By David F. Rooney
Francophones and Francophiles who have felt adrift in a sea of English-language music on the radio can tune in to Stoke FM’s dynamic new program, The French Quarter Show, every Sunday evening at 8 pm.
Marie Duchesneau, Julie Beauce, Cynthia Routhier, Mélanie Riopel and Elodie Brideau are the co-hosts of The French Quarter, which treats listeners to the best of the dynamic French-language music scene. The program has been on-air for almost seven weeks now and features music by great French-Canadian musicians from across the country as well as Francophone artists from other parts of the world. Here’s a peek at the lineup from their Episode 6, which was a special on reggae:
Ariane Moffatt – Montréal
Danakil – Génération H
Danakil – Non, je ne regrette rien
Volodia – Je suis
Papa Style & Baldas – Blasés du boulot
Ryon – Mon bon droit
Seev – Marie Jeanne
Raggasonic NTM – Aiguisé comme une lame
Grimskunk – La vache
I woks sound – Toi qui me juge
Tairo – Bonne Weed
Yannis Odua – Une larme
Tiken Jah Fakoly – Tonton d’America
Tomawok – La bonne solution
Yannis Odua – Une larme
Ousmane – La terre
Isiah Shaka – Au-delà
Intik – Notre devoir
I was a huge fan of Harmonium, Beau Dommage and some of the other groups erupting out of Quebec when I was a university student in the 1970s. To this day, Beau Dommage’s tremendously evocative paean to Montreal Un Autre Jour Arrive en Ville remains one of my two favourite albums. (David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars is the other). But after 35 years in almost-unilingual BC and Alberta I am — to be charitable — a little out of touch. I didn’t know who any of these performers were when I listened in last Sunday but that didn’t really matter. The program’s hosts have excellent taste in music and I have learned to trust their judgment — just don’t expect to hear lots of chit-chat.
“We’re trying to put on contemporary music — Francophone music,” co-host Marie said in a recent group interview at the station. And the music certainly appears to be what people want to hear.
“We’re not hearing any Francophone music in Revelstoke,” said Elodie.
Quebec has for decades been one of Canada’s cultural powerhouses offering up artists and songs that have an almost instantaneous impact on the French-speaking world here — and abroad. And The French Quarter gives local Francophones and Francophiles a weekly opportunity to tap into that electrifying cultural current.
The four hosts are a pretty tight team, but they won’t say “No” if someone wants to make a suggestion or even help out.
“We’re hoping people will want to help out,” said Sarra, a frequent guest and one of The French Quarter’s original organizers and promoters. “We’re all volunteers who live pretty busy lives.”
That aspect is prompting them to reach out to others who’d like to pitch in, but as Julie put it: “It’s really super fun.”
And it’s not just girls whose participation they’re looking for. “We want guys, too!” they laughed.
If you are a Francophile like me I hope you’ll give The French Quarter Show a listen. It’s on 92.5 Stoke FM from 8 pm until 9 pm every Sunday evening, And, if you like what you hear, let them know by liking their Facebook page. You can also drop them a line via that page.