'Ce Monde Ici-bas' by De Temps Antan

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De Temps Antan
Ce Monde Ici-bas
Artist release (detempsantan.qc.ca)

While Americans are more likely to be able to find Canada on a map than, say, Crimea, they probably couldn't identify Canada's traditional music (and no, Celine Dion doesn't count). The Celtic- and French-influenced folk music of Quebec has a small, devoted following even if its habitat these days is more concert hall than backwoods. The veteran band La Bottine Souriante carried the lonely torch for years and now a small number of groups such as De Temps Antan are the exuberant purveyors of this lively, rough-hewn acoustic style.

The trio - made up of Éric Beaudry, André Brunet and Pierre-Luc Dupuis (all alumni of La Bottine Souriante) - play music that is upbeat and good-humored it's not hard to imagine that these are the sounds and beats that got exhausted manual laborers up and moving on a Saturday night. But the playing as done by De Temps Antan is deft and elegant this is no sloppy fireside jam session.

On Ce Monde Ici-bas (“This World Here Below”), De Temps Antan exhibit the high-energy, hot-fingered playing that makes their music both immediately infectious and continually engaging over the long haul. Several of the instrumental tunes - such as the lively, harmonica-led “Les 3 Archets” - feature traditional podorythmie, where one seated player beats out a steady light rhythm with tap shoes while playing another instrument.

The multi-instrumentalists play accordion, fiddle, guitar, harmonica and various percussion. The songs are largely instrumental, but some tunes have soulful call-and-response singing. “Valse St-Severe” changes the pace with a slow lovely waltz, the spirited “Mepreseuse de Garcons” features Jew's harp in a well-done, propulsive arrangement that shows of the trio's tight ensemble playing.

While Quebecois music is little known outside of Canada, De Temps Antan's latest show that this rootsy, hearty music could appeal to fans of music from across the Celtic diaspora from Cajun to Brittany - around the world. - Marty Lipp

The band online: http://detempsantan.qc.ca

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