The traditional Quebecois band Le Vent du Nord is an award-winning group considered leaders in the francophone folk movement. They draw upon traditional sources and original compositions while enhancing a driving, soulful sound rooted in the Celtic diaspora.

Andre Brunet, fiddle player of the band, spoke with The Nugget about his role in the band and how honored he feels to be in this long-lasting Quebec-based band playing songs of his homeland.

Le Vent du Nord has been a band for 17 years and has done over 1,000 shows. Throughout the years, the membership of the band has fluctuated, but the group now is as solid as ever.

“It is an honor to be a part of this band who plays such traditional music that I have such an appreciation for,” said Brunet. Brunet had always had an affinity for the violin, taking lessons as a kid, and in 2008 took home top honors as Grand Master of Canada. He played in a band for 10 years called La Bottine Souriante before joining

Le Vent du Nord.

Le Vent du Nord in French translates to The North Wind: That is, the northern wind of Quebec that sweeps through in the winter months. The band was founded 17 years ago on a college campus after a fire alarm went off and a few guys saw each other holding their fiddles outside and decided to start playing together.

“The founding of the band was just a couple of guys starting out on this adventure of a five-piece band playing traditional music,” said Brunet.

Brunet loves that his role is to keep the rhythm going. He not only plays the fiddle, he stomps his feet and that forms the percussion section, keeping the energy up.

“We try and have as high of energy as possible in our shows adding this stomping for people to stomp along to while we play traditional music,” he said.

They sing traditional songs from Quebec, as well as from the west coast of France that they grew up listening to. They put their spin on it by adding in an Irish traditional sound, creating the upbeat drive.

“We really like to get everyone involved in our songs by having call-and-response songs. In Quebec, dance is very important in conjunction with the songs we are singing,” said Brunet.

The band travels 180 days or more out of the year in order to meet the demands of their worldwide tours.

“When we are able to get together and just able to do the songs that brought us together as musicians, we feel a true soul connection,” Brunet said.

The band loves to perform their traditional songs to their home Quebec audience, playing at least 25 shows a year in that province.

“It is really important to us that our audience and each of the band members understand what each other is doing, we just have a blast on stage,” he said.

Le Vent du Nord has collaborated with a number of bands and musicians over the years and has produced and created 10 albums since their creation in 2002.

Le Vent du Nord will be playing multiple sets at this year’s Sisters Folk Festival. More information, including ticket and schedule information can be found at sistersfolkfestival.org.