Quebecois music double-bill fires up Flynn fans

BURLINGTON -- David Boulanger is a podorhythmist. No, he doesnt collect rhythm patterns on his iPod, or advocate the philosophy of a Russian philosopher named Podorhy, or use a sweet-scented mist to hide bad odors. Rather, Boulanger is a foot-tapper for La Bottine Souriante. He also swings a mean fiddle for the legendary Qu_c folk band. Tapping intensely and fiddling ferociously, Boulanger assisted La Bottine in igniting an appreciative Flynn Center audience on Jan. 5. La Bottine Souriante (The Smiling Boot) was formed over three decades ago. Although they began as a traditional Qu_cois folk quintet, they added a four-piece horn section in 1990. Since then, their music has become much more international --and incendiary. On Jan. 5, enshrouded in (artificial) smoke, they fused frenetic French, Irish, and Scottish folk music with sexy salsa, brassy jazz, thumping drums, florid Arabian ornamentation, and heavy disco beats. Their feverish musical energy (and Sandy Silvas sizzling percussive dancing) set the Flynn ablaze. David Boulanger fiddled while the Flynn burned. Boulanger has been with La Bottine for less than a year. La Bottines former fiddler, Andr_runet, asked Boulanger to substitute for him at a gig in Spain in 2006, and, when Brunet left La Bottine last February, Boulanger replaced him. In a Qu_cois double-bill, Le Vent du Nord (The North Wind) warmed up the crowd for La Bottines inflammatory performance. The four singer-musicians are viewed as La Bottines prot_s. Like La Bottine, they harmoniously explored the wedding of multiple cultural traditions, and their music dared Flynn feet not to tap or dance. Some people succumbed. When audience members began dancing began in the aisles, they had to be gently ushered over to the back and sides. Both groups took the stage for the evenings fiery finale. Boulanger and Le Vents fine fiddler, Olivier Demers, dueled, and then hugged, at the performances end. Fascinated by the fiddle? Fiddle lessons are available on YouTube.com! La Bottine Souriante and La Vent du Nord got the Flynn 2008 season off on the right foot. And the left foot too.

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