Tag Archives: Canada

Artist Profiles: Yves Lambert

Yves Lambert

A talented singer-songwriter, versatile musician and consummate Epicurean, Yves Lambert is perhaps best known as a founding member of Quebecois folk supergroup La Bottine Souriante, with whom he played thousands of concerts and television appearances all over the world, from Quebec and the rest of Canada to the US, England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Spain, Italy, Denmark, Sweden and Finland.

La Bottine Souriante’s 11 albums, in which Yves participated not only as a musician and vocalist but also as co-producer and researcher, have sold more than 500 000 copies worldwide (some going gold and platinum), and have won Felix Awards, Juno Awards and various other distinctions.

In 2002, he launched his solo career with the album Les vacances de M. Lambert (Mr. Lambert’s Holiday). While remaining a leading figure in traditional Qu?becois music, he has sought to promote dialog with the music of other cultures the world over.


Y’a ben du changement, with La Bottine Souriante (Mille Pattes Records, 1978)
Chic ‘n Swell, with La Bottine Souriante (Green Linnet Records, 1982)
La Traversée de l’Atlantique, with La Bottine Souriante (Green Linnet Records, 1986)
Tout comme au jour de l’an, with La Bottine Souriante (Mille Pattes Records, 1987)
La Mistrine, with La Bottine Souriante (1994)
Les Vacances De Monsieur Lambert (Mille-Pattes, 1998)
Récidive ‎(La Pruche Libre Productions, 2004)
Le Monde À Lambert ‎(La Pruche Libre Productions, 2007)
Bal À L’Huile ‎(La Pruche Libre Productions, 2009)
Trio (2012)
Lambert dans ses bottines avec Socalled (Disques Musicor, 2015)
Laissez courir les chiens (La Prûche Libre, 2015)


Artist Profiles: The McDades

The McDades

The McDades At the heart of The McDades are three siblings: the fiddle playing Shannon, Solon on bass, and youngest brother, Jeremiah, a multi instrumental virtuoso on whistles, saxophone, fiddle and flute. The McDades are joined by vocalist and guitarist, Andy Hillhouse and multi-genre percussionist, Francois Taillefer.

The McDade’s sound is immersed in the spirit of improvisation featuring both energetic instrumentals and sensitive vocals performed in English and French. The McDades Celtic rooted music fuses the spontaneity of jazz improvisation and infectious global rhythms.

The McDades have been recipients of the 2007 Juno Award Winners for Best Roots/Traditional Album Group, winners of the 2007 Independent Music Award for Best World Album Traditional and winners of the 2006 Canadian Folk Music Awards for Best World Group and Best Instrumental Group.


Midwinter (2001)
For Reel (Free Radio, 2002)
Noel (2004)
Bloom (Free Radio, 2006)
Winter Rose (2011)


Artist Profiles: Simon Beaudry

Simon Beaudry

Guitarist and bouzouki player Simon Beaudry is from Saint-Côme, Québec. Simon grew up surrounded by traditional music. His maternal grandfather is well known in the area for his repertoire of songs and his paternal grandfather Joseph Beaudry (Tido) is a fiddler. Simon’s father sings and plays guitar and his brother Eric performs with La Bottine Souriante.

Simon has been playing and singing since the age of fifteen and as well as being influenced by the traditional music of Quebec .

Simon Beaudry joined Le Vent du Nord in 2004.


Les amants du Saint-Laurent (Borealis Records, 2005)
Dans les airs (Borealis Records, 2007)
Mesdames et Messieurs (Borealis Records, 2008)
La part du feu (Borealis Records, 2009)
Symphonique (Radio-Canada disque, 2010)
Tromper le Temps (Borealis Records, 2012)
Têtu (Borealis Records, 2015)


Artist Profiles: Olivier Demers

Olivier Demers

Olivier Demers is an accomplished violin player and multi-instrumentalist with a history in classical and Quebecois folk music. He has performed with L’Orchestre des Jeunes Laval-Laurentides as well as many chamber music ensembles, and, in addition, has sung with the Chorale de la Basilisque Notre-Dame de Montreal.

Olivier also has freelanced with the award-winning French-Canadian band La Bottine Souriante, and toured in Belgium with Musa Dieng Kala, from Senegal. He has participated in numerous recordings.

In 2001, he teamed up with Nicolas Boulerice to produce a duo recording, which was the genesis of acclaimed Quebecois band Le Vent du Nord.


Le vent du nord est toujours fret…, with Nicolas Boulerice (Roues et archets, 2001)
Maudite Moisson! (Borealis Records, 2003)
Les amants du Saint-Laurent (Borealis Records, 2005)
Dans les airs (Borealis Records, 2007)
Mesdames et Messieurs (Borealis Records, 2008)
La part du feu (Borealis Records, 2009)
Symphonique (Radio-Canada disque, 2010)
Tromper le Temps (Borealis Records, 2012)
Têtu (Borealis Records, 2015)


Artist Profiles: Oliver Schroer

Oliver Schroer

Oliver Schroer was born June 18, 1956 in Toronto, Canada.

Oliver Schroer was a unique fiddler/composer whose musical explorations took him far beyond his traditional Canadian roots into the realms of jazz, Scandinavian, Balkan, and Asian music. He melded those elements into a unique and recognizable style of his own: lyrical, fractal, a continuously twisting thread.

Schroer composed over 1,000 pieces and recorded over a dozen albums. He also produced various albums for the Somerset label, two of which went Gold. He also did soundtrack work. Schroer’s playing was heard on the award winning television series Angels in America and on Lemony Snickett, a Series of Unfortunate Events.

He performed across North America and Europe with a wide variety of top acts in venues ranging from intimate clubs to New York’s Lincoln Center. He was a featured guest on virtually every leading Canadian national radio show, and was the subject of numerous special broadcasts

Oliver Schroer’s album, Camino, chronicled the Camino de Santiago – a 1000-kilometer ancient pilgrimage through France and Spain that ends in the heart of Galicia – Santiago de Compostela.

Oliver Schroer died July 3, 2008 in Toronto, Canada.


Jigzup (Big Dog Music, 1993)
Whirled (Big Dog Music, 1994)
Stewed Tomatoes (Big Dog Music, 1996)
Celtica (Avalon Records, 1998)
O2 (Big Dog Music, 1999)
Restless Urban Primitive (Big Dog Music, 2001)
A Million Stars (Big Dog Music, 2004)
Camino (Big Dog Music, 2006)
Celtic Devotion (Avalon Records, 2006)
Hymns and Hers (Big Dog Music, 2007)
Smithers (Big Dog Music, 2007)
Freedom Row (Borealis, 2010)
Enthralled, with Nuala Kennedy, (Borealis, 2012)


Artist Profiles: Nicolas Boulerice

Nicolas Boulerice

Trained as a pianist, Nicholas Boulerice has experimented with many genres of music on the keyboard. A fascination with the unusual led him in 1997 to the ancient European stringed instrument known as the hurdy gurdy, which he subsequently studied in Ireland and France. He is now proficient at both playing and building hurdy-gurdies, having handcrafted the ones he currently plays.

Nicolas toured throughout North America from 1998 to 2002 as a member of the neo-traditional bands Ad Vielle Que Pourra and Montcorbier, whose repertoires included the music of both France and Quebec.

In addition to his talents as instrumentalist, Nicolas is a gifted vocalist known for captivating audiences on both sides of the Atlantic.

He is a member of Le Vent du Nord.



Maison de bois (2015)

With Le Vent du Nord:

Maudite Moisson! (Borealis Records, 2003)
Les amants du Saint-Laurent (Borealis Records, 2005)
Dans les airs (Borealis Records, 2007)
Mesdames et Messieurs (Borealis Records, 2008)
La part du feu (Borealis Records, 2009)
Symphonique (Radio-Canada disque, 2010)
Tromper le Temps (Borealis Records, 2012)
Têtu (Borealis Records, 2015)


Artist Profiles: Lache Cercel

Lache Cercel

Lache Cercel was born in Bucharest, Romania and studied at Romania’s prestigious Academy of Arts.

Before leaving his homeland, Lache Cercel was one of Romania’s leading musicians and a recognized prodigy and virtuoso. In 1986 he was awarded the “Artist of the People ” citation from the Romanian government.

Cercel’s music is firmly rooted in Roma (Gypsy) tradition, combined with Doina Klezmer, Middle Eastern, and European sounds held together with jazz improvisation. He calls his fusion “Roma Swing”. In the tradition of Django Reinhardt and Stephen Grappelli, Cercel lays down classical and improvisational jazz alongside traditional Roma melodies.

Since settling in Canada, he has collaborated with musicians from diverse backgrounds such as renowned Egyptian percussionist Adel Awad, Latin Music virtuoso Sal Ferreras, Canadian Jazz guitarist Don Ogilvie, bassist Sam Shoichet, vocalist Rebecca Shoichet, and various world musicians.

Cercel spent his early years in Canada performing solo concerts and teaching Romanian style violin. He has taught annually at Buffalo Gap International Music Camp, in Washington, D.C. and Mendocino Balkan Camp in Mendocino, California. He has performed at many World and Jazz Festivals throughout Canada, the United States, and Europe.

In 2003, Cercel’s piece “A Cry For Roma” from Suspino earned him a Hugo Gold Plaque at the 39th Chicago International Television Awards in the category of “Special Achievement: Music Score”. Cercel also composed music for the National Film Board (Canada) documentary “Opre Roma” and for the internationally screened independent film “Naroc”.


Rhapsody of Romania 91997)
Muzika Konkordo ‎(Jericho Beach Music, 2006)


Artist Profiles: Mighty Popo

Mighty Popo – Photo by Angel Romero

Jaques Murigande, aka Mighty Popo, was born in Ngagara, a neighborhood in Bujumbura, Burundi populated largely by Rwandan and Congolese migrants and refugees. Growing up he could hear contemporary and traditional musicians from East and Central Africa on the street, in clubs and in the homes of friends and family, while radio and recordings played music from the whole African continent and beyond. Ngagara was a soundscape in which Soweto, Kingston, Bahia and New Orleans lived side by side.

In spite of hardship, Popo and his family made connections and friendships, found jobs, expressed ideas, pursued dreams, surrounded themselves with music and managed to live and be engaged in a larger world.

As much as Popo inherited a love of the traditional music of Rwanda and Burundi, he also has a lifelong connection with rock, blues, jazz, R&B, Reggae and folk traditions. His music reflects his immersion in a world culture which he has navigated with grace, sensitivity and an enormous sense of exploration and fun. It is enriched by many traditions.

When Popo left Burundi for Canada, his musical journey took him down paths his ears had already traveled at home. He has toured North America and Europe with Canadian and American bluesmen, played reggae and R&B from Halifax to Vancouver and down to New Orleans, and led the house band at the 1998 Pan-African Dance Festival in Kigali.

Mighty Popo was a member of the 2004 Juno Award winning African Guitar Summit and performed at the Canadian edition of Bob Geldof’s international Live 8 concerts (one of the few chosen for EMI’s Live 8 DVD).


Tamba (1996)
Dunia Yote (2000).
Ngagara (CBC Records, 2003)
Live 8 DVD (EMI Canada, 2005 )
Muhazi ‎(2006)
Gakondo ‎(Borealis Records, 2011)


African Guitar with the Mighty Popo (Learn Roots Music, 2006)


Artist Profiles: Matapat

Matapat in 2007

Polished, heartfelt and spirited, Matapat played, danced and sang their tradition with humor and energy. They were well known for their charismatic and engaging performances.

Benoit Bourque, one of Canada’s finest step dancers, was cone of the founders. He played accordion and provided the percussive underpinnings of the band through his virtuoso bones and spoons playing, and his incredible dancing feet.

Acadian born Gaston Bernard was equally facile on mandolin, fiddle, guitar and bouzouki and had been involved in a variety of musical projects, ranging from French to Greek, Celtic and African music.

Composer/arranger Simon Lepage added his diverse background in world music, jazz and classical as a rich compliment to the band’s unique presence on the stage. All three harmonized beautifully on songs and ballads, all introduced in English and sung in French. The audiences were treated to an assortment of jigs, reels, quadrilles and rondeaux. Benoit and Gaston were former members of renowned band Ad Vielle Que Pourra.

Matapat split into two groups in 2002. Benoit Bourque founded Le Vent du Nord features along with Oliver Demers, Nicolas Boulerice (of Montcorbier) and Bernard Simard, of La Bottine Souriante.

The 2007 lineup included Gaston Bernard, Simon LePage, Tommy Gautier and Francois Dauphin.


Matapat (Borealis, 2000)
Petit Fou (Borealis Records, 2002)
2.5 (Intermède, 2004)
Que de Peine et d’Amour! (Intermède, 2007)


Artist Profiles: Mary Jane Lamond

Mary Jane Lamond

Mary Jane Lamond was born in 1960 in Kingston, Canada. Cape Breton’s modern sharer of ancient Gaelic songs, stories ‘and spirit using a variety of instruments from the bagpipes and fiddle to Indian tabla.

Lamond’s formative years were spent moving between Quebec and Ontario, but she soaked up the Gaelic heritage over many summers spent visiting her grandparents in Cape Breton, where she now resides. It was there that she first remembers hearing Gaelic songs, her initiation took place at a milling frolic, where a heavy woolen cloth is repeatedly beat against a table and people gather to sing and rhythmically keep time. The power of that experience and the music that emanated captured Lamond?s imagination. “I was so taken by it, I became determined to learn and sing Gaelic myself,” Lamond recalls.

Lamond returned to the east coast to attend Antigonish’s Saint Francis Xavier University. Before graduating in Celtic Studies, Lamond had released her first album, the beautiful Bho Thir Nan Craobh (From the Land of the Trees). It consists entirely of traditional material and also features a young and at the time, little known, Ashley McIsaac. Unbeknownst to both, this was to be the beginning of a highly creative professional collaboration.

McIsaac recorded a reworked version of an arrangement penned by Lamond and Gordie Sampson (a native Cape Bretoner), called Sleepy Maggie. The song appeared on MacIsaac’s debut A&M album, Hi How Are You Today? with Lamond (or, as McIsaac always proudly introduced her in concert, Cape Breton’s disco diva) featured on vocals. The song went on to become a staple at contemporary hit radio, garnering numerous awards. Lamond hit the road with McIsaac and The Kitchen Devils as they toured with Melissa Etheridge, The Chieftains and the Crash Test Dummies.

Lamond’s affection, understanding and deep regard for the people and culture of Cape Breton are evident in every aspect of Suas E! The material was lovingly researched and rendered, and several tracks were laid down outside of the recording studio. Air failirinn is a milling song recorded in Lamond’s own home. Horo Ghoid Thu Nighean (Stepping Song) combines electric instrumentation, traditional fiddle and the sound of eight step dancers beating the floor at the West Mabou Sporting Hall.

With adept stewardship from producers Philip Strong and Laurel MacDonald, Lamond succeeded in weaving an unabashedly ancestral Gaelic motif into the fabric of a decidedly modern aural tapestry. “I do think you have to be solidly based in the traditional culture,” Lamond says, “but I believe in experimentation. I don’t have a problem integrating such disparate elements as long as the music stays true to its roots.”

The varied musical styles are played out with contributions from Toronto urban progressive jazzoids Bass is Base and Glenn Milchem and James Gray from the much-revered Blue Rodeo. MacIsaac and his Kitchen Devils once again make an appearance to inject funk into Bog a’Lochain, one of Cape Breton’s most popular strathespeys.

The success of Suas E! contributed to an explosion of interest in Celtic culture and Lamond took the songs on the road with a live band. Her experiences on the stage directly influenced the sound of Làn Dùil (Full of Hope). “I had the same philosophy, which is to pick a variety of songs in the tradition and work on different ways to arrange them,” Lamond explains.

On Làn Dùil, Lamond’s spell-binding renditions of treasured Gaelic songs are fused with original arrangements using a variety of instruments, from the familiar fiddle and bagpipes to Indian tabla. Ultimately, it’s a new style of world music that is unique to Mary Jane Lamond.

Yet as the singer herself will tell you, it’s the stories that matter. While Làn Dùil soothes and stirs, it also chronicles Cape Breton’s living Scottish Gaelic culture. The sounds of friends, family and local legends are heard throughout the album.

Despite the important role her music plays in preserving Scottish Gaelic songs that would otherwise rarely be heard outside Cape Breton, Mary Jane Lamond says Làn Dùil’s primary purpose is to entertain. “This is a huge oral literary tradition that is being lost at an alarming rate,” she says, “and I am involved with community things that help conserve it for younger people. But I’m also an interpreter, a singer and musician and in my music the challenge is to create something new and exciting that doesn’t destroy the heart of it.”

Orain Ghàidhlig (Gaelic Songs of Cape Breton), focuses on the songs and poetry which are the cornerstone of this tradition. This recording remains true to the simple sharing of music that is the foundation of Gaelic culture: from the engaging milling songs performed by a group of Cape Breton?s finest traditional Gaelic singers to the lively old style fiddling of Joe Peter MacLean, a musician never before captured on recording. Recorded at the beautiful North River Church in Cape Breton, this enhanced cd also features visuals taken during the recording sessions.

Mary Jane’s recording Storas (Gaelic meaning “a treasure”) is an interpretation of Scottish Gaelic songs that have become part of Nova Scotia’s Gaelic tradition.


Bho Thir Nan Craobh – From the Land of the Trees
Suas e! – Go For It! (1997)
Làn Dùil (1999)
Orain Ghàidhlig (2001)
Storas (2005)
Seinn, with Wendy MacIsaac (2012)