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GENTICORUM - Nagez Rameurs

GENTICORUM - Nagez Rameurs
Roues Et Archets RA015

Genticorum have a rightful place amongst the new generation of internationally recognised Québécquois bands – La Bottine Souriante, Le Vent du Nord, Les Chauffeurs à Pieds,etc. Closest in sound perhaps to the original Matapat trio, they distinctively combine wooden flute and bass guitar (Alexandre “Moulin” de Grosbois-Garand who might make more of the tonal palette offered by his fretless bass incidentally), guitar (Yann Falquet) and violin and pieds (Pascal Gemme, the band’s tune collector) with some guest accordion, fiddle, alto flute, and harmonium on this fourth album.

All sing in French, harmonising brilliantly, sometimes using the characteristic “call and response” (as Breton kan ha diskan), and are widely and deeply experienced musicians. The beautifully presented recording – again with clever graphics and artwork - provides detailed provenance of the largely traditional songs and music characteristically arranged, hybridised and augmented by the band. Lyrics are always clearly enunciated in the mix, enabling the stories to come across with palpable warmth and humour. Meticulous and clever arrangements abound, with plenty of dynamic range, counterpoint, and complex, often shifting, rhythmic interest with foot tapping - hence the pieds –an important element.

The title hints at the emphasis on aqueous subject matter including trades of the canoe-ing voyageur, rowing teams and log driving although there’s material about the length of women’s skirts and psychedelic trippery derived from magic mushrooms, and music inspired by pans, hirsuteness, the cat ‘Sir Loulou Soft Tummy’, ‘Le Trans-Lanaudière Express’ and Métis step dancing…boys, eh! Apart from drawing on some North American elements, with their wide European and Celtic references, they remind me strongly of some great Breton bands with comparable joie de vivre, most obviously Bleizi Ruz.

Kevin T. Ward

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This album was reviewed in Issue 89 of The Living Tradition magazine.