While pursuing a career in electrical engineering, Christine Tassan made what she calls a “scary” decision: she decided to become a full-time musician, a job she had dreamed of since she was a child.
“It was a bit scary, that’s why it took me so long to decide,” she said.
“I really needed to do the change and I really wanted to do something professional with that.”
Over a decade later the French-born performer, who is now based in Montreal, has clearly made it. Tassan performs with a variety of different groups and musicians, but is best known as the lead vocalist and guitarist for Christine et les Imposteurs, an all-female gypsy jazz quartet.
“(Gypsy jazz) is music that everybody can appreciate even if you don’t know gypsy jazz or jazz in general. It is dancing music, swing music, so it has a lot of energy so I think it is part of the success of the band,” Tassan said.
Gypsy jazz is a world that’s dominated by male musicians – les Imposteurs translates to The Imposters – giving the group a unique voice in the genre.
“We feel like imposters in that world…There are very few women in jazz in general and very few in gypsy jazz so for me it’s important to show that we can have an all-woman band and play. Very often girls come to see us and they are very interested…they see that other women can do it so for a young woman, I think it’s important,” Tassan said.
Altogether the band has produced four albums, including 2014’s C’est L’Heure de L’Apero.
Despite the fact that their lyrics are almost exclusively in French, Tassan’s group has recently broken into markets outside of Quebec.
They’ll be stopping in Golden on Nov. 6 as part of the Live Kicks concert series, which is part of an extensive western Canadian tour this fall. The group already has another tour across B.C. and Alberta lined up for February of next year.
“I think that since we do a lot of instrumental songs, we cross the barrier of language,” Tassan said. “Also I think that French songs are really appreciated even by an English audience. We also have some songs in English, so I think that Anglophones really appreciate that.”
For more information on the group’s upcoming show in Golden, visit kickinghorseculture.ca.