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De Temps Antan at the Royal Room in Seattle, 8/14/2012

Continuing my quest this year to get to see as many Quebecois bands perform as possible, this week I finally had the pleasure of seeing De Temps Antan perform for the first time! I’ve gushed about these boys in blog and journal posts before, of course–but as always, getting to see a group in live performance is another order of magnitude above experiencing their recorded music, or online videos, or what have you.

I was particularly grateful for this chance to see them since the show was, as far as I know, kind of wedged in at the last minute. They’d been scheduled to do a mid-day performance in Kent, which I was sadly unable to make due to it being right smack in the middle of my workday. But booking fortune was kind and produced a one-set show at the Royal Room, a place I’d never been to, on Rainier Ave South. Dara and I had a bit of an adventure getting down there as miscommunication on my part of the proper address–and Google not being terribly helpful with the directions–caused us to overshoot and go to East Rainier Avenue South, instead.

Pro-tip for those of you who aren’t local: NOT THE SAME STREET.

But! All was well after all because we scooted in just under the wire. When we arrived, the boys of the band were still sound-checking, so we wound up not missing anything at all!

De Temps Antan only have two albums at this point, so it wasn’t terribly surprising that their single set was slanted in favor of stuff that appears on their second album, Les Habits de Papiers. A good many of the songs they performed were tune sets as well, showcasing André Brunet on the fiddle as well as Éric Beaudry’s prowess on guitar and bouzouki, with Pierre-Luc Dupuis chiming in on accordion or harmonica. Notable among the instrumentals was M. Brunet’s breaking out of a new waltz, which was lovely. I do fangirl me some Olivier Demers-brand violin, to be sure, but M. Brunet? Also a very respectable fiddler. Since De Temps are a trio and comparatively sparse on the instrumentation, it falls to each member of the group to pull as much vigor as possible out of his instrument. The result is a crackling energy that makes it very, very easy to forget that they do not, in fact, have more than three guys on the stage!

When it comes to instrumental prowess, though, with these boys I have to throw my affections over to M. Beaudry, and I’m not saying that just because I love me some bouzouki. Now that I’ve seen him do it live, I have all the more respect for what this man can do with a guitar and a zouk. I was particularly struck by his finger work on the guitar, swift, adroit runs that called his guitar’s deep ringing voice out and made it sing. And as for his bouzouki, wow. I’ve swooned before for what he whips out on the zouk in this video. Seeing him doing it live, and hearing that zouk roar in a way I have to date only heard out of my belovedest Dara and her Kohaku (heart), was amazing. Especially given his flying podorythmic feet, which he unleashes along with his hands on the instruments AND his singing. (I have just enough experience trying to sing and play at the same time on a zouk or a guitar, without even trying to throw my feet into the mix, that I admire the hell out of anybody who can pull that off!)

Vocally, all three members of the group are also very strong. M. Dupuis is the dominant vocalist, with a rich, expressive voice that he uses to great effect. I’ve read up some on his stint in La Bottine Souriante, and have seen some references to him having taken over briefly as La Bottine’s lead singer because of his style being a bit of a callback to the redoubtable Yves Lambert. I can buy that. M. Dupuis’s voice hits me in the same way M. Lambert’s always did, full and round. Maybe not as powerful, but that’s okay! I’ve always liked to say that M. Lambert’s voice hit me like 900-calorie cheesecake. M. Dupuis is maybe more like 600 calorie cheesecake. But the long and short of it is, cheesecake is still tasty, and Pierre-Luc can tear his way through a song.

M. Brunet is also a fine singer, though he doesn’t take over lead vocals as much as the other two. He mostly got to shine vocally on “Dominic à Marcel”, a ditty with something of a Southern twang to it–by which I mean, US Southern. The boys in fact referenced Mississippi, introducing this one! It’s a style that works when you throw it together with Quebecois music, to be sure.

Here, though, I also have to throw my affections over to M. Beaudry. He’s not as forthrightly expressive in his vocals as his bandmate, but he’s still got some strength and resonance to his voice, and I love, love, LOVE hearing him whip out “Grand Amuseur de Filles” or “Jeune et Jolie”.

I noted with pleasure that the boys presented us with not one but two new songs, including one M. Dupuis noted would be included on their next album (and yes, mes amis d’Internets, I perked up considerably at the magic words “next album”). One of these was the aforementioned waltz, but the other one was this, captured by Dara on video!

And much to my massive, massive delight, they closed with a one-two-three punch of my three favorite songs of theirs–”Grand Amuseur de Filles”, “La turlutte du Rotoculteur”, and then right into “Pétipétan”. The first delighted me immensely when André and Éric leapt up out of their chairs and had a bit of a standing stomp-off, grinning at each other. The second was great when all of us in the room started singing along on the turluttes. And the last, whee! This being one of the few De Temps songs I can actually do a bit of response on, I happily jumped in on that too!

We did get one encore, which was also great fun. Afterwards, Dara and I had the brief but happy pleasure of chatting a bit with M. Brunet, since we were able to tell him that HEY! We’d just seen him perform with Bernard Simard et Compagnie in Joliette! And with the help of Dejah and Devon Leger, I also chatted very briefly with M. Beaudry, expressing how Dejah was helping me with my French, how I was learning some of the differences between Quebec and Acadian French (h/t to userinfobrightbeak!), and how we’d been trying to transcribe the lyrics to “Grand Amuseur de Filles”. I’m pretty sure my nervous fangirl babbling got a bit ahead of M. Beaudry’s English–he leaned over at me a couple of times with this “quoi?” look on his face, and Devon Leger helpfully translated for me (many thanks to Devon for that)!

It was only yesterday though that I thought to check the new and updated De Temps Antan website, where I discovered that why yes, they had in fact finally gotten around to posting a lyrics sheet for the second album–including the song in question. Which, I suspect, contributed to M. Beaudry being confused at me. *^_^*;;

But! All in all, a great time, even given that I was a bit worn out from dental surgery recovery and a cold, a sub-optimal state to be in when you’re trying to watch a band whose music makes you want to get up and dance. (I settled instead for trying to practice a bit of my own podorythmie between tables). I really hope I get to see these boys perform again, and I very much look forward to their next album!

And now: language geeking with De Temps Antan lyrics!

So, De Temps Antan, right? One of the cluster of fine Quebecois bands I’ve been a-swoon over this entire year, in no small part due to the excellent vocals and bouzouki of M. Éric Beaudry. These boys have a very handy PDF of lyrics posted on their site for their first album. There is not, however, an equivalent PDF for their second, current album, Les habits de papier!

Of the songs on this album, three have muscled their way onto my Francophone Favorites playlist: “La turlutte du rotoculteur”, “Pétipétan”, and “Grand amuseur de filles”. The first has no lyrics as it is a double firebomb of turlutte + bouzouki, fiddle, and harmonica action. <3 I found lyrics for the second, for which I am extremely grateful, given that the chorus is a machine-gun spray of syllables and I had to see them transcribed to begin to try to sing it!

You would know, however, that the one where M. Beaudry sings delicious lead, "Grand amuseur de filles", is the one I can't actually find any lyrics for at all! *^_^*;;

So, I told myself, here's a brilliant idea--let's see if I can listen hard to these lyrics and see if I can identify ANY WORDS IN THEM WHATSOEVER. And since I've gotten involved with other local fans of Quebecois music and we have our little Chanson et langue group going, we're seeing if we can transcribe the lyrics ourselves!

I played with this some today with the help of userinfovixyish and userinfoeeyorerin, who reported to me that the third verse was basically talking about the singer trying to cheer up his sad, sick friend by hauling him off to a strip club, quote, “as you do”. Erin then informed me, and I quote, “I feel this entire song needs to be punctuated with eyebrow waggles, ‘as you do’, or ‘that’s what he said!’” (Which appears to be a very apt description of most of the songs that have gotten onto my aforementioned Francophone Favorites playlist. I keep getting all of the bounciest, stomping-est songs onto this list and then I find out what they mean and I’m all O RLY? >:D )

And I’m amusing myself mightily with the help of Dejah of the Chanson et langue group, who has way more French than I do, though she’s flailing almost as hard as I am on the latter verses of the song.

Here are a random sampling of phrases I was rather stunned I actually heard correctly, based on comparing with Dejah’s much better transcription of at least the initial verses:

  • Chanter la chanson de ma jolie maĆ®tresse (sing the song of my pretty mistress)
  • Deux ou trois amants (two or three lovers) (see previous commentary re: O RLY? >:D )
  • Allons-y donc, allons aux cabaret! (let’s get to the cabaret!)

And I got several scattered other bits of phrases, like “faut la quitter” and “avec un jeune garçon”, and I haven’t yet confirmed but am pretty sure of having heard “je ne fais que pleurer” and “la fleur de la maisson”. Man, trying to transcribe words in a language you barely know is HARD and FUN and Dejah is right–doing this with music is way more entertaining than out of a textbook!

Quebecois band recommendations: De Temps Antan!

These guys are the newest of the (male) Quebec bands I’ve picked up, both in terms of how long they’ve been active as a trio and how long I’ve been aware of them. They are also proof of my newly learned truth that any Quebec band with a Beaudry in it will have my IMMEDIATE AND UNDIVIDED attention! Because once I realized that Éric Beaudry, the brother of the lovely Simon, is himself an awesome bouzouki player, I was all over pulling these guys’ albums down from iTunes.

Monsieur Beaudry is the main draw for me here, just because of my fondness for the bouzouki, and it’s great fun to hear one used as a primary rhythm instrument in a trio. But that said, the other two boys in the band, lead singer Pierre-Luc Dupuis and fiddler André Brunet, are not to be discounted either. M. Dupuis has a nice full, rich voice, and M. Brunet (who, I note, is the brother of Réjean over in Le Vent!) rocks him some fiddle.

Since there are only three members of the band, the instrumentation is accordingly sparser than the other groups I’ve been listening to, but this doesn’t mean there’s less vigor. In addition to M. Beaudry’s bouzouki, M. Dupuis apparently likes him some harmonica, and the combo of those with the fiddle works very well.

Like with this YouTube vid of their song “La turlutte du rotoculteur”, which is the first one of theirs that I seized on. The layering in of their vocals, then the footwork, and finally M. Beaudry going at it on the zouk, I said? SIGN ME UP.

De Temps Antan have only two albums available so far, À l’année and their newer one, Les habits de papier. Both are available on iTunes and Amazon MP3 downloads, and good news for those of you who are fond of buying from indie sites–the newer album is also available on CD Baby! Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, and Archambault.ca all have the newer album in physical form, but between Amazon.com having it at import prices and the likelihood of big shipping charges if you’re not in Canada, I’d personally vote for CD Baby first out of these.

Or! De Temps’ own site sells both albums directly, so really, you should try them first. :D (And oooh, they have T-shirts. This may well be Relevant to My Interests!)

Since there are only two albums to choose from, if you want only one, go with Les habits des papiers. That’s the one with the aforementioned “La turlutte du rotoculteur” on it, which I’ve been playing a lot. I also like “Pétipétan” (good showcase of M. Dupuis’ voice) and “Grand Amuseur du Filles” (good showcase of M. Beaudry taking the lead vocals) from that album.

There’s good stuff on the other one too, though. On that album, “Chère Léonore”, “Intrinifor”, “Duvons, Mes Chers Amis Buvons”, and “Les Pissenlits Bricoleurs” are my repeat play tracks.

Last but not least, recent Googling let me discover that De Temps were actually in Seattle last year! To which I say AUGH, if I had ONLY KNOWN. However, this raises the hope that they might come back sometime soon. If they do, I am THERE.

Too much awesome for one band alone

All this starts, as many things musical do for me, with Great Big Sea! As I’ve mentioned, the first time I saw GBS perform, La Bottine Souriante was part of that show. At the time they were nine members strong, and I was almost as blown away by them as I was by GBS.

Also from GBS, I get to La Volée d’Castors. I found them thanks to a thread along the theme of “if you like Great Big Sea, you’ll also like ” on the OKP, though it took me some time to actually do anything about it–i.e., to find their music, see if I liked it, and actually buy it! I’m just sorry I didn’t find them sooner. :D

From LVC I get to Le Vent du Nord, because I found Le Vent buying LVC albums on iTunes. LVN popped up in the list of ‘people who bought this also bought’ albums. It turns out also that Réjean Brunet, current member of Le Vent, also used to be in LVC!

Les Charbonniers de l’Enfer I also discovered on iTunes when I started buying LVC and LVN albums. Again, it took me a bit to actually decide to buy their stuff–but I decided this was clearly Important when I read their web page and discovered a) they’re an a cappella group, and b) two of their members are former La Bottine Souriante guys! One of them in particular, Michel Bordeleau, was in La Bottine when I saw them perform in 2000.

De Temps Antan and Galant, Tu Perds Ton Temps are my most recent acquisitions, thanks to M Kenney, who’s dropped me several comments on the topic! De Temps Antan are connected both to La Bottine Souriante AND to Le Vent du Nord, since all three guys in De Temps are either current or former La Bottine members–and Éric Beaudry is of course the brother of Simon, over in Le Vent.

The Beaudry boys are connected back to the Charbonniers, since André Marchand, current Charbonniers member, produced their album Le sort des amoureux for them.

The Galant girls are also connected to LVN, since M Kenney informs me that they, Le Vent, and the Charbonniers have all performed together, doing a song called “Diable et le Fermier”, written by Nicolas Boulerice of Le Vent. Here it is, on YouTube:

Long story short, clearly all the best bands in Quebec are tied together in one great big web of AWESOME. I love that! And I’ll be amused to see how many more ways I can find to tie all these groups together, and if there are other groups in the web as well!