Fire & Smoke (Miguel Yetman)
"Our music always has a story to tell."
—Claire Morrison, Singer songwriter
This weekend, the Folk Exchange continues its intimate concert series with the Winnipeg duo Fire & Smoke. Claire Morrison and Daniel Peloquin-Hopfner bring their magnetic acoustic sound to the stage located below the Winnipeg Folk Festival offices.
In fact, there's a very strong folk fest connection with the duo. Claire and Daniel first met around a campfire jam at the Winnipeg Folk Festival back in 2010. They quickly realized there was a musical chemistry between the two of them. After that first meeting, Daniel tried to track down Claire using facebook to find out if she'd like to continue to work together. Once he found Claire, Daniel was relived to hear the answer was yes, since he'd already booked their first show at a music festival.
Claire Morrison took the time to answer a few questions about Fire & Smoke.
If you had to describe your music to someone who's never heard it, what would you say?
Our music always has a story to tell. Daniel's songwriting in particular is very narrative-based. We're both attracted to the darker side of writing lyrics and composing songs. We lean towards the melancholy and the bittersweet. I think that listening to our music is a very intimate experience. There's just two of us, and when you've got a guitar, a banjo, and two voices, there's really nothing to hide behind. Mandolin and flute brighten up the sound and add an unexpected component to our recordings and live shows.
How do the two of you compose?
We often write songs individually and then ask the other to add harmonies or an instrumental part. However, when we do write together, I often write the lyrics and leave the composition and arranging to Dan.
How do you two decide which songs you'll write in French or English?
It depends entirely on the individual song. We don't necessarily think up a topic and then pick which language we'll use to write about it. Dan and I reflect a lot on the advantages and disadvantages of writing in English or French. They both come with different emotive qualities and we also have to consider how the language will benefit or hinder the song structurally. We don't write songs with a language-based quota in mind.
Fire & Smoke won the People's Choice Award at Chant'Ouest, Western Canada's music competition featuring Francophone artists. Their win has given them a spot at Le festival international de la chanson de Granby in Granby, Quebec in September.
Fire & Smoke is performing Saturday, March 24 at the Folk Exchange at 211 Bannatyne Avenue at 8:00 p.m. The concert will be recorded by CBC for future broadcast on Canada Live and on SCENE on air with Ismaila Alfa.