Danse ce soir! CD

A performance of tunes featured in the book Danse ce soir! by Laurie Hart and Greg Sandell, from Mel Bay Publications.

Greg and I discovered the traditional music of Québec in the mid-1980s at Champlain Valley Festival in Vermont, where we have heard and jammed with many excellent players, old and young, over the years. Our favorite was La Bottine souriante, whose early albums we eagerly memorized. We have been learning, performing, teaching, writing about and transcribing this music ever since, and I have made many trips to la belle province of Québec to collect and share tunes with my friends there.

Recording this album at Studio Chemin no. 4 was the realization of a dream, and it was a heavenly experience: an idyllic riverside location, a community of warm and talented people, great food, drink and bilingual chat, the able ears and hands of André Marchand at the recording console, and best of all, a gang of great musicians, in particular Paul Marchand and Stéphane Landry, with whom it was truly an honor to play.
“…an outstanding overview of Québec’s repertoire from the old to the new.” -- Éric Favreau, fiddler

"I really like your cd Dance ce soir. Great playing!!!" -- Olav Mjelva, champion Norwegian fiddler

"The CD is much more than a companion to the book - it's great listening." --Bob Berch, multi-instrumentalist

"I like your choice of tunes, arrangements, and, of course, musicians... I am fascinated and intrigued by the [crooked tunes]." --Beth Robinson, cellist

"The playing is of the highest calibre. Although one might become overwhelmed at the thought of ever even coming close to such playing, one is nonetheless carried away. The final result is simply inspiring. The more I listen to the disc the more I hear. Your music is joyful and brings people together. It is also touching. Between the disc and the book, one begins to understand why and how this music can be so magical." -- Jean-Jacques, Ontario

“I ordered the CD after seeing some of the musicians at a Christmas Revels. It did not disappoint at all. I challenge anyone to keep their feet still or stay in a bad mood as it plays. Now, 2 reviews for the price of 1 -- I bought it for a friend, too, and she loved it.”
--Lynn Litterine
Pointe-au-PicGigue-du-Pere-MathiasReel-du-penduValse-du-mois-de-novembreClick on the triangle above to hear 4 short excerpts from the CD.

Laurie Hart, fiddle
Greg Sandell, piano
Stéphane Landry, accordion
Paul Marchand, guitar

Guests:
André Marchand, guitar (track 10), pieds/feet
Pierre Chartrand, gigue/stepdancing
Jean-Claude Mirandette, guitar

Produced by Laurie Hart
Recorded by André Marchand at Studio Chemin no. 4, Notre-Dame-des-Prairies, Québec in 2000
Mastered by Will Russel at Electric Wilburland Studio
Pierre David, photography
Barbara Tefft, graphic design

Annotated Track List


1. Fisher’s Hornpipe / Reel de Pointe-au-Pic, Laurie, Greg, André (pieds)
We begin with two irregular versions of well-known tunes. This version of Fisher's Hornpipe, in the key of F, comes to us from fiddler André Alain of St-Basile-de-Portneuf. Monsieur Alain passed away in 2000, and we dedicate this medley to him. Greg first heard the second tune at a late night session at the Champlain Valley Festival, played by fiddler Walter Weber. It was a signature tune of fiddler Jos Bouchard (1905-1980), whose version we play here.

2. Valse du mois d’novembre (November waltz), Laurie, Paul
This sweet waltz was composed by Jean-Claude Mirandette of St-Zénon, a fine tunesmith, singer, guitarist, banjo-player and fiddler, with several wonderful albums to his credit.

3. Gigue du père Mathias (Father Mathias’ stepdance) / Reel St-Jean / Reel Joseph, Stéphane, Greg, André (pieds)
A joyous set of accordion reels. The first was composed by Adélard Thomassin of Québec City and the second is a traditional tune from Théodore Duguay (1904-1950). The third is a composition of Marcel Messervier of Montmagny, who also built the single-row accordion Stéphane plays on this recording. This little accordion easily held its own against the studio's seven and a half foot grand piano!

4. 6/8 en sol (in G) / Valcartier Set, Laurie, Greg
These 6/8 tunes come, respectively, from fiddler Eric Corrigan and accordionist Keith Corrigan of Valcartier, a Scots-Irish community north of Québec City with a strong dance and music tradition. Greg's backup for the second tune is in characteristic pompier style.

5. Reel des poilus (hairy people’s reel) / Reel du pendu (hanged man’s reel), Laurie, Pierre, André (pieds)
The first tune is played en vielle which means the fiddle strings are tuned AEAE. The second tune is a fiddler's showpiece in AEAC# tuning. My version is influenced by Pierre Laporte of Lanaudière and Rodney Miller of Vermont. They say that a man condemned to hang was offered a chance to save his own life if he could play a tune on a mistuned fiddle. Naturally, this is the tune he played. I am joined by the ebullient sounds of Pierre's stepdancing and André's foot-tapping.

6. Marche au camp (camp-walk) / Reel en la (in A), Laurie, Paul, André (pieds)
Two tunes composed by our good friend Jean-Paul Loyer, who has since passed away (2009). Both Jean-Paul and Paul have a special affinity for jigs. I call them "the kings of 6/8".

7. Première partie du lancier (first part of Lancers) / Saut du lapin (rabbit’s jump) / Air du Saguenay, Laurie, Greg, André (pieds)
Stepdancer and caller Normand Legault taught us the first and last tunes of this medley on accordion at Ashokan Fiddle and Dance Camp years ago. In the middle we play a tune from fiddler Lucien Mirandette (1924-1993), Jean-Claude's uncle.

8. Le violon confesseur (the confessing fiddle), Laurie, Paul
Fiddler Éric Favreau composed this haunting tune with a story behind it: A man commits a murder and confesses his sin only to a tree in the forest. A piece of the tree is eventually made into a fiddle, and when the fiddle is played, it plays this tune, confessing the crime.

9. Clog à Ti-Jules, Laurie, Greg
A tune from the repertoire of Pierre "Pit Jornoch" Verret (1863-1937), this clog comes to us via Jules and Jean-Marie Verret of Lac-St-Charles.

10. Danse du barbier (barber’s dance) / Cotillon de Baie-Ste-Catherine / La marmotteuse (the growling old man and the grumbling old woman), Laurie, André (guitar, pieds)
I learned these three tunes from American fiddler Lisa Ornstein, whose scholarship, beautiful playing and passionate promotion of québécois music and fiddling has influenced many in Québec, the States and elsewhere. Her sources for the tunes were fiddlers Georges Ferland, Harry Poitras and Hermas Réhel. The third tune is a Gaspé peninsula version of The Growling Old Man and the Grumbling Old Woman, but with the low part in major. André, whose innovative guitar playing and energetic harmony we have long admired, graciously agreed to join me on this medley.

11. Valse-clog Guilmette / Valse-clog Lacroix, Stéphane, Greg
This pair of waltz-clogs comes from accordionist Joseph Guilmette (1886-1950) and harmonica-player Henri Lacroix (1895-1962). This medley is often used to accompany stepdancing.

12. Galope à Denis / La ronde des voyageurs (travelers’ round dance), Laurie, Greg
The first tune was composed by Lisa Ornstein and pianist Yvan Brault, two people who have had great influence on our playing since Greg and I set off down this musical path in 1985. The galope honors pianist-accordionist Denis Pépin. The second tune we learned from the influential group Eritage. Their source was fiddler Fortunat Malouin (1870-1935).

13. 6/8 en ré (in D) / Gigue des capuchons (hood dance), Stéphane, Laurie, Paul
I heard accordionist Philippe Bruneau play the first tune. The second is from fiddler Joseph Allard (1873-1947) via Rémi Laporte of St-Liguori.

14. Galope de la Malbaie / Eugène / Mackilmoyle’s Reel, Laurie, Greg, André (pieds)
A version of La Galope de la Malbaie is known as Mackilmoyle's Reel in the Maritime provinces and New England. Greg and I have long been fascinated by the different location of the rhythmic pulse in the two versions, so we decided to play both of them in this medley. The version that starts on the downbeat comes from Jos Bouchard. The version that starts with a pick-up is from fiddler Don Messer via Donna Hébert. In between we play a tune from accordionists Marcel and Phylias Pigeon.

15. La veuve du pendu (the hanged man’s widow), Jean-Claude, Paul
A tune composed and played on guitar by Jean-Claude, ably backed in fingerstyle by Paul. On fiddle it should be played in AEAE tuning to establish its kinship with the tune that inspired Jean-Claude, Reel du pendu (see track 5).

16. Valse du vieux moulin (old mill waltz), Stéphane, Laurie, Greg
Accordionist Raynald Ouellet of Montmagny, whose tunes and playing I have admired for many years, composed this waltz.

17. La grande gigue simple (the great simple stepdance), Laurie, Pierre
Pierre joins me again for this classic stepdancing reel in 12/8 time. This version comes from Raynald Ouellet. My fiddle is tuned ADAE.

Total: 60 minutes

All tunes are traditional unless otherwise noted. All composed tunes are used with permission of the composers. All arrangements are by the participating musicians.

For sheet music transcriptions of these and almost a hundred other tunes, with chords, and for more info on the tunes and players, including an extensive discography, see the accompanying book.

A big thank you to all, and an extra thanks to Denis Fréchette and Daniel Roy for engineering assistance, Pierre David for his beautiful photographs, and to Denis Fréchette, France Beaudoin, André Marchand, José Boisvert, Jean-Paul Loyer and Camille Lepine for their hospitality.