Thursday, February 18, 2010

O Canada: Au Sud A Moi

Weeping Tile: Au Sud A Moi

[purchase in English]

It's the law: on paper, at least, Canada practices Official Bilingualism, giving two languages - in this case, French and English - special legal status, and relegating all other languages except a few local aboriginal tongues to "other". The statutory preference leads to some interesting road sign laws, ensures service and education availability in both tongues, and remains at the heart of my Montreal-born father-in-law's lingering ability to speak fluent French after four decades on American soil.

Weeping Tile, a short-lived nineties band named after the porous pipes that are buried alongside most homes to draw groundwater away from the foundation, was from Ontario, which is generally considered the most "British" of provinces. But despite the Ontarian legal preference for de facto French in all cases, in practice, Canadian music which is going to have much of a chance in an international market is performed and recorded in English first, and Weeping Tile's output was no exception: this 1997 B-side remake of South of Me, the lead-off track from their second and final full-length Valentino, seems to be the only French song they ever recorded.

It still rocks, though. For a good look at what the members of Weeping Tile have been doing for the last decade, I highly recommend checking out both popfolk fave singer-songwriter Sarah Harmer - who formed the songwriting core of the group - and Luther Wright, who with his new band The Wrongs is perhaps best known for his country/bluegrass remake of Pink Floyd's The Wall.

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