Daniel Bélanger live concert  in Toronto, Saturday September 30 at the “Paradise theatre”

1006c Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6H 1M2

Daniel Bélanger signs Mercure in May, an album that celebrates human complicity and unexpected joys, released on Secret City Records.
On a cold morning in February 2021, at the heart of the umpteenth pandemic wave, Daniel Bélanger was strolling on a street in the Mile-Ex district. Hands deep in his pockets, head in his shoulders, he was perplexed by the thousand and one consequences of the health emergency and in particular by the impossibility of sitting warm in a café, as he likes to do so much.

After stopping at a counter where he is used to, where he had just ordered a latte to take away, he recognized someone among a small group of onlookers gathered around a public bench. Greetings, introduction to one and all, beginning of discussion: Daniel Bélanger did not know it yet, but he had just made real friends, with whom, through exchanges around a steaming goblet, he crossed the weeks of confinement that were beginning.

The song Soleil levant was born from this meeting, “between a coffee and a good conversation”, to “remake the world one end at a time”. One could even say that each of the ten titles of Mercury in May comes from such a chance, like a fruit of the unexpected. Words attentive to astonishment, to the sudden, to those “little Californias” that sleep deep inside us; music navigating between the minimal and the luxuriant, with boomerang motifs and secret passages: everything here tells of the impromptu, which escapes agendas and reason.

If the goldsmith’s precision of his productions can give the impression that everything, with Daniel Bélanger, is thought out and framed, it would be rather the opposite… “The songs impose themselves on me, he says, I am the first surprised of the path on which they lead me. The rockabilly Chic de ville (2013), the dreamlike Paloma (2016), the cinematographic Traveling (2020), each of his records is an exercise in freedom, basically, guided by intuition and of which he does not fully understand did the stuff only a few years later. This time again, it is over the days and the streets that the songwriter has gleaned the raw material for his songs, undoubtedly influenced by the health crisis that we have just gone through and the need for escape that it has sown in each of us.

There is Joy, which speaks to us of great inner waves, of their “liquid diamond” which rises straight to the heart. There is Dormir dans l’auto, which celebrates “the end of dormancy and the beginning of hope”. Instant awakenings, beautiful escapes, forays into instrumental territory (Oh no !!!, Hiatus): Daniel Bélanger’s twelfth album is in the playful and introspective vein of his repertoire, while offering a from where we are collectively, with our thirst for elsewhere, flights, our need to pound the pavement.
At his side, a light team made up of Guillaume Doiron (bass) and Robbie Kuster (drums), who made a few stops at Daniel’s studio before Pierre Girard ensured the mixing of this Mercure by hypnotizing me, the breath of oxygen that we all needed.