Le Bon Truc Concert videos

I lead a good life. On May 2nd, my trio, Le Bon Truc, played at Blue, in Portland (Maine). We managed to pack the place and then play perhaps our best ever. It was super and felt great. Friend of the band, Sunshine Perlis, took video of eleven of the sets. The lighting is suboptimal, but the sound is great. I’ve put these together into a playlist so you who wish may enjoy our good fortune!

We’re hitting five years of playing together, and our lax variety of ambition has served us well. I love these two, and I love the music we make.

Le Bon Truc Photos

Some great photos taken by daughter Brigid of our Mayo Street gig in Portland. Blue light. Who knew? Le Bon Truc is Gary Chapin, Barbara Truex, and Steve Gruverman

Our trio at work
Dulcimer, Barbara Truex
Dancer, Marie Wendt
Clarinet hands. Like jazz hands, but cooler
Strewn Accordions
“So, what are we playing next?”
We love each other.

You had me at Mazurka …

Some mazurkas wot we might play!

“So,” said Steve Gruverman, “at NEFFA, do you want to do a mazurka –“

“Yes.”

“– workshop with –“

“Yes.”

“– Lynn Baumeister?”

“Yes.”

“Yes?”

“You had me at Mazurka.”

To summarize: At the New England Folk Festival (a.k.a., NEFFA), the Nouveau Chapeau quintet will be doing a mazurka dance workshop with instructor Lynn Baumeister. The festival runs from April 15 to 17. We are doing this workshop on Saturday evening, the 16th.

We’ve put together a nice set of mazurkas to work up (see the picture to the right), and begin rehearsing in a week or so.

I’ve made no secret of my love of the mazurka in all varieties — from its galumphy mid-tempo version all the way to the current, “sexy” 9/8ish variety. An embarrassment of riches. That’s what my life is.

Two Waltzes from Le Bon Truc

Barb and Gary rehearsing. Steve is off to the
left, also rehearsing.

On May 29, Le Bon Truc Trio (Steve Gruverman, Barb Truex, and myself) presented a concert at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Augusta, Maine. Barb recorded the evening and it came out great! So, I’ll be posting those recordings sur le blog. Here are two waltzes, each composed by a band member.

Saturday Night in St. Andrew is a beautiful waltz composed by Barb Truex. The dulcimer is well featured, but the accordion comes in and the trio as a whole really shines.

Saturday Night in St. Andrews by Le Bon Truc

Dill Waters Run Steep is a fast waltz I wrote many years ago, but which I still find very fun to play. People who haven’t been playing it for fifteen years seem to find it intriguing. Notice that I’ve left in the false start. It goes on for quite a while as I try to get back on the rails. Finally, I bring the festivities to a halt and restart. Just a little bit “you were there” verisimilitude!

Dill Waters Run Steep by Le Bon Truc

Trio Gig Friday, May 27

The trio rehearsed today and sounds pretty dang sweet. Come on to Augusta. Listen to some beautiful music, in a beautiful space. And eat pastry. Donations go to my daughter to help her in her studies abroad.

13 Moments at the Gig

I invite my band mates to share their moments in the comments section.

Last Thursday me and three of the best musicians I know played at Lewiston bistro She Doesn’t Like Guthries, a cafe aimed at “eco-conscious, urban bohemians.” The food and wine were excellent and the four of us — Le Bon Truc — brought our tradFrench to a full room of chatty, convivial and, if I can say it, extraordinarily well dressed night goers. (Seriously, I saw two bow ties.)

Gary+Barb+Joelle+Steve = Le Bon Truc at Guthries

Moment #1: We were well rehearsed for this, but we waited, literally, until the last minute to draw up a set list, and even then it was only the first five pieces. We opened with J’ai un nouveau chapeau, Sylvain Piron’s hanter dro with the great lyric.

Moment #2: It was at the very last rehearsal before this gig that we finally worked out the song Dodo Beline. It can be found on the recording by Frédéric Paris and family, Petite Alouette (which you can download here). Entrancing. Amazing. With Joelle singing and Barbara’s dulcimer, I found myself — so improbably — in a group performing this wonderful song. Have you had moments like that? Where you you can’t believe you are where you are, doing the thing that you’re doing? Just so you know, when I took up the accordéon some fifteen years ago …THIS was what I was hoping for!

Moment #3: Brave Marin is a great song, but I can’t figure out what I should be doing on it. Joelle has the melody, Steve the obligato, and Barbara the rhythm. Logic dictates long tones or counter-melodies, but nothing I’ve tried has sounded good to me.

Moment #4: The set of Trois bourrées bemol (Three flat bourrées) does contain three of my favorite bourrées, transposed to Bb, Bb, and F. I did this when I got my Dino Baffetti Bb,Eb, F three-row, but now I just like it as a set of tunes. However, when Barbara takes out her banjo uke and does the sweet little chunka-chunka behind Steve and my melody … wow, does that piece fly!

Moment #5: The break. We eat a little. Drink. Talk about many things other than the music. We don’t make a set list for the second set, and when the break ends, we’re caught unawares! Not sure what the psychology is going on there. We were happy.

Moment #6: Joli Mois de Mai, an hanter dro/an dro. A capella. Joelle did the call. We all did the response. Yes! That’s crazy talk! And it did threaten to go off the rails a few times, but reckless abandon had set in. Very fun!

Moments #7 thru #11: An array of beautiful stuff. At some point the table that was smack in front of us (with three very attentive and appreciative listeners) emptied. I missed them. But my twelve year old daughter, Sarah, occasionally shouted, “You’re doing great, Dad!” So the grief was fleeting.

Moment # 12: Can y Melynid is a great Welsh tune that Barbara brought to us (she learned it, I think, from an Alan Stivell recording). Again, I can’t figure out where I fit in this one. Steve, Barbara, and Joelle use the tune as a launching point for improvisation … a foreign practice for me.  But the tune sounds great.  I want to find my way in.

Moment #13: Saturday Night at St. Andrews is a waltz written by Barb, and it’s become our closer of choice. Amazing good feeling.

After the performance the owners, who had been gracious hosts throughout, expressed deep appreciation for our sounds. Randy said he’d never heard a sound like ours, and commented on its unique quality. Very gratifying. We were invited back!

So, one of the things about going through the hard times that I’ve reported is that they set you up to be especially grateful of the good things, and, in a meta way, to be grateful for gratitude.  Like it’s root, grace, gratitude is a good state to exist in. So, thanks to Guthries for providing that amazing spot to play in, and to Barbara, Steve, and Joelle for joining in this crazy French-from-France thing I’m on. We may still be “finding our groove” as a group, as Barbara says, but I’m loving finding the groove.

2003 Bal Pics

What a great weekend! Great dance on Saturday. Great performance at the Royal Bean this afternoon. Photographer and friend of the blog, Troy Bennett, was there. We first met in 2003 when Sylvain Piron and Catherine Piron-Paira visited Maine. Troy shared the below pictures with me. Fantastic! Thank you, Troy!

The event was the monthly International Folk Dance at Pownell, Maine (which continues to this very day), led by dance instructor Marie Wendt and my friend Steve Gruverman.

There’s the mighty Corso, and Steve with bombarde.

As you can see, I have a long history with accordéon face.

Closing the evening with J’ai un nouveau chapeau.

Bal Folk on Saturday (Jan. 18)

This saturday at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Augusta, Maine, a Bal Folk will take place. The “big band” that I’m a part of, Nouveau Chapeau, will be playing, with Marie Wendt teaching and calling the dances. In April when we did this, we whipped the place into a frenzy.  Join us!

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