1 min

Indie Montreal

Jazz fusion CD

INDIE MONTREAL. Annabelle Chvostek. Credit: Xtra files

“A thread made of words in Canadian English garnished in Quebecois je ne sais quoi.” These lyrics, taken from Annabelle Chvostek’s song “Voyons Donc,” can be used to describe the way she weaves together different languages and influences into her music.

Back in the 1990s I came across a DIY compilation cassette called the Girlfriend Action Coalition. It came out of Montreal’s performance cabaret scene and was full of indie queer girl spoken word and folk potential.

Annabelle Chvostek was one of those fiercely talented Montreal women and she has proven that she has what it takes to survive the difficult challenges of the Canadian indie music scene. Her latest CD, titled Water, shows that she also has what it takes to rise above.

Water is a unique blend of jazz, pop and traditional folk sounds, with an emphasis on the jazz. Chvostek’s lyrics are both personal and political, heavily grounded in environmental issues.

The first track, “Voyons Donc,” has a Spanish feel and will become a quick favourite, as will the contagious “129,” “Mrs Brown Says” and “Gamble.” On the latter, in fine jazz tradition, Chvostek uses her voice like an instrument, not just a vehicle for words, creating a melody of vocal sounds that are both catchy and trademark. Chvostek has a sultry voice you can’t and won’t forget.

On Water, Chvostek is accompanied by cello, double bass, accordion and alto sax. She creates music that inspires visions of modern dance and late afternoons on a café patio, sipping wine and writing long letters to old friends.

She is not your typical mainstream artist but with sounds reminiscent of earlier Sarah McLaughlan it is easy to hear how she can emerge out of the Montreal underground to be appreciated by the masses.

* Annabelle Chvostek plays the Gladstone Hotel’s Art Bar (1214 Queen St W) on Fri, May 16 at 9:30pm. Cover is $12; call (416) 531-4635.


Annabelle Chvostek. $17.60