Lennie Gallant,
Le vent boheme
(Revenant, 2002)

Le vent boheme is Canadian singer-songwriter Lennie Gallant's latest release, and his first entirely in French. Born on Prince Edward Island, which has a large Acadian-French population, Gallant had grandparents who spoke the language but he did not speak it growing up. In the liner notes, he dedicates the record "a la memoire de mes grands-meres, qui m'ont chante de vieilles chansons acadiennes quand j'etais enfant." Gallant plays guitare acoustique throughout the record and is supported by Gilles Tessier (guitares electriques, basse, guitare acoustique, piano, guitare "slide"), Davy Gallant (mandoline, loops, guitare electrique, uillean pipes, guitare acoustique), and a host of other players.

The songs on Le vent boheme (The Gypsy Wind) range from the aching "Champ de mines" and the triumphant "Briser les murs" (co-written with Ronald Bourgeois) to the pretty "Ce Matin" (also co-written with Bourgeois) and the live kitchen party sound of "La manque de courage" (co-written with Chris Corrigan). The wistfulness of the title track finds its way into most of the songs on this record, especially as he pleads with a lover to return in "On rallume," where the poetry of Gallant's words makes me want to just close my eyes and float away.

Gallant employs a string quartet into two songs, featuring Fran¨ois Pilon (premier violon), Veronica Thomas (deuxieme violon), Ligia Paquin (alto) and Sheila Hannigan (violoncelle) with an arrangement by Simon Leclair. "Briser les murs" and "Y'a que l'amour" are beautiful musical journeys with a full, rich sound.

Le vent boheme contains some translations of previously recorded English songs, including "Voulez-vous danser," (the English version of this song appears on Jimmy Buffett's latest record) and "La manque de courage." The meanings of the words are changed slightly in the translation, but the spirit of those songs is not lost and Gallant proves that he can comfortably make the transition between languages, even with some of his most popular songs.

As always, Gallant shows that he has a real gift with both lyrics and music -- and he pours all of his passion into every song. In any language, Gallant is certainly one of Canada's songwriting treasures -- and Le vent boheme is a triumph.

- Rambles
written by Rachel Jagt
published 4 January 2003

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