Comprised of celebrated musicians and music historians, Le Bon Vent sets forth on a musical odyssey from the stately courts of France across the Atlantic to the new worlds of Quebec, New England, and Louisiana. The band traces the evolution of a music that has been influenced by everyone from 17th century courtiers to Acadian and New England settlers, yet amazingly remains uniquely French after nearly four centuries of change. The Bon Vent repertoire includes songs from the Limousin and Auvergne regions sung in medieval French dialects, dance tunes such as the bourree, gavotte and mazurka, and Parisien Valse Musette, as well as music drawn from New England's own Franco-American heritage, blending folk, medieval, jazz, and classical music into a rich and critically acclaimed 21st century mélange.
Le Bon Vent has been awarded grants from the Vermont Arts Council and has presented concerts at the Flynn Space in Burlington, Vermont; the Intercultural Institute in Boston, Massachusetts; the Blackstone River Theater in Cumberland, Rhode Island; and St. John's Episcopal Church in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. In the spring of 2005 the group was featured at the Maison de la Culture in Montreal, Quebec, a concert broadcast live across Canada on Canadian Public Radio. The ensemble's members, all celebrated musicians in their own right, combine traditional virtuosity with a daring experimental blend that incorporates folk, medieval, jazz and classical music.
“The initial inspiration for Le Bon Vent came from French author Jean Giono's novel Regain” says ensemble director Jeremiah McLane. “The protagonist, Panturle, struggles to survive in a tiny village in the south of France. One by one the few remaining residents die or leave to live in other towns, until finally he left completely alone. I imagined him asleep, dreaming of the village of his youth: musicians playing the town square, villagers gathering around, dancing, singing and laughing. Upon waking he hears only the wind in the trees and an owl hooting in the distance. Eventually Panturle finds a wife and together they raise a family, bringing life back to the village. Le Bon Vent hopes to capture the sense of loss and renewal that is at the heart of Giono's novel by presenting music that is both foreign and familiar, music we've lost yet can still regain.”
Cristi Catt (Cambridge, Massachusetts) - vocals
has performed in concerts and theatrical productions internationally, including appearances at Tanglewood, Holland Festival, Flanders Festival, and the Bergen Festival in Norway. A Los Angeles Times reviewer praised her “stunning solo excursions . . . as radiant and exciting as any singing I've heard all season.” She has recorded on the Telarc label with Tapestry, and has also appeared with leading early music ensembles such as Ensemble PAN, La Donna Musicale, and the Boston Camerata.
Ruthie Dornfeld (Seattle, Washington) - violin, viola
has earned a reputation as one of America's best and most versatile violinists, with a command of Irish, Appalachian, Quebecois, French, Hungarian, and Brazilian fiddle styles. She has performed and taught at festivals, schools, and music camps throughout the U.S., Europe, Russia, and Brazil. She currently performs with guitarist John Miller, and in the French cabaret group Rouge.
James Falzone (Chicago, Illinois) - clarinet, tin whistle
has performed in concert halls and jazz clubs throughout the United States and abroad with the Allos Consort, as well as with musical luminaries Steve Lacy, Richard Stoltzman, Theodore Bikel, Joe Maneri, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Ran Blake. James's debut recording, The Already and the Not Yet, was hailed by acclaimed jazz writer and critic Larry Kart as “a work that speaks a unique, potent musical and spiritual language”. James teaches at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois.
Adam Larrabee (Boston, Massachusetts) - guitar, mandolin
teaches at the New England Conservatory, performs with Enigmatica and Andromeda, and has composed works for The New England Conservatory's Contemporary Music Festival, the Milton Academy Chamber Orchestra, and the Virginia Commonwealth Classical Guitar Ensemble.
Taki Masuko (Sommerville, Massachusetts) - percussion
came to Boston in 1979 after playing percussion in the Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra. He is a faculty member at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, MA, and performs in Balmus, Hourglass, and Sabana Blanca, a musical group specializing in silent film accompaniment.
Jeremiah McLane (Sharon, Vermont) - accordion, piano
is musical director of Le Bon Vent. He has toured the U.S. and Europe at such venues as the Philadelphia Folk Festival, London's Royal Festival Hall, Le Carrefour Mondiale de l'Accordeon (Quebec), The Picolo Spoleto Festival, St. Chartiers Festival (France), The Sidmouth Folk Festival (England), and Memoires & Racines Festival (Quebec). He has composed music for theater and film, including Sam Shepard's A Lie of the Mind, and released four CDs, including Smile When You're Ready (1996), nominated by National Public Radio as a 'favorite pick of the year'. His CD, Hummingbird, with Ruthie Dornfeld, won the French Magazine TradMag's Bravo! award in 2002. He also performs with Nightingale and The Clayfoot Strutters.