Photo by Marie-Claude Hamel

They are the first francophone band to have won the Polaris Music Prize, an annual nod given to a band solely on artistic merit, no sales figures required (unlike that other big award). Montreal’s Karkwa took home the 2010 award, in a surprise win announced last fall (they beat out Caribou!). The band is actually 12 years old and has four albums to its credit, but was mostly unknown in English Canada until the Polaris win.

Now, the band is embarking on a string of dates at major gigs including tonight’s double-header: the  televised Genie Awards at the National Arts Centre AND a concert with Plants and Animals.

They sing entirely in French, but that hasn’t prevented them from becoming the darlings of English media, with profiles in major dailies, a spot at Canadian Music Week and mega airplay. Could it be that their atmospheric folk rock that is at times lilting and weep-inducing and at other times about of head-noddin’ boot-tappin’ bliss transcends linguistic boundaries?

With Plants and Animals. Thursday, March 10. 8 p.m. Capital Music Hall, 128 York St. $18.