Elise Boulanger is a sweet darkness wrapped in orchestral instrumentation. Hailing from Nanaimo (Snuneymuxw), Canada, this Chamber-Folk-Pop artist completely captivates audiences with her haunting avalanche of a voice. Boulanger is a bilingual multi-instrumentalist and composer that creates cinematic dreamscapes. Imagine ethereal vocals soaring a top cello, violin, piano, drums and ukulele. Her lyrics are poetic, evocative and questioning. Her style is built upon her classical training and influences from both nature and artists such as Regina Spektor, Patrick Watson, Franz Schubert and Radiohead. She is often described as sharing semblance with Kate Bush, Lana Del Rey, Kishi Bashi, Agnes Obel and CocoRosie.
Her new single, "Cigarettes et rosé,” is an energetically percussive anthem of silly French happenings alluding to history and the importance of trusting people. This release has bolstered her reputation making her “one ready to make a very big impression on the world at large” (For the Rabbits). While living in France, Elise observed that, “at times people wouldn’t trust others to come into their homes. Thus, they would avoid having at-home gatherings. This absolutely fascinated me, especially given that Canadians are so welcoming and accepting.” Although this didn’t happen all over France, it came as a surprise. It was for this reason that the bilingual chorus encourages the listener to “invite your friends/invites tes amis” across a menagerie of languages.
Depending on where the band performs, they will include the local languages to create a feeling of inclusivity. It allows everyone to be a part of the song and the story which constantly grows. “Cigarettes et rosé” also gestes back to the mighty force of French rulers such as Napoleon and the many Louis’. This is made apparent through the litany of military-esque snare rolls and proudly laced arpeggiations of the violin, cello and contrabass.
It builds upon “The Mariner’s Remedy,” the cinematic sea chantey woven from the hard-to-digest truth that not every wonderful human being we encounter will come back to us. It was "a poetic ghosting,” Boulanger explains, "a social response to the fact that young people have seemed to lose respect when it comes to communication. As a result, many are plagued with feelings of being under appreciated.”
The vision behind her singles beckons back to the Romantic Era’s days of the art song. For 2021 expect the release of "It Started in the Garden" and works inspired by climate change. These will include intentional scientific collaborations. Moreover, the band hopes to resume their tour of Western Canada tour which they had planned for 2020.
With over 15 years of experience in the performing arts, Boulanger is at home on any stage along with bandmates Anatol McGinnis (cello, violin) and Natasha Hoskins (percussion). She performed at the JUNO celebrations in Vancouver (2018) and many notable festivals on Vancouver Island including Cumberland’s Woodstove Festival, Cowichan’s Koksilah Music Festival and Nanaimo’s Maple Sugar Festival du Sucre d'Érable. Beyond Canada, she has performed in Belize, France, Germany and the Republic of Georgia.
In addition to Boulanger’s Chamber-Folk-Pop project, her musical passions encompass working with electronic producers, learning about sound healing and studying music from around the globe. Environmental activism is of great importance to her, too. During her time in Germany (2019) she was invited to several schools in order to speak about climate change and perform her environmental compositions like “The Warming,” which is only available as a live video.
The Mariner's Remedy
Cigarettes et rosé