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L.A. Beat

Marie Josee Houle brings Sultry French Café to the Slice

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The past few months have seen me on a creative sabbatical. Although many amazing bands have come through Lethbridge, the words were exiled in the abyss of my mildly functioning brain. altHowever, attempts to stimulate the void have failed to lift the verbal funk that threatened to castrate my creativity. Weird analogy, but it works somehow!

I found my muse in the form of an accordion playing diva, Dec. 9. Marie Josee Houle once again played the Slice for an intimate but enthusiastic crowd. The music swirled and embraced the cluster of people trying to find refuge from the cold holding Lethbians captive.

Cicala opened the night with their three piece band including Dino Scavo, Scott Neale and Megan Brown, playing the guitar, double bass and violin respectively. An Italian influence was prominent through the music which is written by Scavo, a University of Lethbridge alumni with a concentration in muMegan Brown, Dino Scavo, Marie Josée Houle. Photo By Richard Amerysic. The music drew the audience into the dark tales told by the trio.  However, the music is hopeful and romantic at the same time.

Marie Josee Houle, the much sought after accordionista joined the talented Cicala.

Although Cicala and Houle can both hold their own individually, together, they were amazing. The music was full and complex, with the strings complimenting the accordion superbly. Despite the sound issues that were being battled throughout the set, the music was still enjoyable.

Houle enraptured those attending by charming those attending through her humour. Embraced on the lap of the musician with the fiery red hair is the most beautiful accordion I have ever seen, which was given to Houle at an early age by her father. Although I am not an accordion expert, this instrument is breathtaking as the lights of the stage catch the mother of pearl keys. Houle’s fingers gently caress the glowing keys, not just singing but breathing her music. Eyes closed, she sways to the music as it overtakes her.

The music, based mainly on Houle’s experiences, can be described as sultry French café. The songs convey a sense of intimacy and filled with confessions, which Houle divulged to those lucky enough to see her. Even the album covers demonstrate a sense of revelation and evolution.  Besides the music from her previous two albums, Houle  played four new songs which are yet to be recorded. They are a welcome addition to the collection of Houle’s sensual music. One of the new songs, ‘Runner,’ was incredibly intimate and beautiful. It left the crowd silent and awe-struck.

Houle will be recording a new album which will hopefully be released 2011.

— Lori Alexander, the L.A. Woman

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