Friday June 3, 2011
“Already a fourth album in a decade for this Abitibian group which, after having explored the profound voices heard in sacred music, the aerial sounds made by world string instruments and North African rhythms, finds on its Nordic soul on this new opus. However, the North becomes the pretext to introduce new sounds to this music which remains free of any imposed boundary of any kind. If the ensemble may ring bells akin to Dead Can Dance or Jean-Michel Jarre at his best, it definitely has its own singular and strong personality. The wind blows heavily on cave like ambiances, bells and ethereal vocals. The Middle-Age happily frays with gliding electro spaces. The sky gets torn apart by celestial vocals. The Celtic harp rises over powerful beats. The melodious hurdy-gurdy lends a dramatic accent. And what about that poem penned by Dan Behrman about Jerusalem which brings all the religious beliefs together. Through this album a door opens wide toward eternity”. (Yves Bernard, Vitrine du disque -June 3, 2011 – Le Devoir)
Thursday September 1, 2011
Saltarello: “Nine Worlds” (Productions Saltarello, 2011)
“Just like a feather from Abitibi to gently caress and appease the face of the planet, the two multi-instrumentalist from Abitibi, Julie Pomerleau and Luc Lafrenière, took their inspiration from reading books on the Crusades to set their course toward the northern civilizations in a creative fashion and by following an instinctive procedure fed by everything they are surrounded by: The people, the instruments, history, journeys, meetings and nature...
The 14 tracks making “Nine Worlds” represent a part of their roots as well as their arms stretched toward the rest of a world without boundaries, free and full of a multitude of sounds and musical expressions of all kinds. Adepts of the trance and the mystique will be ravished by the quasi perfect balance between ancient and modern musical instruments for which Luc and Julie enrolled the expertise and talent of multi-instrumentalist Daniel Thonon who is also a traditional Breton and Walloon music specialist who founded and led two great ensembles made in Québec: Advielle Que pourra and, later on, Montcorbier.
I also had the honour and the pleasure to write and record for this album a poem entitled “Jérusalem, Al Q'ouds, Yeroushalaïm,” at the request of Julie and Luc. It is lyrical prelude to a bewitching melody that can hardly be resisted. Original, caressing and very organic, the sound of Saltarello elicits with pleasure that of certain well known dark European ensembles such as Hedningarna and Gamarna (Sweden), Malicorne (France), Clannad (Ireland), without forgetting Dead Can Dance (UK) and even Alan Stivell (Brittany) around the time of the “Symphonie Celtique). The warm and generous voice of Luc Lafrenière backed by the vestal like intonations of Julie Pomerleau and Catherine Baril melt marvelousely with the multi-colours of Daniel Thonon's bagpipes and hurdy-gurdy which are seconded by other ageless exotic instruments such as hammer dulcimer, bouzouki, tin whistle, Armenian duduk, dulcimer, synths and, of course, the powerful percussions played by Luc who excels on the djembe, bendir and darbuka.
Saltarello performed at several festivals throughout the Province of Québec during the summer and when I saw and heard them at the Greenfield Park Centennial Celebrations at the beginning of July, I was deeply moved by the reaction of the audience which, for the most part, had never heard of Saltarello and which didn't want the band to leave the stage and demanded several encores. It was really a great moment! Therefore, and given that sensual pleasure and satisfaction of the mind is what this is really all about, please do check out the band's website at www.saltarello.ca for further details or, even better, order the album on i-Tunes! (Dan Behrman - September 2011 - Le Magazine Son & Images)
Tuesday November 1, 2011
Saltarello - Forgotten Passage (2008)
“Welcome to the Abitibian village of Palmarolle where, not very far from Rouyn-Noranda, live and evolve two beautiful souls, Julies Pomerleau and Luc Lafrenière who, from their home-studio located in an old barn, transport to wide borderless and enchanting musical universes all those willing to climb aboard and fly on their virtual flying carpet.
Here are unique voices, warm ambiances, musical instruments from the past, the present and the future as well as the memory of many diverse cultures assembled on this truly beautiful disc entitled “Forgotten Passage”.
This out of the ordinary couple passionately enthralled in music from here, there and everywhere has been around for twelve years and has recorded two other albums which are as worthy of interest as this new one: “”O Pietas” (2001) and “Humana” (2004). Drawing their inspiration from the Rom heritage as well as from the Berber, Gnawa and Sufi traditions, Julie Pomerleau and Luc Lafrenière play a wide variety of ethnic instruments which they have collected or built by themselves without counting the many samples recorded on the fly by Luc during their travels in Europe and Morocco. Luc also has a warm, powerful and airy voice capable of reaching several octaves if need be. His voice backed by the celestial harmonies of Julie Pomerleau and Jessica Poirier beckons in a pressing fashion those who listen to it into another dimension where reality is totally different from anything we have been used to, yet eerily harmonious and reminiscent of the trances elicited by Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry, the valorous pioneers from Dead Can Dance or by Sussan Deihim, Persian dancer and songstress and her acolyte and electronics wizard Richard Horowitz.
Presently in the midst of recording their fourth where they enrolled the eminent Belgian multi-instrumentalist Daniel Thonon for performing and producing purposes, Saltarello is slowly but surely positioning itself to become the beacon of the Québécois Ethno-Trance scene which could very well turn on the ears, the minds and the hearts of neo-sacred music lovers well beyond our borders. While waiting for this moment to arrive, you can definitely encourage Saltarello and discover “Forgotten Passage” by taking a look at their website which you will find at the tip of your fingers by typing www.saltarello.ca . I wish you a wonderful listening experience as well as a very Merry X'mas! Dan Behrman, still under embargo...” (From Le Magazine Son & Images, Volume 12, # 1)