Et Cetera

Et Cetera was a Québécois symphonic art-rock band that released a self-titled album in 1976 on DIY Apostrophe.

Members: Marie Bernard Pagé (keyboards, ondes Martenot, vocals), Denis Chartrand (keyboards, flute, saxophone, vibraphone, vocals), Pierre Dragon (drums, percussion), Robert Marchand (guitars, vocals), Alain Yves Pigeon (bass, cello, vocals)


Background

Et Cetera formed in Montreal around singer Marie Bernard Pagé (b. 1951), a classically trained keyboardist who specialized in the ondes Martenot, a rare keyboard oscillator invented in 1928 by French cellist Maurice Martenot (whose instrument was often compared to the theremin, a hands-free contemporary patent by Russian inventor Leon Theremin).

The ondes Martenot consists of a keyboard with a lateral wire that the player manipulates for vibrato effects. Marie plays the instrument on one track (“En Pleine Face”) on Les Cinq Saisons, the 1975 second album by Harmonium. Along with multi-instrumentalist Denis Chartrand, she sings in the massive choir on Dompierre, a three-sided 1975 album by composer–conductor François Dompierre.

Marie and Denis assembled Et Cetera with guitarist Robert Marchand, bassist Alain Yves Pigeon, and drummer Pierre Dragon.


The Album

Et Cetera released their self-titled album in November 1976 on Apostrophe, a self-run label. Denis Chartrand composed the two final songs (“L’Age Dort,” “Tandem”) and co-wrote “Newton Avait Raison” and all of Side A with Robert Marchand, who wrote “Apostrophe.”

Marie Bernard Pagé uses the ondes Martenot and splits vocals and keyboards with Chartrand, who also plays vibraphone, flute, and saxophone. Bassist Alain-Yves Pigeon plays occasional cello and shares backing vocals with guitarist Robert Marchand.

Musically, Et Cetera draws from the jagged, pointillist vein of select Gentle Giant cuts (“Knots,” “An Inmates Lullaby,” “So Sincere,” “Give It Back”) — a style recently employed stateside by Yezda Urfa, Ambrosia (“The Brunt”), and Fireballet (“Chinatown Boulevards”). Marie’s voice, combined with angular synths and mallets, foreshadows work by the Motor Totemist Guild (“Farmer Without Strings”).

A1. “Et la Musique Tourne” (4:05)
A2. “Éclaircie” (5:12)
A3. “Entre Chien et Loup” (7:01)
B1. “Apostrophe” (4:58)
B2. “Newton Avait Raison” (4:10)
B3. “L’Age Dort” (4:30)
B4. “Tandem” (6:08)

Sessions took place in August 1976 at Studio Tempo, a four-year-old studio modeled on NYC’s Record Plant. Marie’s husband, Paul Pagé, produced and engineered Et Cetera in sequence with titles by Diane Dufresne (Sur la Même Longueur D’Ondes), Mahogany Rush (MR IV), and Patsy Gallant (“World of Fantasy”). His co-producer, Yves Ladouceur, worked in tandem with Harmonium, Le Temps, and Boule Noire. The assistant engineer, Louis (Bra) Gauthier, worked on subsequent albums by Le Rêve du Diable, Offenbach, Maneige (Ni vent… Ni nouvelle), and Ungava (self-titled).

Et Cetera coincided with Studio Tempo’s relocation from McGill College avenue to the Pointe Saint-Charles. Marie earned guest ondes credits on Sur La Même and concurrent Tempo-recorded tracks by April Wine (“Wings of Love,” with pianist Dwayne Ford) and Beau Dommage (the 20-minute title suite of their second album, Où Est Passée La Noce?).

The album’s cover depicts a gong (or possibly the sun) rendered in gold paint on a closed set of blinds. The LP label’s continue the circular theme with imagery of a round brick tunnel furnished with sinks. The inner-sleeve has lyrics and a pencil sketch of Et Cetera cross-hatched with repetitions of their name. The designer, Marc Durand, later handled production and visuals on the 1982 Men Without Hats release Rhythm of Youth.

In February 1977, Et Cetera supported Gentle Giant (then touring their recent live album, Playing the Fool) in Quebec City (2/20: Convention Center) and Montreal (2/23: The Forum).


Post-Et Cetera

Denis Chartrand surfaced alongside Pollen mastermind Jacques Tom Rivest on Lautrec, the 1981 comeback album by Sixties acrobat and chanson singer Donald Lautrec. Amid numerous subsequent credits, Chartrand played piano on two songs (“Ball and Chain,” “Can’t Stop Lovin’ You”) on the 1982 debut album by Aldo Nova.

Marie Bernard teamed with four fellow ondists (ondes Martenot players) in L’Ensemble D’Ondes De Montréal. In 1978, they made an album of contemporary avant-garde music for Radio Canada International. She earned subsequent credits on albums by Paul Piché, France Gauthier, and Fabienne Thibeault. In 1983, she partook in two new wave one-offs: Vitaminn (vocals only) and Soupir (vocals, keyboard, vocoder). She produced and arranged the latter’s singular album, Éclipse, released on Polydor.

Marie Bernard remains a key figure in the ondist community. In April 2016, she and fellow Montréaler ondist Estelle Lemire appeared in Nashville as part of the Key of Intensity concert series with Intersection, a contemporary music ensemble.> 

Et Cetera reappeared in 1997 as a CD on Unidisc (Canada) and Belle Antique (Japan).


Discography:


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