It's funny how we are in two different worlds artistically but yet each of us has a huge part in each other's work.
—MJ Dandeneau, musician
Andréanne (Anne) Dandeneau is a Winnipeg fashion designer and owner of Voilà
par/by Andréanne. It's considered one of the leading Aboriginal design
companies in Canada and features eco-friendly and fair trade clothing.
sister, Marie-Josée (MJ) Dandeneau, is one of Winnipeg's most in-demand
studio and touring bass players. She's also a member of Oh My Darling.
In this on-going series on SCENE, we are welcomed into the world of these French Canadian Métis twin sisters to explore art in their family.
What was the household like, growing up?
MJ: I remember how I always loved making little craft projects with my
sis.We would get up in the morning and look outside in the yard and
think, "hmmm what will our project be today?" My dad used to be an art
teacher, so he would always be excited when we had little art projects
Anne: We were always doing crafts with our parents,
growing up with lots of kitchen parties, fiddle, spoon playing, guitar
and aunties singing in harmonies. My parents never had a problem taking
us away from the TV because there were plenty of activities that
provided us with many creative adventures and lasting memories.
Did you do "artistic" things together?
MJ Dandeneau in action (fanmuzik.com)
MJ: Yes, always. It's funny how we are in two different worlds artistically but yet each of us has a huge part in each other's work. My sister has an amazing voice, so I do sometimes ask her to come record or sing with bands I play with. And she asks me to model her clothes for photo shoots and fashion shows sometimes. Either way we are always involved in each other's artistic life.
Anne: We did everything together. She is my best friend after all. In what ways were you encouraged by your parents?
MJ: My parents have always been really proud of both of us, as they were also both artistic. My mom plays amazing piano, so we all got piano lessons and my dad loved doing projects with us outside in the yard or at the cottage, from playing with some branches to painting on canvas. And if I may add, they never stop talking about our achievements to strangers!! Parents! So Funny!!!
Anne: From the moment we were able to hold a pen right through to this day, our parents have been the most supportive of the both of us! They are so encouraging that they both lend a hand in our day-to-day business affairs helping to encourage our success. They both work hard for Voilà and my dad helps MJ with musical directing. Did you always WANT to be a singer/fashion designer?
MJ: Yes I've always wanted to be involved in music. I didn't really know in which field but something in music for sure. I had finished a degree in Multimedia In 2005 when The Wyrd Sisters asked me to go on tour to play bass with them. From then on I've never looked back. Honestly I never thought I would be a professional touring bass player, always thought I would be working in a studio or making websites.
Anne: No, but I knew I had a good creative mind and knew my field would have to be somewhat involved with creating something unique.
How do you support each other now?
Andréanne Dandeneau at work (Twinkle Reyes Photography)
MJ: We encourage each other by becoming involved in each other's projects somehow. Helping or even just being there at the event.
Anne: We are each other's number one fans!! I try to make it my number one priority to be at all her shows if I am in town and available. Do you have a specific memory or story to share?
MJ: I remember when I recorded one of my first songs in a compilation album at 16 with the Collège St-Boniface. I had to crazy beg my sister to sing on the song because she has such a naturally beautiful voice. Eventually, the album was submitted to the Prairie Music Awards and won the Galaxy prize for francophone album of the year in 1995.