Friday, December 22, 2023

Les Rats d'Swompe, a true Christmas party

"Les Rats d'Swompe came together to introduce people to the sound of the traditional violin, the call and response songs and the musicality of yesteryear. Based in Ottawa, they are five plaid lumberjacks who take the stage to fuse elements of rock, traditional, pop and punk. A high energy act that will make you want to sing and dance."

Their seven-song EP called 'Pause Gorgée Vol. 1' (roughly, 'Take a Swig Break Vol. 1') is a swinging party and a great recent example of traditional French Canadian music you'll here on the radio at Christmas time in parts of Canada.

Call and response songs are meant to involve everyone at a party, such as the elderly that can't always get up and dance, but do enjoy singing along and clapping. The song 'Dondaine la Ridaine' is a classic example of a response song that is difficult to 'answer', but the more you hear it, the better you get at it.

When the band sings the words 'tam ti de lam' in any of the songs, that's called a 'reel à bouche, or 'mouth music reel', the goal of which is to imitate the sound of a violin. Yes, if you feel like much of the EP sounds a bit Irish, Scottish and French music all mixed together, you'd be right.

'Orange Blossom Special' is an instrumental that takes off mid song, while 'Voilà le Père Noël qui nous arrive' ('Santa Claus is coming') starts off with a sample of the mother of all French Canadian recording artists, La Bolduc, which was the backdrop for a old post, entitled A True Holiday Story.