Justine (Wondeur Brass 1980-90). Avant-garde pop ensemble. It began in Montreal as a nine-woman band, reduced to eight by 1982, when it released the single 'Parano,' and to six by 1985, when it made the LP rAVIr (WB-21385/Ambiances Magnétiques AM-007). Members at this time were Hélène Bédard (trombone), Ginette Bergeron (tenor and baritone saxophone), Joane Hétu (alto saxophone), Judith Gruber-Stitzer (guitar, bass guitar), Diane Labrosse (keyboards), and Danielle Roger (drums, percussion). All six sang. Hétu, Labrosse, and Roger have remained constant to Wondeur Brass/Justine and also, as the Poules, recorded Les contes de l'amère loi (Ambiances Magnétiques AM-009), in 1986. With the addition of Marie Trudeau (bass guitar, voice), Wondeur Brass, now a quartet, recorded Simoneda, Reine des esclaves (Ambiances Magnétiques AM-012) in 1987 and, as Justine, issued (Suite) (Ambiances Magnétiques AM-016) in 1990.
Travelling in musique actuelle, feminist, and avant-garde jazz and rock circles, Wondeur Brass made its European debut in 1984 at the Congrès International 'Femmes & musique' in Paris and returned annually until 1990. By then it had performed in France, Switzerland, Germany (including the 1987 Moers International New Jazz Festival), Yugoslavia, England, and Belgium. It made its US debut in 1989 at the New York International Festival of the Arts. In Canada it has appeared at the FIJM (1985, 1986), the Festival international de musique actuelle de Victoriaville (1985, 1987), Sound Symposium (1986), and jazz festivals in Ottawa (1976) and Vancouver (1986, 1991). Under the auspices of its own Productions Super Mémé, it mounted the Festival international de musiciennes innovatrices in Montreal in 1988 at the Spectrum, the Foufounes électriques, etc, and presented a similar series of concerts at les Foufounes électriques in 1989.
Wondeur Brass/Justine has brought both a pluralist and populist approach to the pop idioms of the 1980s. Increasingly it has integrated hi-tech elements (eg, synthesizers) into its music, but there remains a simplicity - and occasionally a rudimentary, almost homemade quality - to its songs and its musicianship. However, the group shows no fear of the risks either of experimentation or of improvisation, revealing instead a spirited, assertive, and at times playful attitude toward performance.