Karkwa receiving the 2010 Polaris Music Prize (Photo: Dustin Rabin)
|Origin||Montreal, Quebec, Canada|
|Website||(in French) karkwa.com|
Formed in 1998, the group consists of vocalist and guitarist Louis-Jean Cormier, keyboardist François Lafontaine, bass guitarist Martin Lamontagne, percussionist Julien Sagot, and drummer Stéphane Bergeron. The band's name is a phonetic rendering of carquois (French for a quiver of arrows).
After reaching the final stages of the Francouvertes contest in 2001, the band released its debut album, Le Pensionnat des établis, in 2003. The album's single "Poisson cru" reached the top of Quebec's campus radio charts, and was named the best album of the year by two critics for Montreal's alternative weekly Voir.
The band's second album, Les Tremblements s'immobilisent, won three Félix Awards in 2006. In 2007, they were featured, along with The Stills, The Besnard Lakes and Mahjor Bidet, on the bill of Quebec Scene, a concert in Ottawa sponsored by CBC Radio 3.
On the third album, Le Volume du vent, as the band further expanded its reach into English Canada, guest musicians included Patrick Watson and Elizabeth Powell. The album was a longlisted nominee for the 2008 Polaris Music Prize.
Lead singer Louis-Jean Cormier released his debut solo album, Le treizième étage, in 2012. The album won Francophone Album of the Year at the Juno Awards of 2013. In June 2013, Le treizième étage was longlisted for the 2013 Polaris Music Prize. Percussionist Julien Sagot has also released three solo albums, Piano mal (2012), Valse 333 (2014) and Blue Jane (2017).