The award winning and highly acclaimed band Le Vent du Nord is a leading force in Quebec’s progressive francophone folk movement. The group’s vast repertoire draws from both traditional sources and original compositions, while enhancing it’s hard-driving soulful music (rooted in the Celtic diaspora) with a broad range of global influences.
Featuring button accordion, guitar and fiddle, the band’s sound is defined by the hurdy-gurdy, which adds an earthy, rough-hewn flavor to even the most buoyant dance tunes.” — Boston Herald
Since its inception in August 2002, Le Vent du Nord has enjoyed meteoric success, performing well over 1,600 concerts over 5 continents and racking up several prestigious awards, including a Grand Prix du Disque Charles Cros, two Junos (Canada’s Grammys), a Félix at ADISQ, a Canadian Folk Music Award, and “Artist of the Year” at the North American Folk Alliance Annual Gala.
The group exhibits great finesse and flexibility, appearing regularly on Canadian, American, French, and UK television and radio, and participating in a wide variety of special musical projects. They’ve collaborated and performed with a diverse range of artists including: Harry Manx, Väsen, Dervish, The Chieftains, Breton musical pioneer Yann-Fañch Kemener, Québecois roots legend and master storyteller Michel Faubert, the Scottish folk band Breabach, singer Julie Fowlis, and the trans-Mediterranean ensemble Constantinople.
Not content with standard approaches to tradition, Le Vent du Nord has also created a symphonic concert that, according to Voir Montreal, “puts all traditional folk naysayers to shame.”
On stage these friends create intense, joyful and dynamic live performances that expand the bounds of tradition in striking global directions. This is the modern sound of tradition, a music of the here and now.
- “A classy & rousing set by Quebec Folk heroes” – 4 STARS – THE GUARDIAN
- « Leave a positive feelgood feeling all over the body ». – LIRA MAGAZINE
- « Exceptionally skilled, exceptionally experienced, and exceptionally entertaining». – SING OUT!
- « Musicalement, une direction et une exécution musicale irréprochables, une sonorité vocale riche et douce comme la soie. (…) Sur toute la ligne, 53 minutes de pur bonheur. EXCELLENT. » JOURNAL DE QUÉBEC
- « Québec couldn’t hope for better advocates of its folk music ». Top of the world selection – SONGLINE MAGAZINE
- Top Ten Folk Albums of 2009 – BOSTON GLOBE
- Top Ten International Albums of 2009 – LOS ANGELES TIME
He grew up with the family repertoire and the songs collected by his father. His passion for traditional music led him to Ireland and France, where he learned to play the hurdy-gurdy. A young, talented and charismatic musician, Nicolas has been roaming the folk circuit for the last ten years, starting out with Ad vielle que Pourra and MontcorbieR. Alongside Olivier Demers, he then recorded the album Le vent du nord est toujours fret… , which was the genesis of Le Vent du Nord. He has also worked alongside several other artists such as the jazz septet Ovo, Les Batinses, Dobacaracol, Les Zapartistes, Benoit Charest and Michel Faubert. He is co-founder & co-organiser of La Veillée de l’avant-Veille (major dance night event in Montreal since 15 years), and also of the Chants de Vielles festival in Québec.
Hailing from Saint-Côme, Québec, an environment where tradition is still very much alive. Simon inherited a solid family musical background from both his grandfathers (one a fiddler, the other a singer) and went on to polish his craft by earning a music degree at Joliette College. He started out by performing, as a solo artist and in a duo with his brother Éric, traditional repertoire and songs from the great québecois songwriters in many cafes around his hometown. Later on, he accompanied the “Petits pas jacadiens” dance troupe of Saint-Jacques-de-Montcalm before joining Le Vent du Nord, with whom he now travels the world, displaying his sweet voice and his rich, personal guitar & bouzouki playing.
Trained as a violinist and also a solid guitarist, Olivier started out in chamber music and later moved on to jazz. His great versatility allowed him to work with a wide range of artists (La Bottine Souriante, Michel Faubert, The Bills, Dany Bédar, Boom Desjardins, Les Ours, Mario Pelchat, Ovo) as well as to compose music for the NFB and commercials. He now describes himself as a violoneux (fiddler), having devoted the past ten years of his life to traditional music. He has played with MontcorbieR, was part of the duo Boulerice-Demers (two albums, among which Un peu d’ci, un peu d’ça, rewarded as Canada’s best traditional music album for 2006) and has been very active in promoting the tradition as co-founder of La Veillée de l’avant-veille, Roues et Archets record label and as co-organiser of the Chants de Vielles festival in Québec.
Réjean started playing québecois traditional music as a very young boy. After performing with his brother (André, well-known for his work with la Bottine Souriante and the Celtic fiddle festival) as a duo and recording three albums, Réjean joined La Volée d’Castors. He toured with them for 8 years, performing in Europe, Canada and the U.S. as they released 5 albums. Réjean is also frequently invited by traditional musicians such as Sabin Jacques, Richard Forest and Gaston Nolet to join them on stage or in the recording studio. Réjean grew up in the village of Lacolle, Québec; he is, since 2007 showcases his great talent around the world with Le Vent du Nord.
ANDRÉ BRUNET was born in Lacolle, in Quebec’s Montérégie region. Growing up, it was his parents who first noticed his keen interest in music and encouraged him to follow his passion. André’s first love was for the violin and, at the age of nine, he began taking lessons. Along with brother Réjean, he created Les Frères Brunet and went on to record several albums and perform at various concerts around the world. In 1997, André’s unwavering energy and refined style earned him a spot with La Bottine Souriante, with whom he toured more than 15 countries over the course of 10 years. Although his journey with La Bottine Souriante came to an end in 2006, André remained immersed in traditional music. At the Grand Masters Fiddling Competition in August 2008—an event showcasing more than twenty violinists from across Canada— André took home top honours as “Grand Master of Canada”. It was the first time a Quebecer had won the prestigious award since the competition’s inception in 1990. Whether he’s accompanying his wife Martine Billette for a piano duet, or playing alongside fiddle stylists Kevin Burke (Ireland), Christian Lemaître (Brittany) and Ged Foley of Celtic Fiddle Festival, André feels right at home on any stage. Today, his passion for traditional Quebec music continues to pave the way for dance and swing enthusiasts the world over—a true journey of musical discovery.