Petit Fou

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If you're one of the many who lost heart when La Bottine Souriante finally croosed the line and turned into a rhythm & blues band, despair no longer: This scrappy trio from Québec plays with a similar loose-limbed energy and takes an attitude toward tradition that is similar to that of the old Bottine Souriante in its paradoxical combination of reverence and amiable disregard. For example, few instruments have less to do with maritime folk music than the electric bass, yet when the amazing Simon Lepage climbs up from the lower regions to dance in unison with fiddler Gaston Bernard and accordionist Benoit Bourque, the result is so joyfully beautiful that thoughts of tradition are forgotten. On the other hand, the unison call-and-response singing on "La Fille du Geolier" and "L'Amuseur des Filles" draws on very deep roots, as do the traditional reels and jigs that this trio spins out with apparently effortless virtuosity. Their fusion of Canadian and Indian traditions on "La Viellie Galope" is maybe a bit more interesting in theory than in practice, but it's still pretty interesting, and the album overall is an utter joy.

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