Le Vent du Nord
About Le Vent du Nord
A mainstay of the Canadian traditional folk landscape, Quebec's Le Vent du Nord (The Wind of the North) specialize in the traditional French-Canadian folk that locals refer to as Quebecois music (or la musique québécoise in French). Since rising to national attention in 2003 with their Juno Award-winning debut, the band have issued a steady stream of unique recordings that draw on influences ranging from French medieval music to British folk to the Celtic music of Ireland, Scotland, and Brittany. Employing fiddle, mandolin, accordion, guitar, bouzouki, and the hurdy-gurdy, the members of Le Vent du Nord also specialize in rich vocal harmonies which, unlike other traditional Celtic groups, are sung primarily in French. The band's energetic live shows have been captured on live albums like the 2010 Canadian Folk Music Award-winning Symphonique, and in addition to their highly regarded studio output for Borealis Records, they have also collaborated with fellow Canadian folk band De Temps Antan on 2018's unique Notre Album Solo.
The roots of Le Vent du Nord began in 2002 with Nicolas Boulerice (hurdy-gurdy, piano) and Olivier Demers (fiddle, mandolin), who met while attending a music school together in Quebec. When the two joined forces with Benoit Bourque (accordion, mandolin) and Bernard Simard (guitar), the group's initial membership was complete. This lineup was responsible for the band's debut, Maudite Moisson, which was released in 2003 by Toronto indie Borealis Records. An immediate success in the folk world, the album netted Le Vent du Nord a Juno Award for Roots and Traditional Group Album of the Year. Prior to releasing their follow-up, Simard was replaced by Simon Beaudry, who, in addition to his vocal and guitar work, brough the Irish bouzouki into the group's instrumental mix. Their second album, Les Amants du Saint-Laurent, appeared in 2005 and was again followed by a membership change with Bourque being replaced by Réjean Brunet. Prior to joining the band, Réjean had recorded with his brother André Brunet (known for his work with the influential Quebecois group La Bottine Souriante) as half of the duo Les Frères Brunet (the Brunet Brothers). Throughout their career, André occasionally joined Le Vent du Nord as a guest, later becoming a full-time member. 2007's Dans Les Airs set the table for their first live release in 2008's Mesdames et Messieurs! En Concert Á Mémoire et Racines. Rounding out their prolific first decade, the band issued their fourth studio LP, La Part du Feu, earning another Juno Award in the process.
A second live album, this time an orchestral collaboration called Symphonique with Orchestre Symphonique de Quebec was released in 2010, earning Ensemble of the Year honors at the Canadian Folk Music Awards. 2012's Tromper le Temps was followed three years later by Têtu, as Le Vent du Nord continued to explore various facets of roots music, Celtic, and a cappella singing. With André Brunet now on board as a full-time member, the band became a quintet and embarked on a collaborative venture with fellow Quebecois traditionalists De Temps Antan. The two acts combined to record the 2018 album Notre Album Solo. ~ Timothy Monger & Alex Henderson