New Reviews: September 13, 2004
Reviews by Paula E. Kirman
The Living Road
The Living Road is the latest release by Quebec-based Latin performer Lhasa de Sela. Long-awaited for six years, it is the
follow-up to her acclaimed first release on Audiogram, La Llorona in 1997. Her breathy,
deep vocals cruise through songs in Spanish, French, and English, as the mostly-acoustic musical backdrop
gives a further ethereal feel to most of the songs. Listening to The Living Road feels like
an intimate experience, propelled by the emotion that Lhasa puts into her songs. There is also a certain fragility
to her voice. From folk to fado, taking a trip down The Living Road is an unforgettable musical experience.
Pierre Lapointe is a young singer/songwriter hailing from the Ottawa, Canada region, who won the Granby international song competition in 2001, a major
prize for Francophone performers. He won another major award this year: the Prix Félix-Leclerc, named after the legendary singer/songwriter. His self-titled debut presents a maturity well beyond his years, especially
with his voice of musical style. Contemporary French lounge and café music, Lapointe has a soothing delivery
and decent set of pipes. The album is simple, unpretentious, and a strong debut.
Yves Marchand is a former member of the defunct Quebec band Zébulon. Belvédère
is his first solo outing. Energetic, with definite acoustic influences, the album is
straight-on chanson, demonstrating the best of what is coming out of Quebec in terms of singer/songwriters.
Many of the songs sound personal, and no doubt has been a labour of love in the five years since
Zébulon parted ways.
Jeux de Mains
For nearly 20 years, Vilain Pingouin has been a staple of the Quebec rock scene. Hard-driving rhythms and powerful guitar and vocal
work are two of the band's musical trademarks. After spending some time working on solo projects, lead singer Rudy Caya
is back at the helm of this live album which features many of their hottest hits, as well as a few
previoualy-unreleased studio tracks. One of the album's highlights is two different versions
of the band's signature song, "Le Train."
Paula E. Kirman is the Editor and Webmaster of Inside World Music.