My belovedest Dara and I have done the trip up to Vancouver quite a few times at this point–but still, it’s a bit rough getting up at stupid-o’clock in the morning in time to get on an early bus, go all the way down to King Street Station, and get on a train to go all the way up to Vancouver. There was quite a bit of yawning involved.
But then, with Festival du Bois waiting on the other end, I was quite willing to spend my Saturday morning snoozing on a train!
As always, our friends Geri and Rob kindly put us up for the weekend at their place. This time around, we brought Rob a bottle of Scotch by way of a “thank you for letting us snooze here!” gift. (That, and I’m sure their dog was happy to have two extra pairs of hands to throw the ball down the stairs.) And, this time around, Geri elected to come to the festival shenanigans with us on Saturday!
My only regret? Realizing only after we were on our way north that I’d totally forgotten to bring Jean-Claude. AUGH. For the best, though, since the weather was wet and cold and let me tell you, Internets, there’s nothing quite as pungent as the smell of wet mammoth.
(Full deets and pics behind the fold!)
I give an awful lot of fangirling time to Le Vent du Nord, De Temps Antan, and the Charbonniers, it’s true–but there is a lot more to be found in the genre of Quebecois trad, and I’ve got quite a few other groups represented in my collection at this point. One of these is Bon Débarras, who Dara and I had the pleasure of seeing perform at last year’s Festival du Bois. They are a very lively trio, melding American and Quebecois influences to form a distinct sound all their own. It’s very worth seeing them perform live, since Dominic Desrochers is an excellent dancer. But if you can’t pull off getting to a show, their albums are the next best thing!
Errance by Bon Debarras
Their second album Errance has just dropped, and I am delighted to report that I enjoyed the hell out of it. You’ll find those American influences I mentioned all over this album–things like using a washboard for percussion as much as they do the feet. Or their vocal style, which rings very familiar to my Midwest-bred ears despite the lyrics being in French; I hear a lot of echoes of country or bluegrass or rockabilly in their singing. Or the particular mix of instrumentation, particularly banjo and harmonica, which carries the same sort of echoes for me as the vocals.
Track-by-track reactions behind the fold!
Day 3 of my and Dara’s Grand Four-Day Weekend of Marriage and Music was Festival du Bois!
I wanted to go to this pretty much as soon as I found out that there was an entire festival of French Canadian and Acadian music going on the very same weekend we were coming up for Le Vent–and, of course, it made utter sense that the concert was being held in conjunction with the festival in question! We wound up only going on Saturday instead of both days, but nonetheless, the one day turned out to be quite fun indeed.