Le Vent du Nord could rightly call themselves the busiest band in show business.
Formed in 2002, the Québécois group average more than 100 concerts a year, finding time to record nine albums and even winning an Académie Charles-Cros award along the way. And it’s not like Le Vent du Nord concerts are a gentle breeze – the band has the energy of a gale force storm, thanks to the energetic talents of hurdy gurdy player Nicolas Boulerice; singer, violinist and guitarist Olivier Demers; bouzouki player Simon Beaudry and accordionist Réjean Brunet.
As well as being productive, the last few years have also been a time of change for the group. For a start, they became a five piece for the first time, adding fiddler André Brunet to the lineup. Further, Le Vent du Nord has also combined their talents with fellow Québec band De Temps Antan. The resulting eight-piece ensemble, known as SOLO, has toured all over the world since 2016, appearing at festivals like Rudolstadt, Les Nuits de Fourvière, Dranouter and Interceltique de Lorient.
SOLO is, essentially, an invitation to party. Combining the playful style of De Temps Antan with Le Vent’s deep roots sound, the show was not only a commercial success but also won the 2018 Opus Award for Concert of the Year in the World Music category. Now the show is out as an album, released on 1 November.
To support the release SOLO are hitting the road again, with a 10-date tour of Québec. Stops include Pohénégamook (30 November), Québec City (21 December) and Trois-Rivières (22 December), while a grand final concert is planned for 30 December at Club Soda in Montréal. Le Vent will also showcase at CINARS Biennale on 16 November in their usual five-member format.
After that, the band will release an album titled Territoires in February 2019. It will be the first featuring André Brunet, with the group planning to focus on “the two fiddle players, as well as our new five-part harmonies.”
As for dates next year, in February they will perform as part of the official showcase at Folk Alliance International in Montréal, then from 26 April to 19 May the group tour the US.