Esmerine was co-founded in early 2000s by percussionist Bruce Cawdron (Godpseed You! Black Emperor) and cellist Rebecca Foon (Thee Silver Mt. Zion, Saltland) soon after the two met while recording the first Set Fire To Flames record Signs Reign Rebuilder (2001) at the old brothel at 10 rue Ontario Est in Montreal. Esmerine released two critically-acclaimed albums of modern chamber music in the first half of that decade: If Only a Sweet Surrender to the Nights to Come Be True (2003) and Aurora (2005). These albums have one foot in the new music/experimental terrain of contemporaries like Rachel's or Town And Country and the other in a more visceral and lyrical landscape populated by the likes of Dirty Three (and GY!BE themselves).

Beckie's activity with Thee Silver Mt. Zion increased through the mid-2000s and Bruce deepened his study and practice as an acupuncturist, but the duo continued stoking the Esmerine fires with occasional live performances and special events in Montreal in the latter half of the decade – often bringing in guest musicians to collaborate with the group on one show or another.

While Esmerine had made deft but sparing use of guest players on their first two albums, collaboration has become the new mantra for the duo as they returned to intensive writing, recording and touring in 2010. La Lechuza (2011) expanded the group to a quartet, with the addition of harp-player Sarah Pagé and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Barr (both of The Barr Brothers and the Lhasa de Sela band), who came together around their dearly departed mutual friend Lhasa de Sela during the period when Lhasa was working on her third and final record in Montreal in 2009-2010. La Lechuza was predominantly tracked by Patrick Watson at his Montreal loft, and Watson sings on two of the album's songs. Other musical guests include Sarah Neufeld (Arcade Fire), Colin Stetson, Mishka Stein and Robbie Kuster. Mark Lawson (Arcade Fire, Unicorns) mixed the bulk of the album's tracks.

With Pagé and Barr increasingly occupied with Barr Brothers duties, Esmerine solidified its touring line-up as a quartet with Jamie Thompson (Unicorns, Islands) on drums/percussion and Brian Sanderson on various instruments. This quartet gelled around the Esmerine back catalogue through several dozen live performances and began writing new material in 2012, culminating in an artist residency and recording session in Istanbul at the end of that year. These sessions included four local Turkish musicians and yielded the bulk of the bed tracks for Esmerine's fourth album, Dalmak(2013), which the group completed in winter 2012-2013 with engineer Jace Lasek at Breakglass Studio in Montreal.

Esmerine frequently tours with live, manually-manipulated lightbox projection visuals by renowned artist, puppeteer and light designer Clea Minaker (Feist, Atom Egoyan).


contact (AT)


ENVISION // Rhyna Thompson //


Constellation Records // Don Wilkie //

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CAN: BON SOUND // Mathieu Rousseau //

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USA: INLAND EMPIRE // Robin Taylor //

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EU: BELLMONT BOOKINGS // John Fitzgerald //


CAN: Constellation // Patricia Bouchel //

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Esmerine Wins Juno for Instrumental Album of the Year

Congratulations Esmerine for winning Instrumental Album of the Year at the 2023 Juno Awards!  🎉

The band's latest album “Everything Was Forever Until It Was No More” was nominated for this award.

Click here to see the full list of winners + nominees

Esmerine's "Everything Was Forever Until It Was No More" is nominated for a Juno Award!

Congratulations Esmerine for your nomination at the 2023 Juno Awards! 🎉 Esmerine’s “Everything Was Forever Until It Was No More” has been nominated for instrumental album of the year.

Click here to learn more about Esmerine's nomination + detail for the 2023 Juno Awards

Bell Orchestre reissues their second album "As Seen Through Windows"

Big news! Bell Orchestre's second album "As Seen Through Windows" will be reissued via Erased Tapes Records on April 28th. The reissue features brand new artwork by Bernd Kuchenbeiser. Whilst working on the reissue, we found three songs that were featured exclusively on the Japanese CD edition on its release. Those three tracks will be available on the digital deluxe version of the album.

Click here to pre-save/ pre-order album.

Esmerine Performing at 'Live à Lost River'

Join Esmerine at 'Live à Lost River', a unique and immersive festival in the middle of the woods.

Created by Patrick Watson & Rebecca Foon, join them August 25th - 28th for a festival with multiple venues and stages, all connected by trails through the forest, with live music and breathtaking lighting. 

Click here to buy tickets + for event details.

Esmerine France Tour Dates Announced

Join Esmerine as they perform across France from May 10th - May 20th, 2022.

Click here to buy tickets + for event details

Album Out NOW - Everything Was Forever Until It Was No More

Esmerine is back with a brand new album titled "Everything Was Forever Until It Was No More"

Made in the snowy Laurentian mountains and Gatineau Hills of Quebec,  this album carries with it the sense of being 'snowed-in' and the joy of being 'all-in-it together', coupled with the unease and melancholy of having found an oasis while the storm continues to rage outside.


Click here to listen to the full album. 

Kid Koala and Esmerine Nominated for 2018 Juno Awards

The 2018 Juno Award Nominations have just been announced and we are happy to congratulate Kid Koala on his nomination for Electronic Music Album of The Year for Music To Draw To: Satellite, and Esmerine (Jean-Sébastien Denis, Ian Ilavsky, Guy L'Heureux)  on their nomination for Album Artwork of the Year! 

Esmerine Announces "Mechanics of Dominion"

Mechanics Of Dominion is perhaps Esmerine's most dynamic and narratively-informed work, tracing an arc through Neo-Classical, Minimalist, Modern Contemporary, Folk, Baroque, Jazz and Rock idioms to invoke lamentation, meditation, resolve, resistance and hope. It is a requiem for our intractably suffering planet and a paean to the inscrutable, essential dignity of indigenous ethics and the natural world, and to modern human frailty and ingenuity.

Two nominations for Envision's artists at the 2014 Juno Awards!

Colin Stetson's New History Warfare Vol.3: To See More Light & Esmerine's Dalmak are both competing this year for the Instrumental Album of the Year Award at the Junos! Which one of these great artists will go home with the trophy?

Esmerine Wins Juno Award!

(photo credit: CARAS/iPhoto) Dalmak was nominated for a Juno Award in the Best Instrumental Album category - and won!

New Album "Lost Voices" & Quebtario Tour

Esmerine releases anticipated new album -Lost Voices- on October 16th, 2015. Don't miss the launch party co-presented by SUOINI PER IL POPOLO, CONSTELLATION RECORDS, and CKUT 90.3 FM on Thursday November 12, 2015 at La Sala Rossa (4848 bou. Saint-Laurent, Montreal, Que). The show will be opened by another member of the Envision family, our newest addition, AroarA!

This Esmerine show will be amongst several as part of a Quebtario tour with dates in Ottawa, Kingston, Guelph, Sherbrooke, Saint-Casimir, Quebec, Toronto and Wakefield.

Video for 'The Neighbourhoods Rise'

Montreal's Clyde Henry Productions created this video by individually filming the members of Esmerine in performance and then projecting footage onto constructivist-inspired sculptures of the band. These “puppets” were then animated by hand to synch, frame for frame, with the live performances projected upon the sculptural forms.

Signal Fire

dir. by Kurtis Hough