This being the first of a flurry of mini-reviews of all the various albums I’ve picked up lately!
“Come What May”, by Ad Vielle Que Pourra: Mostly instrumental, but with a lot of hurdy-gurdy goodness. The hurdy-gurdy here isn’t nearly at the powerhouse level that Le Vent du Nord delivers, but that’s not a bad thing, given that I happen to like how the voice of the instrument lends itself to more delicate tunes. What vocals are here are almost choral in their quality, which fits in nicely overall with the understated instrumental performances.
“Eaux-de-vies”, by Les Batinses: I already had this group’s other album, so I fully expected to like this one too. I was not mistaken. More jazzy/bluesy in style than how I usually listen to my trad, but again, not a bad thing. Especially in the extended solos in track 2, “Vin Et Amour” (and how’s that title for a summary of two of the major topics of Quebec trad music, hmm?). Also: appears to be a live album! This was obvious at first only with the audience noise at the end of the tracks, but the last couple of tracks really get bouncy. So that makes it extra fun to listen to.
“Koru”, by Mauvais Sort: Another group I’d already sampled with an initial album, so yeah, I thought I’d pick up a couple more of theirs. Mauvais Sort are similar to Les Batinses in overall vocal style and instrumentation, with a few hints of Mes Aieux as well. General thumbs up for rocking up the trad, though it’s odd to hear a drum kit in the background. I wanted this album in particular though for their take of “Ziguezon”, which is imprinted on my brain with the La Bottine Souriante take sung by Andre Marchand. Fun to hear alternate versions of such things!
“Gront”, by Väsen: This being the group from Sweden I became aware of via their touring with Le Vent du Nord! I’d been meaning to find one of their albums, and when this one shot across my radar, I was happy to pick it up. Partway in on the first track of this album, which is from 1999, I’m thinkin’ yeah, these guys are totally compatible with my musical interests. The nyckelharpa sounds very cool, and they’ve got some viola goodness going on as well. Rhythm-wise, their percussion is very familiar-sounding to anybody familiar with Celtic music. Or Quebecois, for that matter, even though I’m hearing drums here and not feet. The album’s entirely instrumental, so I suspect this’ll mostly serve me as background music for writing code. Or writing prose, for that matter. Of particular amusement to my fellow Browncoats, though: the last track in particular struck me as something that would not be out of place AT ALL in the soundtrack of a Firefly episode.
More to come!