Caracol’s songs bring the two solitudes together
by Chris Morin
Francophone artists can have a hard time breaking out of Quebec. Montreal-based folk singer-songwriter Caracol, a.k.a. Carole Facal, is working hard to be an exception to this rule.
"I find that most artists from Quebec can be worried about that but I've been touring throughout Canada for a couple of years now, and I've never experienced anything bad," says Facal.
"Even when I was playing my Francophone material I always found that people were very interested in those stories," she says. "It all depends on how these songs are presented.
Facal, who's a past Canadian Folk Music Awards nominee (best French-language songwriter in 2009 for L'Abre aux Parfums), is confident that her latest album, Blanc Mercredi, will continue to make a splash.
The record, which she released Oct. 18, has songs in both official languages - so it should translate well for audiences across the country.
"I write songs in English [as well as French], which helps me connect with people who only speak that language," says Facal. "I think it's sad that we don't connect even more. So I'm trying to overcome all that."
The songs on Blanc Mercredi - that's "white Wednesday" for non-French speakers - are lilting and wistful, blending driving indie pop parts with folk moments. The mix strikes a nice balance between energy and sentiment. On songs like "All The Girls" and the title track, for example, Facal mellows out without being wishy-washy. Up-tempo crowd-pleasers like "Strange Film", which juggles pop and western influences, really showcase a shy yet alert quality of Facal's voice.
Facal's sweetly clear, un-gimmicky singing, not surprisingly, is firmly at the front of Blanc Mercredi.
Along with the songs that made it on to Blanc Mercredi, Facal says this tour's audiences will get a sneak peak at some new songs.
"When we were recording Blanc Mercredi, we recorded a lot of other songs that didn't make it to the album, she says. "So I'll be playing a lot of those songs on this tour, and [later] they'll come out as an EP."
"My album just came out in October, so it's still very fresh for me," says Facal. "It was my second solo album that I recorded with the band I've been touring with, so it was really made with a lot of love. It's cool, because I love life and I find that any given song finds a new life whenever I play live.
"I try and play in a lot of different ways," she says. "Sometimes I'll play acoustic, or else I'll play with my four-piece band, and then sometimes I will play as a full electric band, which is closer to the album.
"I like to explore songs in different ways and as the tour goes on, the songs tend to grow. And when people get to know the songs they're interested in hearing the different versions."