It’s a week of firsts for the Yellowknife Francophone music community.
Tomorrow, the Association franco-culturelle de Yellowknife will host Western Canada’s largest gathering of the Francophone music industry, Chant’Ouest/Contact Ouest. Also for the first time, a Yellowknifer – Yves Lecuyer – is a finalist in the Chant’Ouest singer-songwriter competition.
First up is a concert at NACC featuring four singer-songwriters who have made it to the finals of the Chant’Ouest competition, followed by showcases Friday and Saturday of Francophone musicians, comedians, spoken-word performers and circus artists. Twist & Shout will also host nightly music and performing arts tomorrow through Saturday.
“It’s always good to be first,” joked Lecuyer about the honour.
The musician is known to many in Yellowknife as a member of the acoustic band Dead Frets. Lecuyer began performing in Yellowknife 5 years ago.
He describes his musical style as rock with some folk colours in the background.
“I usually sing about human relations, love relationships but also friendships,” he said. “I sing about things that happen in the inside.”
Lecuyer is one of four finalists who will compete for one of two chances to play at the Festival International de la chanson de Granby next year in Granby, Que. The winners will be chosen by a jury, which includes NACC executive and artistic director Marie Coderre, on the night of the show.
The North is also well represented this year with another finalist from the Yukon, Mireille Labbe.
Each of the four finalists will perform three songs, backed up by a house band featuring Pat Braden, Raphael Freynet, Mary Kelly and Daniel Roa. Lecuyer said he has chosen three songs with a lot of energy, which he hopes will get the audience up and dancing.
Lecuyer said he hopes the event will shed some light on the many Francophone musicians in the city and make the city a little more multicultural.
Batiste Foisy, spokesperson with the Association franco-culturelle de Yellowknife, likens the week’s events to a Francophone Folk On the Rocks. The events will be broadcast across the country by Radio-Canada.
“We’re mighty proud,” he said. “It’s a visibility for Francophone artists unseen in the Northwest Territories. The French Yellowknife has never gotten that much exposure, so that’s going to be huge.”