Le Vent du Nord

Dans Les Airs

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AllMusic Review by

On their third album, Le Vent du Nord continues to explore the combinations of multiple cultural music traditions -- from France and its many sources through to Canadian sources, French, English, and otherwise -- to create another stellar listen. The band's sheer exuberance is its own power source, but there's something about their excellent harmonizing in particular -- evident from the first album on and seemingly all the more effortlessly skilled here -- that simply sparkles, no matter whether the listener knows French or not (though as always the group kindly provides explanations for each song in the liner notes). Split more or less evenly between reworked traditional numbers and originals, the baker's dozen of songs includes one older number, "La Veillee chez Poirier," which sounds like it should soundtrack a movie about the suavest bunch of dudes ever to walk down either the banks of the Seine or the St. Lawrence (the accordion work sings and swings in equal measure), while "Le Vieux Cheval" shows that all the quartet needs are their voices and the stamping of their feet to interpret a song as memorable as any in their oeuvre. Examples of the group at its most boisterous musically are plentiful -- at the close of "La Piastre des Etats," Olivier Demers' violin work practically dares you not to dance (while Réjean Brunet's performance on piano could almost be barrelhouse blues). A sweet treat comes with "La Traversee," itself a fusion of three separate reels -- of French Canadian, English Canadian, and English/Scottish origin -- which come together in one blast of simultaneously high-speed and sweetly contemplative (thanks to the beautiful piano work by Nicolas Boulerice) music. It's a treat and a half that just makes a listener impatient for whatever this fine band will next create.

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