Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Ad Vielle Que Pourra

Friday, March 25th, 2011

Cover of the CD I bought last night

We went downtown last night to trade in some of our CDs. One nice thing about this store is you can listen to used CDs you are interested in. I came away with one that’s pretty nice. I’d seen Ad Vielle Que Pourra’s albums on ebay, but wasn’t sure what they were like. It has hurdy-gurdy, accordion, bagpipe and other folk instruments playing French and Breton music. What more could you want? Even their name refers to a hurdy-gurdy:

Ad Vielle Que Pourra is a Quebec group full of surprises. Its hallmark is traditional French instruments, but Ad Vielle plays music on them that, as the liner notes state, “is not indigenous to the regions where the instruments come from.” They intermix Parisian waltzes, Breton sea songs, bourrées, gavottes, schottisches, and original compositions with abandon. the name Ad Vielle Que Pourra is a pun–a play on the French expression advienne que pourra (“come what may”). The vielle is from vielle à roue, a French instrument commonly known as the hurdy-gurdy.

The founding members of Ad Vielle are Brussels-born Daniel Thonon, a luthier who plays an intricately carved hurdy-gurdy he built himself; Alain Leroux, born in Brittany and a fiddler specializing in traditional Breton, Scottish, and Irish melodies and songs; Clement Demers, an Ontario-born accordionist who learned Québécois tunes while living in Quebec and Cajun tunes while travelling through Louisiana; Luc Thonon, a multi-instrument musician who plays the rare Flemish bagpipes; and Gilles Plante, a Montréal-born flute, recorder, and bagpipe player who went to Brittany to study the music and culture of his ancestors.

The subtitle [of their first album] is “new French folk music”, but could easily read “some of the most stirring and emotional traditional music that you will ever hear”. With this, their debut album, Ad Vielle Que Pourra rocked the folk music scene with interpretations of French and Breton music with an intensity that is rarely heard. With combinations of diatonic accordion, bombarde, fiddle, hurdy-gurdy, Flemish bagpipes, etc., you cannot help but be moved by their bourees, polkas, waltzes, and so much more. A Gallic feast.

The second album from Montreal’s Ad Vielle Que Pourra [Come What may] transports you to another place and time. You’re in a Breton village, then in the heart of old Quebec, Cajun country, or a medieval court. There are waltzes, schottisches, polkas, and several French and Breton dances, all served on hurdy-gurdy, bombarde, accordion, Hungarian and Flemish bagpipes, flute, and various stringed instruments.

I’ll have to keep my eye out for their other albums. Below is a  sample: Andromadère, the last track on their Ménage à Quatre ablum. See what you think…

Polish Christmas carols

Monday, December 6th, 2010

I thought it was time for some Christmas music — on the hurdy-gurdy, of course! I couldn’t find very many to choose from on YouTube. So, here’s something different, a couple of Polish Christmas carols by Krystian Pisowicz.

It has a close-up view of an interesting-looking keybox. The top row of keys are above the strings, and it has a gap in the box between the two rows, where I assume the box opens, as well as  having a lid…? It sure is high off the soundboard.

Tutor and Maintenance DVDs

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

I had a couple email exchanges with Neil Brook earlier today and ended up ordering both his Maintenance DVD and the new G/C Tutor DVD. No doubt I desperately need both! I was going to wait until later, when I had the instrument put together, but as we discussed, it makes more sense to have the Maintenance one on hand, as it will be helpful for the initial setup. I’m also wondering if it might not prevent my building problems into the instrument, due to not knowing subtle things to watch out for. The less on-going aggravation down the road, the better!

You can see a sample video from each DVD on YouTube.



A French polka

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Here’s another of my favorite tunes I’ve run across on YouTube. Definitely on my “wish list” of ones I’d love to be able to play someday.

Mike Smith playing a Chris Eaton hurdy-gurdy that Mike decorated himself. What a work of art!

P.S.— Mike kindly sent me the music for this, so there’s a chance I will get to play it someday. The name of the tune is Le Paz d’Été.

Ami, mon bel ami

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

A pleasant, happy tune on YouTube, one of my favorites thus far:

Eric Raillard — musique traditionnelle du Morvan (région Bourgogne)

Amazing Grace

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

I can’t wait to be able to play this on my new hurdy-gurdy. Just my speed, too — nice and slow.

Construcción de una Zanfona

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

That is Spanish for “Construction of a Hurdy-gurdy.” ‘Zanfona’ is related to ’symphonie,’ a name for the earliest hurdy-gurdies of the 12th and 13th centuries. Spain is one of the first places these instruments appeared.

All that to say, here is a video I found today with that title which shows some of the process of building a hurdy-gurdy…