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Le Canard perdu

Alizé: Laurie Hart, Gordon Bonnet, Julia Lapp

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Laurie Hart (fiddle, nyckelharpa, hurdy gurdy), Gordon Bonnet (flutes, percussion, vocals) & Julia Lapp (guitar, percussion, vocals). Tunes from Brittany (the Celtic region of France) & central France, with songs in French & Breton, 2008

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nyckelharpa

nyckelharpa

the tracks of the lost duck

the tracks of the lost duck

Why Le Canard perdu?   

In the song “Sur le bout du banc,” there are these mysterious lines: “Derrière chez nous y-a-t'un étang / trois beaux canards s'y vont baignant / y'en a un noir, y'en a un blanc…”  (“behind our house there is a pond / three beautiful ducks swim there / a black one and a white one...”)  We began wondering: What happened to the third duck?  So Gordon wrote a tune for the lost duck (le canard perdu), and you can see one of his feathers on the cover, and his snowy tracks above.  

About the music  

Brittany is a peninsula of Western France where Breton, a Celtic language related to Welsh, is spoken, and where the traditional instruments include the bombarde (a folk oboe) and the biniou (a high-pitched bagpipe).   Breton dances are mostly done by long chains of dancers holding hands or pinkies.  In Central France, the hurdy-gurdy (vielle à roue) and cabrette bagpipe play bourrées and other couple-dances.  Our main instruments are flute, guitar, fiddle and Swedish nyckelharpa (a relative of the hurdy-gurdy played with a short bow instead of a wheel), but you’ll also hear a bit of bombarde, oboe, Irish pipes, percussion and hurdy-gurdy on this CD.  In our arrangements, we often trade off and overlap the melody between different instruments or voices; this is a style known as kan ha diskan (“call and response”) in Breton and tuilage (“tiling”) in French.  Breton dance tunes are often quite short, and several are usually played in a medley or suite for a particular type of dance.  If the music makes you want to dance, then we’ve done our job right!

Reviews 

“I’d never listened to traditional Breton Music until I happened to attend a concert by Alizé.  One can hear the similarities to traditional Celtic (Irish and Scottish) music, but Breton music has a unique lilt of its own that I find captivating.  Both in the concert and this recording, Alizé achieves a gentler sound than other Breton groups by avoiding the more strident traditional instruments such as the bombarde (a sort of nuclear-force oboe) and the biniou bihan (Breton bagpipes), instead relying mainly on the fiddle, classical flute, and guitar.  But what makes Alizé stand head and shoulders above others is the accomplished musicality of their arrangements and their performance.  Listening to them is a joy.”  --Jim Murphy 

“Absolutely extraordinary CD! Virtuosity on all fronts!”  
--Tom Hodgson, guitarist  

"I'm really enjoying your group's sound and the arrangements you've created. One thing that sets you apart is that you don't try to force it into the pop scene, or jazz everything up -- you let the music, in its natural simplicity and complexity, speak for itself. I particularly like your arrangement of the Gavotte (paired with Marche de Skelton). I look forward to hearing your next album when the time comes!" -- Susan Wadel  

“What makes Alizé stand head and shoulders above others is the accomplished musicality of their arrangements and their performance. Listening to them is a joy, and this recording is sonically excellent.”  
--Jim Murphy  

“What great music and what colorful sound you all have. A very special combination of folks - a real treat!”  
--Debra Moree, professor of Viola, Ithaca College 

"Alize is a formidable, totally wonderful CD, great guitar work.  I really loved it.  Especially the way it kept grabbing my ear as in the endings and unexpected segues,  all that stuff.  Yeah man.  When I got to track 14, I just let it start over." --Harvey

vielle à roue (hurdy gurdy)

vielle à roue (hurdy gurdy)

Credits 

Produced by Alizé and recorded by Will Russell at Electric Wilburland Studio, Newfield NY in 2007-2008   

Carol Bloomgarden - cover art (make sure to look very closely at the feather!)  

Kathy Morris & Dave Nutter - photography  

All tunes are traditional to the best of our knowledge unless otherwise stated.     

Un grand merci to Will, Laurel, Nick, Carol, Dave, Kathy, Nikki, and Pat!