Sunday, July 17, 2011

In review--The Sea and the Fiddle

Nagez Rameurs

I'm fond of the joy of life portrayed in traditional Quebecois music.  I enjoy the new world history, the stories of the Quebecois forebears and modern fusion that blends Celtic, other folkloric traditions (think Scandinavian folk!) and even jazz to Quebecois music.  Similar to Le Vent du Nord and a large popular Quebecois group’s whose name escapes me at this time, Genticorum brings us the best of both worlds—the old and the new and always fresh and vibrant.

This marks the second review I’m writing on this Quebecois trio (Alexandre Moulin—flute, fretless bass, fiddle and vocals, Yann Falquet—guitar and vocals and Pascal Gemme—fiddle/violin, feet, and vocals).  Nagez Rameurs features a diverse repertoire which brings in Mètis fiddling, bluegrass swing, and even indirect psychedelic-spiritual influences!  The music flows at a medium tempo with slow ballads and laments peppering the recording.  The fiddles and flute bring in a Celtic feel, but I’m wondering if this Celtic influences come from the United Kingdom or Brittany, since Quebecois music garners influences from various music sources and regions.

The recording opens with Tout le long du voyage, a hearty sea song that waxes a story of hardship, but if you don’t read the lyrics, you’ll just think this is a happy foot tapping tune.  The a cappella title track includes poetry by Irishman Thomas Moore, “A Canadian Boat Song”.  Le Vent du Nord fiddler Olivier Demers (also co-produced the CD) brings his fiddling talent to Les Menteries.  The trio brings in a bluegrass swing element to Galope Doux Bedon and this tune certainly feels uplifting.  Grey Larsen (flute and harmonium) lends his talents on Grand Voyageur.   Violon Guèrisseur brings in the Mètis fiddling element and the trio cites (in the liner notes), “Lawrence Houle, Mètis fiddler and healer, acts as the foundation for this set.  His Healing Fiddle is followed by a tune that Pascal wrote in honor of Mètus steo dancers, who have worked  for generations to keep their art alive…”

Speaking of keeping traditions alive, Genticorum is doing a fabulous job in giving traditional Quebecois music an injection of innovation and providing more traditional folks with sweet music for their ears too.