Karkwa is an indie rock band from Montreal, Quebec, Canada, formed in 1998.

Karkwa receiving the 2010 Polaris Music Prize (Photo: Dustin Rabin)
Background information
OriginMontreal, Quebec, Canada
GenresIndie rock
Years active1998present
Website(in French) karkwa.com
MembersLouis-Jean Cormier
François Lafontaine
Martin Lamontagne
Julien Sagot
Stéphane Bergeron


Formed in 1998, the group consists of vocalist and guitarist Louis-Jean Cormier, keyboardist François Lafontaine, bass guitarist Martin Lamontagne, percussionist Julien Sagot, and drummer Stéphane Bergeron. The band's name is a phonetic rendering of carquois (French for a quiver of arrows).

After reaching the final stages of the Francouvertes contest in 2001, the band released its debut album, Le Pensionnat des établis, in 2003. The album's single "Poisson cru" reached the top of Quebec's campus radio charts, and was named the best album of the year by two critics for Montreal's alternative weekly Voir.

The band's second album, Les Tremblements s’immobilisent, won three Félix Awards in 2006. In 2007, they were featured, along with The Stills, The Besnard Lakes and Mahjor Bidet, on the bill of Quebec Scene, a concert in Ottawa sponsored by CBC Radio 3.

On the third album, Le Volume du vent, as the band further expanded its reach into English Canada, guest musicians included Patrick Watson and Elizabeth Powell.[1] The album was a longlisted nominee for the 2008 Polaris Music Prize.[2]

Their fourth album, Les Chemins de verre, was recorded in Paris, France.[3] The album won the 2010 Polaris Music Prize[4] and the 2011 Juno Award for Francophone Album of the Year.

In December 2011, the band announced that it would release a live album in 2012, followed by a hiatus.[5] The album debuted at number 25 on the Canadian Albums Chart.[6]

Lead singer Louis-Jean Cormier released his debut solo album, Le treizième étage, in 2012. The album won Francophone Album of the Year at the Juno Awards of 2013. In June 2013, Le treizième étage was longlisted for the 2013 Polaris Music Prize. Percussionist Julien Sagot has also released three solo albums, Piano mal (2012), Valse 333 (2014) and Blue Jane (2017).

On July 7, 2018, the band performed a reunion show at the La Noce festival in Saguenay.[7]



  • Stéphane Bergeron – drums (1998present)
  • Louis-Jean Cormier – guitars and vocals (1998present)
  • François Lafontaine – keyboards and acoustic guitar (1998present)
  • Martin Lamontagne – bass guitar (2001present)
  • Julien Sagot – percussions and vocals (1998present)


  • Michel Gagnon – guitars and vocals (19982001)
  • Martin Pelletier – bass guitar (19982001)


Le Pensionnat des établis

  • Released: 14 Oct. 2003
  • Format: CD
  • Label: C4 Productions
  • Tracks: Eleven
  • Singles: "Poisson Cru"

Les Tremblements s'immobilisent

  • Released: 7 Nov. 2005
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Audiogram
  • Tracks: Twelve
  • Singles: "La marche," "Coup d'état," "La fuite," "Vrai"

Le Volume du vent

  • Released: 1 Apr. 2008
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Audiogram
  • Tracks: Thirteen
  • Singles: "Échapper au sort," "Oublie pas," "La façade," "À la chaîne"

Les Chemins de verre

  • Released: 30 Mar. 2010
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Audiogram
  • Tracks: Twelve
  • Singles: "Les chemins de verre," "Marie tu pleures," "Le pyromane"


  1. Leijon, Erik (2010-04-03). "Karkwa Get Help From Patrick Watson And Land Of Talk On New Album". CHARTattack. Archived from the original on 2011-06-06. Retrieved 2010-11-21.
  2. "40 acts listed for Polaris Music Prize". CBC News. 2008-06-12. Retrieved 2010-11-21.
  3. Dacks, David (Oct 2010). "Karkwa's Louis-Jean Cormier". Exclaim!. Retrieved 2010-11-21.
  4. Harper, Kate (2010-09-20). "Karkwa Win The 2010 Polaris Music Prize". CHARTattack. Archived from the original on 2010-09-22. Retrieved 2010-09-21.
  5. "Karkwa Plot Live Album, Announce Hiatus". Exclaim!, December 14, 2011.
  6. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-11-21. Retrieved 2012-03-21.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. "5000 personnes pour le spectacle de Karkwa à Saguenay". Ici Radio-Canada, July 7, 2018.
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