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Le Vent du Nord | Tromper le Temps

album review by John Powell

Le Vent du Nord | Tromper le Temps

Many musicians- especially folk and traditional-loving musicians- will tell you that Quebec is a hot spot for excellent musicianship. Look for no better example than Le Vent du Nord, who, on Tromper le Temps do a great job of playing traditionals and originals that they’ve made sound traditional. The band plays guitar, violin, piano, accordion, bass, mandolin, etc. The list of acoustic instruments is pretty long fot this quartet, but the sound is clearly ballad-like and bouncing reels. Tromper le Temps has intensity to every song. Beginning to end, the boys put their heart into each instrumental part and into their combined voices. They sing all in French, and there’s something about the way the language flows alongside violin and hand percussion that breathes new life into this classic sound- a sound that replicated for English songs wouldn’t hold up.

“Lettre A Durham” is a sincere opener. It starts off with slow piano- tricking you, as soon the rhythm enters with force. Who would have thought acoustic folk music could rock like this, but proof is in song one. The CD version of the album comes with detailed liner notes, explaining the origins of the scope of songs. Here, Songwriter Niolcas Boulerice says, “Durham was sent by the British after the Rebellion of 1837-1839, and in his report he highlighted solution to the woes of the colony.” Basically, these musicians aren’t without wit, humor, and above all interesting knowledge of history.

There are traditionals about love and loss, like the frolicking “Tuojour Amants”, one of the album’s best tracks. The call and response is catchy and fun, the music tight and engaging. There are instrumental reels like “Le Winnebago”, so unabashedly folksy that you can’t help but enjoy yourself.

“Le Diable et Le Fermier”, another original by Boulerice, is fightin’ words, in response to shale gas development. While much of this album comes off as fun and dance-worthy, the intention behind much of it is rebellious and political, and the traditionals are picked because they envelope a history of people. “Le Diable et Le Fermier” is a supreme version of this.

The lovely conclusion, Rehean Brunet, inspired by watching his sleeping children, wrote “Souffle d’Ange”. The liner notes say, “This piece represents all the invisible and benevolent thoughts that watch over us night and day.”

If you’re a French speaker, you’re likely to pull more out of this album than the rest of us, but honestly, this is such a well-crafted album that emotions are conveyed, and you will enjoy the ditties, the vocal play, and the song structures, throughout.

Bottom line: A Quebec folk album for the ages, really pretty and well-made.

Comments  

 
0 # universal 2014-06-03 01:20
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on vent.
Regards
 

 

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