It certainly isn’t easy to gain recognition when you are an emerging band getting started in the music industry. This being said, the challenge hasn’t stopped La Cavale from growing and spreading its francophone folk music across the province of Quebec.
La Cavale, a francophone folk music project launched in the Outaouais region a little over two years ago, is lead by Antoni Gilbert, a hard-working singer-songwriter who sings, plays the ukulele, the piano and the harmonica all during one show. Antoni is accompanied by violonist William Lamoureux, drummer Mathieu Péloquin, acoustic guitarist Alain Barbeau, and bassist Nicolas Crisafi and together they form La Cavale.
After performing their first show ever at the Petit Chicago two years ago, La Cavale returned to the Gatineau venue this past Wednesday, April 17 equipped with a debut album, unreleased material and an all-new show, which clearly delighted the crowd of people that had gathered to see the local group perform live.
Opening for La Cavale was Bastien Vaultier, a singer-songwriter originally from La Rochelle in France who’s been working out of Gatineau and Montreal for some time now. Vaultier’s musical style blends pop, funk, folk, soul and blues accompanied by light-hearted lyrics and a beautiful voice, which combined, bring the listener on a joyful musical journey between France and Quebec. Bastien Vaultier was joined on stage by an acoustic guitarist, a drummer, a guitarist and bassist, musicians who were great additions to the live performance. The 30-minute set list included Chemin de traverse, Les princesses de La Rochelle, A quoi ca sert d’être malheureux, and closing song La nuit noire. Bastien Vaultier’s refreshing performance was the perfect opener for what would follow.
La Cavale took to the stage shortly after 10:00 pm, visibly happy to be back at the Petit Chicago after a two-year absence. Encouraged by the crowd’s enthusiasm, La Cavale delivered a refreshing performance, which clearly showed the progress and experience that the group gained over the past year. A confident and comfortable Antoni kicked things off with Les affranchis followed by La fille de la maison de thé, and L’Homme debout qui observait le ciel, a song that won a poetry contest with Impératif Français, an organization which promotes the French language and culture.
The group continued with L’Emile, a crowd favorite found on the album Le coureur des voix that talks about the love of a father for his son. They carried on with Le balcon des cerisiers, a song that speaks about grieving a sudden death. From one tune to the next, La Cavale sings about life and death, about loving and grieving, and the hardships of mental health (5e étage), subjects that are part of the group’s growing repertoire. It’s impossible to talk about La Cavale without mentioning the poetic texts found at the heart of each composition. A true poet and storyteller, Antoni writes evocative songs and knows how to captivate his audience with beautiful lyrics that depict intricate visual imagery and stories.
During the second half of the show, La Cavale performed Le bal de Pampelune, a beautiful valse on which the violin has a strong presence, also found on Le coureur des voix. Then, seemingly out of no where, Antoni invited on stage special guest Mathieu Gagnon, a talented harmonica player part of the local group Firebelly, who played his instrument during a super fun blues satire song on French protests about same-sex marriage.
La Cavale ended their one-hour set with L’ancre qu’il nous faudra jeter and concluded with A l’ombre du rêve d’hier soir during which Antoni introduced his musicians and thanked the crowd for their presence and ongoing support. Despite the audience’s cheers and applause however, La Cavale didn’t come back for an encore, to the disappointment of many, something they should’ve done for their fans. Regardless, the group delivered a professional and entertaining performance during which the musicians were in great control of their instruments and demonstrated a strong stage presence.
After a successful show at the Petit Chicago in Gatineau, the group now embarks on a tour of Quebec to be discovered by new fans and to spread their sounds across the four corners of the francophone music scene. If things keep looking up for La Cavale, Antoni and his musicians have a promising career ahead of them.
Get to know La Cavale by checking out their BandCamp page and listen to Le coureur des voix to become familiar with the group’s music.