Friday , January 15 2021

Lots of Music for the Holidays

Christmas is at our doorstep and even though the groups will be (much) smaller, music can help brighten or soften our holiday season. Here’s a select list of recent albums to listen to, as well as many virtual shows that will be presented over the next few weeks.


Acadian Christmas: Les Gars du Nord, Caribou (2W Disc)

Les Gars du Nord is an Acadian power group made up of Wilfred Le Bouthillier, Jean-Marc Couture, Danny Boudreau and Maxime McGraw. After releasing a cover album in 2017, this time they offer original songs whose theme is not so much Christmas as this time of year when we get together to party. Between trad and Cajun music, the 10 songs written by Boudreau and Le Bouthillier – plus a cover of December 23rd – are not lacking in bite, thanks in part to the formidable vocal harmonies of the four singers. Tonic and joyful.

Piano Christmas: Chilly Gonzales, A Very Chilly Christmas (Gentle Threat)

Far from his usual exuberance, pianist Chilly Gonzales offers an album that is both gentle and elegant. Composed of 15 tracks that draw as much from traditional songs as from new classics, A Very Chilly Christmas is original and eclectic, but the simplicity of the arrangements gives it great coherence. We travel without breaking the tone of Silent Night à All I Want for Christmas is You, and you come out of it with a great sense of relief. Chilly Gonzales will also present a virtual Christmas show on December 23rd. Tickets and info here.

Country Christmas: Dolly Parton, A Holly Dolly Christmas

Dolly Parton, 74, has been everywhere in 2020: alongside Black Lives Matter in funding research for a vaccine against VID19, in a series (Heartstrings) et a movie (Christmas on the Square) on Netflix. This Christmas album, her first in 30 years, features both original songs and cover versions, and she’s also featuring many duets – Miley Cyrus and her father Billy Ray, Michael Bubblé, Willie Nelson, her brother Randy Parton, and a delightful version of All I Want for Christmas is You with… Jimmy Fallon. Vitamin-packed, timeless and perfectly Dolly.

Christmas big band: Jamie Cullum, The Pianoman at Christmas (Island Records)

Star crooner and British jazz pianist Jamie Cullum enjoyed his first Christmas album in his career, and the pleasure is shared. Composed only of original songs that stick to the season’s themes, The Pianoman at Christmas reminds us of the great classics that have marked the genre, with its big band and its rich and generous instrumentation. The singer has gone all out to offer a timeless, warm and catchy album, creating the best antidote to gloom.

Noël beauceron: Maxime Landry, The beauceron party (Productions Le veilleur)

Maxime Landry has drawn on the traditional repertoire of his childhood to concoct this Beauceron Party very festive. Country music is in the spotlight, with a few small accents of trad, in 10 songs interpreted with ardour and spirit. Au temps de la bonne chanson, Au chant de l’alouette, Le lac à Beauce, Victoria, Aiko with 2 Brothers, The lemonade dance: it’s dynamic and cheerful, and it’s also a nice tribute to the Christmas of yesteryear.

Christmas jazz: Justin Time for Christmas Six (Justine Time)

This sixth compilation from Montreal-based label Justin Time, an anthology of 12 original compositions and classics, has groove and class. Several artists are participating, but its great particularity is that only female voices are heard on it, which brings together the swag of a Susie Airoli, the elegance of a Ranee Lee and the suave of a Carol Wiseman. Pianists Matt Herskowitz and Oliver Jones provide brilliant musical interludes: as always, jazz and Christmas go hand in hand.

Virtual Shows

Christmas under the tree

Every year, Christmas in the Park organizes free outdoor shows in Montréal parks. This year, the event goes virtual and will present Christmas Under the Tree from December 18 to 25, featuring performances by Damien Robitaille, Émile Bilodeau, Élisapie, Florence K, Milk and Bone, Bleu Jeans Bleu and Les Louanges, among others. In short, there is something for every taste, and to find out the schedule and have access to it (free), all you have to do is register. here.

Christmas, a tradition in song

For his fourth year, Christmas, a tradition in song will be presented virtually. This show, directed by Joël Legendre, took place at the Théâtre de la Ville in Longueuil, and brings together on stage Marie Michèle Desrosiers, Marie Denise Pelletier, Annie Villeneuve, Michel Louvain, Yves Lambert and Michaël Girard. Tickets are $30 on for viewing between December 7th and January 7th.


If there’s been a holiday tradition for 18 years, it’s this one. December, of the Québec Issime troupe. This year, a recording was made in Salle Maisonneuve at Place des Arts, with its many paintings, spectacular sets and troupe of 24 singers and dancers, so as not to be out of place this year. Available as a webcast, the two-hour show will be available for viewing starting December 19. Cost: $35. Tickets and information on Québec Issime.

A Not So Silent Night

The Wainwrights used to get together to present Christmas concerts with the family. This year, because of the pandemic, they will be performing in New York, Los Angeles and Montreal, each in their own way. A Not So Silent Night. On 20 December, Rufus and Martha Wainwright and Lucy Wainwright Roche will host this evening during which several members of this great musical dynasty will sing. The show can then be seen as a catch-up. Ticket prices are available at here varies and the profits will go to the Kate McGarrigle Fund.

Tale of a Christmas Eve

The Coalmen of Hell and the 13 musicians of the Galileo Orchestra unite to offer this original show that mixes traditional a capella singing, storytelling (by Michel Faubert, a member of the Charbonniers) and music played on period instruments. The 60-minute show will be taped at the Théâtre Gilles-Vigneault, and the webcast, at a cost of $20, will be broadcast on the The Weft December 19 at 8:00 p.m. The show will then be rebroadcast for 48 hours.

Suzie Villeneuve

After being a finalist in The voice, Suzie Villeneuve has prepared an intimate Christmas concert, in a piano-vocal-counterbass format, in which she intends to perform the greatest Christmas classics. Recorded in the studio, the concert lasts 60 minutes, and will be available for viewing for a period of 30 days starting December 10. Tickets and information on Suzie Villeneuve.

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