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Living the wind of winter nation

If you ask the Musical Development Center (CDM) to choose a word to describe Alberta, he will answer you with two words: “Winter nation”. It is in fact the title of the next collective of Franco-Albertan artists. An album expected next November that celebrates both the musical richness of the community and the cold season in Alberta.

Melody Charest

Winter nation, it is more than a dozen singers and musicians, but also three directors and several technicians. This Franco-Albertan team put their heart and soul into producing the eleven songs that will appear on the album. All “written to measure”, explains Roland Tremblay, the project coordinator.

Who says winter, does not necessarily mean the holiday season. Although some songs address these celebrations, others are more oriented towards “a reflection on the environment of Alberta in winter”, specifies the director of the CDM, Matthieu Damer.

Mattieu Damer, director of the CDM is one of the three directors of the Winter Nation collective. Credit: Courtesy Matthieu Damer.

The demand for this type of song was strong, according to the words of the director who also takes on the role of producer. Whether it be Radio-Canada or some community radio stations, these broadcasters have wanted for some time to include local artists in their programming during the cold period.

Before music lovers could listen to the album in mid-November, the investigators behind the planning of such a project worked for several months. “It’s been almost a year since a committee compiled the names of the artists we could see on this album,” says Damer.

After making “a targeted call for original compositions with winter theme”, this committee was forced to make choices, because there were “more songs submitted than we could afford to put on. an album “.

The recordings began “in August; when it was very hot outside, ”says Matthieu Damer, laughing at this strange paradox.

Eric Doucet does not seem distracted by his face covering. The pianist also takes on the role of director for the Winter Nation project. Credit: Courtesy Matthieu Damer.

Reflecting the community, one note at a time

The realization of the project is shared between three directors – Matthieu Damer, Raphael Freynet and Eric Doucet – a way to reduce everyone’s workload, but also to have a wide range of artistic visions for the project.

The project tries to “reflect today’s music scene”, but also to be embodied like a mirror and to reflect the portrait of a diverse community.

Marie-Josée Ouimet and Renelle Roy at the recording studio for their duo which will appear on the Winter Nation album which will be released in mid-November. Credit: Courtesy Matthieu Damer.

“They’re all artists from Alberta. There are some who have been around for a long time, there are some who are new, ”comments Roland Tremblay. This is how internationally recognized artists rub shoulders with artists from the emerging scene during the album.

One of its emerging artists is 2Moods discovered during the last Polyfonik. His creation which is entitled It will be fine does not touch on Christmas, a holiday that this adopted Edmontonian does not celebrate.

Matthieu Damer is delighted to be able to be in a large studio, which represents an asset for respecting social distancing. Credit: Courtesy Matthieu Damer.

Christian De La Luna who is “one of our most active artists”, according to Matthieu Damer, tells the story of a person who comes home for the holidays. Its composition Acuérdate, mixes French and Spanish, immerses in this “nostalgia to leave, to leave and the beauty of returning. See that everything is still magnificent, ”writes Christian, visibly enthusiastic about this project.

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The birth of a new tradition?

This wealth of artists and craftsmen is part of an economic development strategy. The project made it possible to give work to those who saw their jobs extinguish for the time of the pandemic. Winter nation therefore has this short-term object of economic recovery in the music sector.

Equally exciting is the long-term goal of the project: to create a tradition. You don’t have to have studied sociology to realize that the holiday season often comes with a desire to reconnect with traditions and memories.

Marie-Josée Ouimet and Renelle Roy are two singers who find themselves on the long list of fourteen singers. Credit: Courtesy Matthieu Damer.

It is with a pair of binoculars stuck to his eyes that the director of the CDM confides his wish to be able to bring back the final product, year after year, to “put our artists in the foreground”.

Matthieu Damer sees this tradition not only on a community level, but also on a pan-Canadian scale. Moreover, one of the important partners ofWinter nation is Radio-Canada. It is precisely with the latter that the CDM plans to launch its promotional activities in November, via a multiplatform format.

Here is the list of artists on the project Winter nation :

Nice César in duet with Mireille Wilson,
Christian De La Luna,
Dan Dennis (2Moods),
Joël Lavoie,
Mireille Moquin,
Marie-Josée Ouimet in duet with Renelle Roy,
Crystal Plamondon,
Post Script (duo formed by Stéphanie Blais and Paul Cournoyer),
Pierre Sabourin,
Erik Ringuette,
Josée Thibeault.