Pierre Kwenders' radiant ode to Papa Wemba, and 6 more songs you need to hear this week

Fresh Canadian tracks to add to your playlist right now.

Fresh Canadian tracks to add to your playlist right now

Pierre Kwenders' new song is the 1st from his forthcoming album, out April 29. (Pierre Kwenders/YouTube)

Here at CBC Music, we're always on high alert for the best new songs by Canadian artists.

This week, we're listening to new tracks from:

  • Begonia.
  • P'tit Belliveau.
  • Pierre Kwenders.
  • Anomalie.
  • Little Berete.
  • NoBro.
  • Ghostly Kisses.

Scroll down to find out why you should listen, too.

What new Canadian tunes are you currently obsessed with? Share them with us on Twitter @CBCMusic.

Tune into CBC Music Mornings every Thursday to hear CBC Music's Jess Huddleston and Saroja Coehlo reveal which of these tracks is the standout new Canadian song.

'It's too Quiet,' Begonia

New love can feel both exciting and terrifying at the same time. Are they feeling the same way as you? Do they want to spend as much time with you as you do with them? Finding each other on the same wavelength takes time, and until you reach that point, you may second guess every interaction, text or call. All of those feelings swirl around like butterflies in your stomach on Begonia's newest single, "It's too Quiet." Over a soul-inspired production that recalls Devotion-era Jessie Ware, Begonia's Alexa Dirks urges a lover to reciprocate their feelings: "Will you come back baby/ or at least pick up your phone?" With a track like this, it's impossible not to fall for Begonia. — Melody Lau 

'Demain,' P'tit Belliveau

P'tit Belliveau is back with a new single and an album announcement: Un homme et son piano, his sophomore release, will drop April 1 (a fortuitous date for someone whose debut album was titled Greatest Hits Vol. 1). "Demain" is a laid-back pop song about procrastination, as P'tit Belliveau earnestly lists the things he wants to do tomorrow (mow the lawn, train for a marathon) while a chorus of voices delightfully sings "Non, tu vas poinne" behind him. "I've been wasting so much time/ I don't wanna waste anymore," he laments on the bridge of "Demain" as a banjo and strings push aside the keys for a minute, switching to English briefly for a refrain that really hits home in the dead of winter/this third year of pandemic times. "Demain" is a perfect little jam to sing along with, as you (rightfully) push that to-do list to another day. — Holly Gordon

'Papa Wemba,' Pierre Kwenders

Congo-born, Montreal-based national treasure Pierre Kwenders is back with the artful "Papa Wemba," his new tribute to the late Congolese singer who has been called the "king of rumba rock" and a pioneer of the La Sape movement. Combining rumba with a fleet of nimble, swirling horns, Kwenders exudes joy in this radiant ode to one of his biggest influences, the Congolese trailblazer who Kwenders said embodied "beauty and swag." The song is the first from Kwenders' forthcoming album, José Louis and the Paradox of Love, out April 29 on Arts & Crafts. — Jess Huddleston

'Come Running to Me' (Herbie Hancock cover), Anomalie

In April 2020, Montreal keyboardist/producer Anomalie (real name Nicolas Dupuis) posted a 55-second video clip to celebrate Herbie Hancock's birthday, saying, "'Come Running to Me' and the whole Sunlight album changed the way I approach arranging and music in general." Reaction was so positive, Anomalie has now expanded it into a lavish, three-minute-and-50-second track with a Jacob Collier-style one-man-band video that boggles the mind. He throws everything into the song: talkbox choir, multiple keyboard solos and a range of percussion effects — a performance that's full of enthusiasm and, despite the prodigious talent on display, humility and respect for the material. Watch for Anomalie's new album in April. — Robert Rowat

'Enemies,' Lil Berete

In November 2021, Toronto rapper Lil Berete dropped "Top Shotta," a track that saw him depart from the pop-rap, trap and drill-inspired sound that brought him widespread attention when he first emerged on the scene. Lil Berete is continuing that foray into Afro-fusion with his latest single, "Enemies." He's listed Akon, Young Thug and T-Pain as influences in the past, but in this current moment he seems to be guided more by the likes of Burna Boy, Wizid and Rema. Lil Berete is relishing his heritage; he's Guinean, and his mother is an artist who performs a West African style of music called jeli. The sing-songy delivery that makes him so suited for pop-rap lends itself well to his new Afro-fusion sound: "Enemies" is danceable and fun, with a lighter tone than his previous output. The music video was shot in Ghana and has an organic, joyous energy, filled with everyday scenes of kids playing in the streets, men getting fresh lineups at the barber or hanging out at the local bar. The dance sequences throughout make it clear that this song will be making appearances on many party playlists this summer. — Kelsey Adams

'Bye Bye Baby,' NoBro

Sometimes, true catharsis comes in the form of a primal scream. Pair that with some buzz-saw riffs and pounding drums and you've got a pretty great rock anthem. That's what Montreal garage punks NoBro's latest single, "Bye Bye Baby," does: gather the aftermath of a bad breakup into a fiery knockout punch. Clocking in at just two-and-a-half minutes, "Bye Bye Baby" is a whirlwind led by guitarist Karolane Carbonneau, who steps up to the mic after being encouraged by bandmate and lead singer Kathryn McCaughey to channel her breakup into a "freaking badass song," as she detailed in the press release. Mission accomplished. "Bye Bye Baby" will be on NoBro's new EP, Live Your Truth Shred Some Gnar, out Feb. 23. — ML

'Heartbeat,' Ghostly Kisses

"Come here, a little closer," Quebec City's Margaux Sauvé quietly invites on the opening track of her new album, Heaven, Wait, audibly taking a breath before nestling into your ear for the next four minutes. "Heartbeat" almost feels like a literal title, as the beat gently pulses on the love song, giving strength to Sauvé's vulnerable invitation. "Heartbeat, tell me what you need/ hold me, I know what you need," she sings on the chorus, building a low-key club vibe on synths and electronic hand-claps meant for reaching out to someone on these cold nights. Heaven, Wait is both intimate and spacious, a delicate balancing act that is seasonally perfect while the days stretch incrementally — but the nights still feel unending. — Holly Gordon


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