Le Vent du Nord: |
a French-Canadian storm
An interview with the band,
Le Vent du Nord (The North Wind) blew into Celtic Colours in October 2004 and took the festival by storm. They were an instant hit at their scheduled concerts and brought the house down at the Festival Club. At their performance at An Acadian Saturday Night, they completely enchanted a multicultural audience. I was curious how the band credited its success and about the line-up change earlier that year. I discussed these things with Nicolas Boulerice, Benoit Bourque and Olivier Demers after a show. (Simon Beaudry was present but did not take part in the conversation due to the language barrier between us.)
So, how do they explain the way their performances cause audiences around the world to plaster big smiles on their faces and move their bodies and feet until the band leaves the stage. Boulerice just shrugged his shoulders and with a happy, knowing grin explained this phenomenon in two words; "It's music."
Bourque explained that a lot of their appeal is simply because the entire band loves music and loves to have fun. He said "people call it joui de vive, but it's really just who we are." They all grew up with music and it is part of their culture. Having fun is also an integral part of their culture, Bourque said. "It's the most important thing." He cited a survey he once read comparing what is most important in life to English speakers and to French speakers. Work was the most important thing to the vast majority of English speakers while having fun was the most important thing in life to 7/10 speakers of French. The entire band whole-heartedly agreed with the results of this survey.
They enjoy sharing their music and having fun with audiences everywhere. Boulerice said he loves it when people join in. All agreed that the more people make noise, tap their feet and dance, the more fun they have on stage. Even in venues with historically reserved audiences, Le Vent du Nord has got the audiences to whoop, dance and get lost in the moment ... so the band must be having lots of fun wherever they go. Demers is still a bit overcome by people's reactions to their music and how much attention they are getting. With a big smile and a look of wonder on his face, he said, "I still can't believe it. We are just sharing what comes natural to us."
The four current members seamlessly complement each other in their music and personalities. Bourque said "we are four energies all going the same way." This led to the subject of their line-up change in the spring of 2004, when Simon Beaudry replaced Bernard Simone on guitar and vocals. When I saw Le Vent du Nord in October 2003, they seemed like a band of three and one. In my opinion, Simone was an excellent musician and singer, but just didn't seem to fit in with Boulerice, Bourque and Demers. Bourque agreed and said, "Well -- that was true" while the others nodded in agreement. They were quick to point out that Simone leaving the band was not tense in any way and Bourque said "they are all still good friends."
It was so fun simply talking to them let alone seeing them perform earlier as their excitement for music and life is contagious. I left the interview thinking Le Vent du Nord puts some type of magic spell on their audiences. I then recalled what Boulerice earlier said was another simple explanation of the power they have over the audience -- "Music is magic." They sure made me shiver with delight on many occasions and I was (and truthfully still am) under their spell.