It has been four years in between album releases for Montreal afrobeat band Papagroove. Just like their band name, Papagroove is a 12 member collective made up of a lot of daddies. They do prove, however, that just because you are of a certain age or have little ones running around does not mean that you cannot be in a band that plays music that grooves. All the members of the band definitely have a passion for music and ooze plenty of rhythm.
The official album launch happened in a lovely old style theatre on St. Hubert called Theatre Plaza. It was an early in the evening affair in which the crowd was made up primarily of the family and friends of the members of the band. The place was packed and the crowd was ready to groove (especially the wee ones who made up quite a mosh pit in front of the stage). All the members of the were there at the album launch including lead singer Sébastien Francisque, trombonist Matthew Van Vliet, drummer Gabriel Lajoie, drummer Sylvain Plante, guitarist Didace Grondin, guitarist Maxime Audet, keyboardist Martin Lizotte, keyboardist François Therrien, baritone saxophonist Jean-François Ouellet, alto saxophonist Mario Allard, percussionist Marc-André Paradis, and on trumpet Jacques Séguin.
Standing there waiting for the band to take the stage I was thinking to myself that the stage looked a little small to hold twelve musicians. But then again their playing demonstrated that they are tight, so I’m sure they don’t mind being close together. It was also a different looking stage. If you were to take the stage as an example of the fun you were going to have it would be right up there on the having a good time scale. On stage there was a No Parking sign, a lava lamp, a painting, a tapestry, and even a disco ball hanging from the drum kit. Set up for a good time and the music matched that atmosphere.
Papagroove did not disappoint those who came to dance. You can totally understand why the people were ready to get down as the music is of the type that infects your soul and moves your body. It is full of soul, rhythm and OMG those horns! Lead singer Francisque is an amazing frontman for the band. He not only has the perfect voice for the genre of music he moves around the stage constantly in James Brown/Michael Jackson fashion. In a couple of tracks he even raps. Truly a multi-talented and dynamic leader. As you would expect the music has changed from their last album. The beats are heavier and there is a little disco fused within the usual funk, jazz and afrobeat. As far as the arrangements go they are magic on songs like “U Get No”, “These Times”, “One Life”, and “Don’t Wanna Know”, which they played on this evening.
Civilized Ghetto will be in stores as of October 23rd. To see the band perform live and get the full effect of their music you can catch them at Cabaret du Mile-End on November 10.