Le Vent du Nord: Territories (Borealis/digital outlets)

 |   |  1 min read

Au regiment
Le Vent du Nord: Territories (Borealis/digital outlets)

With this year's Taranaki Womad almost on us (March 15-17), this new album by a Quebecois band is timely, they played the festival last year and delivered their powerful take on traditional Franco-Canadian/British-Canadian folk to an enthusiastic audience.

Womads have always had their fair share of Celtic and African dance-folk but this outfit offered something different where traditional tunes (upbeat or thoughtful) were juggled with original material which fitted in seamlessly.

The title is important on this newalbum in that the songs here explore ideas of new territories – sometimes the new lands being explored, at others the internal landscape of emotion – and aren't tied to traditional instruments . . . so bazouki and acoustic bass sit alongside fiddle, jaw-harp, hurdy-gurdy and percussion.

Yes, it's all in French (other than the instrumentals) but on songs as strong as the dark and desperate Adieu a Village you get a real sense of flight from . . . something. (It is about a man to be hanged who escapes when the rope breaks and so he is freed, and knowing that you are rooting for him the whole way).

Of course there are upbeat pieces here (the joyously jiggish instrumental Cotillon du Capitaine with jazzy breakdowns on piano, Le Step a Alexis comes with accordion of the kind you might hear in Cajun country) and in other places (Le Soir Arrive) you might be in a warm but remote home around a fire in good company while outside it is bitter and bleak.

The harmony singing on Louisbourg pays tribute to the Cape Breton community and the opening passages of Turlutte a Bassinette – over a drone – is as a sad as you ever likely to hear.

Multiple award-winners Le Vent du Nord have an emotional stretch here which is rare and although you'd need the CD with translations into English for full appreciation, the instrumentals such as the melancholy closer Cote-Nord speak clearly of emotions beyond language.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   World Music from Elsewhere articles index

Baloji: Kinshasa Succursale (Crammed Discs/Southbound)

Baloji: Kinshasa Succursale (Crammed Discs/Southbound)

Given how many producers, remixers and musicians are flocking to Kinshasa in search of Congolese musicians, it seems the former Belgian Congo is the new Jamaica. No bad thing, some of the music... > Read more

Hossam Ramzy and Ossama El Hendy: Ruby (ARC Music)

Hossam Ramzy and Ossama El Hendy: Ruby (ARC Music)

Said it before but will say it again: you should never judge a bellydance album by its cover.  You should look for a name like Hossam Ramzy and consider that a hallmark of quality. The man... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE RETURN OF ROTOR PLUS (2020): Dream fugues and sonic inner space

THE RETURN OF ROTOR PLUS (2020): Dream fugues and sonic inner space

It has been more than seven years since we last heard from rotor plus (sometimes rotor +) when his trilogy of remarkable albums reached their quiet but compelling conclusion with Dust.... > Read more

The Verlaines: Corporate Moronic (Dunedin Sound/Yellow Eye)

The Verlaines: Corporate Moronic (Dunedin Sound/Yellow Eye)

The problem with writing songs which have a political intention or address social issues is that these complex matters cannot easily be reduced to lyrics, and so you end up with songs which are... > Read more