While attending booking conferences, arts presenters are overwhelmed with options. From established to emerging, hundreds of artists a day vie for your attention. It’s easy to get a little jaded in your choices and easier still to overlook opportunities.
A few years ago, after one particularly tiring day at APAP in Manhattan (I had crisscrossed the island a few times for meetings and performances all over town), I was leaving my hotel to meet a college friend for dinner and a few more showcases. As I stepped into the hotel lobby, I suddenly heard terrific, foot-stomping music coming from the hotel bar. I stopped dead in my tracks, listened, and walked in.
I could barely squeeze into the packed lounge. To my surprise, the ruckus came from just three musicians having an awfully good time. Everyone, including the bar staff, was joining in on the bonhomie. The sound was upbeat and decidedly Celtic, but also very French. I had noticed on my way in that this was part of the “Annual Lobby Showcase” of “Quebec roots-trad-folk” put together by Folquébec. Not feeling the least bit jaded, I found myself entranced, clapping away until the end of the band’s set.
But who were they? I kept asking people what the group’s name was, but it made no sense. De Temps en Temps was as close as I could make out—“from time to time.” What I couldn’t make out was that it was in fact De Temps Antan—“from time to yesteryear”—a pun my meager French could not quite parse. It’s an apropos name: the trio of Eric Beaudry (on guitar, mandolin, and bouzouki, a cousin of the mandolin), Andre Brunet (on violin), and Pierre-Luc Dupuis (on accordion) takes Quebecois music and updates its Francophone vibe.
Since then I have sought out De Temps Antan for my own enjoyment. I have since seen them play small bars and sell out concert halls, and every show is as energetic and memorable as the next. I can’t wait to see them again, making their West Coast debut at the Skirball, performing their special take on Quebecois roots music, and celebrating their Canadian heritage, right in our Taper Courtyard. See you there. [Need tips on how to get the most out of Sunset Concerts? Click here.]