June 27-30, 2013: Festival « Chants de vielles »

We just wanted to make sure you knew about this festival and, if so, that you knew that both the dates and locations have changed.Chant de veilles marcheurs_800px-400x181

Instead of being in September, it’s now in June.

Instead of being in Calixa-Lavalée, it’s in St-Antoine-sur-Richelieu.


Details will be posted on their website when they are available. Volunteer selection starts today and continues until March 28, 2013. See website for details.Vielle from dicktay2000 via flickr cc20

Chants de vielles focuses primarily on the hurdy-gurdy (vielle à roue), but also has a strong song component and excellent dancing. Don’t miss the walk, which takes you through the picturesque countryside while singing, the many sessions or the campfire!

Maybe see you there?


Quelle fête ! Ten years of « Chantez-vous bien chez nous »

chantezvous10eA big thank you to Michel Riopel and to the organisers of this truly spectacular tenth anniversary celebration of what is one of the friendliest and most welcoming mid-winter festivals around. This is the 10th year that the tiny hamlet of St-Bernard-de-Michaudville, about 20 minutes from St-Hyacinthe, has hosted this festival of traditional Québécois music.

This year, the festival added a Thursday night show to its regular Friday-Saturday-Sunday programming, which normally includes two evening shows, a Saturday afternoon confiture (jam session) and a Sunday afternoon dance. This is a very relaxed festival, with the evening concerts being the main events. The Saturday jam is the earliest you need to get up, and that starts at 1pm.

2013-11 Chantez-vous-eglise WP_20130221_001We arrived moments before the start of the Thursday night show, which featured Genticorum, Réveillons!, and Nicholas Pellerin et les Grands Hurleurs. It was a pretty full house, with a number of little ones dancing around, and a happy, singing crowd. During the Réveillons! set, the stage was renamed in honour of the hometown heroes, the Berthiaume famile (many of whom were present, both on stage and in the audience). David and Jean-François (Berthiaume, of Réveillons!) were the official hosts for the weekend, welcoming to the stage some of the many local singers in between acts.

Genticorum were particularly sharp, having just recorded their live album, which is expected to be released at the end of March. Réveillons! were particular crowd-pleasers, choosing a repertoire of songs in which the audience joined in lustily. Nicholas Pellerin and his Grands Hurleurs, Simon and Simon, ended the evening wonderfully, with a fiery set.

Friday night’s set started out with Outaouais-area group La Tuque Bleue, a group of young friends and relations who quickly got the crowd jumping with their high energy and excitement. So they were already in the right mood for Les Chauffeurs à Pieds, who wound the crowd up even further. Technically brilliant and steeped in tradition, this band could easily be (and often are) headliners at folk festivals.

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February Festival – Chantez-vous bien chez nous

Chantez-vous bien chez nousFebruary isn’t exactly festival season, but a lovely little festival has been taking place in St-Bernard de Michaudville (map) for the past 8 years.  This year, Chantez-vous bien chez nous, 9e édition (Come sing with us) promises to offer another great little festival to divert us when cabin fever has us helpless in its mitts.  The festival occurs Friday February 24 – to Sunday February 26, 2012.

About an hour and 15 minutes east of Montreal (on the south side of the St Lawrence), this festival consists of a Friday evening concert (7:15PM: La Famille Ayotte, Réveillons!, Vishtèn), a Saturday afternoon open/free jam (1-4PM), a Saturday evening concert (7:30PM: Raz-de-Marée, Bernard Simard, La Giroflée) and a Sunday afternoon dance (1-4PM: Jean-François Berthiaume calling, Réveillons! playing).  The cost is reasonable with each evening soirée being $25 per person per night for a 3-act show.  The jam session at the local elementary school is free, and the Sunday danse is $10 per person.

The concerts are wild and rowdy, with a constant hum of conversation throughout and beer and snacks served in the back of the hall.  Seating exists if you want it, and dancing is encouraged directly in front of the stage.  After the show is over, people stick around to chat and start chanson à repond song circles and jam sessions into the wee hours.  For those on a budget, overnight accommodations are available on the elementary school gymnasium floor (AKA, le dortoir or dormitory), free of charge, and a 5 minute walk away from the performance venue.  You need to remove your sleeping belongings by 10AM each morning to accommodate the jam session.  There are washrooms, but no shower available at the elementary school.

Simon Marion, Nicolas Pellerin, Simon Lepage; CVBCN 2010Nicolas Pellerin et les grandes hurleurs, Chantez vous bien chez nous, 2010

I recommend Chantez-vous bien chez nous as an opportunity to hear some great music, meet great people, learn and play some great tunes and loosen the grip that winter has on us.