If you could only choose 5 bands

Yet another music post. What can I say? Maybe its the singing classes or the 50-odd concerts I’ve attended this year. Music is, more than ever, a huge part of my life.

I’ve had this question in mind for years now. Such a silly question but also a fun conversation piece when getting to know new people (especially music fans): If you could only listen to 5 bands (or singers) for the rest of your lives, which ones would you choose?

I hear you saying: what a terrible prospect! And it is, but idea of having to choose 5 groups forces you to make tough choices and to think about the groups that hold the most importance in your life (or that you know you will never get sick of). I mean, you would have to listen to each and every song by these bands at least 100 times, if not more.

My top 5 has barely changed in years, the first four have never changed and number 5 varied a few times (Ana Tijoux and Rufus Wainwright were in the running). So here it is.

Ella Fitzgerald
The first time I remember hearing Ella was June 14th 1996. I remember the date because my dad bought a compilation cd of her songs and played it to us, and she died the very next day. I’ve been listening to her ever since, even when my favourite band was the Backstreet Boys and I was seriously thinking about joining the Spice Girls.

Georges Brassens
Everyone’s favourite french anarchist folk singer! Brassens has been a part of my musical environment for as far back as I can remember and I can only thank him for his rebellious-streak (which was basically just him being himself) and his wonderful prose.

The Lemon Bucket Orchestra
One of my favourite live bands. There’s nothing quite like a balkan-klezmer-gypsy punk party to clear your mind and to somewhat find yourself dancing in a parc in the middle of downtown Montreal at 2AM.

Noir Désir
This one’s a controversial pick and I always wait before telling new friends that this is (and probably always will be) my favourite band. If you aren’t already aware of the sordid details, back in 2003, the singer was in a fight with his girlfriend and she died from the injuries she sustained. In other words, he killed her. It’s a horrible story and through some sort of cognitive dissonance, I used to defend him (being the dark, emo teenager that I was, I felt bad and saw him as a tortured man). It was only a few years ago that I realized that he wasn’t just a confused soul expressing his anger in the wrong
way.

By then, Noir Désir’s music had accompanied me through many different periods of my life, both dark and happy and I decided to separate the man from his art. Noir Désir is France’s foremost rockband and they had started exploring interesting musical territories with their last album (which was released in 2001!!!!).

Mercedes Sosa
The loveliest voice in the world, if you ask me. I was a fan before I even understood the lyrics she was singing and now that I speak (an intermediate level of) spanish, I love her even more.

What’s yours?

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