Browsing Tag

galant tu perds ton temps

Quebecois Music

Quebec band recommendations, round 2: Galant, tu perds ton temps!

Here we have another band who dropped a new album since I put up my original recommendations post about them: Galant, tu perds ton temps!

As with previous posts in this series, pretty much everything I said in the first one for the Galant ladies still holds true–with the notable exception that they do have a shiny new album out, Soyez heureux, which I reviewed here. And now that they do have that new album out, I need to update my “What album should you get?” rec for them–because yes, you should absolutely get this album if you’re interested in checking out this group, just on musical strength alone. (The other two albums are also available to US customers on digital markets, but if you’re going to pick one album, get this one first.)

They’ll be a bit more challenging to follow for newbies at French like myself, since so far I haven’t been able to confirm whether they have publicly available lyrics–I’ve only been able to find lyrics to one of their songs so far, and they don’t have any posted on their website. But if you don’t consider that a drawback, then absolutely, give these ladies your listening attention. As I said in the album review post, I adore the complexity and precision of their vocals. And they all have distinct and lovely voices as well, which blend beautifully in those many layers of harmony.

As you can see here, courtesy of bordurat on YouTube (source of MANY excellent Quebec music vids), you can see the group performing the title track off the new album:

Though I’ll link to this one again as well, “Les promesses du galant”, just because it IS one of my favorites off the album before:

Find the Galant ladies on their official site, as well as on Facebook and Twitter. Go check ’em out!

Quebecois Music

A guide to Quebec trad for English speakers

Internets, as you all know, I’ve been happily fangirling Quebec traditional music for a couple of years now, and quite a few of you have started to ask me questions about it. And because I like you, Internets, and I want to share with you the musical goodness, I’d like to present for you a Guide to Quebecois Traditional Music for English Speakers!

Q: What is Quebecois traditional music?

A: A very close cousin of Irish/Celtic trad. If you’re a fan of Irish or Scottish music, you’ll probably find Quebec trad very compatible to your tastes; there’s a lot of overlap between the two genres.

Q: What makes Quebec trad differ from Irish/Celtic/Scottish/etc.?

A: Three main differences, which are:

  1. Podorythmie. With most Celtic bands the percussion will usually be handled by a bodhran player, who may double up on shakers or bones. There may or may not be an actual drumkit depending on how far into rock the band in question slants. With a Quebec trad band, though, the percussion is almost always handled by someone who does podorythmie, the rhythmic footwork that’s a big signature sound for the genre.
  2. Call and response. Quebec trad is very heavily structured around call and response, where you’ll have whoever’s singing lead echoed by the rest of the band. Relatedly, you’ll find a great number of Quebec trad songs structured in such a way that the first line of a verse will be called, then responded, and then the verse will finish up with a chorus and then a second line which will then roll over into being the first line of the next verse. (This is a very helpful song structure when you’re a newbie to French and you’re trying to figure out how to sing the words!)

    Now, sure, call and response isn’t unknown in Celtic trad in general–but I’ve seen it be a LOT more common in Quebec trad. It makes the songs highly participatory and that’s one of the big reasons I love singing along to the songs so much.

  3. Turluttes. You’ll find a lot of Quebec trad songs will have a turlutte section, sometimes small, sometimes dominant, and sometimes as the entire song. Turluttes are when you get a singer or group of singers vocalizing a melody that in other traditions might be played with instruments. You’ll also hear this referred to as mouth music or mouth reels, similar to puirt à beul or lilting.

    As the Wikipedia link I’ve pointed at in the previous paragraph calls out, turluttes are built out of a set of specific phonemes–a lot of t and d and l and m sounds. They’re almost always up-tempo and joyous and great, great fun.

    A truly splendid example of turluttes in action can be found sung by Les Charbonniers de l’Enfer right over here, with bonus podorythmie solo in the middle.

Q: How is Quebec music similar to Irish/Scottish/Celtic music?

A: Lots of Quebec trad will be familiar to Celtic music fans just because there’s a rich heritage of tunes, jigs/gigues, reels, etc. There are some fun musical and stylistic differences that instrumentalists will notice–particularly how many Quebec tunes are often played “crooked”, doing interesting things to time signatures and varying up the rhythm. If you’re an instrumentalist you’ll want to listen for that.

Likewise, a lot of the topics of the songs will be familiar to Celtic music fans. Alexander James Adams has been often quoted (in particular by me!) as saying that the three main categories of Celtic music are Whiskey, Sex, and Death. This is also true of Quebec music, although from what I’ve seen in Quebec music, it’s more like Wine, Sex, and Death, with a side helping of Religion. (I’ve noticed quite a few songs involving shenanigans that involve priests, for example. 😉 )

Q: Do I need to be able to speak French to appreciate Quebec trad?

A: No! Certainly no more than you need to be a Irish or Scots Gaelic speaker to appreciate Celtic music, anyway. I find that studying a little bit of French enough to let me get an idea of how Quebec trad lyrics go enhances my appreciation of the songs considerably, but you don’t have to go to the lengths I’m going. A lot of the most active bands in the genre post lyrics to their websites, often in both French and English, and even if they only post the French lyrics that’s enough for you to throw the words through a translation engine.

And there’s fun stuff to be found in the lyrics, too. Plus if you do that, you get to be one of the Anglophones in a Quebec trad concert who can start snickering at all the best bawdy bits of songs!

Also, turluttes are language-agnostic!

Q: Enough overview! Who are some bands or artists I can check out?

The ones I’m most fond of are La Bottine Souriante, La Volée d’Castors, Galant, tu perds ton temps, Les Charbonniers de l’Enfer, Genticorum, De Temps Antan, and especially Le Vent du Nord!

And if you have trouble telling all those names apart, I can direct to you to this handy flowchart I made for that exact problem!

Quebec Band Flowchart

Quebec Band Flowchart

For a nice crossover of Celtic and Quebec fiddle styles, I also highly recommend Celtic Fiddle Festival, who feature André Brunet of De Temps Antan. There are also a couple of excellent albums done by André Marchand and Grey Larsen, specifically on the theme of crossover between Irish and Quebec music, and I recommend those too. You can find them here.

I will update this FAQ with new data as I think of it. I did overviews on my favorite bands a while back but I’ll be posting new ones as well, since several of the bands in question dropped new albums since I originally wrote those posts.

Any questions I haven’t covered here? Shoot ’em at me!

Quebecois Music

And now, to solve an ongoing problem

My belovedest of Daras is at a bit of a loss when it comes to comprehending my rampageous affection for Quebecois traditional music. She doesn’t speak a lick of French, and so I could mention any one of the various bands I’m following, only to have their names just parse to her as “French sounds”. And it didn’t help matters much either when we went up to Harrison Hot Springs this past weekend–because two of the guys in De Temps Antan ARE brothers of guys in Le Vent du Nord, and the sets of brothers in question do look rather alike!

Several of you who read me on a regular basis won’t be having these problem, but in case you’re in the same boat Dara is and find yourself trying to figure out who all these people are I keep enthusiastically babbling about, here. I present for you this handy flowchart for how to tell apart my seven favorite Quebecois traditional bands!

Quebec Band Flowchart

Quebec Band Flowchart

Never let it be said that I am not helpful!

Quebecois Music

Album review: Soyez heureux, by Galant, Tu Perds Ton Temps

Several of my Anglophone friends both online and off who’ve studied French have talked about French is the language of precision. I’ve seen this referenced online as well as a reason for why French gets used in diplomatic negotiations–because it is in fact much clearer than English when it comes to vocabulary. Newbie as I am in my French studies, even I can see this. So far I’m definitely finding that if I want to say a given thing in French, there’s pretty much going to be one and maybe two ways tops to say it.

I mention this because it rolls over into music as well. In music, though, precision is not just a matter of word choice; it’s also a matter of tempo, of rhythm, of melody and counter-melody and harmony. Mind you, suitably trained musicians can do this regardless of what language they speak or sing. My brother the rock drummer, I daresay, might tell you all about how precision is the life’s blood of a percussionist. But in my explorations of Quebecois traditional music, precision is absolutely one of the qualities I’m seeing shining forth. If you want to know why I admire the hell out of instrumentalists who can do podorythmie, it’s exactly because of that–the physical precision and coordination required to do that with any speed at all. And when you throw in the ability to sing at the same time, the precision becomes more than just physical. It becomes a defining factor of the music, and it’s a real big part of what sends me bouncing down the street singing turluttes at the top of my lungs, or seeing if I can in fact get my feet going while playing a reel on one of my flutes.

All of which leads me to the topic of this post: the brand new album by Galant, Tu Perds Ton Temps!

I’ve written before about how Quebec trad is a pretty male-heavy genre of music, and usually I am absolutely fine with that, given how much I’m enjoying all the various bands I follow. Galant, Tu Perds Ton Temps however go a long way to address this gender imbalance and I adore them. For one thing, it’s delightful to try to sing along with French lyrics sung in my actual range. For another, that precision thing? The women of Galant, Tu Perds Ton Temps have it in spades. I am in awe of how their five vocalists can interweave their voices. They may not be as roaringly powerful vocal-wise as the Charbonniers, my other favorite Quebecois a capella group–but every one of their songs is an exquisite, delicate work of musical art. (And when I say delicate, don’t let that make you think they lack energy! I assure you, they don’t!)

Their new album is called Soyez heureux (“Be happy”). It’s their third release, and now that they’ve reached album #3, it’s clear that they’ve gotten their style down and can now spend time polishing it until it shines. Being a newbie to French, I do suffer a considerable handicap in not being able to follow most of the lyrics–but I can tell that vocally and rhythmically, they’ve definitely kicked it up another notch or two from their previous albums. Moreover, from what I’ve read about the album, there is a concerted effort here to tell the stories of women in the various songs. What surprised me the most, too, was one article mentioning at least one song about a lesbian! Which makes me really want to dig into the lyrics and see if I can figure out which song has that story. Because that? That’s an awesome thing to see cropping up in folk music.

The digital booklet that came with the album does not include lyrics for every song, sadly, so I’m going to have to spend some time trying to translate what is there–which appears to be a broad overview of the five women whose stories the songs are telling. But in the meantime I can tell you that the addition of little interludes of violin between several of the tracks give the album an almost classical-sounding structure overall, and I suspect they’re serving as transitional markers between one woman and the next in the story flow.

I don’t know which woman in the group has which voice yet, but I particularly love the deeper voices in the harmony mix; whoever’s got the contralto has a gorgeous voice, in particular. Listen too for the rhythms laid down by their percussionist–that precision thing again! This being the only one of my main Quebec groups that includes a bodhran in their percussion as well as feet adds another unique layer to the band’s sound, and it’s a great rumbly low anchor to their high, sweet vocals.

And I can tell you as well that of the tracks available on the album, my favorites so far are “Laissez-moi faire” (+10 for any song with turlutte rhythms to it!), “Elle attent tout l’temps”, “Virons-la” (because mmmm turluttes in minor mmmmm), “La complainte de Ste-Marie” (for some haunting slow harmonies), “Le blues de la ménagère” (because of sweet waltz tempo), and “Louise et son soldat” (for OH HEY I can actually understand that title, so maybe I’ll be able to pick a story out of the lyrics!).

This album’s been released to US markets, so you can grab it from US iTunes or Amazon. Canadians can grab it from Canadian iTunes or a physical CD from Amazon CA. Archambault in Quebec has it right over here, and Renaud-Bray has it here.

The band can be found on both Facebook and Twitter, as well as at their official website. Go tell ’em bonjour, won’t you? And get their album!

About Me, Music, Quebecois Music

Further arrangements for the Canadian Adventure!

Just snagged weekend passes for Dara and me to the Newfoundland & Labrador Folk Festival, the big festival that was our main reason for going to St. John’s to begin with–even if we’ll be skipping out on it on August 4th to scamper up to Torbay for Great Big Sea instead. 😀 We figured screw it, we’ll just get passes for the whole weekend anyway so we’ll be able to wander in and out at whim. Now I just need to see a full schedule for who’s playing when, since I have particular interest in seeing The Once and the Dardanelles.

Meanwhile, keeping a sharp eye on the Memoire et Racines site, waiting for tickets to be on sale for that too so I can snag passes for Dara and me for July 28th, the Day of Podorythmie! Priority interest will be with Galant Tu Perds Ton Temps and the Charbonniers, but really, my little fangirl heart is desperate to know if I get to see Le Vent du Nord twice in one year.

And speaking of Dara and me in Quebec, side note to either userinfoframlingem or userinfoscrunchions–if either of you might be interested in hosting a tiny house concert for Dara, let us know, hey? Dara’s got one for Toronto and one for Moncton, and if she could do one in Montreal, that’d make it a TOUR. ;D

And hell, for that matter, anybody following me in St. John’s, if YOU want to host Dara for a teeny house concert, we’ll have way more time to play with there than we will in Montreal! Talk to us if you want to host a Cascadian Supervillain with her Bouzouki of Mass Destruction!

Music

Further musical planning for the Great Atlantic Canadian Adventure!

*squeal*

Keeping a hawk’s eye on the tour Calendar on leventdunord.com just paid off. Looks like they ARE booked to play on the 28th at Memoire et Racines, the weekend that Dara and I will be in Quebec! Which means that the priority of getting to that festival for a day trip on the 28th just shot up to CRITICAL. 😀 Because yeah, I need me another Le Vent du Nord show STAT, and I especially want to see how they work a Francophone crowd. Also, it would be sporting of me to give them another fighting chance at my musical affections, given that Great Big Sea will be steamrollering over everything else once Dara and I reach St. John’s in August.

I also note with huge delight that Les Charbonniers de l’Enfer’s tour schedule ALSO shows July 28th (and the 29th, but the 28th is the pertinent date here). Which means that ideally I’ll get to see them too! They better not be scheduled opposite Le Vent, or else I shall be quite sad! Now all I need is to determine whether Galant Tu Perds Ton Temps is also booked on the 28th, to complete the trifecta of awesome–though really, if I get Le Vent and the Charbonniers in the same day, that’s quite a bit of awesome right there and that may be enough all by itself for me to explode from squee. 😀

(Special side message to userinfoframlingem! You still in for this? Let me and Dara know! The Festival’s official full program goes online on June 14th and I’ll be getting Dara and me tickets, I want to make sure our plans can still align!)

Quebecois Music

Montreal chimes in on the Great Canadian Adventure!

HEL-LO, the Montreal portion of the Great Canadian Summer Adventure just got way, WAY more interesting!

I have had THIS brought to my attention–most recently by Monsieur de Grosbois-Garand, that fine gentleman who gave me the nifty flute lesson. I’d already discovered it poking around various band schedules to see if anything fascinating might crop up that could line up with my and Dara’s trip. But now, after seeing a promo pic go up on Le Vent du Nord’s Facebook page and then poking around on the actual site for the festival, I see that not only Le Vent will be involved, but ALSO the Charbonniers and Galant Tu Perd Ton Temps.

This, mes amis d’Internet, is extremely goddamn relevant to my interests, is what this is. 😀

But augh the site for the festival appears to be considerably north of Montreal, at least 40 minutes’ drive and as long as 2 hours by transit. Transit seems right out as an option.

HEY userinfoframlingem and userinfoscrunchions! Don’t suppose either of you would be up for playing native guide and helping userinfosolarbird and me get to this thing, probably on the 28th as a target date? ‘Cause if I have a shot at seeing ANY of these bands live while we’re in Montreal, I am ALL. OVER. THAT. 😀 This might be my only shot at all to see the Charbonniers or the Galant girls!