A&E » Arts

Watch out for those flying beavers



Who: La VolÈe d'Castors

Where: Maxx Fish

When: Thursday, July 24

It’s not often you can say you’re going out to dance with a flock of beavers, but next Thursday night you can.

Quebec’s La Volée d’castors (The Flock of Beavers or VDC for short) will be making an appearance at Maxx Fish for a belated Bastille Day celebration.

La Volée d'Castors are a true explosion of rhythms and sounds. Consisting of six dynamic musicians who play violins, accordions, guitars, mandolins, banjos, basses, pianos and foot drums, VDC put on a show guaranteed to get you on the dancefloor. And it’s not just the French who seem to come in droves. With their music drawing on elements of Celtic, Irish, Scottish and Eastern European songs as well, the band is better grouped in the world music mould than as a Quebecois act.

If you can’t pronounce their French name, perhaps you should learn the bare basics of what these boys are about.

VDC is ten years old, with three CDs down and a fourth being released in the fall. They’ve performed more than 400 concerts on four continents, including the U.K., New Zealand, Japan and the U.S. The band played at Peter Gabriel’s legendary WOMAD Festival in Australia and sold out of 500 CDs in the first two days.

As you read this story, chances are the band have just landed in Vancouver after three shows in Malaysia, where they headlined The Rain Forest Festival, a world music celebration.

Their French name comes from an old Quebecois joke, where a conversation will be interrupted by someone pointing to the sky saying, "Hey, look at that flock of beavers" to see if anyone looks up.

Comedy and laughter feature high on the band’s agenda with funny dances, silly songs and contemporized takes on traditional pieces filling the happy musicians’ play list.

VDC’s first two albums, Galant and Par monts et par vaux harnessed influences from Scotland and Ireland to create a distinctive sound. Their third album, the 2000 release VDC, went further by incorporating Indian, Persian and Eastern European flavours. The group was subsequently nominated for a prestigious Juno award in 2001 for Best Roots and Traditional Album.

If we need to make comparisons, some fans say VDC sound like Great Big Sea, but the group are unmistakably unique, energetic and mesmerizing in their instrumentals. Reviews are filled with quotable quotes like "Right from the off the audience is up for 40 minutes of controlled mayhem".

La VolÈe d'Castors is Martin Mailhot (accordion, bodhran), Mathieu Lacas (fiddle), Sebastien Parent (guitar, banjo) Nicholas Froment (mandolin, bones, lead vocals), Frederic Bourgoies (accordion, feet, lead vocals) and Rejean Brunet (bass, piano).

Tickets to see La VolÈe d'Castors are $10 in advance or $15 at the door. Phone Maxx Fish for more information on 604-932-1904.