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CANO

Prog Folk • Canada


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CANO biography
This French-Canadian group (but not Quebecois), is from the Northern-Ontario province where almost half the population is francophone. CANO stands for Cooperative Artistes du Nouvel Ontario and they were based in the city of Sudbury. Formed as far back as 71, and from an ideal semi-hippy-pastoral commune and developing into theater, poetry, writers, and a whole bunch of artisans/craftsmen and a 320 acres Buffalo ranch. This commune attracted people from all over Northern Ontario, Quebec, Acadians from Eastern Canada. One of the branches became the musical group, and recorded in late 75 their debut album after being together for over three years.
Their music exemplifies best the Northern Canadian Pioneering spirit, and lyrically, the songs often make reference to the harsh condition they and their ancestor endured: the voyageurs, the portage from one lake to another, the fur-trading, the wars between the colonizing powers, the life with the Indians etc.. An octet, their music sounds like a folkier and more challenging Renaissance (Haslam-era), but they have clearly their own sound too. Their albums are a mix of mainly acoustic (but hardly excusively so) rock with some powerful atmospheres, and the first two albums are essential listening to Canadian folk rock. Their albums became increasingly electric and more "commercial" and they eventually folded by the mid-80's after some six albums. Their first three albums have been re-issued on CD a few years back and should still be available.
An interesting anecdote is that the Franco-Ontarians have yet another group, Nathan Mahl, but they chose not to sing in their native French: another proof of Ontario losing its roots.

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CANO discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

CANO top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.20 | 17 ratings
Tous Dans L'Meme Bateau
1976
3.85 | 21 ratings
Au Nord de Notre Vie
1977
3.58 | 12 ratings
ECLIPSE
1978
2.09 | 6 ratings
RENDEZVOUS
1979
1.00 | 1 ratings
Camouflage (as Masque)
1981
3.00 | 3 ratings
Visible
1985

CANO Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

CANO Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

CANO Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.95 | 3 ratings
Spirit Of the North
1980
3.00 | 1 ratings
20th Century Masters: The Best of CANO
2003

CANO Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Le Vieux Mederic
1976
0.00 | 0 ratings
Frère Jacques
1977
0.00 | 0 ratings
Ryshnychok (Earthly Mother)
1978
0.00 | 0 ratings
Rebound
1979
0.00 | 0 ratings
Carrie
1980

CANO Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 20th Century Masters: The Best of CANO by CANO album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2003
3.00 | 1 ratings

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20th Century Masters: The Best of CANO
CANO Prog Folk

Review by Walkscore

— First review of this album —
3 stars This is a better, and longer, collection than the other greatest-hits collection listed here on PA ('Spirit of the North'). Many (but not all!) all the songs on this are very good or great, so musically together it is probably in the 4-star range. However, a greatest-hits album has to be judged not only on the musicality of the songs, but also the representativeness of the selections. And on this point, this collection (like the other above-mentioned collection) does fare as well. Of the 12 tracks on this album, 5 are from the first album. There are only 2 songs from their second album ('Au Nord De Notre Vie'), 3 songs from their fourth ('Rendezvous'), and only one from their third album 'Eclipse'. There is nothing from their last two albums. While I don't think the latter two albums are very good, they still merit some acknowledgement given those were released in 1981 and 1985 and this collection was released much later in 2003. But even more, this collection is missing a number of worthy tracks from the albums they did cover (such as the song "Mon Pays" from their second album, 'Earth Mother' and 'Moon Lament' from their third, and 'Entente' or 'Other Highways' from their fourth). Indeed, while some of the tracts they selected from the third and fourth albums are great (eg "Bienvenue 1984" and "L'Autobus de la Pluie") the other tunes they chose from the fourth album are some of the weaker ones on that album ("Rebound" and "Sometimes the Blues"). Given the over-weight on the first album, and the missing good tracks from the others, I would on balance recommend picking up their first album instead of this collection, if you want a good entry into this group. The main reason to pick up this collection is for their single "Carrie", which was not released on any album and thus is now quite rare. However, it is also the worst song in the collection, so it is not much of a draw (it was also released in the earlier greatest-hits album). But I do think this one is better than the other greatest hits album ('Spirit'...). On balance, 3 stars.
 RENDEZVOUS by CANO album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.09 | 6 ratings

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RENDEZVOUS
CANO Prog Folk

Review by Walkscore

2 stars The fourth CANO album, 'Rendezvous', continues on the same trajectory set by the former "Eclipse", but now roughly half of the songs are sung in English instead of French. I don't think this is a problem in-and-of-itself, since this is a bilingual band from northern Ontario. (and the vocalists all have perfect accents in both languages). Saying this, it does speak to their desire to tailor their sound for more commercial appeal, and this clearly shows on the album, *particularly* on the English songs. Of the 8 songs on this album, I think only 3 are really good ("Entente", "Other Highways", and "L'Autobus de la Pluie"). Meanwhile, two of the songs here ("Clown Alley" and "Floridarity Forever") are virtually unlistenable (while the remaining 3 are OK but nothing to write home about - I don't have any desire to ever put them on again). So really I would get this album only for the 3 good songs (and only if you already have the first three albums). On balance, I give this 3.9 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to 2 PA stars.
 ECLIPSE by CANO album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.58 | 12 ratings

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ECLIPSE
CANO Prog Folk

Review by Walkscore

3 stars Unfortunately, Andre Paiement, one of the founders, key song-writers, and vocalists of this musical collective passed away after the second album, leaving the band in a state just as they were getting some attention. They chose to continue on, with the rest of the band picking up more of the song-writing duties. Given these circumstances, their third album, 'Eclipse', is pretty decent. Four of the seven songs here ("Ryshnychok/Earth Mother", "Cirque de la Nuit", "Moon Lament", and the closer "Bienvenue 1984") are excellent, and would fit right in on their first and second albums. However, unfortunately, the album does not get off to a good start with the opener "Soleil Mon Chef", in which one of the male vocalists attempts humour but it falls very flat (a similar problem is found on 'Rumrunner's Runaway"). The songs are generally shorter (although "Bienvenue 1984" is around 8 minutes), and slightly more rock-y than their earlier albums, although the style changes sufficiently from song to song that the album maintains sufficient continuity of their sound with their previous works. I give this album 6.2 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which is on the low end of the 3-PA star range (but still better than 2 stars).
 Tous Dans L'Meme Bateau  by CANO album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.20 | 17 ratings

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Tous Dans L'Meme Bateau
CANO Prog Folk

Review by Walkscore

4 stars Their first album is, in my opinion, their best. The album flows very well, and all the songs are great or very good. While Rachel Paiement does not sing as many of the songs here as she does on the second album, Andre Paiement does a great job with those songs he sings and in general the vocal qualities among the male singers are much better here than on any of their later albums. It seems to me that these songs were written over a long time, so the quality is generally much better, whereas on later albums there is a lot of filler that has not aged nearly as well. The last tune here ("Baie Ste-Marie") is similar in structure to the last song on their second album ("Spirit of the North"), and although the violin solo on the latter is very good, I prefer the more relaxed build-up on Baie. Among CANO's regular albums, this is the one I would recommend picking up first. I give it 8 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to 4 PA stars.
 Au Nord de Notre Vie by CANO album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.85 | 21 ratings

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Au Nord de Notre Vie
CANO Prog Folk

Review by Walkscore

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 second album, and largely considered their best. Other than two longer songs (the 'A la Poursuite du Nord' suite, and 'Mon Pays') the songs are regular-length. Rachel Paiement's vocals stand out as a defining feature (good) of their sound, as well as Wasyl Kohut's violins (acoustic and electric), while the vocals by the male singers generally do not make much of impression. Acoustic guitar and piano are the main other instruments, with a few synthesizers and electric guitars occasionally present. The last song, 'Spirit of the North' (written by Kohut) was one of their concert show-stoppers. On the whole this is a very listenable and enjoyable album. However, it does not quite (in my opinion) live up to their first album. The compositions on this one are mixed, and some of the tunes (now that I have listened to this for over 20 years) I just have to skip over (such as 'Automne' and 'La Premiere Fois'). The best tunes are the two long ones, but even those have mixed musicality. Even 'Spirit of the North' I find has worn on me after multiple listens - while it checks all the boxes for what one might expect from progressive folk, somehow there is not enough weight to it - it is more like an extended solo than a composition with real staying power. On balance, I give this 7.2 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which corresponds to 3 PA stars.
 Au Nord de Notre Vie by CANO album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.85 | 21 ratings

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Au Nord de Notre Vie
CANO Prog Folk

Review by Gooner
Prog Reviewer

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!
 Au Nord de Notre Vie by CANO album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.85 | 21 ratings

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Au Nord de Notre Vie
CANO Prog Folk

Review by toroddfuglesteg

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 Maneige like jazzy fusion stuff which pops up now and then. The Harmonium bits is due to the symphonic prog vibe that sometimes pops up during this album. But everything here is based on a laid back folk rock mood. There is a lot more pure music, symphonic and jazzy music, here than on an average prog folk album.

This is the strength of this album. The solo runs on piano and the musicality of the whole album. That and the quality of the songs. There is no outstanding tracks on this album and that is my gripe with it. But this album is a great listen throughout and really captivating. If you love the great Harmonium album Si On Avait Besoin D'Une Cinquième Saison, you will also like this album. The difference is that Cano has better vocals.

File this album alongside the other great Canadian prog rock albums and do thoroughly enjoy it as I have done.

4 stars

 Tous Dans L'Meme Bateau  by CANO album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.20 | 17 ratings

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Tous Dans L'Meme Bateau
CANO Prog Folk

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars ''Coopérative des Artistes du Nouvel-Ontario'' was a French-Canadian artistic community based in Ontario,Canada,which included not only musicians,but also sculptors,actors,painters and other people,who devoted themselves to the language of art.Regarding the bunch of musicians around CANO,they were lead by singer/guitarist Andre Paiement,who was also member of New Ontario's Theatre,and wrote most of the material of the band's debut.No less than eight musicians participated on this first effort of CANO,supported by various guest musicians on different traditioonal instruments.Actually the band owned a farm near Sturgeon Falls,where most of the recordings took place.

''Tous Dans L'Meme Bateau'',released in 1976,was a mix of pleasant Folk tunes with more intricate pieces of Folk Rock music,like the dark opener ''Viens nous voir'',featuring beautiful violins and acoustic guitars accompanied by the poetic performance of Paiement.The four short followers are nothing more than Pop-Folk tracks with somekind of a rural edge,based mostly on pleasant harmonica and violin passages along with joyful voices,where I notice the sensitive voice of Paiement's sister Rachel (listen to the nice piano-ballad Les rues d'Ottawa).

Placing side B,I was really a bit dissapointed,expecting musically much more from the almost 10-min. long ''En plein hiver''.About half of the track is covered by intense lyrical music with strong acoustic content and ethereal choirs and you'll have to wait for the middle-section for some fine instrumental music with electric piano battling with bass,congas and even some electric guitar sounds.''Chanson pour Suzie'',sung by Rachel Paiement, functions as a bridge between the previous track and the closer ''Baie St. Marie''.Here the traditional folk side of CANO blends with their Art Rock nature.Wasyl Kohut mixes seagulls' effects with violin solos supported by David C. Burt's mellow electric guitar,before the vocal section introduces the listener to the jazzy side of CANO with some good instrumental playing and a horn section delivering deep funky sounds until the end.

As for the rating this is a hard decision.The truth is that the pure Folk tracks hold no particular interest for the prog fans.Regarding the three longer ones,the opener and closer of the album will leave every prog fan rather satisfied,while ''En plein hiver'' holds some interest for the half of its duration.So my true rating is close to 2.5 stars,but I will have to go with the 2 stars here,as my final taste is that the album heads mainly to fans/collectors of Folk-Rock.Admirers of Classic Prog or more adventuruous listenings will propably be dissapointed by ''Tous Dans L'Meme Bateau''.

 Spirit Of the North by CANO album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1980
3.95 | 3 ratings

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Spirit Of the North
CANO Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars A premature compilation, "Spirit of the North" seems to have been a largely failed attempt to repackage Cano as the band next door, which they could never be. For one thing, they were part of a cooperative of several dozen artists. For another, the hindsight of decades has exposed the extent to which Cano was ahead of its time. While that is surely a compliment for any band, it tends to work against commercial success, and it did. They were also devastated by the untimely deaths of two of their key members, among whom Andre Paiement had committed suicide a mere two years prior, and Wasyl Kohut suffered an aneurysm in 1980.

What we have here is a well chosen showcase of Cano's fusion of jazz with folk and pop, including several good songs not previously available on an album. The most noteworthy of these is "Carrie", which ostensibly became a Cliff Richard "hit" before our intrepid Northern Ontarians could come to market, and make a splash on the Canadian charts at #78 (!). It was penned by Terry Britten who later wrote "What's Love Got to do with it" for Tina Turner, but if you think Greg Kihn crossed with Russ Ballard you are closer. Lyrically it fits with the sunlight deprived climes which are Cano's stock in trade, and the chorus is catchy while still being creatively off kilter.

From the previously released material, the highlight is "Spirit of the North", an instrumental powerhouse set in the wilds of Canada as sure as Lynyrd Skynyrd reflects the deep south. The gull sounds are almost not needed amidst Kohut's electric fiddle extravaganza. He also steals the show in "Baie St Marie" and kickstarts "Long Way", a jazzy vocal showcase for the group that retains enough of their folk roots to please both camps, while a pretty fair rock song as well. If you are more inclined to Rachel's sensuous voice, "Sometimes the Blues" should work wonders.

While this particular retrospective may be hard to come by, Universal has issued a 20th Century Masters collection, and I recommend you listen to Cano in the creative spirit in which they thrived, albeit briefly, to the north of our lives.

 RENDEZVOUS by CANO album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.09 | 6 ratings

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RENDEZVOUS
CANO Prog Folk

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

2 stars 2.5 stars really!!!

With this effort, disaster struck! Obviously their label A&M saw their talents and wanted them to achieve national success by breaking them in the Western provinces, so they brought in Jim Valence (the man behind the yet-unknown Bryan Adams, who appears in one track doing back-up vocals) who had certain ideas on how to achieve success - he would certainly do with his protégé. So he forced his ideas on the now-septet (André Paiement is conspicuously absent from this album >> related?), introduced them to a new concept of presentation including new artwork. If the album title hints at a wink at bilingual policies, the ugly artwork is typical of what was being done in the late 70's in Mid-West Canada: this looks like a Streetheart album artwork.

Right from the upbeat funky-folk-jazz into rock Rebound and Clown Alley, the shorter more straightforward rock music sound disastrous (as if Cano is only going through the motions) and Valence is obviously unable to get them to correct their unconvincing English singing to par. This is plainly obvious on the atrocious Floridarity Forever.

However not everything is bad on this album as Other Highways gives us a good wink of the old days and Autobus is a semi-jig sung in French, light years better than the rest of the tracks. The longest track is the finale (clocking at a meagre 5:30) is also worthy of a positive note. Little more to raise the proghead's enthusiasm, though.

As this review hints, this album (and most likely the following ones, which I have not heard since I stopped paying attention to the band after this dud) is best avoided, although there are glimpse of a previous heaven.

Thanks to Sean Trane for the artist addition. and to E&O Team for the last updates

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