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Les Trois Accords (#42)

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Les Trois Accords (the Three Chords), is actually a music band of four; one lead singer, Simon Proulx, as well as a bass, guitar, and drums player (interesting note:  in French, “drum player” is “batteur”.  But in Eastern Canadian English it is generally “drummer”, so you’ll sometimes hear people in some regions of Québec say “drummeur”. …  But in Western Canadian English, “drummer” is most often called a “drum player”… a difference I noticed when I first moved to Toronto).

If I could sum up this group in one word, it would be “fun!”   They’re one of my favorite francophone bands, and they’ve been one of the best known music groups in Québec for more than a decade (who doesn’t know Les Trois Accords!?!?).  Seriously…  listen to any hit music radio station and I’ll bet you won’t last two or three hours without hearing at least one of their tunes – and that is how it has been for a decade.

Using an Anglophone comparison, they’re kind of the like Toronto’s “Barenaked Ladies” of Québec.  They play on their words, come up with crazy stories for their lyrics, combine it all with a catchy tune (like the Barenaked Ladies’ songs, their tunes tend to take a back-seat to their lyrics), and voilà – lots of fun and laughs!

They’ve also put their hometown of Dummondville, QC, on the map in a whole new way.   When people now think of Dummondville, they think of Les Trois Accords (just as people associate Hanna, Alberta with Nickleback).

Les Trois Accords write and sing about some of the most unexpected things… but do it in a humorous way –while still maintaining good PC, and good taste.   That’s not an easy accomplishment to pull off when singing about matters which are not often PC, or which could otherwise offend certain groups or people.

Some examples:

  • Dans mon corps (HUGE HIT!) – a man singing about himself in “his” body of a “young girl”.
  • J’aime ta grande-mère – “I love your grandmother” (self-explanatory). Lol!! 🙂
  • Elle s’appelait Serge – “She was named ‘Serge’” (need I say more?).

As much as the above songs are hilarious, there have many other ones that are just plain fun!

My family is from small town Saskatchewan (right from my great-great-grandparents down to my own parents).  Even though I have never lived there, it’s the only place I’ve ever known and have always “gone back to” my entire life (annual holidays are still split between family in Saskatchewan and Alberta – and Saskatchewan will always be considered one of my unofficial homes)… so don’t think my ears didn’t perk up when I first heard Les Trois Accords’ monster-hit song “SASKATCHEWAN” — about a dude who was ditched by his girlfriend after moving from out East to start anew with her in Regina.   The lyrics are hilarious, and, in addition from being a chart-topper, for many it has become the unintended and ridiculous national anthem of Saskatchewan!  Love it!!  (it even landed Les Trois Accords a face-to-face meet-and-greet with the premier of Saskatchewan – there’s the power of pop-culture).

When you see their music videos for the first time, it’s can sometimes be a funny WT# moment!   Saskatchewan’s music video has nothing to do with the song’s lyrics.  It’s just the band dressed as Ninjas doing slow motion Tai-Chi!!    Dans mon corps is a man, completely unrelated to the group, lip-syncing on stage to the group’s song (again, nothing at all related to the lyrics)… and the list goes on.   The group’s style is brilliant!

They take no guff either (to the delight of their fans!).  Their interview a few years ago on Tout le monde en parle sort of went down in Québec pop-culture history, and people are still talking about it.   You’ll recall from the TLMEP post that I mentioned the show’s host, Guy A. Lepage, can carry his opinions with him on the stage (that’s the nature and the success of the show, as much as the show is an opportunity to allow others to also express their own opinions).  Les trois accords are known for being a pretty open group on all fronts, and very easy-going and cool with all types of people and different political views (unlike some other pop-artists in Québec, Les trois accords keep their song lyrics out of sovereignist/federalist politics).  They are also a very open group towards Canada (they spend a lot of time doing shows and just having fun with people in all provinces across Canada, both Francophones and Anglophones – in fact, one of their largest concerts was before 85,000 people in Moncton, New Brunswick!!).   Keep this context in mind, and combine it with their quirky lyrics which lends them a certain “ridiculousness”, in the “laughable” sense of the word (much like the “Barenaked Ladies”).   But right at the onset of their interview on TLMEP, Lepage called them “con” (“stupid”… as in the not so nice sense of stupid, rather than the more “ridiculous/ridicule” sense of stupid).  Lepage must have seen the looks on the group’s faces, because he seemed to quickly back-peddle and by flowering-over his “con” statement with a remark that the group’s songs are “good”.   To his credit, he did say he was paying them a compliment.  But then he again called them “niaiseux”, and again flowered his statement, and then he did it yet again.  Well, the way I interpret it, the group came back with some comments of their own for Lepage (something which rarely happens on TLMEP, simply because the show’s format tends to give Lepage the upper hand).   The looks exchanged between sidekick Danny Turcot and Guy A. Lepage seemed to seal the goal for team Les Trois Accords.    At the end of the day… we all still love Guy A. Lepage (hey, I might not agree with a chunk of his views, but I admire anyone who has a passion and devotion to making their world better place – even if we don’t agree on what form that “better place” should necessarily take)…  and we all still love Les Trois Accords… so all-in-all, it was just funny to watch a some sparks fly during those few moments of the interview.

Something else that’s kind of quirky about the group… when they perform outside Québec, they perform for both Francophones and Anglophones audiences.   But Francophones tend to appreciate them more for their quirky lyrics, whereas Anglophones, who sometimes may not have the best grasp of French, tend to appreciate them more for their music (for Francophones, the group is known as just a funny pop-music group, but Anglophones may define them more as a punk-rock artists).   They’ve also toured in France, but the subtext of their Québécois play on words and situational-specific lyrics are not as well understood by the French in France as they are in Québec.  The group has said they feel the French in France also tend to concentrate on their punk-rock genre more than their lyrics, and only in France does their audience ever “trance-bounce” to their music (which never happens in Canada).

It’s interesting to hear how groups of people can interpret music and lyrics very differently, within the same country, and even between countries which share the same language.

But, hey, that’s the beauty of La Francophonie.

Le trois accords music is sold through various platforms and venues.   When searching for videos and songs, please stick to only officially approved sites and channels, and please do not pirate (our artists form part of our collective culture fabric).

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