By Andreea Moore
Fransaskois artist Mario Lepage‘s new release Amélia is a beautiful prairie soundscape of four really well planned out tracks. Lepage’s music is akin to a hypnotic spiritual awakening. The sounds, the textures, the soothing ambient comfort and the colours present. Even a non-French speaking listener will still be entranced and lost in the music, a testament to Lepage’s ability to bring people together through soundscapes and passion.
Amélia is also a testament to Lepage’s talent, as he served in the producer and engineer roles as well as performing all the instruments. “Working on Amélia during the pandemic was a whole new challenge onto itself.” Lepage shared. “I felt like i learned a lot about production and arrangements as a whole. Which is why I gave myself the challenge of engineering, playing and producing everything on the mini album - with the exception of "Les Années" where I asked violinist virtuoso Blaise Borboën-Léonard to lay down a string arrangement that really tied the whole song together. I also co-wrote the lyrics with my good friend and mentor Anique Granger, a Fransaskois singer songwriter living in Montreal. She and I would do Zoom sessions from across the country, it was totally great. Amélia truly was a milestone for my creative journey and I'm so grateful to have lived that experience.”
Lepage performed at Amigos Cantina in Saskatoon November 18th, treating the audience to the full EP and his back catalogue going back all the way to J’orage and Bastion. The crowd at Amigos definitely had that immersed vibe also, feeling connected through the music, entranced in the spell of what Lepage called ‘Prairie Magic’.
The newest release Amélia marked many personal and professional changes Lepage’s life, most notably his marriage to artistic photographer Hannah Alex and a cross country move to Montreal. “I technically still live in Saskatchewan” Lepage elaborated. “Although I now have a foot in Montreal in order to develop my career out there, I have every intention of continuing to work and live in Saskatchewan. The nature of my music has always called me to Québec and Europe throughout the years and I have decided to start spending a bit more of my time out there to facilitate certain musical projects.”
Please, whatever you do dear reader, give this EP (or mini album as the French say) a listen and fall in love with the hypnotic spell that is Ponteix as this wee journalist has.