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MP3 Marie-Josée Houle - Our Lady Of Broken Souls

A collection of sultry and sensuous French café and gypsy jazz sung in French and in English featuring accordion, fiddle, guitar and percussion. Definitely red wine music.

10 MP3 Songs
FOLK: Folk-Jazz, JAZZ: Gypsy Jazz

Marie-Josée Houle

Ever since her arrival to Ottawa in 2003, Marie-Josée Houle certainly found her place in the local music scene. Between playing accordion and singing back-up for Casey Comeau & the Centretown Wilderness Club, Glenn Nuotio and occasionally, Benoit Joanisse and Melissa Laveaux, this lady doesn’t know how to stay still. Hence her branching out as a solo artist who works with independent filmmakers and theatre companies, and performs for public and private functions anywhere her itchy feet will take her. Armed with the audacity to play the world’s most uncool instrument – the accordion – and often accompanied by a stellar cast of musicians, Marie-Josée will charm you with her own flavour of French Café and Gypsy Jazz and will fill you with a passion as intense as her hair colour.

She released her solo debut Our Lady of Broken Souls on March 16, 2007 to much critical acclaim.


In the mid-nineteen-seventies, Marie-Josée Houle''s parents thought it was high time she start learning music and plunked down a 20lbs instrument on her lap. Because they could not afford a piano, they decided that the accordion was the next best thing. Alberta is littered with Ukrainian communities, and accordions were cheap and easy to come by. She was five years old.

Classically trained on the accordion, and later on the piano, Marie-Josée became a proficient musician, however, the idea of performing for or with others never crossed her mind. In the seventies and eighties, the accordion was the most uncool instrument one could play, nevermind while sporting a purple mohawk. She simply played for her mother, who bribed her into practicing regularly by offering to do the dishes in her place.

Marie-Josée played the alto sax with her high school band, and performed regularly. However, nothing could convince her to play her accordion in front of an audience.

Once in University at the age of eighteen, Marie-Josée laid all of her instruments to rest. Early nineties grunge, however, sparked dreams of joining a band and becoming a singer. At the time, female vocalists were not in high demand, and Marie-Josée decided the only way she was going to be part of a band was to learn, yet another instrument. She never did get a handle on the acoustic and electric guitar, however, on a whim, in 1999, Marie-Josée bought an electric bass. By 2000, she played electric bass and saxophone for live shows and recordings with two bands she helped form - post-modern musak band The Elevators and all-girl punk band Pangina. Two years later, she left Edmonton and her two bands for academic pursuits in Halifax. The winter of 2003 brought Marie-Josée back to Edmonton to finish writing her Master''s Thesis. Over those four months, she formed an experimental band with Shitstorm''s Sparky DeVille (her best friend) on guitar and jazz percussion virtuoso Dean Cunningham called Show Me on the Doll.

That May, Marie-Josée moved to Ottawa in search of a career and a heavy metal band. She never did find that dream government job nor that metal band. Instead, she met Marc Béland and never looked back. Throughout that summer, Marc and Marie-Josée continued to work together composing and playing music - Marc on semi-acoustic guitar and Marie-Josée on electric bass. They hooked up with Montreal trumpet player Éric Lefebvre in time to play at the alt-country music festival The Maberly Meltdown. Two weeks before the festival, however, Marc decided that Marie-Josée should sing, forcing her to learn, in such a short period of time, how to play the bass and sing simultaneously.

To fill the time between employment opportunities that summer, Marie-Josée finally returned to her first instrument. The first few months were painful for the ears of her roomies and all who lived nearby, but her playing improved with much encouragement from Marc. It took writing Cale ton verre to finally break down that barrier that prevented her from playing that instrument for an audience.

For the following two years, Marc and Marie-Josée unleashed their band Casadore on the world. Casadore played many shows around Ottawa and even went on to play the Ottawa Folk Festival in 2005. Unfortunately, the band unofficially folded shortly afterwards.

Today, Marie-Josée is busy with her many artistic and musical endeavors, regularly hitting the stage and recording with her backing band, and with Melissa Laveaux, Glenn Nuotio, Casey Comeau & the Centretown Wilderness Club, Benoit Joanisse and many more. She is also regularly solicited by independent filmmakers who feature her music, as well as local theatre companies. On March 16, 2007, she released her solo debut Our Lady of Broken Souls to much critical acclaim and is currently touring Canada and Europe to promote the album.

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