Music Review: Uteï (Heart) – Jef Tremblay

Music Review: Uteï (Heart) – Jef Tremblay

mag_dec2016_coverThis review first appeared in the December 2016 issue of Life in Québec Magazine.

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Uteï (Heart)
Artist: Jef Tremblay
Price: $10.00
Label: Independent

Review by Mark Lindenberg

At first listen, the tracks on this 19-song album struck me as music for a rainy day: quiet, expressive, melodious, though at times discordant. Guitar, drum and vocals (including bird calls and chants) and other percussive instruments create a wistful and at times joyful atmosphere. An organ lends some weight to “Joie Soudaine.”

The influence of First Nations music is clear in the rhythms of the drum and chants. Some of the songs are in French, others in Innu. Jean-François “Jef” Tremblay uses his music as a conduit for cultural rapprochement. Although Tremblay brings his own thoughtful musicality to each song, the listener picks up on his respect for the First Nations cultures that inspired him.

Tremblay says he is “captivated by [First Peoples’] respect for and poetic visions of nature,” and their perspectives have influenced his music for more than 15 years. Tremblay has performed in Aboriginal communities, and been an accompanist for an Innu singer. He also travels around the province organizing Nantuata artistic expression workshops “specially designed for schools in Québec’s Aboriginal communities.”

The album’s final track, Écho des arbres, is simultaneously introspective and outward-looking.

As with the rest of the album, it comes from the heart.

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About Author

Mark Lindenberg

Mark Lindenberg's essays have appeared in The Globe and Mail and Maclean's Magazine, among other publications. In a career spanning 15 years, three provinces, and two official languages, he has written, edited, and translated work on a wide variety of topics for employers and clients alike. Mark lives in Quebec City with his wife and two cats.

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