Review: Le Vent du Nord and Will Pound at Pavilion Arts Centre, Buxton

A St Patrick’s night concert in Buxton’s Pavilion Arts Centre was opened by Will Pound, harmonica virtuoso, performing solo for only the second time.

Le Vent du Nord at Buxton Opera House on March 17
Le Vent du Nord at Buxton Opera House on March 17

Playing also the melodeon, and occasionally both instruments at once, he drew inspiration from English, Irish and Jewish traditions, together with his own compositions and interpretations.

Then Le Vent du Nord came on stage and whipped up a storm, delighting all with their wonderfully robust performance of French-Canadian roots music.

The Quebecois quartet, Nicolas Boulerice on hurdy-gurdy and piano, Oliver Demers, fiddle and foot percussion, Rejean Brunet, piano accordion and jaw harp, and Simon Beaudry, guitar, all superb singers and fine musicians, combined great stage presence with endearing humour and uninhibited energy.

The group have been touring the world for more than a decade to great acclaim. Their songs and instrumental sets, traditional and newly composed work, are firmly rooted in the folk music of Quebec. Sung in their native French, some lyrics recall past historical struggles, (particularly with the English who, Nicolas assured us, had turned Canadian rivers running with maple syrup to Marmite!).

We were treated to a preview of their latest CD, ‘Tetu’, featuring a capella, along with call and response vocals and furious, foot tapping reels.

Le Vent du Nord charmed with their warmth and camaraderie, impressed with their assured delivery and showmanship. They .. and the audience .. had a whale of a time!