Musical Beginnings

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Visors and scarves – what could be better?

Visors and scarves – what could be better?

Mark Berube and his new CD

Article: Robyn Tocker – A&C Editor

“I don’t have a memory of when I wasn’t playing music. My mom sang to us and she got us playing piano. I’ve always done it,” says Mark Berube, a singer-songwriter based in Montreal.

The man started his life in a small country near South Africa where his influence of the music inspired him.

“A lot of music my dad bought was from there. I listened to that and was inspired by a lot of the jazz musicians.” Berube was inspired by the ideas behind the music, not the genre of South African music itself.

While growing up playing the piano, Berube also picked up a talent for the guitar. He mentions how backpacking after high school was easier with a guitar strapped to his pack then a keyboard.

“It was easier to bring a guitar than a piano on a plane.”

Berube always planned to have a career in music, but he got his degree in English Literature first before taking his first step into the music world.

When asked what he would be if he couldn’t choose music, Berube had a simple answer.

“I would be a park ranger in a national park. It’s the first thing I wanted to do when I was a kid.”

It’s a good thing he chose music, or else Canada would be missing out on Berube’s fifth CD, titled Russian Dolls. There isn’t one thing that inspired the songs on Berube’s CD. The Montreal music scene going on was just one of the things that helped put Dolls together. He and his band members took folk music and went elsewhere with it with different sounds.

“We’re playing with a whole bunch of different things outside of the acoustic box.”

Out of the 11 tracks, Berube says “Carnival” and “Ethiopia” were two of his favourites to record. While they took time to be completed, he had a lot of fun with putting them together.

“Carnival” has an electric sound, buzzing with energy. As you get further into the song, the piano becomes stronger and the song transforms as the listener tunes in. Berube and his band really know how to manipulate sound to make an interesting piece to listen to.

“Ethiopia” draws the listener in with the choppy lyrics Berube starts off with. The acoustical parts that pop up are a nice touch, highlighting his vocal talent.

Besides a new CD, Berube has also been chipping away at a tour. Performing weekends around Quebec, Berube went to Ontario in December to play. He will also be performing in Regina. The Western Canada tour also includes locations like Winnipeg and British Columbia.

With such excitement, it’s hard to imagine anything could top touring across Canada. Oh wait, there is! Berube also has a music video out for “Carnival.” He says it was as simple as sitting down with the director, telling the director what the band wanted, and letting the crew go off and film the whole thing without them.

“We liked the creative results. It was a bit of a risk, but we’re happy with it.”

Mark Berube plays in Regina on Feb. 22 at the Artful Dodger.

Image: Killbeat Music

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