Ten Strings And A Goat Skin
It’s late fall and early winter in Joliette, Quebec—the epicentre of traditional Quebecois music in Canada. PEI’s emerging young traditional music group Ten Strings And A Goat Skin are in the studio recording their new album with Leonard Podolak of the Grammy-nominated Duhks.
A veritable who’s who of traditional music is streaming in and out of the studio—some to play a few bars, some just to say hello and spread some cheer: the legendary Yves Lambert and his La Bottine Souriante co-founder André Marchand; pianist and accordionist Josianne Hébert; members of Les Poules à Colins (the band formed by the offspring of Quebecois musician Claude Methé) and members of the Duhks.
And so was born Auprès du Poêle (“Around the woodstove”), an album that celebrates community and survival. It’s a collection of songs and tunes marked by the joie de vivre of traditional Quebecois music; the balladry of English, Irish, and Scottish folk; the kick-up-your-heals musicianship of the grand Celtic ensembles and their harmonies.
The album’s opener, “Ukrainian Expedition,” showcases the trio’s compositional chops, stitching together four hopping tunes—three originals and the Irish traditional “Coal Miners’ Reel”—each one building in tempo and intensity. “When I First Came to Caledonia” is a cover of the traditional Cape Breton ballad delivered with three-part harmonies.“Maluron Lurette” is a traditional Breton piece that overflows with the spirit of the Joliette region. The closing number, “Duhk Duhk Goat,” a worldly collaboration with members of the Duhks, fuses Swedish, Quebecois, Maritime and American old-time tunes in a salute to the respective cultures of the key players on the track: Anna Lindblad, Colin Savoie-Levac, and Leonard Podolak of the Duhks and the members of Ten Strings.
Born into an Acadian musical family in Rustico, PEI, Rowen and Caleb Gallant formed Ten Strings with Jessie Périard, a Fredericton-born musician of Scottish and Québois ancestry. The trio released their debut album, Tri, less than five years ago and earned a 2012 ECMA for Roots and Traditional Group Recording of the Year. Since the release of their 2013 sophomore outing, Corbeau, they’ve signed agency deals in Canada, the U.S., the U.K., France and Switzerland, and have toured the world.
The album will be launched June 30 at The Pourhouse, Charlottetown, July 2 at Trailside Café, Mount Stewart, and July 3 at The Souris Show Hall, Souris. The group then tours across Canada before returning to PEI July 22 for a show at the Summerside Lobster Festival. They also play at Cloggeroo Festival in Georgetown August 13.