December 24, 2016

prog folk-rock ~ Quebec, Canada 1975


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If you listen to, or grew up listening to 70s progressive rock, you may not have heard of the band, 'Harmonium' from Quebec, Canada. The music Harmonium produced through the 70s was equally as good as other similar sounding "Prog Folk-Rock" bands of the time. The difference is, Harmonium are French-Canadian and chose to sing in French, which may have made it difficult for wider audiences. But surprisingly, one doesn't have to know French to enjoy the feeling Harmonium's records take you on.
Listening to Harmonium's music, I often am reminded of a parallel sound in Nick Drake's music - In fact, his songs might stand up or mix well with Harmonium.

I suppose posting a 45 is really just a taste of Harmonium's sound. A lot of "Rock" from the 1970s didn't always lend itself to the format of the 45 rpm record. Many bands who produced a "Prog Folk-Rock" sound, composed music for the LP format. Listening to an LP was sort of an event. One would listen to all the songs in succession on an LP. Great bands in this genre would often lead their listeners through their compositions into the next song. They were often connected. One song would inform the next.
With exceptions, not always the case with much new music composed today. I mean, pick your favorite 1000 songs and let the iPod roll...

Although, 1970s FM radio would play songs from bands, it was not always about the "3 minute radio hit". Much like many similar sounding bands/artists of the time, i.e., Nick Drake, Yes, Genesis, Fairport Convention, King Crimson, Supertramp, Pink Floyd, etc., Harmonium were not hit makers, they were composers and LP makers.

Harmonium was an LP band and should probably be listened to best in this way. Guitarist, singer, composer, Serge Fiori was really at the core of their music, as was Serge Locat, Michel Normandeau, and Louis Valois. But the group had many contributing members during their short history.

Harmonium ~ Quebec 1976

Harmonium's music has a distinct French inspired, lush, symphonic, folk-rock sound that reflects the mid-70s like a bookmarker in time and place. Their music captures the feeling of Quebec, the landscape, and the sensibility of the Québécoise culture.
Having spent some time in Quebec myself, Harmonium's sounds are unique, melancholy, and beautiful.


'En Pleine Face' (In The Face) is the flip to 'Dixie'. Both songs are on their Celebration label LP, 'Les Cinq Saisons' (The Five Seasons) from 1975.

Not the best translation,
but I like the feeling of the song and the lyrics hold true:

"Another tour page
Oh oh oh oh

Too bad for this day
Oh oh oh oh

Melt your ice
Or change place
Melt your ice
It is me that fell in full face
What do I need to do?

We have nothing more to give ourselves
Oh oh oh oh
There's more sounds to ring
Oh oh oh oh
Melt your ice
Where else changes place
Melt your ice
It is me that fell in full face
What do I need to do?

As an old lady
Who has more charms
I'm coming to you, I come to you
As an old lady
Who has more charms
I come to you, come to you, come to you

Give me a sign
At the end of your line
I cannot hear you anymore
Where are you
I do not know
I cannot hear you anymore
Where are you
I do not know
I cannot hear you anymore
Where are you
I do not know
I cannot hear you anymore
Where are you
I do not know
I cannot hear you anymore"

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