Browsing Tag

olivier demers

Music, Site Updates

Quebec tunes sheet music

I had a couple different people hitting my site today looking for sheet music to La Bottine Souriante tunes–specifically, “Hommage à Philippe Brunea” and “Valse d’hiver”.

Since I am not actually a sheet music site, I direct interested parties to these links:

Failing either of those, may be able to help you. I’ve periodically found Quebec tunes there, though I use it as a tertiary resource.

You may or may not be able to find tunes composed by specific Quebec artists. I’ve found things composed by André Brunet (who in fact has a few of his tunes available in PDF form here, along with tunes by a couple of other people), and a couple of things composed by Olivier Demers (“Gigue à trois”, which is on the Montreal session tunebook site) and the guys in Genticorum (again on the Montreal site, but a couple on as well–notably for them I’ve found “Violon guérisseur” and “Valse de poeles”, the first on the Montreal session site and the second on

I will also note that the lovely people at the core of the session I go to, La Famille Leger, have a collection of accordion-friendly tunes right over here. I note also that I am NOT an accordion player, but as I am a flautist, stuff that’s easily playable in D is very friendly to my flutes.

Happy tunes hunting, my fellow instrumentalists!


Tarzan, Jane, and books about them both

I’ve just finished Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan by Robin Maxwell–her version of the Tarzan story, as told from Jane’s point of view. I didn’t fall in quite the same level of mad passionate love with it as I did The Hum and the Shiver, but nonetheless, I enjoyed the hell out of it. And as I’d planned to do when I finished it, I promptly then read the original Tarzan novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan of the Apes, since I’d never actually read a word of any of the original novels before.

Very interesting, comparing the two implementations of the story. The biggest differences with Maxwell’s version are of course with Jane herself–in Maxwell’s story, Jane is a much more active character. She’s a budding young scientist, not just a beautiful girl who’s there for Tarzan to love. The circumstance that get her and her father to Africa are much different, and once she’s there, she becomes the means through which Tarzan learns to communicate, and through which he learns about his own background. I definitely appreciated Jane being a woman of science, and the initial setup of Jane having to fight for a place in her father’s anatomy classes is fun. It’s clear that he’s overjoyed to have a daughter who follows in his footsteps, and he gets shit for working to get her admitted into the course, as well as for opting to take her to Africa in general–as you would expect for the time frame of the story.

Maxwell also bumped up the role of Tarzan’s mother, Lady Alice, in his background. In the original story she’s much more fragile, and in fact quietly snaps after she gives birth to him, believing herself back in England during the last year of her life. In Maxwell’s version, she’s a significantly sturdier character, actively working with her husband on their survival, which I appreciated as well.

And Maxwell has the story of how Kerchak’s tribe kills Tarzan’s parents be a much bigger deal. Tarzan-the-boy is a little older in her version when it happens, old enough to be traumatized by what he witnesses, and to block it out of his memory. But that also means that he’s old enough to retain dim memory of learning to talk from his parents, and that in turn plays into how Jane teaches him English later. And this also means that Kerchak as a character is a much bigger deal as well. Since Maxwell’s version of the story makes it clear that Kerchak and Kala’s species is sapient and a missing link between ape and human, they too are more active characters, and taking Kerchak down is a much more significant part of the story. Maxwell gives you actual dialogue for the Mangani, which is fun not only in contributing to the overall idea that yes, these are creatures with a language, but also to presenting the idea that Tarzan himself can handle the idea of words. He’s just not been introduced to English yet.

Overall I liked Maxwell’s version of that part of it all better–but one thing I did note with interest in the original is how Tarzan teaches himself to read from the books left behind in his parents’ house. So when the other main characters finally find him, he can leave them notes in English–but he can’t actually speak English, because he has no conception of how to vocalize the words he’s picked up out of the books. This makes for notable confusion on the part of the others, especially Jane, since they don’t initially realize that the strange jungle man who helps them is the same “Tarzan of the Apes” who keeps leaving them notes. It also amused me deeply that Burroughs had Tarzan learning to talk later thanks to a Frenchman, D’Arnot–which means of course that Tarzan’s first spoken language is French.

(D’Arnot appears in Maxwell’s story too, but in a much different capacity since Jane takes over the role of teaching Tarzan to communicate as well as civilized behavior in general. Maxwell’s D’Arnot is a more tragic figure.)

The other big thing that made me giggle about Burroughs’ story was how chock full of hammering you over the head with Tarzan’s awesomeness–and beauty!–it was. Jane swooning at his handsomeness was to be expected, but at least two of the male characters noted in their POVs his ‘handsome’ face, too. Even his own (unknown to anyone at the time, of course, but) cousin. SLASH GOGGLES ENGAGED!

I couldn’t read the Burroughs story without noting the problematic treatment of the native tribe that appears in it, as well as Tarzan’s behavior towards same. On the other hand, Maxwell swung a little bit too far in the opposite direction, with infodumps about how Jane was of course against the rampant colonialism that Britain and Europe were unleashing on the continent. That is of course much more appropriate for modern sensibilities, though I’d have appreciated Jane coming to those conclusions on camera, rather than just being told that she feels that way. The book did a great job of challenging her about what to do about studying the Mangani, so it would have been nice to see her similarly challenged about her perceptions of what was going on in Africa in general, especially since that plays a significant part of the entire other half of the plot. Much ado is made about Belgium’s atrocities in the Congo in particular, and that plays heavily into why Jane and her father wind up in Africa.

All in all, quite enjoyable to read them back to back. And for bonus amusement in the category Hysterical If You Know People Involved With Quebecois Music, I had to giggle and giggle at one particular exchange in Maxwell’s story, when Jane and Tarzan are continuing to learn to talk to each other:

Lost in pleasant memory now, Tarzan’s face grew animated. “Tarzan ee Jai zu, zu-vo.” He signed that the two little ones had grown big and strong. Now he was smiling broadly. “Tarzan ee Jai olo.”

I shook my head. “Olo?”

Tarzan grabbed me and made as if to wrestle…

This reads very, VERY differently if you’re accustomed to seeing the word “Olo” as the nickname for your favorite Quebecois fiddle player! Important translation note: do not confuse the Mangani verb with the French nickname. Unless you’re planning on wrestling a fiddle player!


A few things make a post

Let’s lead this post off with a couple of general reminders:

First off, the giveaway for Valor of the Healer is still in progress and running until Friday! As of this writing I have only six entrants, so your chances are really, really good at a shot at one of the two free copies I’ll be handing out. Nobody’s cleared the bar to get in on the draw for the audiobook yet, but there’s still time!

ALSO: I have a coupon for Faerie Blood live on Smashwords through Friday as well. Since Smashwords is the only place I can easily set up coupon codes, this doesn’t apply to any other place you can buy the book from, sorry! BUT, if you buy Faerie Blood directly from me any time this week I’ll apply the same 20% discount to the usual $2.99 price. I’ll also do so if you want one of my remaining print editions! So act fast!


Next item!

Seriously, how much of an asshole do you have to be to steal the violin from Olivier Demers?

Y’all know that name around here by now, folks. Violin player for Le Vent du Nord. I follow him on Facebook. This past weekend the Quebec trad music community had a music festival, Chant de Vielles, and to all reports it went swimmingly. Except for the part where somebody walked off with M. Demers’ violin.

Y’all may also remember that I’ve posted before about what it feels like to lose a beloved instrument. Dara can certainly tell you all about that. So believe me when I tell you that it’s a kick in the teeth. And that somebody has seen fit to steal the fiddle that makes beautiful noises like this and this and especially this… well. Treebeard’s quote from The Two Towers comes to mind: “There is no curse in Elvish, Entish, or the tongues of Men for this treachery.”

And I’m just sayin’, people, my spouse is a supervillain. I have heat ray access.


Speaking of Treebeard or at least of things Tolkienish, if you haven’t seen it yet, I did put up Chapter 13 of the Trilingual Hobbit Reread last night!

Also, I put up part 5 of the series of posts on self-publishing.


And that clown car of FAIL re: sexism in publishing (with or without SFWA being involved) has yielded up another clown. My last report of Foz Meadows’ relaying how Jo Fletcher Books had taken down Rod Rees’ post and the followup to same turned out to be premature, since the posts came back up.

Turns out the second one was all about the author’s freedom of speech. Which, um, nobody was actually calling into question.

This being yet another example of people failing to remember that freedom of speech does not equal freedom from people calling you out for being an idiot or an asshole. You’re free to spout off whatever nonsense you like, yes. But the rest of us are free to call it nonsense.

That said, the clown car is thankfully being paced by the Mach Five of WIN. Discussion is ongoing as well about the big, big issue of harassment at cons. My own Dara has chimed in on the matter over here, talking about her experiences with harassment and pointing off to a couple other excellent posts of testimony on the matter, including one from filker Brooke Abbey.

And in a case of someone knowing how to use his position of privilege for Good, John Scalzi has announced his new policy for deciding what conventions he’ll go to. Spoiler alert: he expects them to have clear harassment policies in place. Thank you, sir. This is an excellent move.


ETA: And OH YES I almost forgot. userinfospazzkat came up with an excellent term for the ongoing brouhaha in SF/F, and the Internet’s reaction to same: SFWAdenfreude. My immediate reaction: NEW HASHTAG! Use at will, folks!

ETA #2: THIS JUST IN: Mary Robinette Kowal, hallowed be her name, has had ENOUGH OF THIS SHIT. *wild applause* I feel a buy of all of her ebooks coming on RIGHT NOW. >:D

ETA #3: And because at this point you really do need a scorecard to keep track of all the clowns pouring out of the car, here, have a thoughtfully compiled timeline of all the events that have been going on so far this year.

Quebecois Music

Le Vent du Nord at Hermann’s Jazz Club, Victoria BC, 4/6/2013

I made absolutely no secret of how crushed I was, Internets, when I missed Le Vent du Nord’s Oregon show this past November. And I was quite disappointed as well when the symphony show in Vancouver was cancelled.

But tonight, I am thrilled to report that the show at Hermann’s Jazz Club in Victoria, BC, completely and utterly made up for both of these things. It was short but tight, and a truly intimate little show. And OMG YOU GUYS, Dara and I managed to snag a table right smack in front of the stage!

Clickie for the in-depth show report goodness!

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Some shinies from Memoire et Racines!

Collecting these all in one place so I can refer back to them later!

Y’all remember how I was gushing about getting to go to Memoire et Racines last summer, right? Well, I’ve had the delight of finding several videos from the show–a couple from a performance that Dara and I actually saw, and a few more of a performance we didn’t.

Videos behind the fold!

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And now, in praise of supremely awesome people

One of the things I’ve always loved about Great Big Sea fandom (and a lot of you who have read my posts over the years can back me up on this) is that it’s filled with genuinely wonderful people. I have been deeply privileged to discover that the same can be said for the extended community of Quebecois music fans–because I’m tellin’ ya, people, we have some fabulous people in our local Quebec music session crowd. Dejah Leger, I am looking AT YOU.

Yesterday, during my general blue funk in which I worked from home (on the grounds that it was generally better for all parties concerned if I didn’t have to deal with people face to face), I started getting hints that the funk was doomed to fall.

First wave: cell phone pic from the aforementioned Dejah Of Awesomeness, from the Le Vent du Nord house concert in Portland on Sunday night.

Second wave: friend request on Facebook from Réjean Brunet. As in “the accordion player and bassist for Le Vent du Nord”. To wit: EEK? *^_^*;;

Third wave: Dejah dropping me a massive hint that I should come to session tomorrow night. Because she has a Thing, and I have to show up at session to get it, and she ain’t saying what it is. Uh oh. *^_^*;;

And this afternoon, this happened:

Oh Dear I Think My Screen Just Got a Little Blurry *^_^*;;

Oh Dear I Think My Screen Just Got a Little Blurry *^_^*;;

People, do you see that? Do you see that boulder that just smacked me upside the head (that French-speaking, violin-playing, astoundingly thoughtful boulder)? I talk a good talk with the whole fangirly thing, I can blather about hypersonic squee with the best of ’em. But that? That made an actual audible squeak pop out of me. Let’s count the various ways this is choking me up here.

One, somebody (wherein ‘somebody’ is pronounced ‘Dejah’ and HI DEJAH I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE you beautiful person you) spread the word to the boys of Le Vent. And while we’re on the topic of Awesome People Who Are Awesome, Susan of whom I’ve already sung many praises fessed up to emailing the boys as well, to wit: awww. *^_^*;; (And yes, I know, I’m using that emoticon a lot! It’s been that kind of a day!)

Two, M. Demers made a point of bringing me that wall post. For those of you who aren’t Francophones, he’s basically writing on behalf of the entire band, telling me that they’d heard about our car troubles and that we missed the show, and that they hope they can see us at a future show next time they come out west. And that he thinks we’ll like the symphony show in Vancouver if we can come to that.

Internets, this means Le Vent du Nord reached out to me, on purpose, just because I missed their show. I do not have words for how touched and honored I am by this. And I’ve written three entire novels, am about to finish a fourth, and will soon be starting on a fifth. I’m GOOD at words. Verbosity is my goddamn superpower.

Three, holy crap he wrote to me in French. Which triggered an immediate “oh shit what the hell do I say in reply?!” bit of panic–but here’s the great part of this. What I wrote in reply was composed almost entirely of words I already knew, which I’ve picked up in daily language study with SuperMemo. I had to look up verb conjugations (because great jumping gods, French verb conjugations are a lot more complex than English ones), and how to say “our car broke down”. But the rest of it? Right out of my head. Because let’s hear it for SuperMemo!

(My brain would have fallen right out of my head if I’d been called upon to actually say this in person, but that I can throw words together with only cursory assistance from Google Translate and the grammar checker is, I think, a reassuring step in the right direction. 😀 )

And oh yeah–what I said in reply, again for those of you who aren’t Francophones, was: “Hello Olivier, thank you very much, thank you a thousand times, for thinking of us! Yes, our car broke down. I was very unhappy to miss your show. I really wanted to see you play, and I very much want to see the show in Vancouver! I love the Symphonique album. Again, thank you very much!”

But anyway, the point here is, he wrote to me in French. Which meant he had enough data to be reasonably sure I’d figure out fast what he was saying. Also a reassuring step.

And the upshot of all this: do you guys hear that tectonic shift in the earth? Can you feel that rumble?

That’s the sound of Le Vent du Nord becoming my new official Favorite Band.

Those of you who know how much I love Great Big Sea know that if I’m saying this, I’m not saying it lightly. Do not mistake me. It’s not like I’ve stopped loving Great Big Sea; it’d be biologically impossible for me to stop loving my belovedest of B’ys, especially after seeing them perform in Newfoundland this year. I will always love them too.

But let me emphasize again: touched and honored. Enough that I’m tearing up a bit, little happy tears, as I’m writing this. If a band’s music makes their fans happy, that’s a thing of beauty and a joy forever, to be sure. This level of amazing thoughtfulness, though–not only from the band themselves but also from others who love them too–takes that joy up a whole extra order of magnitude. It’s a joy that springs from people being good to one another. A joy that rebounds right back to me, and makes me want to work all the harder to improve my French, not to mention learning to play more of the tunes of Quebec myself. And a joy that’ll kindle a little sun right in my heart, every time I hear “Manteau d’hiver” or “Lanlaire” or “Vive l’amour” or “Cre-mardi”.

And if all of this wasn’t enough, towards the end of my workday, it seemed like Puget Sound itself was giving me a sign that it approved of the turn my day had taken. I happened to look out the window by my desk at the exact right time to see a breathtaking sunburst of light over the water:

Le soleil dessus l'eau

Le soleil dessus l’eau

Go, people! Buy Tromper le temps! And while you’re at it, buy Dejah’s album too!

Because when beautiful music is made by supremely awesome people, the sun itself will sing.