Corneille and the next generation of R&B conclude the Francos on a festive note

The sky was getting darker and darker on Saturday before the closing concert of the Francos de Montréal, but the crowd seemed little affected by the light rain that fell on the Place des Festivals. Like a mentor, Corneille launched a veritable marathon of French-speaking R&B which saw 11 artists from Quebec and Europe parade, concluding the 35th edition of the festival on a convincing note.

Just before 9 p.m., the crowd on the Place des Festivals was certainly less compact than that of the opening show of the Francos, where Quebec Redneck Bluegrass Project was able to take advantage of a sunny day and several pumped-up fans, but the tiles The gray flowers of the flower bed were barely visible.

The Francos team was bold in focusing on R&B for the closing event of the festival, especially on the eve of the festivities surrounding National Day, more often associated with other artists who were in the program, like the Smiling Boot. But clearly, the gamble was worth it.

Good evening Montreal, you can’t imagine the joy of seeing so many of you this evening, as we celebrate a genre that is very dear to me, R&Blaunched Corneille as he arrived on the stage. We hear it everywhere, even if we don’t recognize it. It also has its history here, in Quebec, and it has a very bright future in French.

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Algerian-Canadian singer-songwriter Zaho

Photo: Radio-Canada

Surrounded by around ten musicians and singers, the ambassador of R&B in Quebec has had several successes, such as Together, Our year And With classbefore presenting Zaho, who since leaving Algeria for Montreal in 1998 has collaborated with renowned artists such as Sean Paul, Grand Corps Malade and Céline Dion.

Self-serve buffet

Starting his performance to the cries of the crowd with It’s weird, the 2008 success that made him known, Zaho laid the foundations for an evening without downtime. With four songs, the singer was among the artists who had the most ice time, with Corneille and Les Louanges.

Music lovers who were there for a particular artist may have been disappointed by the brevity of the performances, but for neophytes of the genre, the format of the evening had the advantage of presenting a true showcase of the next generation of R&B.

After Zaho, Brussels-based YellowStraps took the intensity up a notch with three of his best-known songs, Slowdown, Blue And THANKSwhich resonated as a true expression of gratitude.

Montreal, it’s the very first time in my life that I’m playing in front of so many people, it’s historic what [les Francos] managed to do this tonightlaunched Yvan Murenzi, who now pilots YellowStraps alone after having formed a duo for a long time with his brother Alban.

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The Brussels YellowStraps at the Francos of Montreal

Photo: Radio-Canada

Barnev sings the legendary chorus of Weeping Soul

YellowStraps then gave way to Rau_Ze, a neo-soul duo which is among the Révélations Radio-Canada 2024-2025. The winners of the Francouvertes 2022 played a single song, The habitbut it was enough to see the extent of the talent of the singer Rose Perron and Félix Paul.

One of the memorable moments of the evening came at halftime of the show, when singer Barnev sang with a choir the unforgettable chorus of the song Soul cryeur, by Dubmatique, as he had done on the group’s first album in 1997. Celine Dion’s faithful backing vocalist then performed something about you from his former group Nodéjà and I try to forgettaken from his first solo album.

We were then treated to an express performance by Kanda Gang, a group made up of artists from the Maison Kanda label, co-founded by Corneille, with impressive vocal performances from Christa Maria and Papi Jay.

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Because we come from far away

Sisters Shah Frank and Naïma Frank ignored the rain which intensified at the end of the evening, singing their songs in turn in front of a crowd which was adorned with a few shy umbrellas. Vincent Roberge, aka Les Louanges, then arrived to the clamor of festival-goers with his fluorescent green cap, performing Pitoutaken from his album There night is a panther.

A crowd in front of a stage with giant screens showing a close-up of the singer.

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Les Louanges shared the microphone with Corneille on Saturday evening, as he did on his last album.

Photo: Radio-Canada

He continued with two titles from his latest opus, What are you doing to me with YellowStraps and the title song Crash, with Corneille. The Frenchman Vacra and the Montreal singer Naomi concluded the evening before being joined on stage by all the artists of the show for a final gift: a performance in gang of Because we come from far awaythe title that made Corneille famous 22 years ago now.

What is special about French R&B, what makes it beautiful, is that the music is at the mercy of the specific colors and roots of all those who participate in it.launched the singer, before concluding with a farewell in the form of goodbye to the Francos. I hope we started a tradition.

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