10 MouvanceJérôme Blais – Mouvance
Suzie LeBlanc; Jérôme Blais
Centrediscs CMCCD 31223 (cmccanada.org/product-category/recordings/centrediscs)

It is on notes to this disc Mouvance that Jérôme Blais – a Québécois – alludes to the “…sense of uprootedness despite our migrations within the same expansive and culturally diverse country, Canada.” Meanwhile, in music of uncommon beauty, Blais gives wing to the poignant lyrics by Acadian poet Gerald Leblanc. His poem, parts of which appear four times during the recording, not only makes for the theme of the album but also sets the tone for Blais’ music, voiced with featherlight expressiveness by Suzie LeBlanc, a Vancouverite of Acadian descent. 

Blais has also set the exquisite elegiac work of nine other poets all of whom explore bluesy emotions – of otherness and unbelonging – so deeply felt in the proverbial “mouvance” of migration. Eileen Walsh’s woody, eloquently dolorous clarinets, Jeff Torbert’s lonesome twangy guitars, Norman Adams’ soaring cello and Doug Cameron’s often rumbling hand drums and hissing and swishing percussion heighten the atmosphere and bring experience and technique to these pieces. 

All this is just as well, given the varied types of text setting involved. LeBlanc is exquisite in her many contributions, her creamy soprano soaring in the four iterations of Mouvance, and in the finale Tu me mouves, deftly supported by the instrumentalists playing Blais’ distinctive music. 

The close, slightly resonant recording is never uncomfortable and weaves voice and instruments into a kind of damask musical fabric. Discerning lovers of song – particularly Francophonie Canadians – will enjoy investigating these charming works.

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