Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Culture Shock

Any Madisonian with a penchant for French culture is likely aware of—and planning to attend—La Fête de Marquette as it takes place Thursday through Sunday.

This annual festival coincides with the French national holiday Bastille Day and celebrates the best of France—its food, art and music. The latter is a particular focus and this year’s event brings in musicians from across the French-speaking world, including France, Canada, West Africa and Cambodia.

Much buzz has been surrounding Montreal rock quintet Les Breastfeeders, who will perform during Friday night’s “Le Nuit des Étoiles” (“Night of the Stars”). Made up of Luc Brien, Suzie McLeLove, Sunny Duval, “Joe,” Johnny Maldoror and Pat Sayers, the group mixes punk and garage sounds with yé-yé, or sixties French pop.

The band’s been growing their popularity in Canada, Europe and the U.S., especially following their release of Déjeuner sur l'herbe in 2004 and Les Matins de Grands Soirs in 2007. But their performance at La Fête de Marquette marks their first trip to Madison.

As their visit was fast approaching, Duval took time out to answer a few questions about the band and their music.

You’ve been characterized as garage-rock, pop-punk. How would you describe your music?

Rock ’n’ roll, which includes punk rock, rockabilly, garage, surf music.

What are your musical inspirations?

Our friends, lifestyles, the back alleys, Montreal and a whole lot of vinyls.

Where are your favorite places to perform? And how is performing in the States different than performing in Canada?

It’s a bit different singing in French to an English-speaking audience, but basically all of North America is very similar. We favor playing a full cheering house, no matter the size, and being well greeted (food, booze, a little hotel room and a nice backstage). With all these conditions, you’ll get a thundering performance!

Why did you decide to come to La Fête de Marquette in Madison?

Well, our manager says, “You guys could play a certain show in a certain town.” We say, “Fine let’s go.” We just love traveling, so we’re going places to visit and play and meet new people. So we’re going to Madison this time!

What do you hope people get from hearing your music?

The same urge to party-dance-drink-make love-sing-start a band we have. The exploding/imploding feeling we get as we step onstage.

La Fête de Marquette runs from July 10 to 13 at the Marquip parking lot at the intersection of East Washington and Baldwin streets. For more information, visit the festival website.

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