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CANO Au Nord de Notre Vie album cover
3.94 | 34 ratings | 6 reviews | 15% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1977

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Che zeebe (3:40)
2. Automne (4:41)
3. À la poursuite du nord - suite: (11:10)
a) Au nord de notre vie
b) En mouvement
c) Viens suivre
4. La première fois (4:43)
5. Mon pays (12:18)
6. Frère Jacques (3:17)
7. Spirit of the north (6:08)

Total Time: 45:57

Line-up / Musicians

- Marcel Aymar / voice, acoustic guitar, percussion
- David C. Burt / electric guitars, voice
- Michel Dasti / drums, percussion
- John Doerr / bass, synthesizer
- Michel Kendel / grand piano, electric piano, synthesizer, voice
- Wasyl Kohut / acoustic & electric violins
- Rachel Paiement / voice, acoustic guitar, percussion
- André Paiement / voice, acoustic guitar, percussion

Guest musicians:
- Kim Deschamps / Dobroe guitar
- Monique Paiement / voice, flute
- Mat Zimbel / congas, percussion
- Alison Reynolds / cello

Releases information

LP A&M, SP-9028 (1977)

Thanks to Sean Trane for the addition
and to ProgLucky for the last updates
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CANO Au Nord de Notre Vie ratings distribution

(34 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(15%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(59%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

CANO Au Nord de Notre Vie reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars 4.5 stars really!!

While the debut had scored some attention in French-speaking Canada, Cano decided to bring up Rachel Paiement's delicious voice more upfront. Her voice timbre is halfway between Haslam (Renaissance) or Christina (Curved air) and Monique Fauteux (Harmonium) or Christiane Robichaux (Contraction). While still remaining a primarily folk spirit, this album is slightly rockier (and sometimes more fusion) than the debut. Needless to say this album struck the same chord in this writer's soul (and his pack of friends also) and provided a healthy alternative (or counterbalance) to our hard rock leanings (Zep, Priest, Rush) and calmer nights around the campfire when the parents had not unknowingly left us the houses to organize our wild house-parties.

Again as the French title hints, the album is again centered around their Acadian roots, the rough Northern climates and their sheer generous (and hippy) idealism. The artwork is again representative of the (sometimes hostile) nature around them, also. Opening track is a visit to an old Amerindian spirit of the river (Che-Zeebe), and Rachel's superb aerial voice is a pure joy, while the group is developing a great prog rock behind her. With a worthy (but unremarkable dure to the great surrounding tracks) Automne gone by, we find the 11-min mini-suite A La Poursuite Du Nord (from which suite the album title is taken from) and anyone living in mid-Canada, cannot help but experiencing chills down their spine. Rachel's voice with Kendel's piano reminds us the greatest moments of Renaissance (Haslam and Tout), but the track soon evolves in much more than the British group ever had to offer (remember we are dealing with an octet in Cano) into a wild soul-search of the spirit of the north. In New Orleans, this would be equivalent to emotive blues sung by cotton-field workers. Kohut's violin, never very fast (preferring every slow meander it can possibly find) while staying concise, is reminding of JL Ponty's albums of the same years.

The B side of the album starts with the stunning 12-min Mon Pays, which could almost be regarded as an updated version of Gilles Vigneault's timeless anthemic Mon Pays (C'est L' Hiver). After a delicious debut and a more fusion-like follow-up, the middle section almost stops to have the bass sing out with the birds and it slowly brings the track to an almost jazz-rock feeling (again, strangely, Renaissance springs up to mind but the first version of it with Cennamo on bass) with a delicious multi solo section and without warning popping back into the track into a superb finale. Another updated timeless classic is the nursery rhyme Frère Jacques in a stunning rearrangement! Du grand art , Monsieur! Such an album could not close away on anything else than a stunning instrumental, resuming the spirit of the album, and believe this writer, this is one hell of an exit. This 6-min is as delightful as a sunset over a lake in the mid-north, a brew in your hand and the partner in the other.

A stunning but grossly overlooked album (only yelling for the proghead's attention to repair this huge and blatant injustice), clearly Cano had come of age, and their next step would be to start gaining more attention of the English part of Canada with their following Eclipse (which never got a Cd release as did none of their later albums. This album ranks among the very best of the country in the late-70's and there was solid competition. Warmly recommended, especially if you long for Canada.

(About that time for holidays, Hugues ;-)

Review by hdfisch
3 stars Recently I started to explore a bit more the Canadian progressive scene and therefore I ordered a few of those hard to grab old vinyls from MANEIGE, AQUARELLE and as well this one here. Unfortunately I've got to say CANO's was the least fascinating of this threesome to me. Certainly it's a complete differente style from the one of those jazz-rock bands hailing from Quebec. But usually my preferred taste is not restricted to jazz and there are as well many prog folk bands I can appreciate. After I read in their biography that they sound quite similar to HARMONIUM and RENAISSANCE I was not that surprised anymore that their music does not appeal too much to me because those don't belong to my favorites either. Their songs are (at least on the first side of this record) mostly just too light-weighted to fit my high demands I've to say. Even for the long suite with 11 minutes running time I would not run miles for. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to say that it's actually bad. For sure the musicianship is brilliant and I've got to put a high note as well for the wide range of used instruments. Above all the songs on side A are just nice,pleasant and beautiful and certainly will appeal to any fan of Harmonium or Renaissance.

My initially rather negative impressive changed considerably when listening to the first song on side B "Mon pays" which is together with the last one "Spirit of the north" the only interesting one with really haunting violin play and a nice versability bringing even a slight touch of jazz into their music. These two great compositions are divided from each other by a version of the well-known french traditional "Frère Jacques" which is nice but... (see above). The vocal performance, especially the one by the female singer sounds very attractive to me by the way.

Finally as a summary I can say that AU NORD DE NOTRE VIE is a pleasant and certainly good prog folk album offering two excellent songs. But since the rest is rather to be neglected by someone who is usually listening to more sophisticated kind of music I can't see a necessity to rate it with 4 stars and hence label it as an excellent addition to any prog collection.

Review by Gooner
5 stars This would have to be THE essential prog. folk album from the Canadian scene. Everything is perfect - the mix, the atmosphere, the imagery. I hear Ponty-like colourings in the violin department. The grand piano work of Michel Kendel is superb as is the fender rhodes. This album would not only appeal to prog.folk fans, but also jazz/rock fans in the ECM vein. This music creates that Metheny-like atmosphere and Eberhard Weber(Colours of Chloe). Fans of Joni Mitchell's jazz/pop would really enjoy this. Rachel Paiement's vocals don't quite hit the high register a la Annie Haslam, but that's not what the music requires. The french vocals are neutral and not particularly Quebecois...more of a franco-Ontarien tone (after all, CANO is based in Sudbury). Even if you don't understand french, the vocals will not be a problem. The long players "Mon Pays" and "Ã? la poursuite du nord" are the highlights but never overstay their welcome. Fans of Curved Air, Renaissance, Joni Mitchell, Pat Metheny, Harmonium and the Quebec prog.rock scene would enjoy this. When CANO stretches out on the long players, I'm reminded of a fusion between Maneige and Harmonium...and some Octobre. The acoustic guitar work is stellar. This is a personal masterpiece in my books, but a 4 - 4.5 star rating would be appropriate here as it is for the select few on this website. But heck, I'm giving it a 5 star rating as I am pretty sure this is a grower and will become a personal favourite of many listeners willing to give CANO some ears. Every citizen of Canada should make "Au Nord de Notre Vie" an essential part of their music collection, even if they are not a fan of prog.rock, jazz or folk. It's that essential!

Latest members reviews

5 stars There are some excellent choices to introduce prog folk to a person who is available to know it. The first White Willow effort, french Wurtemberg, three or four Basque prog works, and of course Jethro Tull, among others. But I have this feeling that it's better to get started on this genre with ... (read more)

Report this review (#2856114) | Posted by arymenezes | Saturday, December 3, 2022 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This is another Franco-Ontarian progressive folk collective, releasing albums around the same time in the late 1970s as Lougarou/Garolou. Cano was based in Sudbury, and is much larger, with a more fluid line-up. Their songs are quieter and longer with more of a distinct folk edge. This is their s ... (read more)

Report this review (#1693941) | Posted by Walkscore | Friday, February 17, 2017 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Cano is one of the good Canadian folk rock bands which arrived in the 1970s. Harmonium, Buffy Saint Mary, Neil Young and Buffalo Springfield were others in this scene. Style wise, Cano is a blend of early Harmonium, Maneige and Renaissance. The female vocals are excellent. So is the very Mane ... (read more)

Report this review (#300059) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Wednesday, September 22, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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