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LA BOTTINE SOURIANTE Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée

LA BOTTINE SOURIANTE Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée
Borealis BCD211

A few changes of line-up, a change of label, a change of website to, and after a few years in the wilderness La Bottine is back! Long rated as the best band on the planet, and still firmly in the first division of traditional music worldwide, this 11-piece group has not lost any of its bite since the 2003 release of Jamais Tant Ri. Seven songs and five instrumentals get the familiar jumping jiving jazz-funk fusion treatment, colouring these Québecois melodies right down to their traditional folk roots. Weeping trombones, blaring sax and soaring trumpet are overlaid on ballads such as Cette Bouteille-Là and Le Gourmand, celebrating the comestible pillars of French Canadian culture. Button box and fiddle pump and grind through Reel Calgary, the G major Alain André, and the final hypnotic reel Le Baillard.

There's a strong emphasis on percussion too, with Eric Beaudry and David Boulanger both providing podorhythmie - foot percussion - and Sandy Silva as a front-line dancer. This album adds the Basque duo Oreka TX on big bad banging stuff, the primal notes and rhythms of the txalaparta featuring particularly on Chus Chatouilleux and Intsusadi. With guitars, keyboards and bass, the overall sound is as full and complex as you'd imagine. I last saw La Bottine live during the 2010 Winter Olympics, a great showcase for Canadian music, and their stage presence is awesome: this CD comes close to the same level of intensity. There's light and shade enough here - the romantic Au Rang d'Aimer, the gentle fiddle and whistle opening to Reel Calgary - but my preference is for the livelier numbers, sung or played: On Va Barrer les Portes, Mon Père, and the wonderful Reel à Roland with its echoes of La Bottine's trademark Soucoupes Volantes. Canadian class, with a generous splash of Club: this recording is long overdue, and all the more welcome for that.
Alex Monaghan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 91 of The Living Tradition magazine.