Marcel Desilets with CBC host Ismaila Alfa (CBC)
Some of these instruments have huge histories - not necessarily mine. I like to think it's a collection of instruments that I'm getting because I will use them.
—Marcel Desilets, singer/songwriter
Maybe it's because Marcel Desilets grew up surrounded by music. Maybe it was just because it was so much fun.
But this singer/songwriter from Norwood knew from an early age that he wanted music to be a big part of his life. He even chose a day job that gives him time to spend creating and making music.
"My dad was a musician. I have lots of old photographs of my dad with his guitar. My dad's brother was a musician as well so they played together, and that was around me when I was a kid," he recalls.
And after his dad taught him a few chords on a 10 dollar guitar, he was on his way.
"I don't know where the songs come from. I'm not the type of person who says 'it's five o'clock, it's time for me to go sit over there and write'. I noodle around on the guitar and banjo a lot and it stirs the creativity."
And yet, even with such an early start, breaking into the music scene easy. "It took a long time. I had always fooled around with recordings. But it wasn't until I was in my 40s that I felt I wanted to do something concrete with the songs I'd been writing. So I joined the Manitoba Independent Songwriter's Circle. It was around then that I worked on getting my first CD out."
This consummate musician loves playing side to other musicians, like Vanessa Kuzina and Lindsay Jane. "There's such a creative element in accompanying somebody else. I like to approach it by not getting in the way of the person's song - adding, but not to the point where that's the feature," he explains.
Desilets owns a pile of stringed instruments. "Some of these instruments have huge histories - not necessarily mine. I like to think it's a collection of instruments that I'm getting because I will use them. A lot of my more recent instruments are old. I pick them up off of eBay," he says with pride.
And whether he realizes it or not, Desilets is contributing to Winnipeg's musical history with the songs he write, the instruments he tends and the music he makes.
Marcel Desilets performs February 2 at the Glesby Coffee house in Portage La Prairie with Vanessa Kuzina. On Wednesday February 6 he's doing a solo set at the Phad Thai Restaurant on Osborne starting at 7 p.m. He'll also perform at Festival du Voyageur.
In the meantime hear Desilets in conversation with CBC host Ismaila Alfa on SCENE On Air on February 2. The show airs every Saturday from 5 - 6 p.m. on CBC Radio One, 89.3 FM/990 AM/97.9 FM in Brandon.