De Temps Antan sing the heartbeat of Quebec
By: Anna Borowiecki
| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 17, 2012 03:15 pm
De Temps Antan
Friday, Oct. 19 at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $30. Call 780-459-1542 or purchase online at www.ticketmaster.ca
From the moment De Temps Antan’s signature accordion notes hum in the air, there is a sense that the spirit of early Canadian musicians is present.
De Temps Antan, a trio of Quebec-based musicians, make their Arden Theatre debut on Friday, Oct. 19. The threesome plans to set the evening ablaze with a combo of traditional music and original stylings dosed with a deep, warm humour.
For a decade, Eric Beaudry, André Brunet and Pierre-Luc Dupuis have performed time-honoured folk tunes borrowed from Quebec, Louisiana and France’s rich lexicon of songs. They last entertained in the area at the 2011 Edmonton Folk Festival.
For anyone not privy to one of their energetic shows, these creative multi-instrumentalists showcase their contagious joie de vivre using fiddle, accordion, harmonica, guitar, bouzouki and the percussion of stomping feet.
Their name is actually a play-on-words, a throwback to the past that is a bit confusing in translation.
As Dupuis explains, their moniker’s name means “of olden times.” However, when spoken out loud, they sound the same as “de temps en temps” meaning “from time to time.”
The trio had originally met through La Bottine Souriante, a 10-piece outfit complete with horns. While it was exciting to play large venues, the trio missed playing home-style folk tunes to small crowds.
“We all grew up playing in the family and learned in our kitchen. This is what we try to do on stage – bring people together.”
For Dupuis, as with Brunet and Beaudry, the francophone heritage and its influences are critical to their growth as musicians. And they’ve borrowed from Quebec’s archives to form a solid musical base.
But they’ve also added a few delicate pop and rock elements as witnessed in their first two albums Les habits de papier released in 2010 and A l’année in 2007.
It has been tricky keeping a balance between traditional music and injecting new influences for younger crowds without alienating either side of the spectrum.
“It’s not only important to keep our heritage alive, but also to add new stuff for the next generation.”
While the trio’s first two albums focused more on traditional covers, their third as of yet untitled album due for release in the spring will feature two new compositions.
“It will be a real blend of rock with different rhythmic patterns. We are only three, but we try to explore a lot – not with different instruments, but with the beat, speed and major and minor moods.”
At the Arden concert, the threesome will perform two 45-minute sets, a blend of their last album and a few new charts with a fresh vibe.
“It’s always good to have feedback from an audience before you put it on a record.”
The Arden has hosted other French-based groups such as Les Yeux Noirs, Quartango and Samarabalouf. I asked Dupuis what made De Temps Antan stand out.
“The groove. The energy. You will tap your feet throughout the show. We sing. We play and people are entitled to dance during our show. If you wish to stand up for two minutes, you are more than welcome.”