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).


ENVISION // Rhyna Thompson //


Constellation Records // Don Wilkie //


CAN: BON SOUND // Mathieu Rousseau //

USA: INLAND EMPIRE // Robin Taylor //

EU: BELLMONT BOOKINGS // John Fitzgerald //


CAN: Constellation // Patricia Bouchel //

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