Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 29 July 2014

French-Canadians have Black Box's full approval

De Temps Antan is a clever play on words in French, meaning either "from time to time" or "from times gone by".

It is no surprise, then, that the specific mission of the band thus titled is intended to promote the musical heritage of their native Quebec, and more broadly of the French-Canadian folk tradition.

All three players are hugely fluid operators and switched between a variety of instrumental combinations permed from violin, guitar, bouzouki, accordion and harmonica. All three also contributed vocally, and added vigorous foot-stomping percussion to the more up-tempo selections.

Of these there were many, and as early as the second number the Black Box was whooping its approval and clapping along enthusiastically. The fiddle playing of Andre Brunet is central to the group's modus operandi, especially in the propulsive reels that powered the set forward at sometimes dizzying velocity.

Brunet was the first Quebecois to be crowned Canadian Grand Master in fiddling, and on this Belfast debut there was abundant evidence of his stellar artistic credentials.

There was whimsy and humour aplenty in the music too, the message of story-songs such as Pu D'Argent and Jeune et Joli communicating readily to the audience.

There was an irresistible verve and musicality to the performance: two hours whizzed by, and you were still looking for more when they ended.

TERRY BLAIN

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