Everyone has the choice of accepting or rejecting the environment they grew up in.
Luckily for us, the 5 members of Les Poules à Colin, embraced the atmosphere around them. They are a sort-of second (or more) generation supergroup. Their music is a gorgeous blend of traditional music with a touch of jazz and North American influences, sung in both French and English. The first time I heard about this band was when I saw their band poster on the bathroom wall at a party I was at in the Lanaudière region. The average age of the band then was about 17, and they were already really, really good.
A few years on, and they’re going from strength to strength, playing at festivals at home and around the world.
Below is a small interview with Colin, the band member whose name is in the title.
Can you introduce all the band to us?
The band members are:
- Sarah Marchand (piano, lead vocal)
- Béatrix Méthé (fiddle, lead vocal)
- Marie Savoie-Levac (bass, vocal)
- Éléonore Pitre (guitar, vocal)
- Colin Savoie-Levac (mandolin, banjo, guitar, foot tapping, vocal)
Where did the band’s name come from?
The band name is actually a pun we made with the title of a well known québécois traditional song named La poule à Colin. The name Les poules à Colin came out as I’m the only guy in the band and my name is Colin. That was 7 years ago before we realized it was a joke that only about 400 people could understand.
Did you all grow up playing folk music? Did you ever rebel and play another type of music for a while?
We all grew up in the Québec traditional music scene. Our parents are all involved in the scene and are all good friends. We all met in music parties and jam sessions as kids. I wouldn’t say we really rebelled against trad music but we are interested in a lot of different music. Most of us studied jazz/pop in college and we have different projects outside of the band that are not necessarily folk. We find that different styles of music inform the way we approach our own music.
Do you compose your own songs and tunes?
We play a mix between music that we compose ourself and traditional material. All the instrumentals are composed by us and the songs are mostly traditional, although we will sometimes change the text or come up with a different melody for some songs.
Your latest album, Ste waves, has received critical acclaim. That’s another interesting name, where has it come from?
The name of the album comes from it’s title track (St.waves) which is the only original song composed by the band or more specifically Béatrix. She would be better than me to tell you about the song but St. waves is a mysterious city that the subject of the song wants to reach. It is somewhat abstract so any meaning that the song has in the listener’s mind is good!
Are you all full time musicians?
We are all full time musicians or working in the music business outside of touring.
Considering you have all grown up in the folk world, is it hard convincing your parents’ generation that you are actually grown up?
It has never been issue for us to try to convince our parents generation that we were evolving. At first our parents were mentioned a lot everywhere we played but it quickly faded out as we evolved as a band and built our own musical identity. We feel a great deal of support from our parents generation who paved the way for us in a lot of ways. It is really fantastic.
Is Australia on your list of places to tour one day?
Australia is most definitely on our list of places we want to go! I don’t want to say too much but there is a chance we might come your way in 2017.. Fingers crossed!