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LE VENT DU NORD - Territoires 

LE VENT DU NORD - Territoires 
Borealis Records BCD258 

These guys hail from Quebec, the French-speaking region of Canada. They are proud of where they come from and wear their historical and political hearts on their sleeves. If you are familiar with Quebecois music you may know about the call and response style of their traditional songs and tight harmony singing, often a cappella. You probably know about ‘podorhythmie’, the foot-tapping percussion provided while playing fiddle. You won’t be prepared for this.

This CD contains traditional songs and tunes, original compositions, sometimes a combination. It has very high production values, fabulous close harmony singing and, above all, wheelbarrow-loads of passion. The songs are all sung in French. Get over it! The CD notes are bilingual (though the lyrics are not) but a little schoolboy/girl French will get you into the songs enough to explore further if you wish to. Frankly it doesn’t matter. The energy and the melodies are enough to stand your hair on end, whatever the language. If you want to experience their take on a reel have a listen to Le Step À Alexis (a tribute to the youngest son of fiddler/foot-tapper André Brunet) or you can check out a much more contemporary hybrid of traditional and original in Au Regiment, which features terrific piano from Nicolas Boulerice. The whole band are stellar musicians and this CD is full of tracks that would be showstoppers anywhere else. They tour the UK often and I hope they are back soon. I can’t wait to see them live.

Philip Thomas


This review appeared in Issue 130 of The Living Tradition magazine