PRESS RELEASE - December 12
TRAVEL BUGS AND BROKEN TRADITIONS BY THE DUALLY DISPLACED
Mélissa Laveaux and Marie-Josée Houle defy the "same old" and the been-done" at home and at large
Mélissa Laveaux returns home with a French-signed (NoFormat!) and major-distributed (Universal France) CD that will only be available in her home country for one night of unfettered alt acoustic blues-folk alongside Marie-Josée Houle, Ottawa's sultry songstress of the accordion and Scandinavian tours.
Laveaux has made Paris her new home, and the world her oyster, traveling to destinations (Switzerland, Japan, Mexico and France) facilitated by booking agency 3DFamily (Tony Allen, K'Naan, Bonga, Omara Portuondo...).
Recording a definite upgrade from her self-produced debut in Toronto and in France, Mélissa Laveaux’s recently released disc is highly praised by smitten French critics, while leaving them at a loss, as the label's "world music" and "folk" hardly encompass the realm of musical expression.
Losing the cheque meant to pay for piano lessons at 6 years old eventually meant that Mélissa Laveaux, a self-taught guitarist and singer-songwriter, would always lack the discipline to follow structure and traditions in music. Years spent polishing exotic and eclectic playlists on community radio help her forge her instinctive approach to music. She's noted for her distinct percussive bassline fingerstyle guitar technique, a wet breathy raucous voice and unwonted lyricism.
Garnering some attention from local and national media (CBC, SRC) and music institutions (Ontario Council of Folk Festivals, Montreal International Jazz Festival, Canada Council for the Arts) with a self-produced debut LP , she is picked up by French indie label NoFormat through her Myspace in 2007. Known for its eclectic catalogue (Gonzales, Mamani Keita and Nicolas Repac), the label sees Laveaux as a smart addition to their limited roster. Their interpretation of Laveaux's Camphor and Copper includes two creative covers (Elliot Smith's "Needle in the Hay" and Eartha Kitt's "I Wanna be Evil") atop of Laveaux's own repertoire - composed of original pieces of an impressive maturity and freshness. Her voice, alone, unfurls majestic and fragile, profound and sensual, furrowed with deep stirring under the immediate seduction, almost reworked and rearranged by the ever-present languages in her life: the fluidity of the English, the nonchalant syncopation of the Kreyol, and the harmonic sophistication of the French.
In October, Marie-Josée Houle released another critically acclaimed CD [Monsters] that also defies all categorization, showcasing a writing style often compared to that of Tom Waits and Nick Cave. On Sunday, December 28th, Mélissa Laveaux shares a double bill with Marie-Josée Houle at Zaphod's Nightclub, where each lady will play some maturing and some newly-written polyglotted compositions, each using traditional instruments and happily breaking the stereotypes bound to them.
Born in Val d‘Or, Quebec, and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, Marie-Josée celebrates her dual cultural roots through music. Singing and writing in both English and French, she brings the Townships to the Prairies and beyond by combining her classical, punk rock, and French cabaret sensibilities into one sultry stew of sound. Her musical history is as varied as her hair colour. Classically trained on the accordion at age five, she chose other instruments as the medium to first deliver music to the masses.
In 2000, she took up the electric bass and saxophone in order to form two very eclectic projects in Edmonton. Her reconnection with the accordion coincided with a move to Ottawa in 2003 and culminated in the world music collaboration whose success - including a performance at the 2005 Ottawa Folk Music Festival – served as a springboard for her solo work.
In a span of three years, Marie-Josée Houle relentlessly toured Canada and Europe and released two critically acclaimed solo albums, each receiving a Best Folk Album nomination by the Ottawa XPress alongside local folk sensations Jim Bryson and Kathleen Edwards. Both albums charted and received solid airplay on local college and community radio stations in Canada, the US, Belgium, France, Norway and the UK.
Mélissa Laveaux & Marie-Josée Houle double bill
Sunday, December 28, 2008 - 8 pm
27 York St. [Byward Market]
Ottawa, ON, Canada