Exploring Irish and French-Canadian traditional tunes and songs on Un Canadien errant

Un Canadien errant is a new album from the Sophie & Fiachra Trio. This album is made up of 14 tracks of Irish and French-Canadian Traditional tunes and songs, as well as some original compositions from Sophie Lavoie. Un Canadien errant has just been nominated for ADISQ Traditional Album of the Year in Québec and in the Canadian Folk Music Awards, the album gets two nominations; one to the Trio for Traditional Album of the Year, and one to Sophie Lavoie for Traditional Singer of the year.

The title comes from one of the tracks, a song written in Quebec in 1842 and recorded my many artists including Nana Mouskouri, White Horse & Leonard Cohen. It tells the story of a French Canadian who has been forced into exile after the Lower Canada Rebellion in 1837-1838. The poet speaks to the passing current in one poignant verse, telling it that if it sees his unhappy country, to please tell his friends that he remembers them. The  theme of this song also has a striking resonance in  Irish history.

The Trio released their previous album Rewind in 2014, which explored similar paths. That album was recorded in Ireland and featured Fiachra O’Regan on uilleann pipes and banjo, Sophie Lavoie on fiddle and vocals, Michael McCague on guitar & bouzouki, and Jim Higgins on percussion. Un Canadien errant was recorded across the Atlantic in Québec, and the format for this collection has changed: Sophie & Fiachra still providing the melody base, with André Marchand on guitar and foot percussion, and Daniel Roy on the trumpa or jaw’s harp.

Our sample track includes the tunes The Glentaun reel and Callaghan’s. Fiachra says: “These lovely reels are associated with the playing of Julia Clifford and Denis Murphy. Similarities exist between the fiddling technique of Sliabh Luachra and that of Québec and these tunes suit Sophie to the ground.”

Fiachra comes from Connemara and started playing music at 11 with lessons from Noirín O Sullivan. He took up the  banjo soon afterwards, and then found his true love, the uilleann pipes at the age of 15. Since then he has won Senior All Ireland titles on both Pipes and whistle, and taught and performed throughout the world.

Sophie comes from Lac-St-Jean, a Northern region of Québec and started classical music on the Piano at a young age. Shortly afterwards she began playing traditional fiddle. She listened to music from a young age from her father and grandparents on both sides who sang and played various instruments. She went on to complete a Bachelor Degree in Piano and to start the traditional band l’Attisée. It was while performing in Ireland with this band in 2008 that Sophie met Fiachra. They began to tour together and this is their third joint album release since.

André Marchand is an exceptional guitarist and singer from Joliette, the heart of today’s traditional music scene in Québec. His playing has been a huge influence on the style of guitar accompaniment in Québec and he was one the founder members of the iconic group La Bottine Souriante, as well as many other successful groups.

Daniel Roy is a multi-instrumentalist and was a member of La Bottine Souriante, Manigance & Entreloupe. While he is an accomplished player on whistles, dulcimer, harmonica and more, it is on the jaw’s harp that we have the pleasure of hearing his contributions to the album.

Of this album, Siobhán Long wrote for The Irish Times: “It’s refreshing to hear a traditional band reference the present with such subtlety and finesse.” And these ‘references to the present’ are a credit to Sophie’s fine tune and song compositions, which Siobhán describes as “lithe and masterful.” While, they are new compositions they are reminiscent of, and respectful to the two traditions.

Listening to Sophie & Fiachra’s musical exploration through their three albums to date, one can sense the feeling of ease and comfort in the place they have gotten to from this last collection Un Canadien errant.

The album is available through their website www.sophieandfiachra.com as well as www.cdbaby.com and iTunes

The album is also available as a free download for broadcasters that are part of our Download Centre.


Sophie Lavoie - violon,  piano, voix / fiddle, piano, vocals

Fiachra O’Regan - uilleann pipes, banjo, whistle, voix / uilleann pipes, banjo, whistle, vocals

André Marchand - guitare, pieds / guitare, feet

Artiste invité : Daniel Roy - bombarde / jaw harp (Fille du Lac, Reel à ma tente Lydia/ Le voyageur, Reel d’Alma)

Recorded by / Prise de son : Fiachra O’Regan

Mixage / Mixing : André Marchand

Matriçage / Mastering : Mark Busic au Studio du chemin 4

Graphisme:/ Graphic design by : Noel Mannion

Photographie / Photography by : Guillaume Morin

Arrangements /All arrangements by : Fásta

Tous les titres traditionnels sauf / All titles traditional except :

Fille du Lac, Le souvenir, Valse de grand-maman, Olivia, Le violon à Michel. Reel d’Alma, le 6/8 du Rossignol d’été (Sophie Lavoie)

Remerciements  / Special thanks to :

André Marchand, Daniel Roy, Claude Méthé, Mark Busic, Noel Mannion, Michel Faubert, Bernard Laforest, Conseil des arts du Canada/Canada Council for the Arts, Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec.

Merci à famille et amis / Thanks to all our friends and family


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