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Arcade Fire's Grammy win earns applause in Montreal, accolades from PM

Win Butler of Arcade Fire holds up the Grammy for Album of the Year.

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

There's gushing and even gloating about the Montreal indie band that beat out some of the biggest names in the music industry and won the most prestigious prize at the Grammies.

The City of Montreal's website features a red banner across its home page that reads, in all caps, "BRAVO ARCADE FIRE FOR ITS ALBUM OF THE YEAR GRAMMY!"

The tribute came one day after members of Arcade Fire delivered a bilingual shout-out to their home town while receiving the best-album prize.

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"Thank you, merci, to Montreal, Quebec, for taking us and giving us a home and a place to be in a band," said the band's frontman, American-born Win Butler, as he accepted the award in Los Angeles.

The upset win prompted a torrent of online comments to social-networking sites from people wondering who they were. Arcade Fire's album, The Suburbs, beat out entries from some better-known artists including Eminem, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Lady Antebellum.

But in Canada, and especially in Montreal, there was plenty of celebration.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper released a statement congratulating all of Canada's Grammy winners, and his heritage minister, James Moore, even boasted on his Twitter page: "A thought: I'm a big U2 fan, but perhaps U2 should be opening for Arcade Fire on July 30th in Moncton instead of the other way around."

The success of Arcade Fire's first album, Funeral, earned Montreal a reputation as an important hub in the indie-music scene.

Many Montrealers now feel personally invested in the band's success, having watched them go from playing church basements to sold-out stadiums.

Well-known Montreal jazz singer Ranee Lee was among those cheering Sunday's upset win.

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Lee taught Regine Chassagne, who along with being married to Butler plays a variety of instruments in the band, when she was still a music student at McGill University.

"(I am) very proud of her and the choices she's made with her bandmates, with her soul mate, with being true to herself as far as music is concerned," Lee said.

"She has this warmth about her that is infectious and it seemed to be part of what the band is style-wise."

Others pointed out that Arcade Fire is only the best known of a host of Montreal rock bands that are developing loyal followings - prompting questions about what makes the city special.

Butler, who grew up in Texas, assembled the band's current formation after arriving in Montreal. He told reporters assembled at the Grammys what the place meant to him.

"I moved to Montreal almost 10 years ago now, which is about the longest I've lived anywhere. I grew up in the suburbs in Houston, Texas and (Montreal) is really a home," Butler said Sunday night.

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"Regine is from Montreal and the rest of us kind of moved there. There's such a beautiful arts scene and music and dance (and) a lot of creative forces there, so I think everything that our band is kind of came from that city."

Added his wife, Regine Chassagne: "Montreal is a great place to have a normal life."

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