Lou Babin

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Active in the Montreal underground music scene since the late '70s, singer/accordionist Lou Babin remains one of the city's hidden treasures. Charged with a crude kind of honesty balanced out by a charming…
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Artist Biography by

Active in the Montreal underground music scene since the late '70s, singer/accordionist Lou Babin remains one of the city's hidden treasures. Charged with a crude kind of honesty balanced out by a charming softness, her voice is of the kind you don't forget. Still unrecorded as a solo artist, she has collaborated with Normand Guilbeault, Pierre St-Jak, Guy Thouin, and numerous theater and film directors. She is also a member of the Fanfare Pourpour.

Babin lived her first musical experiences in the late '70s among the music collectives L'Enfant Fort and the Pouet Pouet Band, both street fanfares comprising amateurs and improvisers. Active in the musicians' circles of Duluth Street in Montreal, Babin is one of a handful of artists who advocated music for and by the people associated with a fantasy-filled way of life, artists who would later be associated with the events of freak animator François Gourd. Her first personal band was Montréal Transport Limité, a progressive pop group that also included future Ambiances Magnétiques alumni René Lussier and Claude St-Jean. The group cut an EP in the early '80s before folding. Babin continued to perform in ad hoc groups, building a small following and amassing songs she began to present in rare solo recitals.

She came to wider attention in 1989 when controversial Quebec film director Pierre Falardeau featured her in Le Party. Playing the role of a blue-collar bar singer she performed Richard Desjardins' freedom anthem "Le Coeur Est un Oiseau." Since then she has appeared on-stage and onscreen in many productions, including Brigitte Haentjens' Je Ne Sais Plus Qui Je Suis, Robert Lalonde's Monsieur Bovary, and Martin Dignard's Le Grand Nord.

In 1995 old members of the Pouet Pouet Band formed the Fanfare Pourpour, a new music fanfare. With this group Babin has toured Canada and enjoyed critical acclaim. The group's first album came out in 1999. One of her projects with pianist Pierre St-Jak, L'Hôtel du Bout de la Terre, was released a year later. She also appeared in Normand Guilbeault's musical-historical fresco Riel: Plaidoyer Musical.