Paul Cargnello

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Paul Cargnello
Origin Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Genres blues-rock
folk rock
punk rock
Occupation(s) singer-songwriter, poet
Instruments vocals, guitar, harmonica, percussion, bass guitar, drums, melodica, keyboard
Years active 1994–present
Labels Union Label Group
Associated acts The Vendettas, Skinny Bros
Website Official website

Paul Cargnello is a Canadian singer-songwriter and poet from Montreal.[1] Although anglophone, he has had his greatest success as a writer and singer of French language songs.[1]


Cargnello was born in Montreal to an Argentine immigrant father of Italian descent and a Canadian mother of Lithuanian heritage.[2]

Musical career[edit]

Cargnello was originally associated with the punk rock band The Vendettas,[3] which recorded two EPs in the late 1990s before releasing the full length album It's Happening to You! in 2000.[3] Cargnello then released his first solo album Lightweight Romeo in 2002.[4] In 2004 he released his second album Between Evils,[5] and the Vendettas reunited for their second and final album, Say No to the Vendettas.[6] In 2005, he performed a live show at Montreal's Le Va-et-vient live music club, which was released as the album Live au Va-et-vient.[7]

In 2006, he undertook his first major concert tour of English Canada.[8]

In 2007, he released his first French-language album, Brûler le jour.[2] Although fluently bilingual as a speaker he was not experienced in French songwriting,[2] so the album also marked his first time collaborating with other songwriters, including Jim Corcoran, Vincent Vallières, Ève Cournoyer and Fred Fortin.[2][9] The album's lead single, "Une rose noire", became his first charting hit on Canada's francophone pop charts,[10] reaching number 12 in the Quebec charts in 2007.[11] Later that year, he was a finalist for Prix Félix-Leclerc de la chanson.[12]

The following year he released Bragging, a tribute album to Billy Bragg.[13]

His second French-language album, Bras coupé, was released in 2009.[14] He was a shortlisted nominee for the 2009 Echo Songwriting Prize in the francophone category for the album's title track,[15] and for Francophone Songwriter of the Year at the 5th Canadian Folk Music Awards.[16] He followed up in 2010 with the album La Course des loups and the limited edition EP La Reine contre Paul Cargnello, and in 2012 with the album Papa Paul.[17] Papa Paul also included two songs in Haitian Creole,[18] and included his second charting hit "L'effet que tu me fais".[10]

He released his 10th studio album The Hardest Part Is You May Never Know with Union Label Group in 2014.[19] It was his first primarily English-language album since Bragging,[15][20] although it still featured two songs in French.[21]


In addition to his music, Cargnello has published two collections of poetry, Driving in Reverse (1997) and Old Hat (2002).

In 2013 he won the City of Montreal's Outstanding Citizen Award for his work as chief organizer of NDG Arts Week in the borough of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.[22]

In 2014, he appeared on Le Combat des livres as the advocate for Marie-Claire Blais' novel La Belle Bête.[23] The novel won the competition.[24]

Cargnello identifies his politics as socialist.[17][25] He is also a spokesman for Sac à dos, an anti-poverty organization in Montreal.[15]


  • Lightweight Romeo (2002)
  • Between Evils (2004)
  • Live au Va-et-vient (2005)
  • Brûler le jour (2007)
  • Bragging (2008)
  • Bras coupé (2009)
  • La Course des loups (2010)
  • La Reine contre Paul Cargnello (2010)
  • Papa Paul (2012)
  • The Hardest Part Is You May Never Know (2014)


  1. ^ a b "His second language, his second chance; Paul Cargnello struggled to find an audience until he started singing his rebel folk-rock in French". Montreal Gazette, November 4, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d "Paul Cargnello: French connexion". Le Devoir, March 9, 2007.
  3. ^ a b "Political Vendettas: Band combines making good music with trying to change the world". Montreal Gazette, October 19, 2000.
  4. ^ "A more personal Vendetta: Band's frontman keeps up the fight on solo CD". Montreal Gazette, October 3, 2002.
  5. ^ "New Music: Newly released compact discs". Montreal Gazette, January 22, 2004.
  6. ^ "Vendettas say hello, goodbye". Montreal Gazette, November 25, 2004.
  7. ^ "New music: Newly released compact discs". Montreal Gazette, June 16, 2005.
  8. ^ "Politics on the mind of Montreal singer". Regina Leader-Post, July 20, 2006.
  9. ^ "Paul Cargnello: T’en souviens-tu d’la langue?" Voir, June 12, 2008.
  10. ^ a b "Cargnello sans filtre". Le Devoir, November 28, 2014.
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Neuf artistes québécois en lice pour le prix Félix-Leclerc de la chanson 2007". Le Devoir, July 19, 2007.
  13. ^ "Cargnello offers a bilingual show". Regina Leader-Post, July 24, 2008.
  14. ^ "Paul dans le bayou". Le Devoir, April 11, 2009.
  15. ^ a b c "En écoute libre: Paul Cargnello – The Hardest Part is You May Never Know". Voir, November 17, 2014.
  16. ^ "Lutes, La Nef among folk nominees". Montreal Gazette, October 8, 2009.
  17. ^ a b "Cargnello's passion for fatherhood; 'Just because we get older and have kids doesn't mean we have to become lame,' singer/songwriter says". Montreal Gazette, September 25, 2012.
  18. ^ "Leçons de vie pour fiston". Le Devoir, September 7, 2012.
  19. ^
  20. ^ "A story about Montreal'; Unrepentant rocker Paul Cargnello at top of his game on new album". Montreal Gazette, November 25, 2014.
  21. ^ "The Hardest Part Is You May Never Know, Paul Cargnello". Le Devoir, November 21, 2014.
  22. ^,43117560&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL&id=21051
  23. ^ "Rohinton Mistry's A Fine Balance on Combat des livres". CBC Books, March 28, 2014.
  24. ^
  25. ^ "French Revolution". Hour Community, February 22, 2007.

External links[edit]