The Québéc roots outfit Le Vent du Nord (“the wind of the north”) consists of Nicolas Boulerice (hurdy-gurdy, piano, voice), Olivier Demers (fiddle, feet, voice), Réjean Brunet (accordion, bass, jaw harp, voice) and Simon Beaudry (bouzouki, guitar, voice). That wide-ranging instrumental palette, when paired with the group’s deep knowledge of the folk music tradition in their native Québéc, results in colorful, complex, and extremely catchy songwriting that’s authentic to the band’s heritage. Le Vent du Nord’s latest LP, Têtu (“Determined”, from the French word for “head”), bears out their passion for their music and for their native country, especially on tracks like “Confédération”, which gives excellent insight into a particular political ethos that’s common both in North American and Canadian politics.
Boulerice explains the politics of “Confédération” thusly: “I owe the premise for this song to S. Harper [current Prime Minister of Canada], who announced that he would hold grand celebrations in 2017 for the 150th anniversary of Canada, the Confederation having been signed in 1867. What a strange idea! My ancestors’ Canada is over 400 years old! And my Native great-grandmother probably would have added a few thousand years to that count.
“So I did a number on our country’s memory. Often times, people have tried to make us believe things, swallow dates, and integrate ideas that had been pre-thought for us. ‘Confédération’ [Confederation] is about our collective selective memory when it comes to the historical events at the core of my people’s existence—French, Metis, Celtic. Events that were meant to put us out a little, to numb us quietly, to bring us to ‘acceptance’. Our memory cannot serve our past. Actually, it should be used to build our future.”
Têtu is out now.
Watch a video of Le Vent du Nord playing “Confédération” in the studio for Têtu: