Day of Bouzouki Player Awesomeness, Part 1

As previously squeed about, I have been alerted to De Temps Antan, one of at least two bands known to me in which Éric Beaudry is one of the musicians. These guys shot up in interest to me when I then learned that André Brunet, brother of Rejean Brunet of Le Vent du Nord, is ALSO in this band–and all three of the guys in it are either former or current members of La Bottine Souriante!
So I went and listened to the samples of both their albums on iTunes, and they had me absolutely sold on the first track I listened to when they broke out the mouth reels and then WOO! BOUZOUKI SOLO! Turns out that this particular Beaudry brother, like Simon, is a bouzouki player, and this appears to be his primary De Temps Antan instrument. Found some vids of them playing as well, and yep, it’s official, dude can PLAY.
They appear to have a YouTube account, and here’s their vid of the song in question!

Also? if I weren’t already going to buy these guys’ two albums because of that, they also made me laugh out loud just at the sight of one of their track titles: “Suite du Laptop”.
This has now also definitely bumped up the priority on finding more recent La Bottine Souriante, since all of the LBS I have predates Éric’s joining!
Relatedly, I came home tonight to find the Beaudry brothers’ album, Le Sort Des Amoureux, waiting for me in the mail! I’m very much looking forward to giving this a listen, especially now that I know Éric is also a bouzouki player. From what I’m hearing in song samples and in the DTA vids I’ve found so far, vocally, he sounds a lot like Simon. It’ll be fun to see if I can distinguish their voices. Fortunately, the album I’ve just received helpfully calls out in the liner notes which of them is singing lead on which songs.

Not done swooning over Quebecois trad yet

So a kind Internet passerby (thank you, M Kenney!) has just alerted me to two pieces of Critical Information:
One, that Éric Beaudry, the brother of Simon and current member of La Bottine Souriante, is also in a band called De Temps Antan which requires checking out.
Two, and much more importantly, that Éric and Simon HAVE AN ALBUM. I have just ordered the hell out of this, since CD Baby has it, and this just trumped my planned orders of further LCE and LBS albums. This album should go very, very well with the ones by Nicolas Boulerice and Oliviers Demers that I just ordered, too!
(How do you say “gimme gimme gimme gimme” or “grabbyhands” in French? Or perhaps “CD Baby ROCKS?”)
Exploration of the Beaudrys’ site clues me in as well that OMG, Éric plays the cittern! He just got significantly more interesting, because citterns? Almost as awesome as bouzoukis! \0/
Furthermore, has informed me that I should check out a group called Mes Aïeux as well. So this week’s clearly shaping up to be the week everybody on the Internet throws me their Quebecois trad recommendations! Keep ’em coming, you guys, I’m loving this!

Anything that gets me to practice

I may not have reached GBS levels of fangirling with these new boys from Quebec, but Le Vent du Nord have done something only GBS has seriously been able to do before: they’ve gotten me to pick up my instruments and try to play along, especially now that has gotten Apple TV working on our big TV at home. This means I can bring up YouTube videos on my iPad and channel the right onto the TV, which is super cool.
Because it means I can do things like watch this video or this one of Le Vent du Nord, and try to pick apart the songs they’re playing and see if I can do it too!
“Laniaire” is currently my favorite LVN song sung by Simon Beaudry, and he’s very easy to follow on the melody line in that–I picked out the melody pretty quick, just by whistling the first couple of notes into a tuner to get the starting pitches and then picking up the piccolo to get the whole tune. But Simon’s capoed on his fifth fret in that video, and based on what the piccolo was telling me, I was fairly sure the key was G minor.
Which gave me a bit of a fit. I had to backtrack down the neck to try to figure out what key’s chords he must have been playing in order to wind up in G minor, and that told me he’s playing chords in D minor. Which, for a fairly beginner-level guitarist like me, is CRAZYTALK. D minor has never been my friend. Fortunately, capos are mobile! So I capoed on 3 instead of 5 and instantly got a set of chords much better matched to my skill level. I love you, E minor. (heart) (heart) (heart)
(ETA: D minor, not C minor like I’d originally thought. I forgot about the frets going up by half steps! See what I mean, people? Beginner-level guitarist.)
Now, though, the trick is to try to work out the actual changes. I’m not as comfortable with minor chord progressions as I am with major ones, so I’m going to have to step through this song slowly and see if I can figure out what Simon is doing based on what’s described here. Also, any guitarists out there want to chime in on basic progressions I should get to know for purposes of Celtic-flavored music, by all means, please do!
Meanwhile, “Cré mardi” is my favorite LVN song sung by Nicolas Boulerice, the hurdy gurdy player, so far. This thing’s in G, which is about as friendly a key as you can get. I was able to more or less pick out the first half (where they’re all doing call and response vocals) on the piccolo; the second half is harder, where they’re going into the mouth rhythm and Olivier Demers is echoing them on the fiddle. The tune is called “La turlette du rang des Sloan” according to the album this song comes from, but Googling for that basically gets me hits about that exact track on that exact album. TunePal doesn’t know it either. So I guess I get to figure this thing out the way a proper traditional musician should: BY EAR. ;) Fun!
Also, as soon as I can figure out how to say “my fandom plays bouzouki” in French, I am totally going to have a Simon icon. Possibly also Nico, because the hurdy gurdy is AWESOME. And very possibly also Olivier’s stompy!feet, because that’s +20 to Awesome on top of his being a fiddle player. \0/
On a final (not related to Le Vent du Nord) note–HA, I have in fact managed to get “Banish Misfortune” into my brain enough that I can stumble through it without consulting Matt’s PDF of session tunes! Now if I can do this again on my octave mandolin, that’d rock.

Pretty bouzouki player pics achieved!

Now I totally need me a French version of the My Fandom Plays Bouzouki icon.
Because yum, oh my, and hell, he even looks good just HOLDING the bouzouki. Fortunately, he can also PLAY it:

Furthermore, it must be said that damn, that boy’s voice is pretty too:

Also, this pic of the pretty Monsieur Beaudry and his colleague Monsieur Demers on the fiddle TOTALLY wants a caption. I love that look on Olivier’s face. I’ve seen looks like that exchanged between The Doyle and the McCann!

Fangirling, French Canadian style!

Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, can ever dislodge my beloved B’ys from the top of my music list–but I gotta say, Le Vent du Nord and La Volee d’Castors are duking it out HARD for the esteemed position of My Second Favorite Band. Especially after I went and found some videos of Le Vent du Nord this afternoon, and realized WHOA HEY WAIT A MINUTE, their guitarist/bouzouki player is really rather cute. Thus continuing my grand tradition of being partial to cute dark-haired bouzouki players!
Here, have some Le Vent du Nord goodness, them doing “Cre Mardi”, one of my favorite songs of theirs. The dude in the front, nearest to the person who took the vid, is the aforementioned cute guitarist/bouzouki player. When he moves out of the way towards the latter half of the song, you can see more of the awesome podorythmie action from his bandmate behind him! WHILE THE GUY IS PLAYING THE FIDDLE. I mean damn.

I grabbed a couple more of theirs for my YouTube favorites list as well, like this one, which is a full ten minutes of a capella excellence (all four guys in the band take turns singing lead, and I got a giggle out of this one featuring a tune La Volee d’Castors covered, “Les Coucous”), and this one, which is also long but is a nice segue from an instrumental into vocals. Mad props to YouTube user bordurat, too, who took all three of these vids and who is clearly an LVN fan.
For comparison, I also give you La Volee d’Castors here and here. I like these guys just about as much as Le Vent du Nord–their harmonies aren’t as smooth and polished in these vids (although NOTE: they’re really a lot more polished on their latest album, Le retour), but they have GBS-like levels of vigor on their awesome live album Y a Du Monde À’ Messe! and I TOTALLY want to see them in concert. And check THEIR foot-rhythm guy, who totally meets and matches LVN’s–LVC’s guy makes with the footstompy + accordion!
I highly recommend both of these groups for any GBS fan who either speaks French or digs the sound of it sung!