Home Exclusive preview! Willows – Maison vent

Willows – Maison vent

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Fans of Francophone female vocalists like Chloe Sainte-Marie, Carla Bruni and Coeur de Pirate will love the new album from Franco-Manitoban indie-folk musician Willows (Geneviève Toupin) – and we’re excited to be premiering it today here on Roots Music Canada.

Maison vent is Willows’ sophomore album, and it couples that intimate, understated vocal style of French chanson with an atmospheric and occasionally-ethereal soundscape that shifts from organic, acoustic instrumentation to electronic and sometimes percussive indie-pop.

A Manitoba artist of Red River Métis ancestry, the Montreal-based Willows uses her music as a dedication to her heritage and the women of her life.

The 14 tracks on this new album speak to all of the women in her family, both those who preceded the artist and those she knew intimately.

They tell the stories of these women from different cultures and go on to explore motherhood from different angles: being a mother at the beginning of the century, the mother-daughter bond, the role of mother-in-law, and the reconstituted family.

Throughout the album, Willows weaves in elements of identity, talking about the tug of war between two languages and two provinces and what it is to be a Red River Métis woman of Franco-Manitoban origin and an adopted Quebecer.

She sings mainly in French, a little in English and a little in Métchif-Français.

“In my songs, you feel the connection to the territory,” she said. “They evoke the wind, the earth, the lakes, the rivers, the wide open spaces and the road. I follow my heart, which takes me on a 2,000-kilometer round trip from east to west.”

Willows wrote and composed some of the songs alone and some with long-time friends Émilie Proulx, Chloé Lacasse and Sébastien Lacombe.

The album features Émilie Proulx (bass), François Lafontaine (synthesizers), Robbie Kuster (drums and percussion), Benoit Morier (double bass), Alexandre Tétreault (violin), Nadia Burnstick (voice), Dominique Reynolds (voice), Annick Brémeault (voice), Soleil Launière (voice) and Chloé Lacasse (voice).

If you like what you hear, check out Willows at the National Arts Centre stage in Ottawa on June 3.

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