Album Review - Bonhomme Setter / OBIA

Bonhomme Setter have created a remarkable big band sound wrapped around some very traditional tunes.  The introduction to Man of the House, which is included below says it all.  On this track Sylvain Laberge recently spoke to us stating ‘we started the arrangement of this piece with the flute melody and a repetitive rhythmic guitar, creating a build up effect. In this way, more rhythmic and melodic options became available for other instruments. It’s a very interesting tune and we wanted to play it for as long as possible so that the listener can enjoy it to the fullest. Alternating melodic instruments as well as incorporating a violin bridge towards the end of the tune gives an interesting effect of progression.’ 

They take inspiration from Kíla, Lúnasa, Laü and Elephant Revival, as well as musicians like Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas; and their big arrangements pack quite a punch.  From Quebec, the group features an array of talent with a strong percussive input as you could guess. In addition to Sylvain Laberge on flute you have Marie-Noëlle Harvey (violin, viola), Marie-Pier Gagné (cello), Mathieu Gosselin (bass), Stephane Desbiens (guitar) and Andrew Beaudoin (percussion).  It’s a mixture of Irish, Asturian and Breton traditional music with folk tendencies. When they tackle vocal numbers like Back Home in Derry they create a backdrop of melody, vocal and percussion that has impact and is a great reworking of this well known track. Imaginative sonic intros also feature, with Eight Bones in particular standing out. All of the instrumental tracks have this powerful percussive beat with some really imaginative arrangements.  There are times when the accompaniment threatens to overpower the melody, such is the energy the band bring to their music. A minor point because in overall terms you get a clever, entertaining and extremely well delivered album of traditional music with a very modern edge. Highly recommended.

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Comment by Sylvain Laberge on November 20, 2014 at 3:00

Hi Rob,

This is Sylvain from Bonhomme Setter. Patrick McSweeney, from Cork, is playing the uilleannn pipes. He now leaves in Quebec City and often plays with us. He is a former member of the band. Thank you!

Comment by Rob H. on November 19, 2014 at 22:13

mmmm, I like it. Who's playing the ullian pipes?

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