Wayne Lavallee
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Wayne Lavallee

North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | INDIE

North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | INDIE
Band Rock Singer/Songwriter

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La difficulté, après le coup d’éclat monumental que fut il y a quelques semaines à peine le triple album ‘Indian Rezervation Blues And More’ (*) était de pouvoir donner une suite, une vraie, sans donner l’impression de vouloir se calquer avec facilité sur ce ‘blues’ indien qui a envahi les ondes des meilleures radios et les platines des amateurs de bonne musique.
Challenge réussi et même brillamment réussi par Dixiefrog qui propose à partir du 23 avril ce véritable bijou qu’est ‘Trail Of Tears’, signé Wayne Lavallee.

L’album proposé par Wayne Lavallee est d’autant plus important que l’homme est d’origine Métis, une culture riche du double héritage Cree et européen. Un homme au caractère en acier trempé et qui reste fidèle à ses racines, dans un esprit de liberté et d’indépendance qui ne connaît ni gouvernement ni limites, un homme qui apporte la preuve que l’esprit de résistance de ses ancêtres reste vivant, et peut être même plus encore, devenant cruellement d’actualité dans un monde où les repères s’effacent et se perdent.

Porté par des chansons envoûtantes telles ‘Big Country’, ‘River Road’, ‘Heart Land’, et le titre phare, ‘Trail Of Tears’, le lauréat 2006 du prix du ‘Meilleur songwriter aborigène’ décerné par la société folk canadienne sait faire passer les messages de tout un peuple: les terres volées, les massacres, le cantonnement dans des réserves, l’oppression, les révoltes, la répression.
Les chansons sont superbement mélodieuses mais derrière cette luminosité subtilement colorée les paroles sont aussi tranchantes que la lame d’un couteau. Wayne ne crie pas, Wayne ne hurle pas, Wayne ne crache pas, Wayne chante et ses chansons sont les plus intenses des cris, les plus sombres des hurlements, les plus violents des crachats.

« Je suis prêt à me battre pour les miens,
Pour la Terre nourricière et tout ce qu’elle contient,
Pendant qu’ils envoient des Indiens à la guerre
Comme autant de catins de la Terre
Pendant qu’ils envoient les Indiens à la guerre
Au nom des étoiles de leur bannière. »
(extrait traduit de la chanson ‘Star Spangled Sensation’)

C’est également en hommage à ces soldats indiens que Wayne Lavallee emprunte à Bob Marley son ‘Buffalo Soldier’ qu’il adapte en blues-reggae. Une chanson qui, chantée par Wayne, devient beaucoup plus qu’une chanson: un hymne, une ode, le cri de tout un peuple. Une version chantée avec tant de cœur et tant d’âme qu’elle doit en émouvoir le grand Bob Marley, là où il se trouve.

Fil conducteur de l’album, car instrument ancestral des indiens, le tambour est présent dans toutes les chansons, discrètement ou omniprésent. C’est lui qui débute l’album, pour lancer ‘Trail Of Tears’, et c’est lui qui rythme les onze titres, car les battements du cœur de Wayne, les battements du cœur de tout le peuple indien battent au travers de ces onze chansons:
« Le rythme est pour moi un moyen de me souvenir, dit Wayne. Il figure surtout un son et une pulsation porteurs d’espoir, de joie et d’amour. Un son universel, capable d’élever ma musique tout comme il élève ma vie au quotidien. »

La musique de Wayne Lavallee est non seulement celle d’un survivant, mais elle est celle d’un porte-drapeau qui veut rendre sa fierté et son honneur à tout un peuple. Un homme qui doit rêver au jour où les indiens arriveront à ce que les noirs ont obtenu, quitte à se battre encore, et encore. Wayne Lavallee est à sa manière un ‘Buffalo Soldier’ en pleine Amérique. Et Bob Marley veille sur lui.

Un CD à acquérir d’urgence et qui vous posera de vrais repères, bien meilleurs que ceux que les politiques tentent de vous refiler après les avoir rafistolés tant bien que mal. Tant mal que pire.

Un album qui mérite un grand coup de cœur tant il vous touche, ici, au cœur. - Blues Magazine & Paris-Move


Wayne Lavallee Trail of Tears

[Dixie Frog, France]

Returning from France with a European release and a domestic follow-up, Wayne Lavallee (Cree) offers two new works that stokes the fires of his personalized form of country rock. The album opens with the title track that is reminiscent of John Lennon’s “Working Class Hero” whilst adding some hand drum and banjo that compliments Lavallee’s unique vocal style. The following number “The Tonto Project” that addresses Hollywood tokenism, is propelled solely by its galloping musical pace and minimalist lyrical structure that works neatly as a well written song. “Big Country” is a power house number absent of any convoluted writing and conveys the true spirit of his persona of a Rock’n’Roll Indian Cowboy. “Shed Allot of Light” is a relaxed melodic number with an alluring chorus and melody line that flaunts a flirtatious radio-friendly hook.

Musically, Lavallee has created a warm atmosphere with many moods and colors as shown with his down-tempo version of Bob Marley’s “Buffalo Soldier.” Although, there are much better Marley tracks, I wonder why a song about the US 10th Cavalry of the late 1800s would make the cut. But, the track’s tasty violin and cello arrangements that hark to the string line in “Come on Eileen” by Dexys Midnight Runners, make everything feel alright.

Initially released in France with an additional eight-minute video program absent from the domestic reissue, contains new tracks including a cover of Buffy Sainte-Marie’s pill-head dirge “Codeine.”

Another commendable aspect of the album is the variety and talent of the many players involved in the recording. The lineup consists of Wayne Lavallee, lead vocals/guitar/mandolin/hand drums; John Ellis, guitars; Robert Becker and Kevin Kane, bass; Geoff Hicks and Matt Brain, drums; Pura Fe, Shakti Hayes and Renae Morrisseau, backup vocals; Jesse Zubot, violin; Christina Zaenker and Cris Dirksen (Cree), cello; Derry Burne, trumpet; - By Brian Wright-McLeod News From Indian Country Feb. 2010


Soms krijg je een plaatje binnen van een artiest wiens naam hoogstens een vaag belletje doet rinkelen, maar die dan hele mooie muziek blijkt te maken. Wayne Lavallee, een Canadese Indiaan met twee lange vlechten in zijn haar en een grimmige blik in de ogen, is er zo eentje. Eerder dit jaar verscheen een interessante compilatie getiteld Indian Rezervation Blues And More, waarop hij het tweede nummer zingt. En daar ken ik hem van, schoot me bij het beluisteren van Trail Of Tears te binnen. Dit soloalbum, met als extraatje een acht minuten durend videoprogramma, bevat een verrassende verzameling songs, vaak met een obsederende ondergrond van percussie. Ze worden door Lavallee met een indringende, bijna snerpende stem ten gehore gebracht. Hij legt duidelijk zijn hele ziel en zaligheid in de teksten (één ervan in een Indiaanse taal) en laat tevens horen een meester te zijn in het aanbrengen van nuances. Op Bob Marley’s toepasselijke Buffalo Song na zijn het allemaal eigen composities, stuk voor stuk van hoog niveau. Dit is een man die het verdient gehoord te worden.

Dutch to English translation
Sometimes you get a picture inside of an artist whose name more than a vague ring a bell, but then turns out to make beautiful music. Wayne Lavallee, a Canadian Indian with two long braids in his hair and a grim look in his eyes, is one of them. Earlier this year an interesting compilation titled Indian Rezervation Blues And More, which he sings the second song. And I know him, I remembered listening to Trail of Tears to mind. This solo album, with an extra eight minutes long video program contains a surprising collection of songs, often with a background of obsessive percussion. They are by Lavallee with a penetrating, almost shrill voice be heard. He clearly puts his whole heart and soul into the lyrics (one in an Indian language) and have also heard a master at making nuances. Bob Marley's Buffalo Song applicable after they are all original compositions, all of high quality. This is a man who deserves to be heard.

Jaap van Eik
- de Bassist Kwartaalblad voor bassisten van de uilgever van MUSICMAKER


Like each of Wayne Lavallee’s album releases, Trail Of Tears leads with the strongest song musically. Wayne’s new CD is a bit more somber than his first two releases but it also shows a maturing as an artist from subject matter and most certainly in the music layering in each song. Wayne continues to mix traditional Aboriginal rhythms with his folk, roots, rock music style and each song builds up to a variety of musical climaxes as they develop. Wayne has no fear in using a variety of musical instrumentation, as his rhythm guitar is accentuated by tasteful use of banjos, fiddle and even a trumpet. All this lends itself to an original rich sound.

This is one of those CDs where the songs are strong enough to stand on their own, but is best listened to in its entirety. Better yet, for a serious listen, this is a good album to tune into with headphones. Wayne’s high octave voice, the likes of mainstream singers like Geddy Lee of Rush or Jon Anderson of Yes, is singularly unique and he relays his lyrics in a way that communicates the emotions of both the words and the melodies. Of the ten songs on the CD, Wayne writes all but two. He proves he is a more than competent song writer as well as performer, and the two cover songs — Codine by Buffy Saint Marie and Bob Marley’s Buffalo Soldier — are done in such a way that if the listener didn’t know the cover songs, you’d have thought they were originals. Whether competing with other Aboriginal or mainstream artists, this cd can hold its own as a quality music production that is worth the praise from listeners and critics both.

Review by K. Kanten - Windspeaker


Discography

2010 - Wayne Lavallee "Trail of Tears"
Winner 2011 "Best Folk Song" ISMA
Winner 2011 "Best Rock Song" ISMA
Nominated 2010 Juno
Nominated 2010 CFMA
Nominated 2010 WCMA
Nominated APCMA
2010 Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards winner:
Best Folk Acoustic Album
Best Rock Album
Best Male Artist

2005 - Wayne Lavallee "Green Dress"
Nominated 2005 Juno
Winner 2006 CFMA for "Best Aboriginal Songwriter"
Nominated 2005 WCMA
Nominated APCMA
Winner 2004 "Best Album of the Year"
Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards

2000 - Wayne Lavallee "Liv Again"
Nominated 2000 for "Best Rock Album"
Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards

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Bio

Wayne Lavallee is a two time Juno nominee & winner for “Best folk acoustic album” “Best rock album” & “Best male artist” at the 2010 Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards.

Upon reviewing the new release “Trail of Tears”, Crossroads Magazine in France stated, “He is a superb storyteller, a gifted singer and a guitarist par excellence. I don’t know if the spirits haunted these sessions, but there is magic in every song.” He has created a gritty and deeply personal set of songs, filled with captivating performances and of course, his trademark keening voice.

The album was released in Europe(France) on the Dixiefrog lable, Wayne has been touring across France – garnering glowing press reviews along the way: “The voice of Wayne Lavallee taps into his mystical roots…an album that is supernatural and enchanting.” Offered The Review BCR and Guitarist Magazine proclaimed “This Canadian songwriter, goes well beyond, with songs like ‘Sacred Journey’ and ‘Star Spangled Sensation’….Just superb!” with a truckload of award recognition coming in from across Canada, Wayne Lavallee has establishing himself of one of this country’s most important songwriters and storytellers – in any genre.

“I've spent way too much time standing backstage with musicians about to go on and I've seen a range of behaviors - from jitters to meditation to a complete sense of ease. Wayne falls into that last category and it's a quality that permeates everything about his musical output - his writing, his recording, his performing. It all seems so effortless - a natural extension of himself. There is nothing contrived about Wayne's shifts from ethereal ballads to rocking tunes, nothing strained about his classic raspy voice, nothing artificial about the melding of Aboriginal melodies and rhythms into pop song structure. He is an assured artist. I'm sure he's worked and sweated and doubted as much as any artist - but to listen to his songs or watch him perform, you'd never know it” Jowi Taylor CBC Radio Global Village