Multi-instrumental, multicultural, and extremely talented “Bohemian Electro-Pop” from Montreal, Canada: This is Vamoise.
Allow me to show my nationalistic side here for a moment. Us Canadians do make some great music and are home to a whole lot of amazing musicians. Case in point: Montrealâs Vamoise, led by âsinger-songwriter and composerâ Najah ZaoudÃ©. This woman has an absolutely gorgeous voice that reminds me of Suzanne Vega, at times Shawn Colvin, Rosanne Cash or Sarah McLachlan (artists that I listen to, though there may be far better comparisons out there closer to Vamoiseâs âgenreâ). However, the music is at a whole different level of artistry. Najah and Vamoise are true artists, crafting some utterly amazing sounds from a seeming wide range of sources.
The first song from their upcoming EP ‘Another Critical Moment’ is ‘Come With Me’. What a beautiful song this is, with an interesting mix of instruments and electronics. Jazzy, R & B-ish at times, folk tinged, almost Joni Mitchell-ish in places, a lovely medley of sounds and emotions. Combining mandolin (or possibly a charango, see below) and saxophone is a combination that I would not necessarily think of, but in this case is not only done, but shows that it can work quite well.
You can find the song streaming on Vamoiseâs website at the moment (or below this paragraph) and hopefully hear for yourself what I mean. I also, however, can tell you that I have been a very lucky man and have been able to hear what is I believe to be the entire EP that is set to be released in April 2013. All I can say is, WOW! Consider this song as a delectable teaser that is just the tip of the iceberg.
To me, the music Vamoise makes is veryâ¦Canadian. Donât ask me what that means. I donât know 100 percent myself. I also donât know what âbohemian electro-popâ is either, but thatâs what they call themselves. I suppose it is a fitting genre title, but it seems too simplistic almost, and ratherâ¦well, confusing?
Part of what I love about Canada is our multiculturalism. For some reason, Montreal seems to produce a ton of great musicians that bring multicultural, multiethnic sounds together much like Vamoise does. I think of people like Mercan Dede for example who mixes Turkish sounds with electronics and even features a âwhirling dervishâ inspired dancer at shows (at least the last show I was at). So, I suppose that is what I mean when I say this is veryâ¦Canadian.
With Vamoise, they have apparently used instruments such as the âEcuadrian charangoâ (I had never heard of this until now. It looks like a ukulele and sounds like a cross between a mandolin and a banjo) and a âMiddle Eastern darboukaâ (a drum thing for lack of a more technical description). So, they are actively bringing new âglobalâ sounds into their music. Live, Jean-SÃ©bastien Brault-LabbÃ© plays drums and guitar (and also, apparently produced, arranged, recorded and mixed the upcoming EP. PHEW! Busy man!), Bart Frydrychowicz does fretless bass, guitars and synths and Najah plays the above mentioned exotic instruments, as well as guitar and synths. Iâd say calling these folks multi-instrumentalists would be more than accurate. I always admire people who can pick up almost any instrument and play it, so I am duly impressed at what Vamoise does and the sounds they make in the process.
I look forward to the rest of the world hearing the new EP which is coming out in April. Thatâs a long way off it seems. But, the wait will be worth it, trust me. This is a truly beautiful work of art by a band that deserves to be noticed. I also have my fingers crossed that this is a group that I will be able to see live someday soon. Winnipeg Jazz Festival? Winnipeg Folk Festival? They would fit in well at either!
All words by Chris Hearn, more writing by Chris on Louder Than War can be found here.