Reviews

Bon DébarrasBon Débarras
Album: Errance
Label: De L'Onde
Tracks: 12
Website: http://www.bondebarras.ca

Bon Débarras is billed as "uniting the worlds of music, dance and poetry through a collaboration between Montreal artists Dominic Desrochers, Jean-François Dumas and Cédric Dibd-Lavoie" (with Luizi Altobelli in tow), but this is a misleadingly lofty tag with which to saddle such a fun outfit. For Bon Darras is a rather special band, one that exhibits a rather special kind of joie-de-vivre with its skilful, ebullient natural fusion of Québécois folk music, traditional step-dancing and wider global influences (including Celtic, Latin and bluegrass!).

Perhaps not as in-yer-foot as La Bottine Souriante, but nonetheless replete with genuinely inventive energy, this enterprising foursome means business, that's for sure, and the guys' music sweeps all before it with an extreme presence and great infectiousness. Instrumentation is based around banjo, guitar, ukulele, accordion and double bass, with harmonica, jew's harp and washboard and a veritable junkyard of assorted percussion paraphernalia (conventional, "corporeal" and metallic). Textures are well varied, and the effect is thrilling as the band creates spicy and atmospheric rhythms and soundscapes that transcend cultures, traditions and time-zones.

La Vie Du Bon Côté, for instance, takes us from bon-temps-rouler cajun to insouciant Parisian café, while Tombouctouche kicks off with a lilted reel and plays about with its metre then speeds up breathlessly - the miracle being that the band remains on course! Chanson Du Forçat comes with an a cappella intro that apes a prison worksong, while the delectable Ti-Galop Pour La Pointe-aux-Pins sports a Comets-style bass solo and sparky pub-piano vibe that ushers in virtually an entire Dixieland jazz combo. On Bercitude, the liltingly reflective filigree of the cyclic melody gives way to a cracked clockwork windup rendition of the tender lyric, while Le Temps Passe taps into gentle tribal rhythms utilising mouth-percussion and spirited head-hands-and-feet before embarking on a tough rap-style commentary. And the album closes with the eternally dreamy Waltz De L'Infinitif… mmm indeed!

You can't fail to be enraptured and excited by Bon Débarras - and you've got a real treat in store when they tour the UK in November!

David Kidman

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