uptown

"Un savoureux cocktail nommé Chic Gamine"

Chic gamine: un nom judicieux pour quatre chics chanteuses espiègles ayant pour accompagnement principal le batteur Sacha Daoud. Le quintette vocal winnipegois montréalais a posé ses pénates sur la scène de L’Astral jeudi soir, une dernière prestation en sol montréalais avant qu’il ne poursuive son périple musical de plusieurs mois à travers tout le continent.

Étonnant de constater à quel point les seules harmonies de quatre voix, celles d’Ariane Jean, Andrina Turenne, Alexa Dirks et Annick Brémault, rehaussées de quelques percussions, peuvent créer des mélodies des plus riches.

Après une entrée en matière groovy intitulée Closer, tirée de leur dernier opus City City, ces voix ont gagné en profondeur, dénonçant le gouvernement qui, au moment de la composition de Before It’s Too Late, s’apprêtait à créer de nouvelles prisons pour les jeunes.

«Tous les enfants ont le droit d’être aimés et éduqués. Ça nous brise le cœur qu’on ne mette pas assez d’argent à éduquer ces jeunes et qu’on les punisse à la première erreur.» Un brin de slam pour leur défense.

La prestation a pris une tournure plus musicale sur Ici, la guitare s’étant ajoutée aux instruments vocaux, aux percussions et au clavier, qui avait ponctué la pièce précédente. Reste que les moments les plus forts du spectacle demeurent ceux où les voix se sont trouvées complètement dépouillées, comme lors de l’interprétation de J’attends (Que tu sois là) et de la magnifique Between Now and Then.

Dans cette ambiance bon enfant ont fusé quelques blagues tombant à plat. Il faut parfois savoir se taire au bon moment. La pièce Silence est arrivée à point. Beau coup de cœur néanmoins pour Alexa et son franglais ultra cassé. Ses bévues francophones ont fait crouler de rire le public.

Seule dose de testostérone parmi tout cet œstrogène, Daoud s’est peu exprimé, mais ses interventions se sont avérées toujours judicieuses. «Je remercie tous les hommes qui m’ont envoyé leur témoignage. J’aurai bientôt ma ligne d’écoute pour hommes seulement. Je pourrai répondre à vos questions», a-t-il plaisanté en guise d’introduction à son unique pièce du répertoire de Chic Gamine, Piloto Automatico, tirée de leur premier album éponyme.

Indéfini, universel

Sacrée révélation musicale de Radio-Canada en 2010, la formation a vu son nouvel album, City City, lancé en octobre dernier, finaliste aux derniers Juno Awards. En 2009, son premier effort éponyme avait été récompensé du Juno Best Roots & Traditional album – Group en plus de se voir nommé au Canadian Folk Music Awards et au Western Canadian Music.

En trois ans, le quintette a multiplié les prestations, se frayant un chemin jusqu’au Festival international de Louisiane à Lafayette, tout en passant par le California Strawberry Folk Music Festival, les FrancoFolies de Montréal, le Festival international de jazz de Montréal et même le Festival at Sandpoint, où il a assuré la première partie du célèbre Smokey Robinson.

R&B, soul, doo wop, chanson française et rythmes brésiliens : difficile d’apposer une étiquette à la bande tant elle navigue en différentes eaux. Elle est pourtant parvenue à se maintenir à flot lors de ce concert intimiste, offrant même, de par l’alliage de ses voix, une certaine homogénéité.

Léger, pétillant et surtout pas banal, Chic Gamine a mis un baume sur une énième journée pluvieuse dans la métropole - Marie-France Pellerin , Canoe

"Making A Prairie Scene: Chic Gamine"

Chic Gamine's Juno Award-winning music is immediately exciting and heart warming. They blend four voice harmonies with intricate grooves, and draw inspiration from gospel, soul, 50s doo-wop, Brazilian forro and French chansons. It only took a couple of years for their soul-pop sound and heart-on-sleeve lyrics to touch fans of all kinds of music across North America. Their debut self-titled album landed them the 2009 Juno Award for Best Roots/Traditional album, while City City, their sophomore album, received a Juno nomination.

On May 4th Chic Gamine took to the stage at the Library and Archives Canada - Auditorium in Ottawa, representing Winnipeg at this years NAC Prairie Scene, a two week festival featuring some of the brightest and talented performing artists from Manitoba and Saskatchewan in several venues across the nation's capital. - cbc radio2

"C3 Presents Marc Broussard, ALPHA REV, Chic Gamin"

From the depths of Louisiana, Marc Broussard has made an addendum to the meaning of soul; taking everything you have ever known about music and putting all of it into your own music. Like many soul singers, you will feel what he is portraying through his music and will fall in love with his baritone voice.

Joining him are Alpha Rev and Chic Gamine, two must-see live bands. Austin based, Alpha Rev being the band that takes you nostalgic for the 90's to early 2000's rock inspired scene that you just can’t get enough no matter how much you try to hate it. Adding a cello and a violin adds romance to the classic elements of a rock band; now how they work them into their show is for you to find out. Chic Gamine is a Canadian quartet (and drummer, who is also the only male in the group) that is ready to bring your arm hair to stand at attention. The soul in their voices will send chills up and down your spine and leave you wondering how they do it.

Consider yourself lucky to see these performers at Antone’s and not at some uber expensive venue. The artists love to give you their heart and soul, and if you appreciate the soul in music; come out to Antone’s!
- web

"Marc Broussard with Matt Hires / Chic Gamine Hard Rock Cafe on the Strip - July 03, 2011"

Marc Broussard with Matt Hires / Chic Gamine Hard Rock Cafe on the Strip - July 03, 2011 - The DJ List

"You are here: Uptown > Music > CD Reviews CD Reviews Chic Gamine City City(Independent)"

Our Rating: 4 stars of five
City City is the second full-length album from local vocal ensemble Chic Gamine, and the 14 songs here are striking, sit-up-and-take-notice showpieces. Alexa Dirks’ gritty pipes give album opener Closer some serious guts; Andrina Turenne establishes herself as an R&B dynamo on Say It; Annick Brémault’s girlish coo imbues Ici with charm to spare; Ariane Jean’s voice is peanut-butter smooth on Silent War (Guerre Froide); and percussionist Sacha Daoud is the backbone that holds it all together. City City is a gorgeous testament to collaboration — and to the power and versatility of the human voice. - Uptown, Jen Zoratti

"All for arts, arts for all"

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Chic Gamine

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For five days, music will echo through The Forks from a floating platform dock on the banks of the Red River — all in the name of making the arts free and accessible to everyone.

The River Barge Festival, a major component of the Cultural Capital of Canada 2010 Arts For All campaign, will showcase a cornucopia of local and national talent, and promises something to suit just about any taste.

According to Paul Jordan, The Forks’ chief operating officer, the idea to throw a show on a floating stage predates the current festival. In 1997, a huge construction barge that was being used to build the Norwood II Bridge was lent to The Forks to host a performance by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra for its 50th anniversary.

Jordan says the barge that’s currently being built will likely live on after the festival. "We’ll hopefully put it back out there again and do this festival every year."

Dominic Lloyd, project manager for Winnipeg Cultural Capital of Canada 2010 says, "This is really going to be a project that will allow us to do something for everybody in Winnipeg. It’s a big free event and it has the potential to reach everybody and anybody in the city."

Each night will focus on a different theme to appeal to an array of interests and age ranges. Roots on the River (Aug. 25) pays tribute to Winnipeg’s incredible roots scene with performances by The D. Rangers and the Romi Mayes Band.

Local songstress Christine Fellows will take to the stage as part of New Sound/Old Friends (Aug. 26), joining Métis fiddler Matthew Contois and a culturally eclectic mix of others.

Gala Evening (Aug. 27) brings the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra together with Sierra Noble for a not-to-be-missed collaborative effort.

Red River Gumbo (Aug. 28) serves up a mixed bag of acts, including Manitoba Theatre Centre’s family-oriented show The History of Manitoba from the Beginning of Time to the Present in 45 Minutes, and sets from singer/songwriter Greg MacPherson, hip hop group Magnum K.I. and rock duo Imaginary Cities.

Family Day (Aug. 29) will end the festival with entertainment by Fred Penner, Al Simmons and more.

Kelly Hughes Live!, another option worth checking out during the event, is a TV talk show without the TV that will run over two nights (Aug. 25 - 26) and welcome guests such as stand-up comic Sam Easton, Jaxon Haldane from The D. Rangers, local author Michael Van Rooy, playwright/director/actor Debbie Patterson and bluegrass artist Ben Wytinck.

The diversity of the festival’s lineup fits well with the Arts For All mandate, Lloyd says. "I wanted something that would be really representative of the city. I wanted to have something for everybody in the city."

Performer Greg MacPherson says he’s excited to play such a public and easily accessible show. "I’ll be happy to see so many people that aren’t always able to go to the clubs I play."

The Arts For All program will continue to provide Winnipeggers with accessible arts activities for the remaining part of its programming year. Other activities include The Big Dance on Broadway (Sept. 11), a massive street dance, as part of Lights on Broadway; My City’s Still Breathing (Nov. 4 to 7), an academic-focused symposium that will explore the relationship between art and the city; and City Stories (Sept. 24), which involves a team of artists performing tarot card readings in different neighbourhoods throughout the city. People who receive readings will be asked to pay for services by sharing their own Winnipeg stories, which will then be archived and posted online.

Alix Sobler, communications and marketing coordinator for Winnipeg Cultural Capital of Canada 2010, says the arts are a means to record our history, and a refection of our lives and our culture. To see art and engage in art is a way of seeing what our lives and culture look like — and even simple gestures such as going down to the River Barge Festival and sitting on the banks is a way to engage in art, she says.

Sobler hopes Winnipeggers who come to see the acts they know and love will discover something new in the acts they don’t know at all.

"The River Barge Festival is something that we can, as a community, come together and all enjoy," she says. - Julijana Capone, Uptown, Winnipeg

"Stronger together"

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From left, Ariane Jean, Alexa Dirks, Andrina Turenne, Annick Brémault and Sacha Daoud put the chic in Chic Gamine.

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From left, Ariane Jean, Alexa Dirks, Andrina Turenne, Annick Brémault and Sacha Daoud put the chic in Chic Gamine. (LEN PETERSON )

Over tea at a downtown café, Alexa Dirks and Andrina Turenne — two very stylish, very friendly fifths of local vocal ensemble Chic Gamine — are excitedly discussing their upcoming show at the West End.

The gig is a big one. Chic Gamine — which is rounded out by vocalists Annick Brémault and Ariane Jean as well as percussionist Sacha Daoud — just released its much-anticipated second album, City City, in?October and is finally celebrating at home. (Get ready, ’Peg people — the new songs are jaw-droppers.)

"It’s always exciting to play shows in Winnipeg," says Dirks, 23. "We play a lot of events and festivals here, but it’s a whole different thing when you can play your own show."

"The hometown crowd is like a warm hug," adds Turenne, 29.

"It’s like a warm towel fresh out of the dryer," Dirks chimes in with a laugh.

Chic Gamine has every right to be excited and proud of City City — after all, it had a tough act to follow. The quintet’s 2008 self-titled debut — which was written quickly and recorded independently on a shoestring budget — netted the group a Juno?Award for best roots album in 2009.

The win was unlikely, but it wasn’t undeserved; the record is an unfettered, what-you-hear-is-what-you-get collection of songs that serves as the perfect introduction to a powerhouse group that crafts ethereal soundscapes with four voices and a propulsive drum beat. The self-titled album, which was sold at gigs and online, was intended to provide a means to tour. Instead, it ended up being a critical hit.

Still, while Dirks and Turenne are proud of that breakthrough first effort, they acknowledge just how much they’ve grown as a group and as individual players in the past two years. The evidence of that growth can be found all over the new album.

"We were three months old as a band when we did the first record," Turenne says.

"We loved the first record...," Dirks begins.

"But we have two-and-a-half years experience under out belt, now," Turenne finishes. "We’ve never been more familiar with our sound than we are now. I feel like this album is exactly where we are now."

Indeed, Chic Gamine has found its feet. Unlike the self-titled, which listens almost like a gritty live recording, City City is a polished, cohesive and fully realized studio album.

"With the first album, we were very focused on it being a reflection of our live show," Dirks says. "We wanted to make something that we’d be able to replicate live."

"With us being vocals and drums, we didn’t want to add a bunch of things we couldn’t do live," Turenne adds.

"For this record, we thought, ‘Maybe we can do the album and then figure out how to do it live," Dirks says.

"We didn’t want to limit ourselves," Turenne says. "I think the sound is different because a lot of us were coming out of world music. On this one, we’re embracing our love of R&B, soul and roots."

It’s clear from City?City that, as a whole, Chic Gamine is more confident. That assurance can certainly be heard in the intoxicating vocal interplay between its four seasoned singers — but it can also be heard in the band’s conscious decision to experiment with new sounds (synth bass being the biggest addition.)

That willingness to take risks has also translated to Chic Gamine’s live show. Now, the group’s focus is on reinterpreting the album’s songs for the stage, rather than just recreating them.

"It’s been interesting," says Dirks of the band’s new live show. "The first few shows there was a lot of, ‘Oops! We don’t know what we’re doing!’ But after a while, we stopped making excuses. Besides, part of the appeal of seeing someone live is seeing them reinterpret their songs."

"There’s a fearlessness I find in this band," Turenne says. "We’re not afraid to take chances. We’re not afraid to add new things to the show.

"If you don’t take risks, you stay where you are," she adds. "And no one wants that."

City?City was recorded at the historic RCA Studio Victor in?Montreal, which no doubt accounts for its lush, crystal-clear sound.

"It was where they built the first phonographs," Turenne explains. "It was also one of the first acoustic studios in Canada. It has all this gorgeous wood paneling.

"It was cool to stand there and think that maybe Edith?Piaf or Ella Fitzgerald or any other singer coming up from?New York sung there," she adds. "It was an incredible place to be."

It’s obvious it was an inspiring one as well. City City is a beautiful, accomplished second album — but it’s also a shimmering testament to a supportive, collaborative musical partnership. City?City is the sound of five friends — and five unique talents — working together to create a unified whole.

"What I really like about us is that there’s no showiness to what we do," Turenne says. "Every time we work on a song, we really hold in our hearts what’s best for it."

"We’re all proud of each other’s work and we respect each other’s space," Dirks adds. "It’s totally like the Power Rangers. You’re only strong when you put your rings together."

"We’re fully aware of how capable each other are," Turenne says. "All of us could do this on our own — but it’s more powerful when we do it together."
- Jen Zoratti, Uptown, Winnipeg

"JUNOfest kicks off with a bang in Toronto"

...From the Horseshoe I sauntered up Spadina to the El Mocambo, where another group of JUNO nominees (and 2009 JUNO Award winners), Chic Gamine where in the midst of their set. To say the group has a unique sound would put things mildly... essentially Chic Gamine are more or less a female acapella group, joined by a guy on percussion. The sound is filled out in unique and subtle ways, but in every song, harmonies and sunshine-bright vocals stand front and centre.

Members from the band hail from both Winnipeg and Montreal, and it appeared that they enjoyed the fact they were playing in a downtown bar instead of their usual crowds of all-ages festivals and soft-seater events.

Pleasantly surprised (and with plans to get a hold of Chic Gamine’s new album), I crossed College Street and popped into the Silver Dollar for Horsey Craze.

Horsey Craze was the perfect way to end off the first night of JUNOfest. The group is an all-star cover band, formed with members of The Constantines and Lullabye Arkestra, and they specialize in playing Neil Young & Crazy Horse hits like they’re supposed to be heard... unhinged and at an ear-splitting, bone-rattling volume.

Likely the most inebriated crowd of the night (it was well past midnight after all), the audience was going absolutely nuts, right from the band’s opener of “Hey, Hey, My, My,” and well-loved Young hits like “Powerfinger.”

It was a real treat to hear these Neil Young classics, especially because Young is going to in the house on Sunday night to receive a very special JUNO award for his philanthropic work.

Stay tuned here on for more JUNO event related updates, as well as a red carpet live stream and chat Sunday night. - by: Tyrone Warner, Blog

"Chic Gamine - Nomination Juno 2011"

Un batteur et quatre filles. Chic Gamine est un groupe franchement vivifiant. Les voix harmonieuses de ces filles de Winnipeg et de Montréal ne peuvent faire autrement que plaire. « La diversité du répertoire de Chic Gamine, écrit et composé par l'un ou l'autre membre du quintette va du soul à la chanson française, en passant par le world et le doo-wop et le negro spiritual (...). Et c'est chanté en anglais, en français, en espagnol et en portugais. Et c'est agréable comme tout. » - MArie-Christine Blais, La Presse

"Manitoba puts on party at Olympics"

Party staples such as kolbasa, cheese cubes, and rye bread were on full display as Olympic-goers were introduced to the tradition of a Manitoba social.

Manitoba premier Greg Selinger (right) accepts a miniature Olympic torch souvenir from VANOC head John Furlong at a social on Wednesday.Manitoba premier Greg Selinger (right) accepts a miniature Olympic torch souvenir from VANOC head John Furlong at a social on Wednesday. (Sean Kavanagh/CBC)Organizers of Manitoba Homecoming 2010 — a year-long celebration marking the province's 140th birthday — held a social in Vancouver Wednesday night, which also drew in hundreds of provincial expatriates.

As many as 800 people packed into a downtown club to hear made-in-Manitoba music and sample the social fare, like Old Dutch potato chips and the ever-present Jets T-shirts and jerseys.

Olympic speedskater Kyle Parrott, who was raised in Minnedosa, attended with several members of his family and said the atmosphere felt just right.

"You come in here and even though we are in Vancouver and we are in the middle of this huge event, you come in here and it's full of Manitoba people and it just has that Manitoba feel," he said.

'It just has that Manitoba feel.'—Olympic speedskater Kyle Parrott

"I used to think that I would have to go back home to get that feel of what Manitoba is, but no, you just get a group of Manitoba people together and that's all you need."

Even the head of the VANOC — the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the Olympics — John Furlong dropped in and praised Premier Greg Selinger for the contributions Manitobans have made to the Games and to sports in general.

The social event was a lead-up to Manitoba Day at the Olympic Games on Thursday. Throughout the event, a province or territory has been featured at a variety of venues.

On Thursday, Manitoba music will be played at sporting venues and Manitoba films and music will be available in the athletes' village. The day will be capped off with a concert at B.C. Place leading up to the medal presentation ceremony.

Featured musicians at the concert include Doc Walker, Grand Analog, Chic Gamine, Tracey Bone and Inward Eye. Burton Cummings is the headline performer. - cbc news

"Manitoba Music All Over the 2010 Winter Olympics"

The flame has been lit, the athletes are competing, and the guitarists have plugged in their amps. The 2010 Olympic and Paralympics Games happen to be a great place to find music and there are plenty of Manitoba acts hitting stages throughout British Columbia in February and March.

The festivities will include countless concerts, from free outdoor shows to concerts in the Athlete's Village during the 2010 Olympic . The list of local acts making their way west include: Doc Walker, Chic Gamine, Inward Eye, Don Amero, Leanne Goose, Romi Mayes, The Waking Eyes, Tracy Bone, Grand Analog, Telepathic Butterflies, Wab Kinew, JC Campbell, Billy Joe Green, Nathan, Mama Cutsworth, and homegrown heroes Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings. Rock act Gathering of Flies can be seen backing up Buffy Sainte-Marie.

Acclaimed fiddler and singer/songwriter Sierra Noble was one of the featured fiddlers during in the televised opening ceremonies. The video is now available for purchase on iTunes.

There is a strong Aboriginal music presence at the Olympics, including the New Native Music Review on February 23. The show, at Richmond's O-Zone, features performances by Kinew, Bone, Campbell, Amero, Marie-Josee Dandeneau, Mike Bruyere, and more. Click here to read more about Aboriginal music at the 2010 Olympics.

Manitoba Homecoming 2010 will host a special Manitoba Social at the Vancouver Olympics on February 24, featuring performances by Doc Walker, Eagle & Hawk, Inward Eye, Streetheart, members of Chic Gamine, and host Ace Burpee of Hot 103.

February 25 is Manitoba Day at the Olympics and events include a sold out concert at BC Place with Chic Gamine, Doc Walker, Grand Analog, Tracy Bone, and Inward Eye, followed by a special medal ceremony, and then a performance by the one and only Burton Cummings. If you're not lucky enough to be in Vancouver, look for the Manitoba Day party on CTV at 7pm Pacific.

Ash Koley's song "Don't Let Your Feet Touch Ground" was the music for two separate flash mobs in Vancouver, including one during CTV's Canada AM. CTV is also using the song for an online highlight reel.

Inward Eye kicked off the countdown to the televised closing ceremonies on February 28 with a little help from hundreds of dancers in white and an orchestra before playing the national anthem. - Manitoba Music

"Vancouver Olympics Cultural Olympiad Draws to a Close; Matt Mays and Chic Gamine Play LiveCity Yaletown"

The last weekend of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games drove the city of Vancouver into a frenzy of excitement and enthusiasm. Soon the LiveCity venues would close; no more free music, no more hosting by regional and corporate houses, no more big screens showing the feats of Olympic athletes. Other neighbourhoods in town emptied out completely as everyone headed downtown for the big party weekend anxious to catch the events before it was all over.

Finally I got the timing right and was able to get into the Yaletown LiveCity site without waiting in line for too long. The holy grail of all the LiveCity sites, Yaletown, is by far the biggest and is host to the most interesting and interactive exhibits. Three bands were playing, Matt Mays, a young fellow from Nova Scotia and his band, Chic Gamine, four women from Winnipeg, and Blue Rodeo, a long-standing country-blues band from Ontario.

Opener Matt Mays was supposed to start at 6:30 p.m., so I got to the venue at 5:30 p.m. quite pleased to find the line up both short and moving fast. After a pretty serious downpour all night and morning, the sky was drizzling in that light way that does nothing to deter Vancouverites, or west coasters, from the outdoors. At just after 6:00 p.m., I was at the security check and could hear the band had started playing. Good thing I was early! - The huffington post

"Manitoba Music at the 2008 Fest"

“I have performed at many festivals throughout Canada, the U.S. and Europe and I can say, I’ve never come across a festival like the Winnipeg Folk Festival,” says singer Andrina Turenne.

Turenne should know. With her last group, the acclaimed a cappella world music outfit Madrigaïa, she’s performed at a lot festivals. Between Madrigaia, funk act Rudimental and a gospel duo with The Duhks’ singer Sarah Dugas, Turenne has also played Folk Fest five times in the last eight years. This year, she comes to Birds Hill with a new band – soulful and percussive vocal ensemble Chic Gamine.

Chic Gamine began formed a year ago with fellow former-Madrigaïans (the group disbanded last year) Ariane Jean and Annick Brémault, along with Alexa Dirks and Sacha Daoud.

And while the band definitely shares the otherworldly vocal harmonies and world music influences of Madrigaïa, it’s an entirely new musical entity. The quintet’s debut self-titled
album, released in June, is completely original material with sparse instrumentation, relying on the four vocalists’ incredible talents as well as Daoud’s inventive percussion.

And they’ll fit right in this year’s stellar festival line-up.

“It’s so exciting to be a part of the amazing roster of artists and musicians,” says Turenne. “I’ve been looking back at all the artists that have graced the stage over the last 35 years and I just can’t believe the talent. It’s a testament to the power of music here in Manitoba.”

Chic Gamine is just one of several of homegrown acts taking the stage at this year’s festival. Joining them are some of this province’s most innovative talent, both emerging and
established. Familiar names like singer/songwriter Cara Luft, internationally-acclaimed rock poets The Weakerthans, and childrens’ acts LuLu and The TomCat, Just Kiddin’ and Al Simmons return
in 2008. Newcomers include folky jazz singer/songwriter Ann Walton, energetic folk duo Jacob and Lily, acoustic pop/rock troubadour J.P. Hoe, atmospheric electro group Absent Sound, ghettotech outfit Grand Analog, children’s act The Aunts and Uncles and environmentally educational theatre group Green Kids. - Published by Communications

"Soulful singing from the heartland"

Rene M. Caisse Memorial Theatre will play host to a unique blend of vocal talents when it hosts the group Chic Gamine on Jan. 23 at 8 p.m.

The Winnipeg/Montreal-based vocal quintet has been serenading their audiences since the summer of 2007.

With a solo percussionist as their main support, Chic Gamine uses their voices as bass-heavy rhythm sections and lush harmonies. The group, which consists of singers Ariane Jean, Andrina Turenne, Alexa Dirks, Annik Bremault, and drummer and percussionist Sacha Daoud, creates a sound that resonates with soul, passion and an unabashedly random and sometimes downright peculiar brand of humour. Gospel, soul, R&B, ’50s doo-wop, Brazilian forro and French chanson are infused into the voices and rhythms of the song makers, creating a unique sound.

Over the years, members have been integral parts of a multitude of projects.

Dirks sings with the R&B/soul sensation Little Boy Boom; Daoud played with the Brazilian funk/pop-flavoured Gaia; and Jean, Turenne and Bremault were founding members of the award-winning world vocal ensemble Madrigaia.

For each of them, Chic Gamine is a chance to take their love of experimenting with vocal roots music and bring it to a whole new level.

The group has put together a dynamic 90-minute show, recorded and released their first record, the self-titled Chic Gamine, and performed all over North America including at the Winnipeg Folk Festival, Strawberry Festival, and California World Fest. They have also opened for the legendary Smokey Robinson at the Festival at Sandpoint, Idaho. - Gravenhurst Banner:

"The National Post: The nominees for the 2009 JUNO Awards are…"

The National Post: The nominees for the 2009 JUNO Awards are…
By Veronica Boodhan

The 2009 JUNO Award nominations were announced on Tuesday at a media conference at Toronto’s Fairmont Royal York Hotel.

Nickelback leads the awards with five nominations, including Album of the Year and Group of the Year. Sam Roberts trails the group with four nominations including Artist of the Year and Rock Album of the Year.

Celine Dion is tied with Hedley, earning three JUNO Award nominations.

Other nominees include Michael Bublé and Kardinal Offishall for Single of the Year. Alanis Morissette and Kreesha Turner are both nominated for Pop Album of the Year.

Judging by this year’s nominations, they are scraping at the bottom of the barrel for talent. Leading the nominations, this group can have their nickel back since I fail to see how their songs are worth more than that. Besides the claim that their songs all sound the same (which they do), I don’t see how and why Nickelback received five nominations, surpassing Celine Dion and other Canadian musicians. But the group fails to be nominated in either pop or rock album categories, which makes me think that Canada has some respect for its pop and rock music.

The nominations for International Album of the Year category lack diversity. AC/DC, Coldplay, Guns N’ Roses, Jack Johnson and Metallica are competing to win the non-Canadian award.

Overall, there are no real nail-biters. But the female musicians who are recognized, including Feist, Alanis Morissette and Ivana Santilli represent some of Canada’s strongest women in music.

The awards show, hosted by comedian Russell Peters airs on CTV on Sunday, March 29 from General Motors Place in Vancouver, BC.

Chic Gamine — Chic Gamine Independent
Fast Paced World — The Duhks Sugar Hill*EMI
Mountain Meadows — Elliott BROOD Six Shooter*Warner
XOK — NQ Arbuckle Six Shooter*Warner
Highway Prayer — Twilight Hotel Independent*Outside - By Veronica Boodhan, The National Post


Chic Gamine est un groupe du Manitoba. Un groupe qui explore différents rythmes. Les 5 membres du groupe se composent de 4 chanteurs et d’un percussionniste. C’est dire que la principale qualité de ce CD, n’est pas dans l’orchestration ou les guitares électriques, mais plutôt dans l’harmonie des voix et dans les textes anglais et français qui sont d’une réelle intelligence. Ce groupe à une qualité sur les autres : l’enthousiasme. En écoutant le CD, on s’aperçoit que ce dernier aime chanter ensemble, l’enthousiasme se ressent à travers leurs musiques. Ils ont une complicité contagieuse. Est-ce du folk? De la World Music? À vrai dire, sans tomber dans les catégories prédéfinies par les radios, je dirai tout simplement que c’est de l’excellente musique, qui s’écoute entre amis et aussi lors d’un souper. Un CD qui s’écoute aussi en voiture, pendant les longues heures dans les embouteillages, ce CD rend la vie plus belle et plus douce. Parmi les 12 chansons proposées, j’ai particulièrement aimé “Butterfly Woman”, “Juste un moment” et “Paper Moon”. Des succès radiophoniques, si ces derniers se prenaient la peine de faire découvrir de la réelle musique de chez nous. En concert, le groupe doit donner tout qu’un show. Surveillez vos salles proches de chez vous ! The real “Chic” music ! - Made in Québec - Jean-Luc Doumont

"Chic Gamine feeds your soul"

St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage's next concert will feed those who search out beautiful melodies and a soulful Motown sound.

Chic Gamine is making its first appearance at the SLAS on April 11. The Winnipeg band formed in 2007 when a group of friends decided to get together to create their own original music. Band spokesperson Andrina Turenne said the band's music has deep roots in pop, rhythm and blues, soul and a little bit of rock.

"We write about what we've experienced," she said. "Love is a recurring theme. We've written from our different perspectives on our relationships."

SLAS board member Sandra Whitworth said they were happy to finally land the group for a local show.

"We've been trying to get them to the Stage for two years now," said Whitworth.

Turenne said audiences can expect a lively show.

"We've been together for a long time so our interaction is part of the experience," she said. "Every show is different. We discover the audience and make a connection with them. The interaction and shared energies are a good contribution to the show."

The band consists of Turenne, Alexa Dirks, Annick Bremault, Sacha Daoud and newcomer Benoit Morier. Their first self-titled CD won a Juno award in 2009 for Roots Album of the year and in 2011 they were nominated for their second CD City City. They played at the Vancouver Winter Olympics and play festivals and music series like the one at SLAS across Canada.

"We're very excited to be coming to Morrisburg," said Turenne. "We just finished a tour out west and we are really looking forward to heading east to play."

Opening for Chic Gamine is Cornwall's Tracy Lalonde. Lalonde has played the SLAS before in one of the stage's Intimate Acoustics shows.

"The first time I performed at SLAS was in 2011," she said. "I remember being really excited as it was one of my first proper gigs and really appreciative of the whole experience."

Inspiration for Lalonde can happen at the strangest times, she said.

"It can be triggered by anything that jostles my feelings and puts me in the right frame of mind to scrawl down a few words to save for later," she said. "Generally a musical idea comes along well before a lyrical one and it's a matter of putting into words what that musical idea makes me feel on an emotional level."

Lalonde said literature was a big inspiration for her in the past but now tends to draw more from personal experiences.

Lalonde said when she plays as a trio with Dylan Groulx and Pamela Cumming they have a "really nice dynamic, folky alt-pop thing going on."

"I'm not a big talker on stage between songs, but the odd quip will find its way out unfiltered," she said.

Lalonde said she was looking forward to another opportunity to perform at SLAS and show audiences how she has grown as a musician.

She is also very excited about opening for Chic Gamine.

"I think what they do is fantastic," she said. "It's going to be an excellent show."

Tickets for this show are $18 in advance and $20 at the door. Advanced tickets can be purchased at Basket Case in Morrisburg, Strung Out Guitars in Cornwall, or online at -

"Quebec’s Chic Gamine: a cappella gospel with percussion and soul."

iFest needed a breezy, not-too-hot, sunny Sunday to get back on track after Saturday’s torrential festival-cancelling rains. The festival got great weather; as I drove down Allen Parkway toward downtown, it looked like everybody in Houston had decided it was time to get outdoors.

Arriving at the Tranquility Park entrance to the festival, I was even more convinced. If you work in the media, you tend to think you know a lot of people. Well, it only took me ten minutes of pinballing my way through the marketing area and up the byways to the World Stage to get the feeling you don’t know anybody in this town.

I got off to a mellow start to this mellow day with Quebec’s Chic Gamine (pronounced cheek gameen). Think a capella group… with percussion. With four female vocalists, Chic Gamine is all about subtle layering and reliance on style, with one woman usually taking the lead vocal and the others supporting in a style that was often reminiscent of doo-wop groups or smart old-time pop groups like the Andrews Sisters - if Aretha Franklin had been in the Andrews Sisters. - By William Michael Smith, Houston Press

"Led by soulful crooner Marc Broussard, three amiable acts play thursday night at The Blue Note"

Led by soulful crooner Marc Broussard, three amiable acts play thursday night at The Blue Note
Up-and-coming soul singer Marc Broussard performs tonight at The Blue Note with Scars on 45 and Chic Gamine.

Up-and-coming soul singer Marc Broussard performs tonight at The Blue Note with Scars on 45 and Chic Gamine.

By Aarik Danielsen
Columbia Daily Tribune

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Pop music is all about playing it cool, right? It’s about artists who set themselves apart, casting and basking in their image as people we’d like to be if we had similar cache. As such, some of America’s chart-topping acts can often come off as an unapproachable lot, even as listeners daydream about being cool enough to approach them.

Who: 102.3 BXR presents Marc Broussard with Scars on 45 and Chic Gamine

Where: The Blue Note, 17 N. Ninth St.

When: Doors open at 7:30 tonight

Tickets: $15


Who: 102.3 BXR presents Marc Broussard with Scars on 45 ...

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A trio of artists stopping by The Blue Note tonight proves that theory is not true at all places and times. Captained by up-and-coming soul man Marc Broussard, each of the three acts exists in a sphere of accessibility, delivering radio-quality tunes that express common sentiment without sounding completely common or played-out.

The first track on Broussard’s latest album, a self-titled disc delivered in June, is an unashamed, heart-on-sleeve declaration of the singer’s status as both a true romantic and kind soul. A gently funky slice of horn-punctuated pop, “Lucky” finds Broussard opining on the miracle of love; he is so “grateful” for the gift, in fact, he uses the word three times in the chorus, making it a point to emphasize each instance. At various points on the record, the 29-year-old croons about how his tombstone will tell of his “heart of gold” and “head of cement.” Even when Broussard seems to be offering a sly come-on, as on the first verse of the funky stomp “Only Everything,” he eventually deepens his view to praise everything about the woman he addresses and admit the simple joys of listening to her phone messages.

Broussard isn’t setting the world ablaze here, but the record is a soulful soundtrack for the sweeter moments in life. Often, his songs open with potential and promise before eventually meandering into relatively familiar territory by the chorus; thus, no one will rightly mistake Broussard for Al Green. But he does manage to stay several strides ahead of the pop stars mainstream America tends to accept as soulful, i.e. the Gavin DeGraws and Jason Mrazs of the world. He displays a certain fluency in the language of soul, jazz and Cajun music that makes his work refreshing and satisfying. “Cruel” benefits from a ’70s soul-styled bounce-and-bob, and several other tunes receive color and life from the fluttering cries of a B3 organ. In fact, there are vibey keys and top-flight backbeats in abundance here.

The constant is the quality of Broussard’s voice, an instrument of seasoning and substance; even on seemingly pedestrian cuts such as “Let It All Out,” his vocals find a groove to fit into, hitting listeners between the ears as he finds a sweet spot where subtlety and power meet. Broussard has spent his career supporting acts such as Maroon 5 and Dave Matthews Band but now seems to be stepping into a place where he can bear the weight of a headliner.

Brit rockers Scars on 45 come to town just as their collective star is beginning to shoot through the atmosphere. On a first pass through the quintet’s amiable, accessible pop/rock, the band will remind many of musical countrymen Snow Patrol and The Fray. The group matches thoughtful acoustic strumming and arena riffing to emotive, sky-high hooks. And the band’s trajectory seems to be shaping up similarly — the band has positioned songs on popular TV shows “CSI: New York” and “Grey’s Anatomy” and already seen its fair share of chart success.

Yet, where Scars on 45 breaks away from the pack just a bit is in a consistent willingness to play some alt-country and folk-rock cards, displaying wider influences on tracks such as “Loudest Alarm” and, to a lesser degree, “The Way That We Are.” Additionally, the familiar yet potent delivery of frontman Danny Bemrose — a former pro soccer player — finds a perfect complement in the sweetly weathered vocals of Aimee Driver, who supplies a wholly other dimension, musically and expressively, that most of today’s innocuous pop-rockers can’t access.

Rounding out the bill is Canadian collective Chic Gamine, a “pop-vox-’n’-roll” act that features four gifted girl singers and a lone gentleman pounding on a variety of percussion instruments. The group’s name is loosely translated “smart or stylish urchins,” and there are both elegant and ragamuffin aspects to a sound in which the band melds together the cooing soul of Motown-era girl groups, dynamic feel of ’90s R&B and jubilant buoyancy of early jazz in one very winsome blend. The skill and freshness of the four singers’ approach — and incredible tightness of their harmonies — is instantly impressive and charming. When wed to expertly played rhythms, the natural, percussive quality of the group’s vocals — and proclivity for miming other instruments — keeps listeners from focusing on the lack of a true backing band. Increasingly popular in their homeland, it seems just a matter of time before the Juno Award winners are recognized for their talent and tuneful temperament here in the United States. - Aarik Danielsen, Columbia Daily Tribune

"Chic Gamine takes world by storm - Canadian vocal ensemble brings vocal melange to BG club"

The members of the Canadian vocal quintet Chic Gamine hasn't had much time to rest in the two-plus years since the band's founding in Winnipeg. They've been too busy introducing themselves to music lovers around the globe.
Before the summer of 2007, the members of the ensemble were performing in three other groups.
Sacha Daoud, the band's percussionist and sole male, said he heard his now bandmates at a Winnipeg show and was impressed by their voices.
When they first came together, vocalist Ariane Jean said they weren't sure what they had musically. The grouping of four female voices and percussion is unusual. Still they sensed a future.
"We all shared this passion for music and a desire to do music for a living," she said. Without that desire, she said, anything else would be impossible.
"The more we started getting together and exploring what we could do with our voices alone, we were excited with what we have," the singer said.
One of their former groups had disbanded and had gigs booked for the end of that summer. So the quintet, which also includes singers Andrina Turenne, Alexa Dirks and Annick Brémault, decided to fulfill those obligations.
They haven't stopped touring since then. Chic Gamine will perform Wednesday at 9 p.m. at the Cla-Zel in Bowling Green.
Jean said she hasn't been in her Winnipeg home much in the past year. She now sees herself as a "citizen of the world," adding "as cheesy as that sounds."
Still there's no denying the group's Canadian roots which stretch from Winnipeg to Montreal, some 1,400 miles east, where Daoud lives.
The roots of the group's sound has an even greater reach. It draws on the music of Motown, the songs of the French cafe, samba from carnival in Brazil, gospel from the Mississippi Delta, urban funk and a slew of other world influences. Despite the quantity of ingredients in the stew the result is a fresh, light concoction.
Daoud, however, had concerns at first. He was all for adding a bassist to fill out the sound. Now, he said, instead of hearing emptiness, he hears space.
"As long as we're able to do something convincingly, why not try it? If you do it with conviction, something interesting will come of it."
That could stand as the motto of the bilingual band.
"We're flying by the seat of our pants," admitted Jean.
That means the ensemble's sound has shifted, with the vocalists picking up percussion instruments to add to the sound, and Daoud occasionally adding his voice to the mix.
"Nothing's set in stone," the percussionist said.
Each member brings something distinctive to Chic Gamine. "All those sounds put together is what give us our sound. We all bring our songs to the table," Jean said.
"It feels good to me," she added. "This is the first project I can be completely comfortable in. This project is very much based on the individual personalities in the group. It allows us to really have fun on stage."
The members chat on stage to each other, and with members of the audience. "It's a good feeling," said Jean.
That's beneficial, given Chic Gamine is still in the process of introducing itself to music lovers.
While the band has a fan base in Winnipeg, and to a lesser extent in Canada, where it won a Juno, the county's equivalent of a Grammy, elsewhere it's an unknown.
Some listeners may come to a concert after hearing a song on the radio, Jean said. Others because they are subscribers to a concert series. Others will hear them at festivals.
"People are taking a chance on this band," she said. Jean's impressed listeners will spend money to attend a show where they're not sure what to expect.
Chic Gamine strives to make the evening worth it. "For the most part people enjoy it." - Written by By DAVID DUPONT Arts & Entertainment Editor , Sentinel Tribune

"Up and Coming New Nashville- Chic Gamine"

Last night, I was blown away by a new French-Canadian band named Chic Gamine opening for Marc Broussard in Sacramento. A unique combination of soul, roots, a capella and percussion, they included harmonies that knocked everyone off their feet. I may be late to the party- they won a Juno (Canadian's version of a Grammy) for their first album- but felt the need to share it with my readers.

Chic Gamine, the stylish and endearingly playful Winnipeg/Montreal-based vocal quintet, has been serenading its audiences since the summer of 2007. The group is composed of the 5 "A's": singers Ariane Jean, Andrina Turenne, Alexa Dirks and Annick Bremault, and drummer and percussionist Alexandre Sacha Daoud. Over the years, its members have been integral parts of a multitude of projects. To this day, Alexa sings with the R'n'B/Soul sensation little boy boom; Sacha played with the Brazilian Funk/Pop-flavored Gaia; and Ariane, Andrina and Annick were founding members of the award-winning World Vocal ensemble Madrigaia.

With a solo percussionist as their main musical support, Chic Gamine use their voices as instruments, effortlessly launching into intricate string arrangements, bass-heavy rhythm sections and lush harmonies. These multifariously talented songwriters create a sound that resonates with soul, passion, and an unabashedly random and sometimes downright peculiar brand of humor that reels audiences in and leaves them begging for more. Gospel, Soul, R'n'B, '50's Doo-Wop, Brazilian forro and French chanson are infused into the voices and rhythms of these five effervescent songmakers, combining for a sound that is uniquely Chic Gamine.

For Ariane, Andrina, Alexa, Annick and Sacha, Chic Gamine is a chance to take their love of experimenting with vocal roots music and bring it to a whole new level. "We're really drawing inspiration from the music we love, as well as from the music we've performed before." After spending years traveling with their respected groups, Chic Gamine is ready to take on the world. "Now that we've got such a solid starting point, the sky's the limit."

With just two years under their fashionably coordinated belts, they have put together a dynamic stage show; won a Juno Award (Canadian Grammy) for their debut CD, the self-titled Chic Gamine, and performed all over North America. Highlights include The Winnipeg Folk Festival, The Strawberry Festival, California World Fest, and opening for the legendary Smokey Robinson at the Festival at Sandpoint, Idaho. - Posted by That Nashville Sound

"Chic Gamine Release First Holiday Album, Map Out Canadian Tour"

Winnipeg soul-pop outfit Chic Gamine’s latest EP, Christmas Vol. 1, is a sugary sweet addition to this year’s bounty of holiday albums.
The five-track collection features some of the band’s own yuletide favourites, along with two original jams, including “Noël (au coin de Portage et Main),” a rockin’ homage to the group’s hometown and its most well-known intersection, and a slow and sultry take on Wham’s 1984 holiday hit “Last Christmas.”

The band is currently trekking through Canada as part of the Vinyl Café Tour with Stuart McLean. Check them out in a city near you. Tour dates below.
Vinyl Cafe Tour Dates:
Dec. 5, Calgary, Alta., Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium
Dec. 6, Banff, Alta., Eric Harvie Theatre
Dec. 7, Edmonton, Alta., Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium
Dec. 9, Regina, Sask., Conexus Arts Centre
Dec. 10, Saskatoon, Sask., TCU Place
Dec. 12, Toronto, Ont., Sony Centre for the Performing Arts
Dec. 13, Toronto, Ont., Sony Centre for the Performing Arts
Dec. 15, Hamilton, Ont., Hamilton Place
Dec. 16, Kitchener, Ont., Centre in the Square
Dec. 17, Kitchener, Ont., Centre in the Square
Dec. 18, London, Ont., Centennial Hall
Dec. 19, London, Ont., Centennial Hall
Dec. 20, Ottawa, Ont., National Arts Centre Southam Hall
Dec. 21, Ottawa, Ont., National Arts Centre Southam Hall
Dec. 22, Montreal, Que., Theatre Maisonneuve, Place des Arts -

"Fired Up"

Losing a founding member can be a near-impossible hurdle for a band to clear, but Winnipeg- and Montreal-based soul-pop outfit Chic Gamine has picked itself up and is preparing to release Light a Match, an album a long time in the making.

The departure of founding member Ariane Jean in early 2014 was a huge setback. Vocalist Alexa Dirks says the split was amicable and they often see each other and sing together. But it resulted in the remaining four members of the band -- Dirks, Andrina Turenne, Annick Bremault and Sacha Daoud -- re-evaluating their future.

"Eight years ago, none of us knew really what we were getting ourselves into or what we were doing, and we were all in it together. And (Jean) is still part of the band in our mind -- she's still part of this record, she's part of the history, she'll forever be part of the future," Dirks says.

"But we had to ask ourselves, 'What do we want to do next? Add another member? What do we want it to be like?' It became very clear, very quickly that we weren't going to replace Ariane. We weren't going to try to get another female vocalist to try and do exactly what she does, because we don't know anyone who can."

Instead, Chic Gamine turned to a longtime friend, Quebec-based musician/producer Benoit Morier, to help fill the void and bring a new dimension to their evolving sound.

"There's a whole different layer to the songs now, especially live, because he has this really amazing instrumental knowledge and musical ability that's been a gift to us," Dirks gushes. "It's really helped inform some of these songs... he has all these ideas because he's a little crafty, weird genius when it comes to certain melodies."

It's been five years since the group's sophomore release, the Juno-nominated City City, and though the quintet has been working on songs consistently since then, perfecting the collection of music for its third full-length album proved to be difficult.

"It's been a lot of years of developing these songs, performing them, recording them, having them not be quite right and re-recording them," Dirks says. "And obviously, that's not what we've done every day for five years, but it's definitely been a lot of work within that time that's been put into this."

Light a Match, out Oct. 23, explores a deeper sound than previous albums. There's still soul and flair, but the tone is more mature and subdued. There are rich layers and intricacies, both in the vocals and instrumentation, that showcase the confidence Chic Gamine has in its new direction. It's an album painted with the musical equivalent of jewel tones, as opposed to the neon feel of their past work.

Dirks credits some of the shift to the life experiences band members worked through while writing the new record. She says though the new direction may "seem like a shock" to fans, ultimately they have come into their own, musically, and are proud of where they've ended up.

"We've been a very close-knit, family-style unit for a long time now, and it's kind of like you never experience anything by yourself anymore. When you go through breakups, when you're fighting with your roommates, when things are happening in your life and you're on the road, they're happening to everybody," Dirks says. "A few of us went through some pretty tough breakups during the writing of this album and there was just some growing pains for all of us, but it became our story.

"And it's not solely due to breakups," she adds. "There's a lot that was at stake for us making this album, and we felt like we really want this to mean something to us. If we're going to go into this, and there's people that have known what we've been doing for such a long time, we're really going to give them something different." - The Winnipeg Free Press

"Chic Gamine rides wave across border: Canadian vocal group to appear in Springfield"

To say Canadian vocal group Chic Gamine's Juno Award took the group by surprise would be an understatement.

At the moment the awards were announced and they won the "Canadian Grammy" in the category of Roots & Traditional, Group Album of the Year, they were 500 miles away in Hamilton, Mont., in between sets of a Saturday evening show.

Riding a newfound wave of recognition, Chic Gamine is touring once again in the United States, and it comes Saturday to Springfield's Sangamon Auditorium.

The band's five members received news of the Juno Award via text messages from a friend of a friend before taking the stage for the second set of the night and announcing to the crowd that they had just won the award for their first album, which had been self-produced from the members' meager savings.

"We were barely aware we were even up for the award, and we certainly weren't expecting to win," said Alexa Dirks, one of the group's "four A" vocalists, along with Ariane Jean, Andrina Turenne and Annick Bremault. Sacha Doud is the sole male member and percussionist. "If we had known we would be nominated, we at least wouldn't have booked a gig for that date."

They have not allowed their Juno win to change how they go about their business.

"It seems like general awareness of who we are has increased since the award, but it doesn't change anything," Dirks said. "We would have kept doing our thing whether or not anybody was listening at all."

"Our thing," as far as Chic Gamine is concerned, can be a little difficult to nail down. Dirks called the group a "vocally based soul/roots/pop band." Its songs include influences from 1950s doo-wop, gospel, soul, rhythm and blues, Cajun music, Brazilian forro and French chanson. As all the group's members speak French in addition to English, some songs are done partially or entirely in French, freeing an English-only audience to focus on the a cappella-style harmonies.

Perhaps the only accurate way to describe Chic Gamine's sound is to say that layered, complicated harmonies abound, and most songs are accompanied by varying types of solo percussion. Thriving in this seemingly sparse arrangement, the voices of Chic Gamine seem to simulate any missing instrumentation.

"We prefer to perform almost all original songs," Dirks said. "We have the traditional campfire songs, but otherwise we're an original band, and we just have too many ideas and want to get to all of them."

Although the group formed in 2007 and released its self-titled Juno-winning album last year, its roots go back much further. Bremault, Jean and Turenne grew up together in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and have been singing together since they were children.

The quintet's members come from rich musical upbringings and family backgrounds that nurtured their creative outputs from a young age. Dirks believes the group also owes its success to Canada's passion for independent music and support of public radio.

"Canadian Broadcasting Centre was and is a big factor reaching people across the country," she said. "We're not the type of band that you hear playing on mainstream radio, even in Canada. It was only thanks to donations and presales of our first album that we were even able to get it printed, and CBC was instrumental in letting people hear the music in distant parts of the country."

The U.S. market is another challenge entirely. Since winning the Juno, however, the band has noted an increased interest from Midwestern towns like Springfield and Decatur.

"We feel a lot of warmth coming from the Midwest during our shows," Dirks said. "It's hard to know just how much you're getting through, but people let you know after the show by coming to talk to you that they did ‘get it.' "

Chic Gamine's current tour is in support of its first album but will also be peppered with occasional experiments from its second album in progress. The as-yet-unnamed album will feature a slightly bigger sound and expanded instrumentation without straying too far from the vocally focused debut. Dirks made the observation that Chic Gamine's sound is "based on the instrumentation we don't have," and that to tinker too much would lose what makes the group special.

"Our gig is totally focused on the music," Dirks said. "We don't have any light show, and there's no smoke and mirrors. We're just five people having fun. We're not ‘putting on a show,' we're performing."

WHO: Chic Gamine.

WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday, April 10.

WHERE: Sangamon Auditorium, University of Illinois at Springfield.

Read more: Chic Gamine rides wave across border: Canadian vocal group to appear in Springfield
From the Herald & Review
- By JIM VOREL - H&R Staff Writer

"Vocal heroes From the ashes of Madrigaïa, Chic Gamine soars"

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

That old saw seems to be the motto of busy Winnipeg vocal quintet Chic Gamine, who will perform their first full home concert Tuesday at the West End Cultural Centre (tickets $21 in advance, $25 at the door).

Two years ago this lively fivesome, consisting of four female singers and one male drummer, had just formed, three of the women from St. Boniface a cappella group Madrigaïa.

Without missing a beat, they picked a new name, found a catchy sound and recorded a CD near Montreal. They have performed around North America, heard their songs played on national radio, won a Juno Award for best roots album and earned nominations from the Canadian folk and Western Canadian music associations.

"We're not in a hurry to be a flash in the pan," says group member Andrina Turenne, 27.

"We don't need to have a hit record or meet Britney Spears. We just want to keep doing the best we can do."

Madrigaïa came to a fork in the road in the late spring of 2007. Three of its seven members, including Ariane Jean and Annick Brémault, wanted to continue singing together.

They still had a relationship with a U.S. booker, the Herschel Freeman Agency of Tennessee. Freeman told them he'd be able to hold their spot in a Los Angeles industry showcase in late August if they came up with a new name and some material.

The women went to work. They wanted a fourth voice, for harmonic versatility, and chose Alexa Dirks, a newcomer they'd heard with her band Little Boy Boom at the King's Head Pub.

They also wanted a drummer, to provide the rhythmic heartbeat. The previous winter they had hit it off with a Montrealer, Sacha Daoud, who had been in a world beat group called Gaia, a good omen.

They drew up a list of group names that worked in French and English, because they planned to continue mining a bilingual vein in their lyrics.

After settling on Chic Gamine (which they pronounce "shik gah-min," in the Franco-Manitoban way), the five musicians holed up in Turenne's parents' Lac du Bonnet cottage, where they wrote and arranged 90 minutes of material in less than a week.

Then they piled into an un-air-conditioned 1996 Mazda MPV for the long drive to California.

"It was hot," Dirks, 21, recalls. "We were hanging out the windows at gas stations."

Their 15-minute showcase performance, to poker-faced industry types, was as unremarkable as these things tend to be.

But a concert Freeman had arranged for them shortly after, at Northern California's Strawberry Festival, had crowds stomping their approval.

In November they booked a small recording studio near Montreal, owned by a friend of Daoud's.

They felt they couldn't tour successfully without a CD to serve as a calling card and to sell from the stage.

The total financial investment to get them up and running was close to six figures.

But the gamble paid off. Their self-titled album, which they released in June 2008, caught on with fans and critics.

They made a guest appearance at Festival du Voyageur this past winter and at the Winnipeg Folk Festival in 2008. They've also done numerous gigs in Canada but much of their time has been spent on the road in the U.S.

They opened for Smokey Robinson in Idaho and jammed with Mavis Staples during their second appearance at the Strawberry Festival. They paid off their debt within 18 months and bought themselves a van, a 2007 Ford E350.

"It's amazing what they've done in only two years," says Dirks' father, Ray, a Winnipeg artist and curator.

"All four women are leader types, yet they're really do love each other and they stick up for each other, which is rare in that business."

Daoud, 33, says he counts his lucky stars being the lone male in the band.

"The women are very organized and focused," he says. "Somebody always makes sure there's gas in the van."

Their manager, Nova Scotia-based André Bourgeois, believes they have big potential.

"The multilingual nature of what they do opens a lot of doors," he says.

"They're built for speed in a world where major labels are falling away. When people hear them, they love them."

Speaking of love, that first winter, Daoud hooked up with Brémault. Their first child is due in November.

Because of this, the Chics will take a breather this fall after they do another industry showcase in September in Phoenix.

They plan to write new material while they await the blessed event and record a second album in January in Montreal.

Then next spring, they'll be back in the van with an extra passenger.

"The baby will provide a great vibe," Daoud says. "Life goes on."

The four Winnipeg chicks in the pop quintet Chic Gamine come from a cultured background. And we don't mean they ate a lot of yogurt.



-- is the daughter of singer-songwriter Nicole Brémault and musician and film producer Norm Dugas. Her sibs are musicians Sarah and Christian Dugas, both currently with the Winnipeg roots band the Duhks.



-- is the daughter of Gérard Jean, the Ziz half of the famed '70s St. Boniface musical duo Gerry & Ziz, and Lorraine Jean, a flutist and pianist in her youth.



-- is the daughter of Gérald Turenne, a founder of the Festival du Voyageur, and Lorraine Turenne, a former singer in Les Fantaises.



-- is the daughter of Winnipeg artist and curator Ray Dirks and Katie Dirks, a former singer in her college choirs. - By: Morley Walker, Winnipeg, Free Press

"Chic Gamine on U.S. television tonight"

Winnipeg vocal group Chic Gamine will appear on Monday’s episode of U.S. network television show Lopez Tonight.

The quintet will back up American singer-songwriter Marc Broussard on the late-night variety show, which airs on TLN Canada at 11 p.m.

Chic Gamine and Marc Broussard play New York City tomorrow as part of a summer tour that extends into August.

According to the quintet’s website, Chic Gamine’s next Manitoba appearance is slated for Aug. 20-21 at Harvest Fest in Kelwood, southeast of Riding Mountain National Park. - Winnipeg Free Press, written by Staff Writer

"'Peg's Chic Gamine pumped over Olys gig"

A Winnipeg musical group is set for several gigs of Olympic proportions.

Chic Gamine, the Juno-winning vocal quintet that formed just over two years ago, will play four shows in Vancouver and Whistler as part of the 2010 Winter Olympics which run Feb. 12 to 28.

The group is comprised of singers Andrina Turenne, Ariane Jean, Alexa Dirks and Annick Bremault, who utilize their voices like instruments, layering lush harmonies over the percussion of drummer Sacha Daoud to explore gospel, soul, rhythm and blues, doo-wop and French chanson styles. Last April, the group won the Roots & Traditional Juno for its self-titled debut album.

After getting into the Olympic spirit by playing Jan. 5 at The Forks as part of the Olympic torch relay, Chic Gamine will head west to play four shows as part of the quadrennial games. On Feb. 24, they'll entertain at the athletes' village in Whistler, B.C., and the following day they'll play a televised gig at a medal-presentation ceremony at B.C. Place stadium in Vancouver along with Burton Cummings and others as part of Manitoba Night.

'Once in a lifetime'

On Feb. 26, it's back to Whistler for a show at the Olympic Village Square mainstage. For their last Olympic gig, they'll hit the stage for Vancouver City Live Feb. 27 before heading home.

Turenne said the group is thrilled about the whirlwind Olympic performances.

"We almost can't get our heads around that many people possibly seeing our group play, but it's really exciting," Turenne said. "It's a once in a lifetime thing. It's a huge world tradition and to be part of it is really cool. It's kind of a dream come true."

The athletes' village show could be a major highlight for Turenne.

"To get an inside glimpse and to get to perform for athletes from all over the world is going to be huge for us," she said. "I'm really looking forward to seeing what it looks like from the inside after watching it on TV my whole life."

Turenne said the group hasn't heard yet if they'll be able to take in any sporting events.

The Olympic shows are part of a busy new year for the group.

In addition to the Olympic shows, they'll start recording their second album in Montreal and play a showcase in New York City next month. They'll be in Winnipeg to tape a concert for television in mid-February. - JASON HALSTEAD, WINNIPEG SUN


Chic Gamine - Self-Titled (Canadian Release)
Full-length album, 12 original tracks, released in 2008. Recorded in Lachute, Québec. Produced and Engineered by Benoit Morier.

Chic Gamine - City City (Canadian Release)
Full length album, 14 original tracks, released in 2010
Recorded in Montreal, Québec. Produced by François Lalonde, Co-Produced by Sacha Daoud and Engineered by Louis Legault.

Chic Gamine - Closer 
(US Release of remixed and mastered tracks from both previous albums)
Full length album, 9 original tracks, released in 2013
Tracks 1,3,8,9: Produced by François Lalonde, Co-produced by Sacha Daoud, Engineered by Louis Legault
Tracks 2,4,5,6,7: Produced and engineered by Benoit Morier
Tracks 1,7: Mixed by Russell Elevado at DNA Studios and MSR Studios, New York, NY
Tracks 2,3,4,5,9: Mixed by Dana Nielsen at Little People Studio, Los Angeles, CA
Tracks 6,8: Mixed by Andrew Scheps at Punkerpad West, Van Nuys, CA
Mastered by Mark Santangelo at Masterdisk, New York, NY

Chic Gamine - Christmas Vol.1 (Canadian Release) 
EP, 5 tracks, released in 2014
Recorded on Hornby Island, BC. Produced and engineered by Chic Gamine and mixed by 
Davy Gallant at Dogger Pond Studios. 

Chic Gamine - Light A Match (North American Release) 
Single, released in 2015



Good things come to those who wait. Nobody knows this
better than Winnipeg and Montreal-based band Chic
Gamine. A five-year gap between studio albums – one
filled with bold adventuring and winding detours –
culminates in the release of their third album, Light A
Match. They emerge renewed and transformed by a path
that brought into sharp focus exactly where they wanted to

Intensely creative and always evolving, Chic Gamine have
built much since their start in 2007 – touring across
Canada, the USA and parts of Europe, bringing their
sound to venues everywhere, to festivals such as the
Montreal Jazz Festival, Festival International de Louisiane,
Winnipeg, Regina and Calgary’s respective Folk Festivals,
France’s Transmusicales and SXSW amongst others.
They’ve performed and toured opening for Mavis Staples,
Smokey Robinson, Marc Broussard and Lake Street Dive.
They’ve played before Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the
Second of England and their music has been used on
ABC’s The Fosters and General Hospital. They’ve been a
favourite on A Prairie Home Companion, CBC and Espace
Musique (who chose them as one of their musical
Revelations of 2009/10), and were selected as a must-see
act by NPR’s Stephen Thompson at SXSW in 2012. Their
first self-titled album was released in 2008 and garnered
them a 2009 Juno for best Roots Album. Their sophomore
album, City City (2010), was nominated for a 2011 Juno in
the same category. Then came an American re-release,

Closer in 2012 – mixed and mastered anew by three of
Rick Rubin’s Grammy Award-winning engineers - and in
winter 2014, the Holiday-themed EP they pushed on a six-
week, cross Canada run with Stuart Maclean’s Vinyl Cafe,
Christmas Vol. 1.

Enter Light A Match. More daring than their previous
records, Light A Match shows an amped-up, fleshed-out
side of Chic Gamine, one they say is truer to the vision
they originally had for themselves, one they needed time
to evolve into. And the challenges of making a record in a
band split between two cities, five years of intense touring
in a van with a child on the road and personnel changes –
founding member Ariane Jean left in early 2014 for a life
off the road, and in came multi-instrumentalist Benoit
Morier to fill the void – would be enough to make most
bands have an existential crisis.

And here they are, existing, and putting out a record that
proves they’re better than ever and just as magnetic as in
their fresh-faced beginning. To make this record, the band
wanted a collaborator to assist in arranging and polishing
the songs. They chose Montreal producer/engineer
Sébastien Blais-Montpetit (Groenland, Champion, Secret
Sun, etc.), to come in and play with texture and feel,
pushing performances up a notch, helping the band find its
groove and explore the instrumentation they’d added over
the last couple of years. Drummer Sacha Daoud and bass/
guitar player Benoit Morier make a first-rate rhythm section, and their easy understanding creates something
both deep and exciting to listen to. Andrina Turenne, Alexa
Dirks and Annick Bremault have one of those rare vocal
chemistries, and as ever, it’s those distinct voices that
carry the music. You can hear them, the three blending
beautifully, and also pick them apart from each other,
easily recognizing each characteristic tone and energy,
every subtle shift in timbre and volume. Together, they’re
unfailingly emotional and stirring.

Off the road for the summer, Chic Gamine have been
enjoying some well-deserved home time, while
simultaneously gearing-up for a Fall release and tours.
Time to start counting the days until their third studio
album, Light A Match drops everywhere on October 23rd,
2015. So whether good things come in threes, small
packages or to those who wait, with Light A Match, Chic
Gamine – and the rest of us – have clearly got one very
good thing on their hands. 

Band Members