My city is the sixth largest across both Canada and the United States. The second largest French-speaking city in the world. Montreal is a genuine mosaic, and dwelling place for an overwhelming number of talented musicians. We love both Arcade Fire and Bell Orchestre. We're proud of Clues and Wolf Parade. As talented as these groups may be, none strike a chord with me quite like Elfin Saddle.
The band is comprised of Emi Honda (vocals, ukelele, drums, accordion, singing saw), Jordan McKenzie (vocals, guitar, accordion, drums, banjo, xylophone) and Nathan Gage (contrabass, tuba). Elfin Saddle is a fine representation of Montreal's diversity, utilizing both Japanese and English languages to formulate their very own style of folk music. The sound is instrumentally rich for a trio, with Jordan and Emi usually handling two instruments at the same time; They achieve a lot with so little.
I was fortunate enough to catch Elfin Saddle performing live last night at Green Room in the artsy Plateau Mont-Royal district. There were about 50 people (including members of the opening acts) feasting their eyes and ears upon a band so well synchronized, so well disciplined, creating music that feels so natural/organic. There was not an unsatisfied hipster in the bijou venue last night. I can't say enough about Emi Honda, who is arguably the most adorable woman I've seen perform live. Clearly more comfortable expressing herself in Japanese, after the third piece she had confessed "I usually eat bananas before the show, so I'm pretty nervous." I glanced back at my brother and we shared a laugh. It was more than likely the cutest thing I've ever heard in my entire life. The only situation that could compete with that was at the end of the show as we were all heading out into the hostile Montreal weather, I turned to Emi and said "Thanks for coming out tonight! The show was wonderful." After two seconds of English absorption, she smiled and gleefully responded "I live here!" I left Green Room a happy camper (also with Elfin Saddle's latest LP entitled Ringing For The Begin Again).
If you're a folk aficionado, please, do yourself a favor and give Elfin Saddle a serious listen. It's REQUIRED