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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

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

3.04 | 14 ratings
Tous Dans L'Meme Bateau
3.95 | 19 ratings
Au Nord de Notre Vie
3.72 | 10 ratings
2.00 | 4 ratings
3.95 | 2 ratings
Spirit Of the North
1.00 | 1 ratings
Camouflage (as Masque)
3.00 | 2 ratings

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)

0.00 | 0 ratings
20th Century Masters: The Best of CANO

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CANO Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Au Nord de Notre Vie by CANO album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.95 | 19 ratings

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
3.95 | 19 ratings

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
3.04 | 14 ratings

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 Studio Album, 1980
3.95 | 2 ratings

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
2.00 | 4 ratings

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.

 ECLIPSE by CANO album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.72 | 10 ratings

CANO Prog Folk

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars With their third album (yet to be re-issued on CD), Cano kept their high standards. Graced with an impressive photo-montage, this album appears to be at least thematic (if not conceptual) about the planet and space movements and time cycles. While the Northern-life preoccupations that were prevalent in their first two opuses are absent, they chose another pleasant direction for their musical wanderings.

From the first moments of Soleil Mon Chef's intro (and its weird funny-scruffy dialogue taken from a theatre play) to the lengthy finale, Cano is still out to please the most demanding ears. Not that the album is without flaws, most notably that they tried to appeal to an English public (right from the first album onwards, all their lyrics where translated more or less successfully to the other language), it is clear that Cano is not at ease singing in English, no matter which member is singing. The first side of the album is really of to an excellent start as the superb lead-off track gives way to a delightful semi-instrumental Mère De Ma Terre, which sounds like the best Renaissance albums around. Follows the very pleasant Cercle De La Nuit and the unconvincing Rumrunner Runway for the afore-mentioned English singing.

Same thing can be said of the second-side opening Moon Lament: here by comparing the French and English texts, one would wish that they had asked for a more artistic translator, because the English version (which is used for the vocals) is simply catastrophic and downright amateur. The folky Ca Roule brings us back to Cano's folk roots (always present even if often mixed in with rock and jazz) while the slow- developing Orwellian finale Bienvenue 84 starts as if uninspired (anything but, really), soon finds it demented groove, abruptly stops only to pick up acoustically with the piano and bongos. The track ends beautifully and ends in apotheosis. Rachel and André Paiement's vocals are always tasteful and Aymar sings on his own tracks.

Although not flawless this third album is still very worthy of the great CANO, but by the next album it will become clear, that to survive, the group would have to conquer the English Canada and their following (severely flawed) album would try to achieve this, but the only result is Cano losing their identity. Still definitely worth your investigation and your investment, Eclipse is the last classic Cano album.

 Au Nord de Notre Vie by CANO album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.95 | 19 ratings

Au Nord de Notre Vie
CANO Prog Folk

Review by hdfisch
Prog Reviewer

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.

 Au Nord de Notre Vie by CANO album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.95 | 19 ratings

Au Nord de Notre Vie
CANO Prog Folk

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

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 ;-)

 Tous Dans L'Meme Bateau  by CANO album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.04 | 14 ratings

Tous Dans L'Meme Bateau
CANO Prog Folk

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars Debut album from this combo emanating from a communal art association in Northern Ontario, and quite a pleasant surprise for the proghead looking for progressive folk music. Heavily laced with the rude weather and rough wildlife mixed with a superbly generous hippydom, Cano's music shines in this writer's memories of a happy "teendom". Memories of campfire with girls (and condoms;-), beers (and doobies;-) and guitars (and bongos;-) on a lakeside beach (called Creemore Dirtywater Upheaval;-) with the stereo blasting Harmonium or Rush certainly, but also of Cano. The album came with a superb artwork evocating the old Pioneering days with Fur traders, Canoes and portages, which represent one facet on CANO.

Cano's music certainly reflects the calm pastoral life of the mid-Northern Ontario, where French and English speakers lived alongside with few problems (in later albums Cano will also sing tracks in English), but as mentioned above, the rough conditions. Apart of the stunning 8-min opener (Viens Nous Voir inviting you to jump in their wonderful world), most of the first side is relatively short folk rock (trad folk as main inspiration but with a clear Acadian flavor) tracks, depicting crazy old fools (Mederic - a jig), to boring Sunday Afternoons and getting lost in the big cities (Rues D'Ottawa). The piano playing is sometimes reminding me of the one in Skynyrd's Freebird.

The second side of the album was made of two lengthy stunners with a short interlude separating them. En Plein Hiver, depicting the winter "blah" (Ontarians will appreciate) with this especially beautiful spirit that Harmonium managed on their debut and the Cinquième Saison. As will be usual, Cano start slowly and calmly, taking their time in building a sweet but implacable crescendo, to culminate superbly, and then ending in a short recap of the intro. In some way, if people asked how rush could make so much "noise" being just a trio, one of the most intriguing antithesis of that is how could an octet such as Cano be so delicate? The closing Baie St-Marie (written by Marcel Aymar who also had done the opening salvo) is probably a better tourist postcard than any possible picture could probably: as cymbals, seagulls, creaking wooden boats will gradually lead into an acoustic strumming guitar doubled by an electric piano, bongos, a swinging funky electric guitar, then drums and a superb violin (remember this was an octet), the track is now into a delightful groove with Kohut's violin twirling, swirling, twiddling, circling, flying from one ear to the other. Believe me, you'll want to visit the place that inspired such a great musical moment. In the middle section, the track slows back down to allow a sleepy trumpet answers the seagulls and the dramatic violin underlining the sea-lost father (Acadian hardships are never really far away from the superb lyrics) and a solemn end. I think I found my next holiday destination (once more;-).

Both Cds are now coming with fully translated lyrics. I wonder if these guys actually ever considered their music to be the equivalent in quality of the great folk-prog groups that are included in our beloved Archives, but their more ambitious tracks certainly stand out with the masters of the genre.

Thanks to Sean Trane for the artist addition.

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