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Mesdames et Messieurs!

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Album Review

Traditional folk music, from Quebec or elsewhere, is music to be experienced live. Take the best trad folk musicians, lock them up in a studio without an audience, and what comes out can be disappointingly tame — but not so tame with Le Vent du Nord, of course, thanks to the fact that their music has a strong romantic side, and elaborate arrangements. Yet, however good and endearing their studio albums may be, a single dip at one of their shows will convince you of how much of the Vent du Nord experience these CDs don't document. Enter this live album, Mesdames et Messieurs!, recorded under the best auspices. The occasion: a headlining carte blanche slot at the 2008 Mémoire et Racines Festival in Joliette, Québec's biggest traditional music happening. On-stage: the quartet, plus a slew of guests, most from the same (young) generation as the group, including Éric Beaudry and André Brunet (brothers of Le Vent du Nord's Simon Beaudry and Réjean Brunet, and trad musicians in their own right), De Temps Antan's Pierre-Luc Dupuis, the McDades' Jeremiah McDade, and ex-Le Vent du Nord founding member Bernard Simard. Add the fact that this performance took place during the group's Dans les Airs tour and is based on that album's repertoire, their best up to that point, plus that the Canadian state radio Radio-Canada was recording the show for broadcast. The result: a beautifully recorded, fun-filled, surprise-laden, and energy-packed concert by Quebec's top traditional music band. Highlights include the moving "La Fille et les Dragons" being given an extra dimension by McDade's flute, a great version of "Les Larmes aux Yeux" with the Beaudry brothers, and the encores "Vive l'Amour" and "Au Bord de la Fontaine" performed with all guests on deck ("Vive l'Amour" is sung by Simard, a wink at Le Vent du Nord's very early days). Mesdames et Messieurs! is a prime example of how the young generation is reactualizing and dusting down Québécois traditional music, in the best possible setting to experience it: on-stage, with lots of friends. ~ François Couture, Rovi

Biography

Formed: 2002

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '00s

Based in Quebec, Le Vent du Nord (The Wind of the North) are a four-member group specializing in the traditional French-Canadian folk that locals refer to as Quebecois music (or la musique québécoise in French). The accordion, the violin, the mandolin, and the hurdy-gurdy (an instrument that goes back to medieval times and is known as the vielle à roue in French) are prominent ingredients of their sound, which draws on influences ranging from French medieval music to British folk to the Celtic music...
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Mesdames et Messieurs!, Le Vent du Nord
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