The Promise is Hope to perform at The Skinny Pancake tonight

by Kylee Sibilia | 10/7/16 12:01am

While most Hanover residents probably know The Skinny Pancake for its crepes, the restaurant also plays host to a burgeoning live music scene, putting on as many as five concerts a week. Groups who have played at the venue range from acoustic folk, to Cuban jazz, to spiritual Turkish, to indie rock.

Tonight at 7 p.m., The Promise is Hope, a folk/rock group, will perform at the restaurant. The group consists of Ashley and Eric L’Esperance, a married couple from Worcester, Massachusetts who formed the band the day they got engaged.

Since its formation, the band has toured the New England and Mid-Atlantic regions. Their first album, “Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going,” debuted in April 2015 and chronicles the two musicians’ experience falling in love.

Ashley L’Esperance said that the impact music can have on its listeners motivates the duo.

“[Music] can bring a lot of peace and a lot of joy to people,” she said. “We definitely feel like people need that more and more.”

Ashley and Eric’s last name, L’Esperance, means “the hope” in French and inspired the name of their group.

“Our goal is that [our music] brings people hope,” Ashley L’Esperance said.

The Promise is Hope blends several different genres together, including folk, electronic, acoustic and pop.

Andrew Sun ’18, founder of the Dartmouth Bluegrass Society, said the group’s style is uniquely intimate.

“I think that’s kind of a cool thing about folk music is that it really makes you feel as if you’re part of a tiny gathering with these musicians, even if you’re just listening through MP3 or something,” Sun said.

Ashley L’Esperance noted that Eric L’Esperance arranges the music, while she mostly crafts the lyrics and melody.

“Our strengths really compliment each other well,” Ashley L’Esperance said.

Ashley and Eric L’Esperance are currently working on the group’s second album, which they hope to release next year. In the wake of several family members’ deaths, the duo is exploring the idea of recovering from tragedy in their songwriting.

“We just had a really bad year,” Ashley L’Esperance said. “And so coming out of that it seems like our music has a connection to talking about death and talking about the stuff you experience going through all that grief.”

The Promise is Hope will perform songs from their first albums, as well as selections from their upcoming album tonight.

Michael Cyr, brand manager for The Skinny Pancake, said that the restaurant hopes to bring a more active music scene to Hanover.

“We’re kind of making a music scene where there wasn’t necessarily a big touring music scene before,” he said. “[The restaurant] is designed to be a community space. Anyone can play there.”

Cyr noted that the restaurant picks acts it thinks will appeal to Dartmouth students. He said that the restaurant is aware of an intention to move social spaces away from Greek life and into the community. Cyr added that Skinny Pancake has begun to have conversations with Dartmouth about sharing bookings and connections.

In the future, Cyr hopes to incorporate the ideas of student groups like the Programming Board into the restaurant’s music selections. Student groups might even have the opportunity to perform at The Skinny Pancake.

“We’ll book pretty much anyone given the right act,” Cyr said.