Swedish Progressive band Anekdoten will be playing at the Terra Incognita Progressive Rock Festival in Quebec, Canada on Saturday May 16th but one might wonder why there is a Progressive Rock Festival in Quebec? The answer might be because of a band that you’ve never heard of.
Harmonium were a French/Canadian Progressive Rock band that formed in Montreal in 1972 and made three albums between 1974 and 1976 before breaking up in 1978. Initially the band consisted of only three core members – Serge Fiori, lead vocals and 12 string guitars and guitarist Michel Normandeau and soon after Louis Valois joined on bass. This was the line-up for their first self-titled album released in 1974. The full band line-up for the second album, Si On Avait Besoin D’une Cinquième Saison (If We needed A Fifth Season) released in 1975 is listed below (in French). As you tiptoe around the idea of listening to a band that sing only in French, below is a taster track from this album called, Depuis l’automne (Since The Autumn). It’s a lovely album, I’ve only ever managed to find their third album from 1976 the double, L’Heptade (a selection of seven pieces of music). Their records are considered extremely important in French/Canadian music.
So if you speak French, then this is your lucky day, as I have added the whole album if you wish to investigate the band further. There is also a documentary made by The National Film Board Of Canada in 1978 about the band trying to break out of the confines of singing only in French by going to play in California and trying to attract media coverage despite the difficulties for non-French speakers. The documentary is sometimes in French, sometimes in English but good practice for budding bilinguals. If you like the sound of the Progressive Folk Seventies and you don’t speak French, this still might be an enjoyable album for you, and is well worth investigating for non-French speakers.
Harmonium band line-up for Si On Avait Besoin D’une Cinquième Sainson:
Pierre Daigneault : clarinette, clarinette basse, flûte à bec, flûte traversière, flûte en sol, piccolo, saxophone soprano
Serge Fiori : chant, guitare acoustique (six et douze cordes), cithare, flûte traversière, mandoline, percussions
Serge Locat : piano, piano électrique, mellotron, synthétiseur
Michel Normandeau : chant, guitare acoustique (six cordes), accordéon, dulcimer
Louis Valois : chant, guitare basse, piano électrique
Marie Bernard : ondes Martenot (sur Depuis l’automne et En pleine face)
Judi Richards : chant (sur Histoires sans paroles)
TERRA INCOGNITA PROGRESSIVE ROCK FESTIVAL
Centre D’art La Chapelle
620 Avenue Plante