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 articles index

Srdjan Beronja and Various Artists: Sounds of the East (ARC Music)

Srdjan Beronja and Various Artists: Sounds of the East (ARC Music)

This seductive album by Serbian composer/percussion player Beronja – with thorough and informative liner notes typical of the ARC label – follows his similarly conceived Sounds of... > Read more

Dirt Music: BKO (Glitterhouse/Yellow Eye)

Dirt Music: BKO (Glitterhouse/Yellow Eye)

In a way this album was inevitable -- although has come from an unexpected source. The whole "Sahara Blues" style of Etran Finatawa, Tinariwen and more recently Tamikrest has always... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

JOHN MAYALL IN THE SIXTIES: And Another Man Done Gone . . .

JOHN MAYALL IN THE SIXTIES: And Another Man Done Gone . . .

When veteran British bluesman John Mayall played the Civic in Auckland in 2010, the concert was both disappointing and crowd-pleasing. Disappointing because, although professionally executed, it... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Sam Scott of Phoenix Foundation

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Sam Scott of Phoenix Foundation

And now for someone who should need no introduction, Samuel Flynn Scott of Phoenix Foundation. They have frequently appeared at Elsewhere and Scott has appeared under his own name also. But this is... > Read more