Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Beausoleil Broussard - Le mitan du siecle qui s'en vient... 1979

Long long ago this very website introduced us to a remarkably unknown french-canadian folk band called Beausoleil Broussard, hailing from the east coast of Canada in the form of a compilation album. Now we are going to cover the original discography of this long-lost band, that stands comparison favourably to quebecois artists Connivence, L'engoulevent, or ontarians CANO. I'm sure I'm not the only one who prefers the warm full and harmonious sound of vinyl records over the remastered cd, especially in a case like this where some lost tracks, often very well composed, inevitably were left off the compilation. The band's name can be discovered from wikipedia.

"Joseph Gaurhept Broussard (1702–1765), also known as Beausoleil, was a leader of the Acadian people in Acadia; later Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Broussard organized a resistance movement against the forced Expulsion of the Acadians. In 1765, After the loss of Acadia to the British, he eventually led the first group of Acadians to southern Louisiana in present-day United States."

Of course this tells us this foursome hails from Acadia. The title of the disc means (in slang) "the middle of the century that's coming". I return to the same themes in each post, this music does not deserve to be forgotten, it could be played on 70s rock stations with the best of them, and always make sure to check out the album covers, in this case a gorgeous photograph of a girl looking through binoculars to the side, with a beach in the background. This is their last album and probably the most successfully and professionally composed. The first two will be coming shortly. Note the back of the album with its hilarious facial hair, and the female singer (Isabelle Roy, who has an amazing sparklingly clear and vibrato-strong voice) with the pippy longstocking hair. I can't help but laugh when I look at these old portraits.

Like the 2 aforementioned (Connivence and L'engoulevent) and Les Seguins, this album mixes jigs and trad. folk music with a lot of more progressive, sometimes classical elements, the last track in particular features a symphony orchestra backing. A very characteristic mix for the seventies as we all know.

A stand-out track on the first side is "Squall" (as in wind) which discusses loneliness in relationships.
"One is never as alone as when one is sleeping with one's lover.
One is never so vague as in the middle of the night."
The soprano sax at the intro and throughout clearly states its melancholy case with its swooping figures moving through E minor. The last track on side A, title track, is a masterpiece of progressive folk, an equal to the L'engoulevent album without a doubt with its chamber elements, its chanted folk refrain. I am not sure what the song is about, it discusses traveling to the ocean, to the rivers, nostalgia or foreboding, it's not clear.
Ignore the bizarre annoying dialectical (materialist?) talk on the fourth track's first minute to note the instrumental gigue which follows : it passes bizarrely from G major to B flat minor then E flat, an astonishing modulation for a folk record!

On side two we have three standout compositions, "Enfantaisie" which is a very gentle instrumental acoustic guitar lullaby-like piece again with some very interesting chord progressions, and the last two tracks. "La fuite en avant", meaning, fleeing towards, is a basically an evocative poem, mysteriously suggestive, sounds to me again like a relationship gone bad song.
"On the third day of the full moon
The night on purpose went full straight
Woke up late, woke up in remorse,
Stayed close to the walls to not be seen..."
How nice to see bona-fide poetry behind this music!
It's astonishing how singer Isabelle Roy hits those high E notes with a superlative vibrato, almost operatically pure and powerful.

The last track is the composed orchestral piece, "Tourterelles tristes" (sad turtledoves). Highly reminiscent of the instrumental Connivence pieces from their magnificent three albums, this song suggests again what potential the combination of classical music, rock, and folk can achieve in a synthesis that takes music farther than it ever went before or since, a perfect synergy where the whole is so much more than the parts. Sadly this track was left off the compilation cds.

Anyone with much info on the band will be welcome to add something in the comments, it's difficult to find online due to the (relative) commonness of the band's namesake. And stay tuned for more from the same act.

8. Enfantaisie...
9. La fuite en avant...


Tristan Stefan said...


Phil said...

Thank you so much for this album. I have been looking for music from this group for ages, and I look forward to the next instalment.

Anonymous said...

Any chance of a re-up of this?

Anonymous said...


Merci Beaucoup

MF or .bt

Tristan Stefan said...

sorry for the delay in posting, hopefully you get this

Julianryan said...

new link in my post:

Julianryan said...

new link:

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