Album review: Consolez-vous, by De Temps Antan

Consolez-vous by De Temps Antan
Consolez-vous by De Temps Antan

I have already established that the phrase “new Le Vent du Nord album” is at the top of the list of Things That Give Me Joy. But right behind that is the phrase “new De Temps Antan album”. And I am delighted, O Internets, to report that I have that very thing to rejoice over today!

This is De Temps Antan’s fourth album, and the first one featuring new member David Boulanger, who replaces André Brunet as the trio’s fiddle player. Fans of Quebecois trad will probably recognize the name David Boulanger. I certainly have some past exposure to him, since he’s one of the current lineup of La Bottine Souriante. I was also a supporter of the album he did with Maja Kjær Jacobsen, and I own the album Boulanger did called Pièces sur pièces, along with flute player Jean Duval.

Also: David was one of the professors at Violon Trad this year, and I got to see him in action there!

So while I’m sad that André Brunet is no longer part of this trio, I knew that with Boulanger on board, De Temps Antan would be absolutely fine. Now that I’ve had the distinct pleasure of listening to this new release, I can report that this assurance is entirely vindicated!

As with prior album reviews I’ve done in the realm of Quebecois trad, you can assume going in that of course I love this album. That goes without saying! (Though of course, I’m going to say it. \0/) And while I do have a history of my album review posts often just being “I’m going to squee at you for several paragraphs about all the ways I love this thing”, I do actually have some review-type commentary to share with you this time!

Ready? Let’s DO THIS THING.

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De Temps Antan at St. James Hall, Vancouver BC, 11/8/2014

My third visit to St. James Hall, a.k.a. the Rogue, proved every bit as delightful as expected and as they always do, De Temps Antan put on a lively and spirited show.
A satisfyingly large posse of my local AND online Quebecois trad fandom friends were on hand: in addition to myself and Dara, Dejah and Michelle from the Seattle crowd came up for the show. Ginny and Gary from Coquitlam were on hand, as well as Carol all the way from Iowa! And this time I brought Geri along so that she could see De Temps Antan in action, since she had not before. We all claimed a table close to the front of the room, since Ginny and Gary had ever so helpfully reserved it. There was singing! There was podorythmie! And there may possibly have been mammoth jigs on Dara’s head while the band was playing “Valse St-Sévère”.
Full deets behind the fold!
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Yet another De Temps Antan road trip: Operation SWING!

Let it be officially noted: De Temps Antan has now officially COMPLETELY STOMPED all over Great Big Sea’s record for “Most number of times in one year that Anna has gone north over the border for the express purpose of seeing a band”–because they’re coming back again to BC in November. And I’ll be scampering up there for two, count ’em, two shows!
They’re hitting the Rogue again, which y’all may recollect was where they played this past February after Festival du Bois, a show at which many delightful shenanigans were had! AND they’re going to Cumberland, to hit the very same teeny tiny venue where last I saw my boys of Le Vent du Nord.
Because I mean honestly, if my Quebec boys keep wanting to come to BC so often, it just behooves me to scamper up there to see them, as much as my available time off will allow. As I have said before, there are critical principles here of Bands With Bouzouki-Wielding Beaudrys to uphold here! Especially given Great Big Sea’s until-further-notice hiatus. A girl’s gotta get in her bouzouki SOMEHOW.
This will be a rather more complex road trip, though! Dara will be coming up with me for the show at the Rogue, but then taking the train back while I proceed on to Cumberland. Seattle friends Dejah and Michelle are also eying hitting the Rogue show, and there’s a strong possibility that Vancouver-based friends may be showing up at the Rogue as well. And in between shows I’ll be buckling down for hardcore writing work, with periodic outbursts of practicing, because you better believe I’m coming up there with flutes.
And it pleases me immensely to be gathering together folks from both Great Big Sea fandom AND Quebec trad fandom. Just call me Anna the Piper, Rallier of Fandoms, and Instigator of Vertical Movement and La Danse Verticale. :D
I’ve already gotten time off approved for these shenanigans, and have elected to take the entire week of November the 10th off. Which will give me plenty of time to get home after the show on the 12th, and decompress over the following weekend. And post the obligatory trip reports and pictures.
And this time? THIS TIME I will not forget Jean-Claude. It is important, yea, VITAL I TELL YOU, to not forget your mammoth on road trips to see bands from Quebec. It is KNOWN.

De Temps Antan in Qualicum Beach, BC 8-2-2014

This weekend I engaged in my lightning-strike road trip up to Canada and back–specifically, to Qualicum Beach to attend a music workshop, house concert, and post-concert session, featuring my boys of De Temps Antan!
Which meant I got up at 4:30am on Saturday morning and spent pretty much all of the morning in transit in order to get to Qualicum in time for the workshop. And I spent pretty much all of Sunday in transit home. But the time in between? Stupendous levels of awesomeness, and worth every minute of the hours I spent on the road and on ferries! For the chance to learn more tunes from André Brunet, I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
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Road trip for De Temps Antan!

Looks like I have another trip up to Canada in my near future, Internets!
Because my boys of De Temps Antan are coming back to BC in August–and I’ve been eying a tempting-looking concert listed on their tour calendar on 8/2. A concert which, it turns out, is a house concert. I have invoked the power of my spies (by which I mean, Dejah, who as previously discussed is made entirely of rainbows and awesomeness) to find out where in fact this thing will be held. I have contacted the hostess to secure a spot in her head count. And through her, have secured a place to stay so I won’t even have to camp in her yard.
The agenda will be getting up at silly o’clock on the morning of the 2nd, zooming up to Canada, hopping the ferry to Nanaimo, zooming to Qualicum Beach, WOO MUSIC!, keeling over at some appropriate post-music hour, then getting up on the morning of the 3rd and zooming to the nearest source of Growers. Ferry back. Then if I’m feeling ambitious I’ll zoom to Vancouver for bagel acquisition. Then zoom home!
Rampaging mammoth stampedes are a distinct possibility here and there may, in fact, be pictures. And it’ll be awesome to meet more of the BC-based community of fans of Quebec music!
So yeah, this will be entirely silly, as while it’s not the first time I’ve crossed the Canadian border for a band, it IS the first time I’ll be doing so for a house concert. But there are important principles of Any Band With a Beaudry to uphold here. Also principles of it being very, VERY important to not disappoint the mammoth. Jean-Claude does love him some bouzouki, after all.
Canada peeps: I don’t know if I’ll have time to meet up with anybody, but if anybody wants to discuss something for Sunday, let me know! Otherwise your next window of opportunity for a Canada-based Anna the Piper sighting will be October, when Dara and I come up for VCON–AND when I’ll be showing up at the Séan McCann show at the Railway Club!

De Temps Antan at the Rogue in Vancouver BC, 3/2/2014

When you go to Canada for two consecutive weekends, Internets, you tend to get behind on posting stuff to your blog. Which means for you that I got delayed posting my writeup of the MOST excellent concert by De Temps Antan at the Rogue. But I’m home again, and posting again, so here you go!
Previously in our adventures with Festival du Bois 2014, yours truly got to chat with both Éric Beaudry AND André Brunet after the close of official festival events on Saturday night! And y’all may recall that SOMEBODY got a little creative with how he did his signature on the inside of my copy of Ce monde ici-bas!
So what happened? Full concert blow-by-blow behind the fold!
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Festival du Bois trip, Day 1: Saturday!

My belovedest Dara and I have done the trip up to Vancouver quite a few times at this point–but still, it’s a bit rough getting up at stupid-o’clock in the morning in time to get on an early bus, go all the way down to King Street Station, and get on a train to go all the way up to Vancouver. There was quite a bit of yawning involved.
But then, with Festival du Bois waiting on the other end, I was quite willing to spend my Saturday morning snoozing on a train!
As always, our friends Geri and Rob kindly put us up for the weekend at their place. This time around, we brought Rob a bottle of Scotch by way of a “thank you for letting us snooze here!” gift. (That, and I’m sure their dog was happy to have two extra pairs of hands to throw the ball down the stairs.) And, this time around, Geri elected to come to the festival shenanigans with us on Saturday!
My only regret? Realizing only after we were on our way north that I’d totally forgotten to bring Jean-Claude. AUGH. For the best, though, since the weather was wet and cold and let me tell you, Internets, there’s nothing quite as pungent as the smell of wet mammoth.
(Full deets and pics behind the fold!)
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Album review: Ici on fête, by Various Artists

Ici on fête
Ici on fête

I owe a large debt of gratitude to my friend Melanie in Montréal for alerting me to the gem that is Ici on fête, a recently released live compilation album featuring a broad swath of bands and artists in the Quebecois trad genre. This thing features not one, not two, but FIVE of my top favorite Quebec bands, all of whom I’ve posted about in glowing terms as you all know. La Bottine Souriante! De Temps Antan! Le Vent du Nord! Genticorum! And Les Charbonniers de l’Enfer!
It’s pretty much only lacking Galant tu perds ton temps to be a stunningly accurate summuary of my entire collection, really. And while I must sadface at the lack of that fine group, there is much consolation to be found in several other familiar names out of my collection here–Les Batinses, Mes Aïeux, Nicolas Pellerin, Yves Lambert & Le Bébert Orchestra, Les Chauffeurs à Pieds, and Michel Faubert.
Melanie pointed me at this communique about the album, from which I learn that the redoubtable M. Faubert (whose voice I came to know as part of the Charbonniers) is a driving force behind the collection. He in particular is represented on three of the tracks, and he’s in excellent voice in all three, setting the bar very high for everyone else’s performances–and, happily, every other artist on the album meets and matches him.
Tracks 2 and 3 all by themselves make this collection worth the price of admission for me. Y’all already know I’m a De Temps Antan fangirl, and hearing them whip through a live take of “Buvons mes chers amis buvons” is always fun. But what really blew my socks straight off is La Bottine Souriante’s track 3, “Le p’tit porte-clé”–which I immediately recognized as the song I know as “Le ziguezon”, a very early footstomper from La Bottine’s first couple of albums, recorded with André Marchand singing lead. “Le ziguezon” is one of my regular repeat favorites, and to hear it sung by Éric Beaudry here, doing it fine lively justice, made me want to start stepdancing through the streets of downtown Seattle.
Of course I cannot talk about my favorite tracks without talking about Le Vent du Nord. They’re here too, checking with a very strong take of “La fille et les dragons”. This is a song I’ve experienced as its studio take as well as on both of Le Vent’s live albums–but not with a drum track, which was a startling and fun addition, though I wouldn’t want to make a habit of that. (The drum track, after all, rather drowned out the laser precision of the feet of Olivier Demers. And we can’t have that, now can we?)
Genticorum also represents, with a take of one of their earlier instrumentals, “Cascou”, from their album Malins Plaisirs. The only lament I have about this performance is that Alexandre de Grosbois-Garand is not playing his flute on this set. But since he is cutting loose on the bass, that lament is actually fairly small. I’ve seen and heard that bass with my own eyes and ears, people. Five-stringed fretless basses are love.
And then there’s Les Charbonniers de l’Enfer, who offer up what to my ears is a treat indeed: a song of theirs that I do not, in fact, have represented on any prior album of theirs I own! The song is called “Tout l’monde est malheureux”, and it flips back and forth between morose and full harmonic speed. My ear for a song is tugging at this, convinced I’ve heard it before at some point, but I don’t currently have anything else by the same title–so if some other band I’ve purchased music from has recorded this, they did it under a different title. Clearly I’m just going to have to listen to my entire collection again until I find it. Oh darn.
“Souliers rouges” was another song I immediately recognized, though here it’s performed by Manigance, and I’m familiar with the version by La Volée d’Castors. Still, I find it great fun to hear different artists’ interpretation of the same song (the aforementioned “Le ziguezon” is a great example of this, given that I’ve got a version of that by Mauvais Sort in my collection too!). This time was no exception.
Les Tireux d’Roches, as if to console me for the lack of Genticorum’s flute firepower, handed me some of their own and filled my ears with glee. And harmony, for that matter. Very much liked their take of “Maluré soldat”. I’ve got a bit of this group represented in my collection now, but I didn’t have this song yet, which is one on of their albums I have not yet acquired. I shall be rectifying this problem at my earliest opportunity.
I was quite pleased, too, to see women take the lead on the singing at least on a couple of the tracks, so I’ll call them out both by name here: Mara Tremblay on “La chanson du bavard”, and Angèle Arsenault on “J’ai un bouton sur le bout de la langue”. This wasn’t quite enough consolation to make up for the lack of Galant tu perds ton temps, but it did help!
All in all the album is upbeat in spirit, which is befitting a release targeted for the holiday season (c.f., the communique I linked to above). While the material here isn’t specifically holiday-themed, it is nonetheless quite festive–one of the things that made me fall in love with this entire genre of music to begin with.
So if you’re looking to get into Quebecois trad, Ici on fête would be an excellent place to start. Investigation leads me to find it only available to a limited degree–it’s on iTunes, but only on the Canada store, here. And if you want to order the album from Amazon, I’d strongly advise hitting Amazon.ca in particular, since the Amazon.com site has it at import prices. You’ll get it much more cheaply from Amazon.ca, here. (Note the slow delivery time. But also note that Amazon.com right now isn’t showing the album in stock at all.)
Quebec listeners can get it from Archambault digitally here as well as on CD. Renaud-Bray is also carrying the disc here.
Outside of Quebec though, your easiest bet will be to try to scarf an iTunes gift card for the Canada store and buy it that way. It’ll be a hard hunt, but if you can find it, your ears will be rewarded.

Album review: Ce monde ici-bas, by De Temps Antan

So as I’ve been gushing all over the place, this is the week that De Temps Antan release their brand new album, Ce monde ici-bas! And if you’ve read my post from earlier today, it should surprise you not in the slightest that yep, I very much like this album and I endorse its immediate purchase for anybody with any interest whatsoever in Quebecois traditional music.

Ce monde ici-bas
Ce monde ici-bas

This is DTA’s third album, and as often seems to be the case when a band reaches album #3, there’s a more mature, polished sound here. I can’t confirm this for sure yet because I haven’t seen credits for the disc, but on my first pass through I heard what sounded like several guest musicians. This stood out most clearly on the vocals–especially on track three, more on this–but I’m pretty sure I also heard some bass guitar and some extra fiddle in there as well. This took me to a musical place I’ve been to before when listening to La Bottine Souriante’s album J’ai jamais tant ri, the one where the DTA boys were all in La Bottine at the same time and so the album comes out sounding like DTA + a horn section. There’s no horn on this new album, but still, the overall size of the sound was close. This is not a bad thing in the slightest, but it was a bit startling when I’m used to hearing DTA all by themselves.
Track by track reactions behind the fold!
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