Something’s Gotten Hold of my Heart: Martin Barrette

martin barrette martin barrette

Have you been searching for that certain je ne sais quoi? Are you a lover of the Montreal music scene but find your throat constricting when someone mentions Arcade Fire? Do you consider yourself on the up and up with the blood, gore and guts of the underground? Are you a revolutionary for music?! Are you hip?! Are you cool?! Well, I got what you crave.

His name is Martin Barrette and he’s from Sherbrooke, now living in the big city. Montreal. With the help of his accordion player, Caroline Meunier, they composed an album entitled, “Je m’obstine et aigne,” which, according to Google Translate (the butcher of all language) means “I persist and sign.”

Yes, this is Quebec at it’s bloodiest. This is REAL.

Barette told me that it took a year to record the album, and involved ten different musicians, two of whom were former members of the band Les Colocs (Jean-Denis Levasseur on clarinet and Andre Vander on bass).

The album is being released this month at Quai des Brûmes, and a music video for the first single, “Emilie,” has already surfaced, a piece of work that is cinematically stunning, if not a bit troubling (in the way that Clockwork Orange was troubling.)

If Montreal had stylish French gangs that ran around through rural landscapes, leaning around train stations and drawing mysteriously on cigarettes whilst pondering the meaning of love and life, it would all be encapsulated in this very music video.

Made by Julien Hurteau, with the help of his father Paul Hurteau, the video was filmed in a train museum in Delson.

Barette’s older brother, Olivier Barrette, played one of the bums in the video; locals might recognize him from Quebec television show Unité 9. (And really, is there anything more entertaining than Quebecoise television?)

Martin Barrette played solo at Barfly on November 6, and will be following up the performance at the Leonard Davinci (8370 Boulevard Lacordaire, Saint-Leonard) on November 21, as well as a show in Quebec City on November 15. Worth traveling for.

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About Ceilidh Michelle

ceilidh michelle is a musician and novelist. She has contributed to CULT Montreal, Vancouver Weekly and Social Coast, among others, and also has a column with Band Mark called True Currency. More Posts