It is impossible to separate Quebec singer-songwriter Francis Brisebois from his extraordinary creation Funk Lion. On a foundation of psychedelic rock infused with Afrofuturism, Negro Spiritual Song and Voodoo-funk, the Lion delivers an unforgettable musical experience which is best described as an uninhibited psychedelic carnival where tradition and modernism speak the same funky dialect.
Born in Haiti, Francis was adopted by a Quebec family and grew up in the Laurentian town of Lachute. After moving to Montreal as a 17-year-old student, he discovered ‘world music’ and suddenly Haitian sounds. Once established there, he formed, among others, reggae and Afrobeat bands and, as a self-taught guitarist, accompanied emerging artists like Madmoizèle Giraf, Vander, La Bronze, Samito, Boogat and Sonido Pesao. Francis then focused on crafting his own sound – a crossbreeding of these eclectic influences and an expression of his double identity as a Quebecer of Haitian origin.
Funk Lion’s first big adventure began in 2011 when Brisebois returned to his ancestral homeland as part of a government-funded music research project. The experience in Haiti led to the recording of his 2018 album Cité d’or (City of Gold, released under the Kartel Musik label). This opus is the story of a wild child who wants to discover his inner self and, with music as his poetic guide, travels like a cat of the great outdoors. City of Gold’s narrative is full of delightful forays into unusual places, such as a discussion with a shaman and a dance in a Haitian ceremony.
Before COVID-19 appeared, Francis was actively involved with À reach de mains, an organization that he founded to bring cultural programming to public spaces in Montreal. Our favorite funkmeister promises a major new Funk Lion project for 2021, which will “delight the whole galaxy, especially the house of felines,” and will be celebrated through a big party filled with psychedelics or, if we are still in the grip of the pandemic, a live broadcast on funk planet media.