Yoan Garneau
Yoan Garneau

Communication Breakdown: Why is Quebecois Music Still Invisible to the Rest of Canada?

It's like a bad marriage kept going for convenience sake with conversation kept to the bare minimum between the parties involved.

It's not the best metaphor but it's the best I can think of to explain the decades-long lack of interaction between the music scenes in Quebec and the rest of Canada.

This week newcomer Yoan Garneau's eponymous debut (Productions J/Universal) maintains its #1 status as the best-selling album in Canada, with a weekly count of almost 16,000 copies and a 2-week tally just shy of 50,000 copies. 

Big numbers by any standard in this day and age. By example, Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp A Butterfly, an album everyone is talking about, has sold just over 13,000 copies over a 2 week period in this great land of ours.

For those missing the big picture, Quebec is probably the #1 hottest sales market on a per-capita basis IN THE WORLD. 

To emphasize the bizarre nature of this disconnect, I googled Yoan's name last night and couldn't find a single story about him or his album in the nation's press—outside of Quebec itself. More bizarre still, two-thirds of Yoan's album is performed in English.

Truly, it's beyond bizarre, and not entirely the fault of the Anglophone media as Quebec's insular music industry rarely ever acknowledges its provincial brethren; and its annual Felix Awards and the province's music association make no effort that I can see to create a national dialogue. 

It's like parlez-vous FU. 

These organizations for years have accepted federal funding and it is high time they were called on the mat and made to answer for what is either racial profiling, plain dumb stupidity, smugness, or indifference bordering on arrogance in their lack of interaction with the rest of Canada.

Then again, maybe it is time the Canadian music industry stopped trying to step around the elephant in the room and accept the fact that maybe Quebec's music scene is better than most. After all, Quebec acts are selling more albums than most everyone else—including Madonna, Van Halen, Robert Plant, Lamar and a buzzworthy collection of Canadian Anglophile acts.

Then again, maybe it's time for the rest of Canada to stop turning a deaf ear and start to play footsie with the nation within our nation.

Maybe it's time we stopped this invisible segragation and started accepting what music lovers the world over do—discover and enjoy what's different out there in this borderless world.

Maybe it is time to break bread with our brethren and discover the next musical equivalent of Cirque du Soleil.

This off my chest, 3 'Canadian' acts crown the top of the Albums chart this week with a cumulative sales count just a bagel over 28,000 copies. 

Debuting in 2nd place is Human, the comeback album from Three Days Grace (Sony).  And parked in 3rd place is former Karkwa frontman Louis-Jean Cormier —the only francophone band to win the Polaris Music Prize, with his 2nd solo album, entitled Day Of the Dead (Simone/Select). 

Jean Leloup's gold-certified album, A Paradis City (Grosse Boit/Select), parks itself in 19th place after 10 weeks on the chart. 

The only other Canadian act in the top 20 is Drake, the Toronto Raptors barker whose gold-certified If You're Reading This It's Too Late digital-download album (Universal) skips 19-16 after 8 weeks on the chart.

For the record, FYI can be read in over 50 languages, thanks to a free Google app embedded on the website.

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