Only in Sudbury, you say?

Francophone artist Stef Paquette (left) and singer songwriter Sean Barrette have teamed up for a unique, made-in Sudbury project. Supplied photo

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What do you get when you put a singer, songwriter and translator together?

A made-in-Sudbury approach to recording music in both official languages.

Singer songwriter Sean Barrette, along with francophone artist Stef Paquette and translator Normand Renaud, are collaborating on a music project that will see songs translated into French, recorded and then released every second month. And the back-up band is none other than bluegrass and outlaw country group Murder Murder.

“Stef and I have dreamed up a partnership to work with people we like working with to get some songs out there,” said Barrette. “And Renaud is the bridge.”

The first song, Mon ange de Noel, was released this week by Paquette. It was translated from the song Angel on My Tree, originally penned and recorded by Barrette and his then seven-year-old daughter Marley, in 2015.

“This is the first song we have done, but it’s definitely not the last,” said Barrette.

While Barrette is bilingual, he said songwriting requires a mastery of the mother tongue and “being able to speak a language and write eloquently are two different things.”

“The project itself is breaking down barriers,” said Barrette. With many talented francophone artists in Sudbury and the region, there are many opportunities to open the market and “allow music to be that common language.”

These days, Barrette said that as an artist, he is more focused on getting his music onto different platforms and less concerned with securing gigs. This is the direction he would like to see his songwriting move toward, he said.

Paquette agrees.

“As much as I am a big fan of the album – I collect vinyl – I like this collaboration,” said Paquette, adding that the simplicity of Barrette’s lyrics translate well into French.

Recorded live off the floor, “this formula works,” he said. “It’s not perfect, but it’s authentic and it’s what I want.”

The songwriting, translation and recording is self-funded; Barrette called their approach “old fashioned and simple.”

“The point is not to make it complicated,” he said. “It’s all enjoyment in writing and the process”

The song Mon ange de Noel also appeared in the romantic comedy Noel en boite, a film which Paquette stars in and has been touring with to local high schools.

“With so many projects on the go, I am glad I can still do music,” said Paquette.

Mon ange de Noel and future collaborations can be found under Stef Paquette’s artist profile on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play and other music streaming services. The next song will be released in February 2019.

sud.editorial@sunmedia.ca

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