Karkwa

Karkwa

 Laval, Quebec, CAN
BandRockPop

Karkwa is a Canadian indie rock group from Montreal. Karkwa took home the coveted Polaris Prize 2010, awarded to the year’s best Canadian album. First Francophone group to ever win this prestigious award.

Biography

Karkwa formed in 1998 and made themselves heard the next year, when the five music die-hards performed at the Cégeps en spectacle contest in Montreal and caught the eye of the Office franco-québécois pour la jeunesse (a France-Quebec youth exchange organization), which invited them to perform at the Printemps du Québec cultural expo in Paris.

With the page turned on that adventure, the band members shifted their attention to separate projects. Not until 2001 did Karkwa truly step back on the scene, making it to the final round at the 7th Francouvertes music competition. From there they embarked on a concert series, perfect for putting the final spit and polish on the elements of their debut album. When Le pensionnat des établis [Boarding School of the Establishment] appeared in 2003, the critics required no further convincing, and Karkwa landed twice at the top of the university charts. There followed some 75 shows across Quebec, as well as newsmaking performances on major stages.

With the launch of Les tremblements s’immobilisent [The Tremors Come to a Halt] (Audiogram, 2005), Karkwa confirmed its marquee role in the world of Quebec rock. The record proved restlessly inventive, stirring in bold collaborations such as Brigitte Fontaine’s vocals on “Red light” and earning the band a groundswell of popular and critical praise. In 2006 the band was honoured with the Félix-Leclerc Award, and they jointly received the Félix for best singer or composer alongside music titan Pierre Lapointe.

In November 2007, the French launch of Les tremblements s’immobilisent sparked a number of tour dates on the other side of the Atlantic. The implications were plain to see: Karkwa’s star was on the rise in France as well.

In April 2008, ten years into their remarkable career, singer/guitarist Louis-Jean Cormier, drummer Stéphane Bergeron, keyboardist François Lafontaine, bassist Martin Lamontagne and percussionist/singer Julien Sagot released Le volume du vent [Volume of the Wind], their landmark third album. Simultaneously serious and irresistibly soaring, Karkwa’s latest record marks a new chapter in a story whose most exciting moments are surely yet to come.

The two years following the release of their third album, Le Volume du Vent, (The Volume of the Wind) were hectic with hundreds of performances around Canada, France, Switzerland, Belgium, England, the United States, and Lebanon. Le Volume du Vent was launched in France in March 2009.

Their fourth album, Les Chemins de Verre, (The Glass Paths) was recorded in part at La Frette studios in Paris - an inspirational venue dating from the 19th century, it became the sixth member of the band as they returned there time and again during their French tour. A lively collection based on spontaneous impulses of creativity, this album was put together without preproduction for a more organic and impressionist sound. Les Chemins de Verre hit the shelves in Canada in March 2010.

Lyrics

Moi Léger / Me Lighter

Written By: Louis-Jean Cormier

The endless cold
of winter nights that wore me out,
but now it doesn't matter.
Then there was time
and generations going by
but now I really don't care.

I just have no other choice
but to make it out of here.
Between me and lighter me
there's a finer song to sing.
After all’s been said and done
After all the pain is gone

There were good times
and rock n' roll that blew our minds.
But now it doesn’t matter
There was the road,
the sleepless nights and broken dreams
but they don't matter anymore.

I just have no other choice
but to make it out of here.
Between me and lighter me
this will all begin again
Tides will rise and tides will fall.
A bit of wine in my veins.

There was the war
where human rights were only lies,
and now nobody cares.
There was the sky
where every god was haunting me,
but now I really don't care.

There's a finer song to sing.
After all’s been said and done
After all the pain is gone

English translation Jim Corcoran 2/22/10

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Original - French

Y avait l'hiver, y avait le froid qui me tuait
Mais là c'est pu important
Y avait le temps, y avait les âges qui défilaient
Mais là je m'en fous vraiment

C'est un passage obligé
Un long couloir à creuser
Entre moi et moi-léger
C'est une chanson de lumière
L'étape après la misère
L'émotion d'un courant d'air

Y avait les filles, y avait le rock qui nous saoulait
Mais là c'est pu important
Y avait les routes, y avait les trous que l'on grugeait
Mais c'est de moins en moins pesant

C'est un passage obligé
Un long couloir à creuser
Entre moi et moi-léger
C'est comme un nouveau printemps
Un plongeon dans l'océan
C'est comme le vin dans le sang

Y avait la guerre, y avait les droits qui nous mentaient
Mais là c'est moins prenant
Y avait le ciel, y avait les dieux qui me hantaient
Mais là je m'en fous vraiment.

C'est une chanson de lumière
L'étape après la misère
L'émotion d'un courant d'air.

Discography

Le pensionnat des établis (2003)
Les tremblements s'immobilisent (2005)
Le volume du vent (2008)
Les chemins de verre (2010)

Set List

Variable set list