Dâvi Simard’s new album, soberly titled Violoneux (Fiddler), was anticipated by many traditional Québécois music afficionados.
Known for his fruitful collaboration with Cirque Alfonse, Simard delivers 15 tunes and songs from the Québécois and Acadian traditional repertoire. Behind the sepia tone of the cover, we get a glimpse at the now-distant figure of 20th century tradition bearers, the figure we now thank for passing down a repertoire that nourishes contemporary folklore.
In invoking this image, Simard transforms the “violoneux” into a multi-instrumentalist, a singer of laments, an arranger, and a sound engineer. Simard surrounds himself with some of the most established Québécois traditional musicians, choosing larger ensembles for certain tracks, while in others preferring the intimacy of a duo, notably for a song he shares with fiddler Stéphanie Lépine, and for two reels with David Boulanger.
In the two solo fiddle tracks, rare and precise versions of Reel du Pendu and Disputeuse, which are accompanied only by the constant tapping of his feet, Dâvi Simard reaches the core of the practice of the fiddlers who have inspired him. It’s an album of subtle and refined richness.