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olivier demers

Quebecois Music

Le Vent du Nord and Genticorum videos!

Because YouTube loves me this weekend and wants me to have awesome things, I bring to you three brand new videos posted by YouTube user bordurat, who clearly has a lock on all the best Quebecois band videos, and two older ones from the same user’s posts.

Videos behind the fold! The three new ones are from Le Vent du Nord’s recent CD launch party in Montreal–so all the between-song stage talk is in French, too fast for me to follow, but the videos are long and have two songs each, so they are quite worth your time. The two older ones are Genticorum, who I feature here now since those boys are putting in a powerful bid to become my Official Second Favorite Quebecois Band (though I reserve final judgement until De Temps Antan gets out here in August)!

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Music, Quebecois Music

Session tunes status check!

As of this post, I appear to be able to pull “Si Bheag Si Mhor”, “Road to Lisdoonvarna”, “Swallow Tail Jig”, “Morrison’s Jig”, and “Banish Misfortune” out of my brain and into my fingers, at least on the piccolo, without resorting to sheet music. I can’t do them (well, the latter four anyway, as Si Bheag is played slowly) at speed, and I can’t do them reliably–but they’re in the fingers now. Practice will make them stronger.

“Blarney Pilgrim” is on the way. I’ve got the A part in my fingers, though I don’t have the B and C bits down yet.

I think my next direct targets are going to be “Apples in Winter” and “Cliffs of Moher”, as the latter is in Matt’s handy tunes PDF and the former, pulled off of TunePal, is frequently paired with session. Meanwhile, in terms of tunes I TOTALLY want to learn just because of all the Quebec music I’ve been listening to, “Jig of Slurs”, “Irish Washerwoman”, and “Atholl Highlander” are now all on my radar because La Volée does such an awesome set of them on their live album. And, I have discovered to my glee that several tunes of Quebecois derivation DO appear to be in the TunePal database–all I had to do was search for “le reel” and “reel du”, and I got several hits of tunes that are all over my La Bottine albums.

My advanced homework remains parsing the nameless tune of M. Demers’ in “Lanlaire”, though! 😀 And other advanced homework will be starting to try to think about not only what tunes I like the sounds of, but also which ones might go together amusingly in combination. One of our experienced session players is strongly in favor of not chaining too much E minor together, which makes me want to think about what transitions of keys are good. There’s also the question of figuring out if a jig-jig-reel combination would work. A lot of instrumental tracks in my collection do that and it would serve me well to emulate their example.

Quebecois Music

Most awesome fiddle player of the week

Y’all remember I was gushing over “Lanlaire” by Le Vent du Nord, right, and in particular over this video of it?

That vid was super-handy in letting me figure out a few things about the song. As I’d posted before, I was able to follow the melody on my piccolo and from there figured out what key it was in. Seeing Simon Beaudry’s guitar in the vid let me figure out what set of chords he was using–i.e., that he’s got to be using D minor chords if he’s capoed on 5. (Me, I punted to E minor chords capoed on 3, which are a lot easier for me; D minor is still giving me issues if I try to play chords at any given speed.)

What I could not figure out from the video, however, is what fiddle player Olivier Demers is playing on the bridge and on the outro; he’s playing too fast for me to follow. I tried letting TunePal on my iPad listen to the recording, and it had no idea what the tune was–which is not terribly surprising, since TunePal, helpful though it is, is fairly scattershot about how well it picks up on stuff.

Turns out though that there’s a reason it had no idea what that tune was.

See, I sorta kinda emailed M. Demers and asked him about the tune. *^_^*;; The LVN boys have email links on their bio pages on their site, so I looked at Olivier’s page on Saturday, went .oO (what the hell) to myself, and clickied! Told the gentleman I was a newbie session player and a new LVN fan, and asked if he could identify the tune for me so I could maybe look it up online and learn it. (Because it’s either that or I try to transcribe it, and then learn it that way, which’ll take me a lot longer. Because I can’t play by ear well enough to try to pick out a tune without the intermediate step of transcribing it out first.)

He emailed me back! And said he actually wrote the tune himself for the song! And said he’d send me the sheet music later since he didn’t have it on that computer!

I’ve heard from a couple different directions now (hiya, userinfoscrunchions!) that the LVN boys are sweethearts, and this is clear proof. Olivier Demers for me is now this week’s most awesome fiddle player! I’m going to be fangirlishly squeeing about this all week, so y’all be warned. And then I’m going to see if I actually can transcribe the tune, because it’ll be an amusing exercise, if sheet music actually shows up in my inbox, to compare against it and see if I can get it right!


Quebecois Music

Anything that gets me to practice

I may not have reached GBS levels of fangirling with these new boys from Quebec, but Le Vent du Nord have done something only GBS has seriously been able to do before: they’ve gotten me to pick up my instruments and try to play along, especially now that userinfospazzkat has gotten Apple TV working on our big TV at home. This means I can bring up YouTube videos on my iPad and channel the right onto the TV, which is super cool.

Because it means I can do things like watch this video or this one of Le Vent du Nord, and try to pick apart the songs they’re playing and see if I can do it too!

“Laniaire” is currently my favorite LVN song sung by Simon Beaudry, and he’s very easy to follow on the melody line in that–I picked out the melody pretty quick, just by whistling the first couple of notes into a tuner to get the starting pitches and then picking up the piccolo to get the whole tune. But Simon’s capoed on his fifth fret in that video, and based on what the piccolo was telling me, I was fairly sure the key was G minor.

Which gave me a bit of a fit. I had to backtrack down the neck to try to figure out what key’s chords he must have been playing in order to wind up in G minor, and that told me he’s playing chords in D minor. Which, for a fairly beginner-level guitarist like me, is CRAZYTALK. D minor has never been my friend. Fortunately, capos are mobile! So I capoed on 3 instead of 5 and instantly got a set of chords much better matched to my skill level. I love you, E minor. (heart) (heart) (heart)

(ETA: D minor, not C minor like I’d originally thought. I forgot about the frets going up by half steps! See what I mean, people? Beginner-level guitarist.)

Now, though, the trick is to try to work out the actual changes. I’m not as comfortable with minor chord progressions as I am with major ones, so I’m going to have to step through this song slowly and see if I can figure out what Simon is doing based on what’s described here. Also, any guitarists out there want to chime in on basic progressions I should get to know for purposes of Celtic-flavored music, by all means, please do!

Meanwhile, “Cré mardi” is my favorite LVN song sung by Nicolas Boulerice, the hurdy gurdy player, so far. This thing’s in G, which is about as friendly a key as you can get. I was able to more or less pick out the first half (where they’re all doing call and response vocals) on the piccolo; the second half is harder, where they’re going into the mouth rhythm and Olivier Demers is echoing them on the fiddle. The tune is called “La turlette du rang des Sloan” according to the album this song comes from, but Googling for that basically gets me hits about that exact track on that exact album. TunePal doesn’t know it either. So I guess I get to figure this thing out the way a proper traditional musician should: BY EAR. 😉 Fun!

Also, as soon as I can figure out how to say “my fandom plays bouzouki” in French, I am totally going to have a Simon icon. Possibly also Nico, because the hurdy gurdy is AWESOME. And very possibly also Olivier’s stompy!feet, because that’s +20 to Awesome on top of his being a fiddle player. \0/

On a final (not related to Le Vent du Nord) note–HA, I have in fact managed to get “Banish Misfortune” into my brain enough that I can stumble through it without consulting Matt’s PDF of session tunes! Now if I can do this again on my octave mandolin, that’d rock.

Quebecois Music

Pretty bouzouki player pics achieved!

Now I totally need me a French version of the My Fandom Plays Bouzouki icon.

Because yum, oh my, and hell, he even looks good just HOLDING the bouzouki. Fortunately, he can also PLAY it:

Furthermore, it must be said that damn, that boy’s voice is pretty too:

Also, this pic of the pretty Monsieur Beaudry and his colleague Monsieur Demers on the fiddle TOTALLY wants a caption. I love that look on Olivier’s face. I’ve seen looks like that exchanged between The Doyle and the McCann!

Quebecois Music

Fangirling, French Canadian style!

Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, can ever dislodge my beloved B’ys from the top of my music list–but I gotta say, Le Vent du Nord and La Volee d’Castors are duking it out HARD for the esteemed position of My Second Favorite Band. Especially after I went and found some videos of Le Vent du Nord this afternoon, and realized WHOA HEY WAIT A MINUTE, their guitarist/bouzouki player is really rather cute. Thus continuing my grand tradition of being partial to cute dark-haired bouzouki players!

Here, have some Le Vent du Nord goodness, them doing “Cre Mardi”, one of my favorite songs of theirs. The dude in the front, nearest to the person who took the vid, is the aforementioned cute guitarist/bouzouki player. When he moves out of the way towards the latter half of the song, you can see more of the awesome podorythmie action from his bandmate behind him! WHILE THE GUY IS PLAYING THE FIDDLE. I mean damn.

I grabbed a couple more of theirs for my YouTube favorites list as well, like this one, which is a full ten minutes of a capella excellence (all four guys in the band take turns singing lead, and I got a giggle out of this one featuring a tune La Volee d’Castors covered, “Les Coucous”), and this one, which is also long but is a nice segue from an instrumental into vocals. Mad props to YouTube user bordurat, too, who took all three of these vids and who is clearly an LVN fan.

For comparison, I also give you La Volee d’Castors here and here. I like these guys just about as much as Le Vent du Nord–their harmonies aren’t as smooth and polished in these vids (although NOTE: they’re really a lot more polished on their latest album, Le retour), but they have GBS-like levels of vigor on their awesome live album Y a Du Monde À’ Messe! and I TOTALLY want to see them in concert. And check THEIR foot-rhythm guy, who totally meets and matches LVN’s–LVC’s guy makes with the footstompy + accordion!

I highly recommend both of these groups for any GBS fan who either speaks French or digs the sound of it sung!