Travel Blog

2 Jun

French music mania: Shows to see at Les FrancoFolies

The universal language of music gets a French twist at the 28th edition of Les FrancoFolies de Montréal, June 9-18 – and you don’t have to speak French to rock out, dance and even sing along with fans at these shows by artists from Montréal to Paris to North Africa.

Orchestral heights

Hot on the heels of cutting-edge art and music festivals MUTEK, ELEKTRA and TransAmériques, Les FrancoFolies give us something different too: The Montréal Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Simon Leclerc, welcomes musician Arthur H and  Serge Gainsbourg’s muse and companion Jane Birkin in Gainsbourg Symphonique, a performance of the iconic French artist’s best known and loved songs, marking the 25th anniversary of Gainsbourg’s death. Charming Québécois artist Alexandre Désilets also brings an orchestra on stage for his mysterious new electro-pop show marking the release of album Windigo. And Juno award-winner Karim Ouellet adds musicians on acoustic guitars, brass and strings, boosting his soulful, quirky electro-pop further into joyous territory.

Soulful singer-songwriters

World music, trip hop and rock meet poetry and politics in the music of Emel Mathlouthi, a Tunisian singer-songwriter who sings her songs of peace and revolution in French, English and Arab and comes to Francofolies with a new albums co-released by former Björk collaborator Valgeir Sigurðsson. Québec’s Yann Perreau says what he feels in new songs of generous beats interwoven with synth riffs and bird song. Delightful folk-pop duo and multi-instrumentalist sisters Les soeurs Boulay captivate with songs of love. After a string of sold out shows earlier this year, Jean Leloup performs solo from his album Le Fantôme de Paradis City, a mix of folk-rock and heavier hitters. And to close the festival, arguably the first Francophone woman rock star and a diva in her own right, Diane Dufresne performs a show of classics called Intemporelle.

Rock ‘n’ rollers

Emotional radio rock, not to mention a breakout hit with Céline Dion, has made Marc Dupré a star in the past decade – he plays a FrancoFolies two-night stand stadium show with several other Québécois stars of song, including Marie-Mai, Kevin Bazinet and Alex Nevsky. Meanwhile, there’s never a dull moment with Les Trois Accords, getting fans hopping with crowd-pleasing songs from their sixth album. And French band Louise Attaque makes a comeback after 10 years with new album anomalie, playing two nights of worldly symphonic rock.

Hip hop style

Prolific artist Oxmo Puccino has spanned urban-suburban hip hop and French chanson from Mali to Paris in his 20-year career, earning him the moniker “Black Jacques Brel” – but his poetic lyrics are just one part of his music’s magnetism. And for local Quebecois hip hop scene mainstays, don’t miss Koriass and Manu Militari. For updates on these and more Les FrancoFolies concerts, including hundreds of free outdoor shows in the  Quartier des spectacles, check our weekly Things to Do in Montréal column and see the FrancoFolies schedule.

Les FrancoFolies de Montréal, June 9-18, 2016

Up next: 12 ways to get your nightlife on in Montréal


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