Fiddles and Boots: Quebec group brings traditional Celtic music to Tucson | Musical function
The Celtic Fiddle Festival, hosted by Kevin Burke, was one of the best concerts ever to land in Tucson
Burke, the great Irish violin player, had the idea of bringing together three fiddlers from three different nations to celebrate the different Celtic music of Ireland, French Brittany and Quebec.
The three musicians were fascinating but the one I remember best is Andrés Brunet.
Brunet, born and raised in Quebec, represented French Celtic music in the New World. Not only did he play a dazzling violin, but he sang and danced at the same time. He was like a triple crown winning jockey, using every part of his body to deliver his extraordinary performance.
In rare luck in these bitter COVID times, when many concerts have been canceled, Brunet is making a comeback appearance in Tucson. Now with the Quebec group Le Vent du Nord, he will play with five other musicians this Friday evening at the Berger Performing Arts Center.
He still has the movements.
“Yes, I stomp my foot when I play the violin, and I sing at the same time,” he says cheerfully from his rural home in Saint-Sévère, Quebec, in eastern Canada. “There is no dance without music and no music without dance.”
Speaking English with a charming French accent, Brunet specifies that he is not the only one to “stomp” in Le Vent du Nord. Olivier Demers, one of the founders of the 19-year-old group, stamps his foot and also manages to work on both the mandolin and the violin.
Those who don’t have toe duties are still very busy. The three main singers also play several instruments. Besides singing, Nicolas Boulerice handles both the piano and the rare hurdy-gurdy. Simon Beaudry plays guitar and Irish bouzouki. And Réjean Brunet, Andrés’ big brother for a year and a half, controls the button accordion and the guitar.
The group, which Andrés Brunet joined just four years ago after a long concert with La Bottine Souriante (Smiling Boot), won the Artist of the Year award at the Juno Awards, considered the Grammys. from Canada.
The musicians are shameless champions of the history and culture of Quebec, the only French-speaking province in a huge predominantly English-speaking nation.
“All the vocals are in French, absolutely,” says Brunet, although he happily addresses the audience in English. “Our traditional music is a great mix of French, Irish, Scottish and English.”
The group finds several of its songs in archives in Quebec and Ottawa, the Canadian capital.
“We love archives,” he says. “We listen to old songs recorded in the last century. We keep the tradition of singing stories alive.
Their new album, Territoires, contains an old song featuring a sad soldier mourning the 1758 defeat of New France at the hands of the British. History, says Brunet, reminds Quebeckers that “we were once strong”.
But the music of Le Vent is also playful, especially with all these instruments and the tapping of the foot at the same time.
The Brunet brothers were “lucky enough to be born into a family where music was omnipresent,” says Andrés. Their father, one of 11 children, sang and played the guitar, and their mother, from a family of 8, played the organ.
One of their father’s brothers was a master fiddler, and the two constantly played together. Every Sunday, the giant clan would meet at the uncle’s or grandmother’s house, and everyone sang.
“It was a good mix of music and love,” he says. It also gave him his life’s work.
One Sunday, when he was 3 years old, he noticed that his uncle was playing. He said to his mother, “I will play the violin someday. He kept his promise and is still immersed in music, “because of my uncle’s joy in playing the violin.”
The North Wind (North Wind)
Concert of the traditional French Quebec group
8 p.m. Friday October 8
Berger Performing Arts Center, 1200 W. Speedway
Reserved seats $ 25 general, $ 23 seniors
Door tickets $ 28; $ 26 seniors
Streaming tickets for viewing at home, $ 15. Can be watched live or for 24 hours after the concert.
To purchase tickets for a show in person or online, visit inconcerttucson.com