Canada / gardens / Music

O Canada – Breaking stereotypes

So I was at a party last weekend.  A friend of my boyfriend’s turned 29 and invited people over for drinks and a bbq.  Music was going and eventually the birthday boy started asking people for requests.  I went up to him and asked what he had by Canadian artists…..mistake.

He proudly said ‘oh wait, I have one Canadian song’.  I don’ t know who the artist was but it basically sounded like a lumberjack singing about cutting down trees or whatever it was because as soon as I heard it I shook my head in despair.  Then quickly turned it off and put on Metric.  Later in the evening a Sarah McLachlan song came on and the birthday boy’s girlfriend said it was her jam back in the day.  I then said ‘she is Canadian!’

There are tons of really good Canadian artists, for reals.  It’s just that cheese like Bieber, Avril, Celine, and too many more to count are the ones that overwhelmingly do well abroad.  Go figure.  It happens with the US as well but they just produce so many more artists that you can (almost) pick over the trash and find the gems.  In the UK I have to say they turn out a good supply of cheesy pop BUT I think most can agree that some of the best artists are from this small island.

Yes music tastes are subjective.  Personally I’ve always liked varied genres in music and actually as I get older my tastes have widen, especially since living here.  I’ve found that most people here usually have a favourite type of music but they don’t discriminate by genre overall.  Britons appreciate good music full stop.  So they are critical of all music fairly equally.  Though I have to say Rap aways gets a raw deal.  I can’t count the many times I’ve read that rap isn’t music.  I am not particularly a fan but it is music.   If you don’t like it or can’t understand it ok but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist as a valid form of musical expression.

Anyways, this long winded post has a light at the end.  So moving along from the party we get to Tuesday evening when I dragged a friend to see a gig in Shepard’s Bush.  A Canadian duo that I love was opening for a band I had never heard of.  I was in Birmingham Monday – Tuesday visiting family and ended that visit early to come back to London and see them – I was not disappointed.  There was a slightly embarrassing moment at the beginning where I was identified as the only other Canadian in the building but I rolled with it.

So I am going to share with you some artists that I love and are on regular circulation on my ipod.  You may be surprised to find that you’ve heard their songs but just didn’t know who they were.  Actually I don’t know who reads this blog outside from the few that comment and friends on facebook and if that is the case you should know most of these artists.  I’m including songs I think you might have heard by the artist(s) and not necessarily my favourite of theirs or songs I think are their best.

So in no particular order:

Bonjay – this was the duo I saw on Tuesday.  I discovered them at the beginning of 2010 when I read in the CBC about the top 10 bands that will break in 2010.  This actually is my favourite song of theirs but the remixed version by Grahmzilla.  They have an EP out and just released 2 UK singles.

Metric – discovered  in the early 2000s.  A friend pushed their music down my throat and they have ended up being one of my favourite bands.  Their song Monster Hospital has been on Grey’s Anatomy, don’t know which season but probably a way earlier one because I haven’t watched that in a while.  I’ve also seen them live.  Their sound is kind of like electropop.  Then they had their second album which was a bit more rock.  Some fans of their earlier stuff didn’t like it, I did.  Then their 3rd album had rave reviews and I loved it as well.  Anyways, you have to hear the progression over their 3 albums and decide for yourself.

K-OS – he’s always sorta been around but I started paying attention in the early 2000s.  As I said earlier, I’m not a fan of rap.  Just never have been really.  While K-OS is a rapper, he also sings and his music I suppose is rap but it still has an alternative indie vibe about it and has a cross section of sounds.  He has 4 albums out.

Bedouin Soundclash – I was a fan as soon as I found out who they were in 2001 when they started (says wiki).  There was a really catchy song on a Zellers tv ad.  Zellers is kind of the equivalent to a Wal-mart.  So I searched out the artists and that was how my love for his band started.  I don’t particularly like the first album but maybe I should give it another try.  They have also undergone some changes.  One member left semi recently.  This is the song that was on the commercial.  I can’t embed the original video, but it is worth checking out.

Zaki Ibrahim – I discovered her in 2008 when she opened for Erica Badu.  Her performance was AMAZING.  She then had a cd release a few weeks later that I also attended.  Hard to classify her music totally so just check out this song.

Feist – She’s been around for ages but I took notice early-mid 2000s.  Her songs have been in commercials and movies (500 days of summer – Mushaboom).  Love her voice and overall sound.  This song was big and I think one of her best.

Tegan and Sara – They are sisters, twins actually.  They have been around for a very long time.  I took notice when I saw them at a festival I think in 2007 0r 08.  I then went to a concert of theirs a year later.  What I really like about them besides writing all their own material and having a cool sound is their personalities.  They are really endearing in concert.

Nelly Furtado – I liked her when she first broke on the music scene.  She was then branded a sellout when she hooked up with Timbaland and Justin Timberlake.  I didn’t think so but there was definitely progression in her dress and sound.  In high school I changed my hair and look constantly.  I looked vastly different graduating than I did in grade 9.  I’m just saying, people reinvent themselves a lot, artists even more so.  Anyways, I’ve seen her in concert and her voice is amazing live.

The Paint Movement – ok ok, this is a shameless plug.  This is my younger brother’s band.  However, they are good and have a cool sound.  I’ve not seen them live yet but hope to catch a show when I am home next.  My brother plays sax, keyboards, and sings.  We are a musical family.  Both him and I and my older brother (well just for a year) took piano lessons for quite some time.  My younger brother and I used to compete as well.  Anyways, Jason has been good with continuing with his musical talents.  I just do it for pleasure now but if I have kids I will teach them how to play.

So that is a very small snap shot of the Canadian music scene.

The following are artists you may have heard of: Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, The Tragically Hip, Deborah Cox, K’naan, Diana Krall, K.D. Lang, Gordon Lightfoot, Micheal Buble, Maestro Fresh-Wes, Amanda Marshall, Alanis Morissette, Bif Naked, Oscar Peterson, Barenaked Ladies, Joni Mitchell, Rufus and Martha Wainwright, Neil Young, Love Inc., MSTRKRFT, Chromeo, Peaches, Stars, Sum 41, The Tea Party, Tokyo Police Club, Alexisonfire, Tagaq and Drake  to name a few.


15 thoughts on “O Canada – Breaking stereotypes

  1. Cool post Melissa!

    I really liked Our Lady Peace back in the day… Dead Mau5 is fun to listen to now… for those electronic listeners out there.

    Some Brit music I really enjoy right now is the Gorilaz. I have always been a fan of the Prodigy…such fun music!

    • Hey Ange! Every time I think of Our Lady Peace it reminds me of you. Like Shakira reminds me of Kim. I have heard of Dead Mau5 actually. They are known here a little I think. I am going to do a Brit music post or maybe open it up to all European music. I LOVE Gorillaz and there are some prodigy songs I know and like. We should catch up soon!

  2. Deborah Cox is canadian?! And I love Diana Krall. I was obsessed with Bif naked in college and of course Alanis morissette for her song “forgive me love”. I play that song over and over.

    Anyway, you have really good taste in music and thanks for introducing these artists to me. I especially like Tegan and Sara. And I didn’t know Feist was canadian too.

    Maybe I should start blogging about some of my favourite music esp. African ones because the music coming out of that continent is ridiculously varied and is a stereotype waiting to be broken.


    • Thanks for the compliment 🙂 See, so many artists out there that are known and loved and Canadian! I may have to do a post on actors/actresses too.

      Please do blog about African music and other types as well. I will be blogging about my time in Senegal soon but one of the main things I loved when there was a lot of music I was exposed to. I am always looking for new sounds to discover.

  3. Amazing stuff here. I will be adding some to my iPod. Thanks for sharing!

    My husband and I were lucky enough to catch Feist when she came to Austin. Loved her. She’s a great vocalist. Nelly Furtado’s album Folklore will always remind me of my early 20s. I played it all.the.time.

    • I’d love to see Feist live. I actually saw an unplugged type showcase of hers which was live. I thought who is this woman and I was hooked from then.

      Agreed, Folklore is a great album. I like all of her albums.

  4. Great post. There are so many Canadians in the entertainment field. Americans often don’t spot them, in my opinion and I’m not trying to insult anyone, because the accent difference isn’t as great as the differences between an American and say an Australian or British person.

    • Most Americans would just assume these are their artists. I think they thought they could claim Bieber, which is fine with me, take him. It is not insulting for me to be mistaken as American, as I am 99.9% of the time here. I and other Canadians know that our accent is very similar. This is why you will usually find us wearing Canadian branded things when travelling.

      I can usually tell after a few seconds if someone is Canadian or American but even sometimes I don’t know. So I expect that it would be difficult for others.

    • I’m not hating on her, she has a good voice. Just not my type of music. You have to admit the whole chest beating thing when she performs my heart will go on is cheesy. I have a friend who loves her and has already threatened to kick me when I am in Canada next 🙂

  5. Pingback: O Canada: Breaking More Music Stereotypes | Here There Everywhere

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