Les Cowboys Fringants
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|Les Cowboys Fringants|
In concert in 2016
|Origin||Repentigny, Quebec, Canada|
|Genres||Néo-trad, alternative rock, folk punk, folk rock|
|Past members||Dominique Lebeau|
Les Cowboys Fringants are a folk rock music group formed in 1995 in Repentigny, Quebec. The French word fringant can be translated as "dashing", "spry", "smartly dressed", or "frisky", "lively", "spirited".
They perform Québécois néo-trad music (modernized Quebec folk music with a rock flavour) and draw on country music. They have an international underground following, especially in France, French-speaking Belgium and Switzerland. There is a group of French fans called Les Cousins Fringants (a take on the expression cousin that the French use for French Canadians). They hail from the Montreal suburbs of Repentigny and L'Assomption. The entire band collaborates on the lyrics, although guitarist Jean-François Pauzé often contributes more than the others. The fundamental aspect of the band are their explosive live performances, captured on the Attache ta tuque live album and the Centre Bell 30 décembre 2003 DVD.
Les Cowboys represent an important part of modern Québécois music. They are part of the néo-trad movement that appeared in Quebec around the turn of the 21st century, and they embody a resurgence of political songwriting (after the drought of the 1980s and parts of the 1990s, political songwriting had been a victim of Post-Referendum Syndrome). As the néo-trad movement adapts Quebec folklore into contemporary crafts, the political message of the band is a re-occurrence of 1970s chansonnier activist messages of left-wing solidarity and, recently, sovereignism, although in a more distinctly modern way. They also sometimes adopt a minimalist and dadaesque style, a trend of the Quebec music scene of the 2000s – a decade of voluntary simple yet nonetheless quite intelligent and joual lyrics, therefore subversive and akin to a sort of lyrical naïve art. (The 1970s did see the first wave of voluntary joual art, like the songs of Robert Charlebois and Aut'chose, and the plays of Michel Tremblay, although not as willingly exaggerated. This is present even more in the music of Les Trois Accords, Les Denis Drolet, and Daniel Boucher, or in "Carole", the song by "Pépé et sa Guitare").
The usual subject matter of the group includes: environmentalism, poverty, anguish and family troubles, as well as the denouncing of consumerism, exploitation, state-controlled gambling, cynical government attitude and political apathy. While some of those subjects are serious in appearance, they are often treated in a light manner, sometimes even in a fun, amusing and ironic way. The band also deals with themes of Quebec history, Quebec independence, suburban life, childhood and adolescence, kitsch, relationships and sports. Their songwriting is renowned for having woven an elaborate tapestry of fictional characters with interpersonal relationships, and sometimes a number of these characters appear in more than one song. Much like their writing, the clothes of the male members of the band are quite unique, sometimes purposely normal or kitsch and something of a postmodern, second degree artistic statement. Fans have followed the trend by wearing the equally kitsch T-shirts and other official clothing, with the group logo.
The band themselves are noted fans of Passe-Partout composer Pierre F. Brault and have performed shows in his honour. They have also been influenced by French singer Renaud, and his songs with political messages and local popular language (for Renaud, the French argot).
Many of the idiosyncrasies of their music stem from Marie-Annick Lépine, a versatile musician, who makes the band line up distinct from the conventional guitar-bass-drums-singer. Her talents contribute to the vivacious sounds of instruments like the violin, mandolin and accordion. She has also worked on the Dumas album Le cours des jours.
The band went on tour in summer of 2011, visiting cities in Quebec, France and Switzerland.
- Karl Tremblay (vocals)
- Jean-François "J-F" Pauzé (rhythm guitar)
- Marie-Annick Lépine (violin, mandolin, accordion, piano, banjo)
- Jérôme Dupras (bass guitar, double bass)
- Dominique "Domlebo" Lebeau (drums) – Left the group on 22 August 2007, citing personal reasons.
- David Jesperson (trombone)
- Ivanhoe Jolicoeur (trumpet, flügelhorn)
- 1997 12 Grandes chansons
- 1998 Sur mon canapé
- 2000 Motel Capri (4 April 2000)
- 2001 Enfin Réunis (12 grandes chansons + Sur Mon Canapé) (20 November 2001)
- 2002 Break syndical (5 March 2002)
- 2003 Attache ta tuque! (13 May 2003; live album)
- 2004 La Grand-Messe (23 November 2004)
- 2007 Au Grand Théâtre de Québec (2007; live album)
- 2008 L'expédition (23 September 2008)
- 2008 Sur un air de déjà vu (14 October 2008)
- 2010 En concert au Zénith de Paris (2010; live album)
- 2011 Que du vent (14 November 2011)
- 2015 Octobre (23 October 2015)
- 2004 Centre Bell 30 décembre 2003 – (13 April 2004)