HPX spotlight: Radio Radio

The Acadian hip-hop band hooks up fans on both sides of the language divide.

Radio Radio shows must produce two by-products, "sweat and smiles," according to Gabriel Louis Bernard Malenfant, one of three members of the band (along with Alexandre Arthur Bilodeau and Jacques Alphonse Doucet).

Much has been made of Radio Radio's Acadian identity. The three hail from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The bio on their label Bonsound Records' website refers to their "sweet French-Acadian accent."

So what does it mean to be an Acadian hip-hop band? "It means, that you often hear the question, 'What does it mean to be an Acadian hip-hop band,' which we don't mind, since it's like somebody asking your name," writes Malenfant. "It's who you are."

The band is now based in Montreal, where they continue to cultivate critical and fan support (Polaris Prize shortlisting for their second album Belmundo Regal and recent appearance at CMJ in New York will only add to that) for their adept bilingual lyrics and universally energizing tracks.

"Personally, I love the city," declares Malenfant of Montreal. "We like characters and there are a whole lot here, which makes us feel at home," he continues. "The groceries are amazing! It's like Pete's Frootique times 100." The beautiful people and parks make the big city a "pretty down-to-earth place to live," according to Malenfant. "Artistically, like any other place when you have time it's an amazing place to galavant and tap into."

Politically, francophones from across Canada, whether across the interprovincial bridge from Quebec in Ottawa or in communities around Winnipeg, have voiced their own struggle for recognition, often from within the shadow of Quebecois culture. Acadian culture resonates for Quebeckers.

"When you're Acadian there's a natural curiosity [on] their part, which could be seen as a good ice-breaker I guess," explains Malenfant. "Besides that, the fact that we're bilingual, basically gives us access to both, quite autonomous, English and French scenes, which is definitely a bonus.

"We can float from one environment to the next and hook up people from all sides." –SF

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