50 years of great research
Tune in to Québec’s music scene
Quebec has a rich and creative musical culture rooted in the “melting pot” in which it has been stirring since the early days of the New France colony in 1534. Through the country’s and the province’s history, under French, Irish, Scottish, British and US influences, Québec’s music became a complex mix of French and English traditions and morphed to develop its own language and style.
As Québec is nowadays a modern cosmopolitan society, all types of music bloom in the culture. Particular to the province are its traditional Quebecois songs (la chanson québécoise), but Quebec also has a very flowering indie scene, a growing rap and hip hop culture, many well-known jazz musicians, a culture of classical (and neo-classical) music, a local variety of Celtic/Traditional music and the music of local First Nations and the Inuit. Urban areas and summer festivals also feature music and rhythms from around the world.
To take a dip into Québec’s music scene, here is a selection of artists from different style and decades that will allow you to get into the groove and travel without moving!
Part 1: Québec contemporary music and general overview
Click here for Part 2: Québec music scene, a bit of history
Québec City’s blooming music scene
Québec City is the capital of the province of Québec, and Montreal is the metropole. If Montreal, which is the center of most of the cultural production of the province, has an international aura and is sometimes referred as “Canada’s cultural capital”, Québec City is not to be outdone! Indeed, the capital’s music scene is very dynamic and creative. Besides its Festival d’été de Québec, one of Canada's biggest music festivals which attracts over an average of 325 000 festival goers to the city’s historic district (250 shows, 10 venues and 11 days of music each summer!), Québec City has numerous venues and cultural events that put music at the forefront.
Over the past few years, there has been a particularly flourishing effervescence of the new generation, the result of a pooling of talents and energies of the local artistic community. Here is a glimpse of the great talents that boil in our beautiful city!
Tire le coyote
Men I Trust
Les louanges (Lévis)
Here is a nearly 6-hour playlist of great chansons québécoises (Québec songs) of the last 30 years. From Daniel Bélanger to Pierre Lapointe, including Ariane Moffat, the Cowboys Fringants, Les Colocs and many more!
Québec indie scene
The indie scene in Québec has been very prolific since the turning of the millennium. There are so many good artists to choose from that it gets impossible, so here are a few playlists that can accompany you through the exploration of this very fruitful scene!
Neoclassical music craze
The music of Alexandra Stréliski accompanied astronaut David Saint-Jacques in space, and the music of and Jean-Michel Blais attracted the attention of Time magazine. These artists are not only pianists whose talent piques curiosity beyond our borders, they are also spearheading the neoclassical music craze that is currently hitting Québec!
Music by Indigenous Artists
The Innu duo Kashtin (Claude McKenzie, Florent Vollant) had international success in the 1980s and 1990s. Kashtin's songs, in country or contemporary folk styles, are characterized by spirited refrains sung in harmony over vigorous, acoustic guitar rhythms. The song “E uassiuan” released in 1989 was a very popular hit. Florent Vollant is still active as a solo artist and is considered an important figure of the First Nations.
Inuk singer-songwriter Elisapie Isaac (born in 1977 in Salluit) sings in English, French, and Inuktitut.
The rapper Samuel Tremblay, better known by his stage name Samian (born in 1983 in Pikogan), performs in both French and Algonquian.
National Holiday – June 24
June 24 is a National Holiday in the province of Québec, called Fête nationale or Saint-Jean-Baptiste. It is usually celebrated on June 23 and 24 with big outdoors shows, namely on the Plains of Abraham in Québec City, but this year, because of social/physical distancing issues related to COVID-19, the celebrations will be presented on television and online and will bring together more than forty varied artists of Québec’s cultural scene. So at 8PM EDT on June 23, you can tune in to one of Québec’s major TV networks at or watch online at:
You may also want to listen to the Québécois - Party de la St-Jean playlist, which offers you around 14 hours of selected Québec music of different styles and decades to discover and enjoy on that festive holiday or any other day!