KÉBEK! New releases from Québécois musicians
by Steve Winick

For people who love French folksongs as well as Irish or old-time American fiddle tunes, Québec might be the closet thing to heaven. In this Canadian province, french settlers and their irish and Anglo-canadian neighbors created a rich traditionnal music suitable for the new world. As Canada modernized and urbanized, this music was largely ignored by the rest of the world (and even by Québécois city-dwellers) until quite recently, when a resurgence of interest in the music created a market for professional musicians.

The boom time for the Québec "folk revival" was around 1975-1980, when groups like "le Rêve du Diable", Barde, Héritage and La Bottine Souriante were formed and enjoy great succes. more recently, the folk scene has been accused of "dozing". Still, there are many groups playing traditional and tradition-based Québécois music in concert and festival contexts, and many of them are recording CDs and cassettes. here are some of the latest.

Before hitting the border, U.S based fans of Québec' musical heritage should stop in Vermont, where a first -rate group called "jeter le Pont" live and work. Formely a duo comprising Martha pellerin, an American of Québécois ancestry who sings and plays accordion, and Dana Whittle, a new Englander who sings and play guitar, they recently added a third member. Claude Méthé, the group's only true Québec native, is a fiddler, singer and guitarist who was an important member of le Rêve du diable, the group generally credited with sparkling the 1970's folk boom.

Jeter le pont's first CD, L'Escapade, is somewhat different from their debut cassette, Entrecroisé. Mainly, the difference is Méthé's presence, for his fiddling and his repertoire of songs and tunes have altered the balance of the band.

L'Escapade is generally quicker, more upbeat, and more in line with what other Québec folk groups are up to.

The first song, "Isabeau s'y promène", is one that's usually sung slowly and somewhat ominously in France. Here, it's bouncy and fun. racy songs from the tradition of chansons à répondre, or call-and-response-singing, as well as several reels from Méthé's fiddle and guitar, round out the album's quicker side

On the other hand, some of the songs feature the slow, intricate vocal arrangements that characterized their first release. The best example of this is "Jolie coeur de Rose", which features some lovely harmonies and entwined vocal lines. Equally beautiful is the slow but happy ballad "Dessus le Pont de londres", sung by Méthé with trademark harmonies by Pellerin and Whittle. This is a well-balanced album and a very rewarding listen.

(U.S.Folk Magazine March 1995)


DENT de LION

Un duo franco-canadien installé aux U.S.A n'est pas une chose ordinaire, mais "Dent de Lion" est cette bête curieuse. Crée après la dissolution de "Jeter le Pont", le duo de Dana Whittle et de Claude Méthé vibre d' une même passion pour le style à la fois lyrique et complexe de la musique traditionnelle franco-canadienne. 

Les "Beaux yeux bleus", titre qui ouvre l'album, utilise une technique de guitare celtique, tandis que le violon, l'accordéon et les tapements de pieds entendus dans "La grande gigue du Père Gagnon" font penser à l'atmosphère d'un bal populaire Acadien. L'influence de la Bottine Souriante est encore accentuée par le travail d'André Marchand à la production du disque. 

La musique Franco-canadienne est bien connue pour son optimisme communicatif et le fait qu'elle procure un divertissement de qualité. Les musiciens de Dent de Lion jouent cette musique comme si leur vie en dépendait. Superbe ! 

John O'Regan 
(Rock 'N' Reel Magazine 95) 

CD's cover photo

Sound Animation
Les beaux yeux bleus

"Sur la bonne terre des habitants, entre l'amérique et la presqu'amérique, entre le folklore et le folk, Dent de Lion enfonce ses racines et sème à la petite brise du nord le vieux son français des violons, guitares et accordéons. 

Une musique en belles harmonies d'amour, les pieds bien ancrés sur la cadence du coeur, et un violon discord fouetté par un coup d'archet à faire danser les aurores boréales. " 

Michel Jaubert (préface du CD "Les beaux yeux bleus")