Canadien eh! – Le Vent du Nord


I can’t think of a better way to start a musical evening than to hear a Duke Ellington tune drifting out through the main doors of the Key City Theatre. This musical prelude to the evening was provided by Dean Smith on piano, Ben Smith on bass and the very youthful (grade 9) Micah on drums – The Dean Smith Trio. The Dean Smith Trio Ben and Dean Smith    Ben and Dean Smith   Dean Smith      Micah       Dean Smith


le_vent_duNord_postersmallAs presented by Le Vent du Nord – Nicholas Boulerice (piano, accordion, hurdy gurdy & vocals); Olivier Demers (fiddle, Quebecois foot percussion, guitar, vocals); Simon Baudry (Irish bouzouki, guitar & vocals); Bejean Brunet (accordions, jew’s harp, fret-less bass guitar & vocals). From the first number the band ripped into music that literally rocked the room. The foot stamping Quebecois foot percussion delivered the  unmistakable sound that could only be French Canadian. For the average  non-francophone this music probably came as a surprise. It is so lively and vibrant and so unlike any other north American pop/rock/roots music that it is truly unique. As Canadians we tend to look south for our musical inspiration from the world of rock/pop, Bluegrass, jazz, Cajun, folk and what ever. We forget that within Canada there are enough unique vibrant regional musical styles to inspire any generation of musicians. We seemed to be too hung up on being second-rate Americans to notice. Well Le Vent du Nord certainly served notice with their entertaining evening of great instrumentals, songs, vocal harmonies, humor and unique collection of instruments. Fiddles we know; accordions we know (perhaps not the variety played this evening); bass guitar we know; piano we know; guitar we know; the Irish Bouzouki we sort of know from the band Great Big Sea and the many Celtic bands that have played in the area; Jews Harp, alt Nicolas Boulericehough an ancient instrument is probably new to us; If you have ever listened to Quebecois music in the past the foot percussion, that is pretty distinctive, would be instantly recognizable; Now, the Hurdy Gurdy is probably from way out in left field. When was the last time (or the first time) you actually heard a Hurdy Gurdy.The name, for me, conjures up images of the Swedish Chef on the old Nicolas BoulericeMuppets TV shows chattering away in that fake Swedish accent “dis here is de huuurdy guuurdy”). Nicolas teased the audience about the instrument before he risked arrest and incarceration for “indecently exposing his Hurdy Gurdy”. He removed the cover to reveal the crank operated rotating wheel that  rested against the drone strings that ran along both sides of the instrument. He then next flipped open the cover to reveal the inner Nicolas Boulericeworkings of the instrument. The main melodies are played on what appear to be violin strings that react to levers to produced the individual melody notes. The player rotates the crank with his right hand, the wheel rubs against the strings to produce the required drone and melody notes while the left hand manipulates the levels that change the pitch of the melody notes. It is easy to see why the instrument has been called a wheel-violin. The Swedes have a very similar instrument called a  Nykelharpa  that is played with a bow rather than by cranking a wheel. much for the esoteric part of the show. Here are some more images from a very memorable night of unique Canadian (or is it Canadien?) music. (click on the images for a larger view)

 Le Ventu du Nord





Olivier Demers  300. Nicolas Boulerice   Bejean Brunet 506a. Olivier Demers 823. Simon Baudry  314. Nicolas Boulerice  550. Olivier Demers735. Bejean Brunet   344. Nicolas and Simon   704. Bejean Brunet  777. Bjean Brunet370. Nicolas Boulerice   519. Olivier Demers  802. Simon Baudry 211. The Band 252. The Band     541. Olivier Demers 713. Bejean Brunet  Simon Baudry   717. Bejean Brunet850. Simon Baudry741. Bejean &  900.  727. Bejean Brunet736. Bejean Brunet 316. Nicolas Boulerce 514. Olivier Demers  719. Bejean Brunet  306. Nicolas Boulerice726. Bejean Brunet  315. Nicolas Boulerice   805. Simon Baudry254. The Band   745. Bejean Brunet342a. Nicolas Boulerice     827. Simon Baudry

So ends a spectacular night of “REEL” music.


Here is a special treat – a YouTube clip of the band




A Night at the Movies – SOTK in rehearsal

6787374 Symphony of the Kootenays Night at Movies TB 01.08

It was by pure coincidence that over the Christmas break the family sat through the entire eight Harry Potter movies. Not exactly kid stuff to my mind, particularly late in the series where the content becomes some what dark. But good does triumph over evil and that was probably the whole point. Through out the movies I was not completely oblivious to the music. It was there and it enhanced the movie without becoming a distraction. That, in itself, is an indication of the quality of the music score. However, at the Symphony of the Kootenays rehearsal on Saturday the true scope and magnificence of the movie scores positively leapt out at the audience. It was big music and it required a big orchestra. The program listed nearly 50 musicians that included the string orchestra, 6 percussionists and a big horn section. To hear the music unimpeded with visual distraction was to become aware of the magnificent orchestrations and its modern musical language. I don’t mean modern in a rock/pop sense. I mean it in an academic scholarly sense. That may sound kind of dry and dull with a possibly teeth on edge sensibility. The music of John Williams is none of that. It is startling and entrancing at the same time with lots of melody and dramatic effects. Here is the program from the concert and some images from the rehearsal.

The Program100. Orchestra 200a.   300. Anne Scott   402. John Galm 210. Eileen Kosasih   164. Jeff Faragher   214. 410a. Percussion 154. Jeff Faragher   158. Jeff Faragher   157a. Jeff Faragher202.   310. Sophia Smith   414. Percussion    422. Sven Heyde - percussionist 360. Maria Vander Hoek    244a.   630. Wendy Herbison 204. Jeremy VanDiemen   418. Percussion       710. Bassoons233. Maria Engel 702. Brass   500.177. Jeff Faragher212. Eileen Kosasih022. Header


60 Hertz – The Trio

60 HERTZ – THE TRIO at BJs Creekside Pub, Saturday January 24, 2015, 8pm  The Trio

These three musicians, Rob Young (lead guitar, backup vocals), James Neve (singer / songwriter, 6 and 12 string guitars) and Dave Birch (backup vocals and bass guitar) have been playing music together for more years than our adult children have had birthdays. From time to time they have been joined by fine drummers (Gerry Bird, John Seiga or Marty Musser) to perform as your standard folk/rock band. The format may be standard but the music is more than a notch above the run of a mill folk/rock band. The most recent drummer, Marty Musser, who was an exceptionally fine fit for the band, has moved onto other “Pastures of Plenty” and 60 Hertz is back to performing as a trio. Not to worry! On Saturday night at Bj’s Creekside Pub they delivered James Neve’s signature songs with the same tight ensemble performances with Rob Young’s very tasteful guitar leads, Dave Birch’s dancing bass lines and James Neve’s vocals. As always their music on this evening was a cut above  almost any other live band you are likely to encounter in the area. Here are some images from another exceptional night of music at BJs Creek side pub.

 Rob Young   James Neve



 Dave Birch





















 Rob YoungJames Neve   Dave Birch