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Chic Gamine amping up fresh, new sound

Chic Gamine is performing in Traverse City on Friday.
Chic Gamine
Chic Gamine is performing in Traverse City on Friday.

The Canadian band Chic Gamine became popular for their stripped-down, almost a cappella style.Back in 2007 when the group formed, they consisted of four female vocalists and a drummer— and that was it. Almost immediately, the band started touring, and quickly became popular with audiences. 

Chic Gamine appeared on A Prairie Home Companion, played during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, and was selected as a “Must See” act at the 2012 South-by-Southwest Festival.

Now, they’re out with a new album and a very different sound. 

Alexa Dirks, one of the band’s singers, says the change was inevitable. When Chic Gamine formed, they never intended to be defined by a single style.

“We just knew that we wanted to play together but didn’t necessarily think, ‘We want to be an a cappella group, or we want it to be solely voices and drums,’” says Dirks. “That’s just what we had, so we brought our strengths and we wrote music.”   

Chic Gamine had one of their singers step away in 2014. But the group decided not to audition another singer. Instead they added another instrumentalist. Then, this past fall, the band released their third studio album, Light A Match

Dirks said the title felt appropriate when thinking about the album. 

“It’s like, ‘Light a match— are you really going to do it or are you just going to sit there and talk about doing it?’” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nbkY6mr_XE

The album features a new, amped-up sound, some French and even a little whistling. It spans a variety of styles from R&B, to pop, to rock.

Dirks says they want to show listeners how the band has evolved over the last five years since they last released an album. And she admits they wondered about what people would think of their different sound.

“We weren’t sure if people would be on board,” explains Dirks. “But we just wanted to spin this emotional map of where we were at.” 

Chic Gamine performs Friday night at the City Opera House in Traverse City.

Dan Wanschura is the Host and Executive Producer of Points North.