Quebecois band recommendations: Galant, Tu Perds Ton Temps!

It gives me ridiculous amounts of glee that a (mostly) female group has dived into the male-dominated Quebecois trad genre, and this is exactly what you get with Galant, Tu Perds Ton Temps! I tend to listen to male groups in general just because I’m a sucker for the sound of several guys singing in full round harmony, a thing of mine that goes clear back to Elvis and the Jordannaires–but if you give me a bunch of women doing the same thing, oh my yes, I’m there.
The Galant group is technically not 100% female–they do have one male member of the group, Jean-Francois Berthiaume, who does their footwork and other general percussion. However, he doesn’t sing–so all the vocals are in fact female. And yeah, the Galant girls meet and match their male colleagues in this genre with some kickass vigorous harmonies! I haven’t identified which girl is which yet in terms of ranges sung, but whoever’s got the lower ranges in particular is delivering some great contralto/tenor lines, and whoever’s got the highest soprano is notable as well.
They’ve got only two albums available to date, Fais-toi pas d’illusions and the self-titled Galant, tu perds ton temps, which is actually the newer of the two albums. To further confuse matters, the band gets its name from a song of the same name, and that song appears on the earlier album! “Galant, tu perds ton temps” translates roughly to “Suitor/lover, you waste your time”, which is another thing that makes me giggle and giggle. Especially given that my boys over in La Volée d’Castors have also covered this song.
So which album should you get? That’s a bit of a hard call. I’ve got a LOT of tracks off the newer one on my Favorites list, and that one does have the selling point of being a double CD so you get a lot of music for the money. On the other hand, the three tracks I’ve marked as favorites on the other album are in fact the ones I’ve recently played more often. So really, it becomes a question of which one you can find, and which one you feel like paying money for.
YouTube has a lot of videos of them up, though, so if you search for “galant tu perds ton temps”, you should be able to find them. Here’s one of them doing “Mary of the Wild Moor” in English, and the video quality is good, so you can get an excellent idea of their overall vocal style. And here’s a partial vid of them doing “Les promesses du galant”, which is one of my favorites off the newer album, and I’m desperate to find proper lyrics for it because I’m FAIRLY SURE they aren’t actually singing “Monsieur Pants” in there. XD This one is “Faites-moi un homme sans tête / Reel Bergerville”, which I like off the newer album as well!
They’ve got no links to buy on their site, so your only option (that I know of) is iTunes if you want their music electronically and you’re outside Canada. has only the second, larger album available for download, and their downloads are only for Canadian customers. For physical CDs,,, and all have those, but as with my earlier rec posts, if you’re not actually in Canada, be on the lookout for large shipping charges and be prepared to double up your purchases to qualify for free shipping if necessary! Or, if you are so inclined, recruit a Canadian friend to buy albums for you and ship them to you!
Out of all the Quebec groups I’m following, in some ways I’m most delighted by this one because, well, girls. And I heartily encourage checking them out in particular, if nothing else to encourage them to put out more albums–and to encourage other female groups to jump in on this genre as well. Because I’ll totally buy them, if they are this awesome!

Quebecois band recommendations: Les Charbonniers de l'Enfer!

The Charbonniers stand out very, VERY strongly against the rest of my Quebec boys on the grounds that they specialize in the two big things that I love the most about Quebecois traditional music: the mouth reels, and the podorythmie! They are entirely a cappella, and so this is ALL these guys do. It’s like they are a concentrated blast of French Canadian AWESOME.
We’ve got five gentlemen here, a bit on the older side but all with very, very strong voices. Their two (and they have TWO!) podorythmie guys, Michel Bordeleau and André Marchand, have the distinction of being former members of La Bottine Souriante–and Michel in particular has a distinctive enough voice that I’ve pegged him now on earlier La Bottine tracks. All five of the Charbonniers take turns singing lead, so all of them get a chance to show off the character of their voices, though.
I’m a big fan of M. Bordeleau’s footwork, but I’ve got to say that of the various gents’ voices, I’m favouring Jean-Claude Mirandette’s the most. He’s got a beautiful tenor voice that is shown off to great advantage on several of the tracks on their live album, which I’m about to get to now!
Hands down and no contest, their live album, En personne, is my favorite of their work. They’re good in the studio and I have several of their tracks on repeat play, but they are an order of magnitude more vigorous in the live album’s performance. I’ve been playing the hell (AHEH–you did translate their name, didn’t you?) out of this album for weeks now, and they’ve been leading the charge in getting me more interested in translating Quebecois French lyrics so that I can try to understand them myself, as proper words rather than ‘pretty noises the nice men are making’, and sing along.
Three very excellent live vids from this performance are up on the LinkTV site: “Yes Very Well” (see previous commentary re: M. Mirandette, who takes lead on this one, and also note M. Bordeleau on the left making with DANGEROUS footstomping), “Sur La Vignelon” (where I believe Monsieur Normand Miron is taking the lead on this, and he too has a very distinctive voice), and last but MOST DEFINITELY not least, “Les Turlutes”, where the boys tear right through one gigantic chain of turluttes. XD I’ve posted about this last vid before–look in particular for the podorythmie stomp-off in the middle!
All three of those songs are among my repeat plays off of En personne, but the Turlutes track is very, VERY high on the list just because of how much the Charbonniers are getting into the performance in that video. They’re clearly having such great fun that I cannot help but enjoy watching them–and you can see glimpses of the audience really getting into it too!
I’m given to understand that the physical CD of this concert comes with a DVD, and I plan to order this ASAP. The album IS available electronically on iTunes, but it’s not on Amazon MP3–and I’d recommend you order the CD anyway so that you can get the DVD too, if at all possible!
The rest of the Charbonniers’ discography does also appear to be available on iTunes, though. Most of the tracks on En personne come off the album called , and you can really tell, comparing them, how much more vigorous the live album is. So while that album certainly isn’t bad, if you wanted to get a studio Charbonniers album instead I’d recommend either À la grâce de Dieu or their most recent one, Nouvelles fréquentations. The more recent one is notable for having less of a trad emphasis; in fact, according to this link that went up on Facebook earlier today, it’s actually up for an award for Best Contempary for the 2011 Canadian Folk Music Awards! I like the other studio album better just because it has more of a trad bent, but this one’s good too; it very much reminded me of the Nylons, who y’all remember were the group that did that awesome a cappella version of “Kiss Him Goodbye” many years ago. Bonus LOLs on this album for having a French version of “In the Jailhouse Now”, which I know from the movie O Brother Where Art Thou?.
The Charbonniers’ site does NOT have links off to buy their albums that I can see, so if you want to order physical copies, your best bets are probably going to be or or