Blowing in from Quebec: Le Vent du Nord comes to the Iron Horse

  • Le Vent du Nord (The North Wind) brings its mix of Québécois music, Celtic rhythms, jazz and more to the Iron Horse in Northampton Aug. 22. Image from facebook

Staff Writer
Published: 8/21/2019 4:26:09 PM
Modified: 8/21/2019 4:25:59 PM

Five-member progressive folk band Le Vent du Nord, hailing from Saint-Antoine-sur-Richelieu in Quebec, takes traditional Québécois music and spins it on its head, adding influences from around the world — Celtic folk music, jazz, indigenous American rhythms — to create a sound all its own.

Le Vent du Nord (The North Wind) returns to Northampton’s Iron Horse Music Hall on Thursday, Aug. 22, bringing with it a combination of instruments such as the hurdy gurdy, fiddle, accordion, jaw harp, guitar, and bass to match its eclectic influences. Ahead of their performance, the Gazette spoke with member Nicolas Boulerice (vocals, hurdy gurdy, piano) about the band’s upcoming set in Northampton, its new album, “Territoires,” and his love of the hurdy gurdy.

Daily Hampshire Gazette: Have you ever played at the Iron Horse before? If so, what’s the experience been like for you?

Nicolas Boulerice: Playing at the Iron Horse, it’s like to play home. We’ve played many times there and it’s always a treat.

DHG: What are you planning for your set at the Iron Horse?

NB: We will present our new show, “Territoires,” for our next passage. This is a show of our new CD, released in 2019. It’s our first show with five musicians on stage.

André Brunet has been with Le Vent for almost two years, a great new member! Fun and energy!

DHG: I understand Le Vent du Nord draws on a lot of cultural and musical heritage of not only Quebec, but France and Celtic influences. Can you talk about where the band draws inspiration from?

NB: Most of our influences come from our ancestors. First, the French, of which we kept mostly songs, the Amerindians with some of our rhythms, and also, the Celts, like the Irish, the Bretons, and the Scots from whom we kept a lot of instrumental music. Also, as we travel a lot, it is certain that we report ideas and sounds of the Scandinavian countries and of course, Americans.

DHG: You play the hurdy gurdy. What do you love about that instrument? Are there any other instruments that you also play in the band?

NB: I play also piano, but the gurdy is the most uncommon one! I love the drone of this instrument. He has character. Also, he has 1,000 years of history on his back. I just love it!

DHG: How do you go about writing or arranging music for Le Vent du Nord as a group?

NB: We always work together. Even if a member has composed a song or a melody, he must propose it and have the OK of all. Then we create group arrangements so that the sound remains a group affair and [has] a unique signature.

DHG: Could you tell me about your recent record, “Territories”? What was it like to record it, what are your favorite songs from it, and what do you think about the album now that it’s been released?

NB: We have very good and many critics of the new record, so I guess it’s a good sign. We worked with a talented young sounder named Charles-Émile Beaudin. His way of working the sound has taken us elsewhere. We also opted for a live recording … to keep this energy that seems to describes us well.

DHG: In Northampton, we have an annual gypsy jazz festival called Django in June, which draws in not only gypsy jazz groups, but bands across genres. Do you have any Django Reinhardt/gypsy jazz influences in your own music? Also, have you ever heard of Django in June?

NB: Oh! Good idea. Olivier and me studied in jazz … a long time ago now. We have a song with a good jazzy swing, maybe we can sing that song for the public of Northampton.

Chris Goudreau can be reached at cgoudreau@gazettenet.com.

For more information about Le Vent du Nord, visit leventdunord.com/en. To purchase tickets to the group’s Aug. 22 show at the Iron Horse, visit www.iheg.com.




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