Les Sœurs Boulay are a folk group from the Montréal area. The Francophone sisters Mélanie and Stéphanie Boulay have a very simple set-up. A guitar, a ukulele, a bass drum, and possibly a melodica. They pack their instruments in their red Jetta, which they nicknamed “Jellybean” and play wherever they can in Quebec. Early this year, they released their debut album Le poids des confettis, and it has been longlisted for the 2013 Polaris Music Prize. This is absolutely everything that I know about The Boulay Sisters. Everything I know, I learned from this Montréal Gazette story.
The song title translates to “By The Nape of the Neck”. The album title translates to “The weight of confetti”.
Here’s tonight’s song:
“Par le chignon de cou” by Les Sœurs Boulay
It’s easy to see what I like about this. The lush vocal harmonies. The Frenchy-ness of it. The ukulele. I have a tendency to get hooked by female Francophone singers. I don’t speak French and don’t understand spoken French, so I have no idea what they’re ever on about, but I just love the way the French language sounds when sung by a woman. Sexy. Even when they’re singing about socialism, or a carousel, it’s sexy. See also: Cœur de Pirate, and Stereolab and Autour de Lucie, and Jeff Buckley singing like Edith Piaf.
The sisters say that they depend as much on “hitting the same note in unison” as they do on harmonizing. That’s a thing that they learned by being fans of the 1970s Quebec sister act Kate and Anna McGarrigle.
Whatever it is they’re doing, and whatever their reason for doing it, I like it.
I had never heard of this sister act until the 2013 Polaris Music Prize panel announced the long list for this year’s $30k prize. In the past three years, I’ve done a better job of keeping my ear to the ground of Canadian music, but this year, I haven’t been as diligent. I didn’t make a mock ballot this year. Of the 40 records on the long list, I have only nine and I’m familiar with just another four. After poking around a bit, I discovered this longlisted album, and I like everything that I’ve heard.
You can buy Les poids des confettis from the band’s bandcamp page.
Also, check out the official video for the song: