Music Collection

Quebec Artist YouTube Clips

Québec Chanson & Francophone Pop/Rock

This category clearly reaches the furthest into Québec’s history of popular music. Beginning in the 1920s, Madame Edouard Bolduc (or more commonly known as “La Bolduc”) began performing and recording folk tunes that quickly swept across the province. She sings and plays either the violin or the guimbarde, a mouth-harp common in traditional Québécois musical traditions. One traditional trademark you’ll hear in many of her songs is the rhythmic vocal improvisation of vocables (or “nonsense-syllables”) known as turlutage, often during the refrains, a feature such contemporary hip-hop groups as Loco Locass continue to employ these days. Though stemming from her roots in French-Canadian and Irish folk music, she is often recognized as one of the first singer/songwriters of Québec, and the first musician to begin fusing these styles with French and American popular music.

The most renowned Québécois folk singer/songwriter is Félix Leclerc, whose lengthy career lasted from the 1950s-80s, and who is also well known for his poetry and nationalist political activism. Check out his Youtube clip entitled “Ton Visage” to gain a sense of his powerful and passionate voice. The Quiet Revolution (or Revolution Tranquille) marked the 1960s-70s in Québec, a time when the government was radically secularized and nationalized on behalf of francophone Québecers, and when the sovereignty-supporting Parti Québécois was elected as the ruling government party in 1976. Nationalism and political songwriting were important aspects that unified popular support during the era of the revolution. For example, watch the Youtube clip of Québec’s National song and read along with the lyrics written and sung by Gilles Vigneault, a renowned political songwriter of the time. A couple other videos from the same period include Ginette Reno’s “Un peu plus haut, un peu plus loin” (A little higher, a little further”, and Robert Charlebois’ “Je reviendrai à Montréal.” A few of the more popular artists/groups that captured and supported these spirits include Beau Dommage, Harmonium, and Richard Desjardins. Check out their respective music videos, which are only a few samples of all their accessible material on Youtube.

For the past twenty years, francophone Pop-Rock has taken over the popular music scene in Québec. Check out some of Celine Dion’s videos (since she did, after all, begin her career in French). Other highly recommended contemporary artists to look up include: Mara Tremblay, Garou, Isabelle Boulay, and Eric Lapointe.

Beau Dommage “Harmonie du soir à Chateauguay”
La Bolduc

Madame Edouard Bolduc

“Ça va venir découragez-vous pas”
“La Bastringue”
“La Pitoune”
Celine Dion (en français!)

Celine Dion

“On ne change pas”
“Pour que tu m’aimes encore”

Claude Léveillé “Frédéric”
Daniel Bélanger “Sèche tes pleurs”
Dan Bigras “Tue-moi” (with Celine Dion)
“La rivière perdue” (with Luce Dufault)
Daniel Lavoie “Ils s’aiment”
Diane Dufresne “Le parc belmont”
Eric Lapointe “N’importe quoi”
Félix Leclerc

Félix Leclerc

“Le petit bonheur”

Garou “Gitan”
“Je suis le même”
Gilles Vigneault “Gens du pays”
Ginette Reno “Non Papa”
“La deuxième voix”
“Un peu plus haut un peu plus loin”
Harmonium “Dixie”
“Pour un instant”
“Un musicien parmi tant d’autres”
Isabelle Boulay “Le saule”
“Sans toi”
Jean-Pierre Ferland “J’ai perdu mon coeur”
“Je reviens chez nous”
Kate and Anna McGarrigle “Ce matin”
“Complainte pour St. Catherine”
“Petite annonce”
Luce Dufault “Soirs de scotch”
“Tu me fais du bien”
Lynda Lemay “De tes rêves à mes rêves”
“La Centenaire”
“Une Mère”
Mara Tremblay “Tout nue avec toi”
“Tu n’es pas libre”
Mario Pelchat “Aimer”
“Pleurs dans la pluie”
Richard Desjardins

Richard Desjardins

“Buck” and “Eh oui, c’est ça la vie”
“Le Gala”
“Notre-Dame des scories”
Robert Charlebois “Entre deux joints”
“Je reviendrai à Montréal”
“Lindberg” (avec Louise Forestier)”
Roch Voisine “Ne viens pas”
“Une Femme (parle avec son coeur)”
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Neo-Traditional Québécois

With a long and deep history of traditional French-Canadian folk music in Québec (which you can learn about through the Canadian Traditional Music Collection), there are many groups that retain traditional elements (songs/melodies, instrumentation, turlutage, foot-tapping while seated or podorythmie, reel folk dance tunes, etc.) to celebrate their Québécois heritage and prevent them from going extinct. Listen to La Bottine Souriante’s “La montagne du loup” (the mountain of the wolf) to hear the guimbarde (mouth-harp) playing to the rhythm of podorythmie, call-and-response singing, and the reel-dancing instrumental section. Mes Aïeux (My Ancestors) is also a leading group of this movement; check out the link to their music video, “Dégénération,” which has English subtitles so you can understand the song’s emphasis on Québécois culture and a critique of losing traditional values to modernization (and practice your French comprehension!).

In addition, there are several groups that combine some of these elements with more contemporary popular music elements. The Cowboys Fringants (the well-dressed cowboys) are one of the most popular groups in Québec (who even tour frequently in France), so look up “Les Étoiles Filantes” (The Shooting Stars), or “Plus Rien” (Nothing More) to hear their more alternative pop-rock style. For a neo-Québécois sound more heavily influenced by folk-rock, check out “La Voisine” (The Neighbor) by La Volée de Castor (a flock of beavers – a national animal of Canada) or the energetic bluesy folk of “Cauchemar” (Nightmare) by Mauvais Sort (Bad Spell).

Les Batinses “Noisettes”
La Bottine Souriante “Le ziguezon zinzon”
“La montagne du loup”
“Rigodon 11”
Les Cowboys Fringants

Les Cowboys Fringants

“Les Étoiles filantes”
“Entre Les Deux Taxis”
“Plus Rien”
Mauvais Sort “Cauchemar”
“Le Ziguezon”
Mes Aïeux

Mes Aïeux

“Le Repos du Guerrier”
“Ton père est un croche”
La Volée d’Castors “La Feuillard/ Rail Reel”
“Messe du Sud”
“Revenez donc toutes”
“La Voisine”
Yves Lambert Et Le Bébert Orchestra “À l’abri des bombes”
“Ti-Get Sam Up”
“La Ziguezon”
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Hip-Hop / R&B

The first Québécois hip-hop group to put Montréal on the map was Dubmatique in 1998 with their release of La Force de Comprendre, which mixed smooth jazzy samples with verses in French and R&B-influenced refrains often sung in English. Click on the link for “Soul Pleurer” (Crying Soul), one of their first big hits. The two emcees (OTMC and Disoul) were originally from Senegal, but came to Québec in the early 1990s. There was a strong push for francophone immigration at the time because the Parti Québécois was trying to strengthen the French-speaking population in hopes that the immigrant population would partake in the vote for secession from Canada. The vote for secession lost by merely one percent. In any case, hip-hop became an important means of broadcasting the voices of minorities that were otherwise overshadowed by efforts to keep native French-Canadian culture alive in Canada. It also acted – and continues to act – as a playing field for French-Canadian youth (outside Montréal) and youth with immigrant origins (in Montréal) to become acquainted with one another. The first group to break through national boundaries of popularity, and strongly impact Québec’s hip-hop scene was undoubtedly Muzion, a group of three emcees – all with Haitian origins. Look up their breakthrough song/video entitled “La Vi Ti Neg” (include Wyclef).

In the year 2000, the lyrically masterful and politically charged Québec hip-hop group Loco Locass put out their first album Manifestif, and has since become one of the most popular groups in Québec. To get an idea of how quick and clever their lyrics are, watch “Groove Grave” where you can read along with the lyrics, and also hear some of the same turlutage la Bolduc used in the 1920s. More recently, they collaborated with Samian, the premier First Nations emcee to gain recognition in Québec, who raps in French as well as his native tongue, Algonquin. For an interesting combination of Québec folk music and culture fused with hip-hop, check out Anodajay’s clip “Le Beat à Ti-Bi.” For a glance at some of the multi-linguistic hip-hop that is going on in Québec, look up Nomadic Massive’s “Spirit Shake” where they rap in English, French, and Spanish. Lastly, for a dose of some smooth Francophone R&B, check out “Pardonne Moi” by Gage, and “Parce qu’on vient de loin” (Because we come from far away) by Corneille.

Anodajay “Le Beat à Ti-Bi”
“L’homme de Bois”
L’Assemblée “Encore”
“On est back”
“Plus vrai qu’mature”
Atach Tatuq “Chips”
Corneille “Avec Class”
“Parce qu’on vient de loin”
Dubmatique “Le force de comprendre”
“Soul Pleureur”
Imposs “Rien d’Interdit”
“Vive la Différence”
Gage “Pense à Moi”
“Pardonne Moi”
Gatineau “Pow Pow t’Es Mort”
Loco Loccass

Loco Loccass

“La Censure pour l’Echafaud”
“Groove Grave”
Manu Militari “La Travers du Lac Nasser”


“La Vi Ti Neg?”
“Rien à Perdre”
“24 Heures à Vivre”(Avec Wyclef)
Nomadic Massive “Sad but True”
“Spirit Shake”
Samian “La Paix des Braves”
“Les Nomades”
Sans Pression “Derrière mon sourire”
Socalled “You Are Never Alone”
Vaï “Sur Ma Vie”
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Indie-Rock / Alternative / Other

By far the largest and most diverse category, Montréal is an epicenter in Canada for its Indie-Rock/Alternative music scene. The hugely successful groups Arcade Fire and The Stills are two clear examples of Montreal’s Anglophone rock/alternative popularity, but there are many excellent francophone groups that receive a great deal of attention in the francophone world. One of the most popular Québécois singer/songwriters of the past twenty-five years is Jean Leloup (also known as Jean Leclerc. Two of his classic songs listed are “I Lost My Baby” and “Je joue de la guitare” (I play the guitar), which you can find below. Arianne Moffat is another indie-rock singer/songwriter whose has become well renowned in France as well as Québec. Check out her music video entitled “Réverbère” (Streetlamp).

Dare to Care Records is a popular independent Indie-Rock label based in Montréal that signs many popular francophone Indie groups, many of which are mentioned on this site (and whose CDs we’ll receive soon at the UW libraries). Some of the groups include: the creative, lighthearted music of Avec Pas d’Casque; the soothing, endearing piano/vocals of Coeur de Pirate; the up-beat rocking tunes of Malajube; the rock-electronica fusion of Pawa Up First; the sweet, jovial indie-style of Tricot Machine, and the hard-rocking rhythms of We Are Wolves. A couple more cool upbeat videos to check out are Karkwa’s “Echapper au Sort” (Escape a Spell) and Damian Robitaille’s “Je Tombe” (I fall).

In addition to its Alternative rock scene, Montréal is well recognized for its electronic music scene. Amon Tobin is an international star (originally from Brazil) based in Montréal since 2002. His videos “4 Ton Mantis” and “Keep Your Distance” will introduce you to this creative and abstract world of electronic music. Bran Van 3000 is a Montréal-based electronic collective that collaborates with a variety of artists, such as Curtis Mayfield in the video below entitled “Astounded.”

Alfa Rococo “Les Jours de Pluie”
Anik Jean “Oh Mon Chéri”
“Junkie de Toi”
Amon Tobin “4 ton Mantis”
“Keep Your Distance”
Arcade Fire “No Cars Go”
“Wake Up”
Arianne Moffatt

Arianne Moffatt

“Je Veux Tout”
Avec Pas d’Casque “En Attendant Que Ça Paye”
“Dans les Bras De La Femme bionique”
Bran Van 3000 “Astounded”
“Drinkin in LA”
Catherine Major “Dans l’au-delà”
Coeur de Priate “Comme des Enfants”
Les Colocs “La Rue Principale”
Damien Robitaille “Bric à Brac”
“Je Tombe”
Dumas “Au Gré des Saisons”
“Alors, Alors”
Jean Leloup

Jean Leloup

“I lost my Baby”
“Isabelle, J’te Déteste”
“Je Joue de la Guitare”
Kaïn “Adam et Ève”
Karkwa “Echapper au Sort”
“La Fuite”
Malajube “Pate Filo”
Pawa Up First “Anthem”
Pierre Lapointe “Deux Par Deux Rassemblés”
“Tel un Seul Homme”
The Stills “Being Here”
“Lola Stars and Stripe”
Tricot Machine “L’ours”
Les Trois Accords “Grand Champion International de Cours”
“Tout Nu Sur la Plage”
We Are Wolves “Magique”
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Latin and Caribbean

While there are many Latin-influenced bands and a strong Haitian population in Montréal that produces many bands (such as the hip-hop group Muzion), Lhasa de Sela is without-a-doubt the most noteworthy singer/songwriter. She was born and brought up in Mexico and the United States, but has been based in Montréal since the early 1990s, and became a huge success in Québec and abroad in 1998 with her premier album La Llorona, where she sings only in Spanish. Her second album in 2003, The Living Road, was even a bigger hit that brought her recognition throughout North America and Europe, in which she sings in French, Spanish, and English. She has a magnificently tender voice and her fusion of Mexican and popular music is delicate and carefully executed. Check out “Con Toda Palabra” and “De Cara à la Pared” to get a taste of her beautiful music.

Bombolessé “H.I.V.’er”
La Chango Family “Y’a kekchose”
Lhasa de Sela

Lhasa de Sela

“Con Toda Palabra”
“De cara à la Pared”
“Pa legar a tu lado”
Roberto López Project “Que Pasa?”
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African and Maghreb

Though lacking in actual Youtube videos and Myspace profiles, there are indeed large African and Maghreb (North African) populations in Montréal that are well represented during the summer music festivals, particularly the Festival International Nuits d’Afrique. One of the more popular vocalists is Lynda Thalie, who makes a pleasant fusion of folk-rock and her Algerian origins of Maghreb rhythms, instruments, and vocal inflections. Check out her video “En Equilibre” (In Balance). One of the masterful oud (the 11-stringed Arab lute) players in Montréal is Hassan El Hadi, originally from Morocco. Although the clip is far from top-quality, check out this excerpt of his interesting fusion between Andalusian Moroccan music and French-Canadian folk music. The Youtube clip is entitled “In Montréal 2007.”

Bambarda Trans “Soudani – Gnawa – Fusion”
Hassan El Hadi “In Montréal 2007”
Lynda Thalie

Lynda Thalie

“En Equilibre”
Senaya “Soul Créole”
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If you like any of the artists and/or videos you have seen on this page, don’t forget to discover more on their Myspace profile/Band website page! The site is a continual work in progress, so don’t be shy to email me at with any comment, corrections, and/or suggestions!