“Houle\'s stirring defiance is all her own on this debut that is equal parts red velvet, expensive booze, vamp and high drama made alive by a pile of instruments including the accordion, stand-up bass, fiddle, mando and that creamy, cabaret-torch voice.” - Ottawa Citizen, March 17/07
“Though emotionally tangled up in blue, the velvet voiced Houle maintains unwavering focus throughout, playing as if every note, every word, every gasp and breath of the squeezebox literally sustains her” - Ottawa XPress, March 22/07
“Houle interprète ses chansons de regret et de vengeance.” - Voir, July 14/07
“The ghost of Paris\' Little Sparrow [Edith Piaf] certainly can be heard in Houle\'s modern-day take on gypsy jazz and French café music” - SEE Magazine, July 26/07
\"Houle is a gifted singer and her album is a treasure.\" - www.collectedsounds.com, May 25/08
\"Le répertoire de l’auteure-compositrice-interprète fait dans l’émotion plutôt que dans la virtuosité avec un quelque chose d’envoûtant dans le rythme et un soupçon d’irrévérence dans l’interprétation.\" Voix Pop, http://www.lavoixpop.com/article-226701-Accordeoniste-du-XXIe-siecle.html, June 25/08
Born in Val d‘Or, Quebec and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, Marie-Josée Houle celebrates her dual cultural roots through music. Singing and writing in both English and French, she brings the Townships to the Prairies and beyond. No polkas or foxtrots for this accordion diva; instead, she combines her classical, punk rock, and French cabaret sensibilities into one sultry stew of sound.
Her musical history is as varied as her hair colour. Classically trained on the accordion at age five, she chose other instruments as the medium to first deliver music to the masses. In 2000, she took up the electric bass and saxophone in order to form two very eclectic projects in Edmonton: “Pangina”, an all-girl punk band and “The Elevators”, a post-modern muzak band. Her reconnection with the accordion coincided with a move to Ottawa in 2003 and culminated in the world music collaboration known as \"Casadore.\" The success of that project – including a performance at the 2005 Ottawa Folk Music Festival – served as a springboard for her solo work.
Her solo debut, Our Lady of Broken Souls, was released in March 2007 to much critical acclaim, including a nomination for Best Folk Album of 2007 by the Ottawa Xpress alongside local folk sensations Jim Bryson and Andrea Simms Karp. The album charted and received solid airplay on local college and community radio stations across the country.
Marie-Josée is busy with her many musical and artistic endeavours, performing and recording with a multitude of musicians, working with theatre groups and filmmakers.
Two-thousand-and-seven saw her play the main stage of WestFest, play Toronto’s Nuit Blanche, embark on her first successful cross-country tour, and recently share a stage with other celebrated female Ottawa artists like Kellylee Evans and Kathleen Edwards for a live recorded performance for a CBC Radio 1 broadcast.
As 2007 and 2008 brought her international shows in England, France and Norway, she continues to transport the streets and cafés of Paris to the clubs, theatres and festivals of Canada and beyond.
Marie-Josée just returned from Oslo, Norway with her latest album Monsters in hand. Watch for it starting October 1, 2008.