Although Karkwa only released three albums during the band's first decade together, the Canadian group garnered considerable critical acclaim during that time, eventually becoming the first francophone band to win the Polaris Music Prize. Formed in 1998 by singer/guitarist Louis-Jean Cormier, keyboardist François Lafontaine, bassist Martin Lamontagne, drummer Stephane Bergeron, and percussionist Julien Sagot, Karkwa scored a quick victory after being cherry-picked to perform at the Printemps du Quebec Festival in Paris in 1999. After taking a brief break to pursue individual pet projects, Karkwa made waves in 2001 when they made the final round of the Francouvertes musical talent competition. This led to a series of concerts and the release of a debut album, 2003's Le Pensionnat des Établis (Boarding School of the Establishment), a critically acclaimed record that climbed to the top of the college radio charts.
In 2005, following a successful round of touring in support of their debut, Karkwa released album number two, Les Tremblements S'Immobilisent (The Tremors Come to a Halt). After winning the multiple Felix Awards the following year, Karkwa spent the latter part of 2007 touring Europe, eventually returning in 2008 with Le Volume du Vent (The Volume of the Wind). It was their fourth album, however -- 2010's Les Chemins de verre -- that gave Karkwa their biggest boost to date, earning a string of strong reviews and winning the 2010 Polaris Music Prize. ~ Chris True