Acadian indie-folk pop act Wanabi Farmeur is celebrating the release of their self-titled debut record this Saturday evening at Moncton’s Plan b Lounge.
Comprised of multi-instrumentalists Mathieu D’Astous and Ginette Ahier, the roots of this specific group date back to 2005. In actuality however, both Mathieu and Ginette brought a wealth of experience to the table.
Moncton-born Mathieu D’Astous was a member of celebrated Acadian group Zero Celsius but left the band in 1996. He released his first solo record Ada in 2002, followed by Les Meandres in 2006. In addition to directing “La Dernière Batture,” a short film on Kouchibouguac National Park’s clam fishery for the National Film Board, Mathieu also earned awards from Radio Canada as well as the Etoile Galaxie for his music.
Atholville native Ginette Ahier trained in classical piano and music therapy at the Universite du Quebec in Montreal. She released her debut album in 2003 while her second record Taxi Miki, produced by Mathieu, was released in 2007. Ginette also has a wealth of award nominations to her credit including Quebec’s prestigious l’Adisq Awards, les Prix Felix Leclerc and les Prix Gemeaux.
Wanabi Farmeur represents a true musical collaboration for both Mathieu and Ginette. It also marks a re-entry into the world of music for each of them after having enjoyed a four to five year break from actively composing.
“After Ginette released her last studio album in 2007, both she and I had stopped playing live and stopped recording for a period of four to five years,” Mathieu explains. “We had both become involved in things outside of music. I was working as the manager of the Really Local Harvest Cooperative while Ginette was operating an artisanal chocolaterie, Choco-Cocagne. Add a couple of children into the mix and we simply didn’t always have the time to focus on music full-time.
“During that time however, I was doing a bit of writing and had a batch of songs that I wanted to share and so we decided to put Wanabi Farmeur together.”
Mathieu says that Wanabi Farmeur’s debut record came together over a period of approximately 10 months at their home-based studio. While they found working on the record at home certainly had its benefits, Mathieu says that it also presented the duo with a plethora of musical possibilities.
“It took us a little while to figure out what kind of sound we were after and where we wanted to go with the project. In hindsight, we had a hard time letting go of the wealth of possibilities that lay in the sounds, styles and arrangements we could pursue.”
Helping the group rein in the limitless possibilities that lay within the music was an impressive selection of local talent. Along with Denis Surette and Jean Surette, both from Moncton jazz-fusion group Les Paiens, vocalists Caroline Savoie and Veronique Bilodeau also contributed to the record.
Mathieu says many of those same musicians have helped play an immeasurable role in helping transform the intimate feel of the songs on record into the live arena.
“When it comes to playing live, we want Wanabi Farmeur to have more of a band feel. It has been so great to have the input of others for translating these songs live because so much of the album was put together without the benefit of a band,” he says.
Although long-term touring plans are not in the works for Wanabi Farmeur, given their familial and employment commitments, the group does have a select number of shows currently on their schedule.
Having seen the likes of fellow Acadian artists like Lisa Leblanc and Joseph Edgar attracting attention on a national and international level, Mathieu believes it is a very good time to be a part of the burgeoning Acadian music scene.
“In many ways, Acadian music is peaking right around the world. It marks a significant amount of progress since my days with Zero Celsius when it seemed as though it was harder for Acadian artists to make a name for themselves. You’ve got artists like Les Hay Babies and Caroline Savoie making waves right across the country and around the world. It is exciting to be a part of that,” Mathieu says.
What: Wanabi Farmeur with Kevin McIntyre and The BackYard Devils
When: Saturday Nov. 8, 9:00 p.m.
Where: Plan b Lounge, 212 St. George St., Moncton