“Develop your self-confidence and be your own best friend” - Joannie Labelle

As a teenager, she used to go to a lot of concerts. She fell in love with percussion seeing a great African drumming performance. Immediately she felt this music was her world and felt she had to take part in it. She is Joannie Labelle. Joannie Labelle, known for her sensibility and her viral groove, can charm an audience as soon as her fingers strike the drums. She studied Latin percussion with teachers Normand Hervieux, Alain Labrosse, Luc Boivin, and Paul Picard. Two years ago, she started exploring Indian drumming (mridangam) with master Puvialagan Mayarajah. She is now active on the local and international scene, such as Montreal, Vancouver, Berlin, Germany, Bari, Italy, and even Doha, Qatar Did she face any challenges as a female in the world of percussion? Joannie says, “I am grateful to be evolving around people who are really respectful. I have to say I feel my challenges are maybe more personal than general. I always feel that I have to prove that I can play well, that I know what I am doing and what I want, and that I am not just getting the jobs because I look fine.” 

Her most memorable project so far was to play for the European singer Lara Fabian. Joannie says, “I was sharing this experience with lovely people, playing beautiful music for a great artist. I have to mention that we travelled a lot and it was gratefully overwhelming.”

Recently she performed with the Mosaïque Ensemble from Canada, along with Surojit Chatterjee and O Bondhura in Kolkata.  Abhijit Ganguly spoke to her on the sidelines of the Concert. Her word of advice, “Develop your self-confidence and be your own best friend. Develop your skills and focus on what you love to play. And have fun!”

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