Topette!! occupy a unique position in the current folk and traditional music landscape. A collaboration between five highly-regarded individuals from two countries, they’re the kind of perfect idea that, if they didn’t already exist, someone would have to invent. Yet Topette!! Are no mere ‘project’ band. They’re a fully-formed and functioning group of the kind that rarely comes around nowadays. Topette!! are a true collective – bonded as much by the joy found in each other’s company as in their shared musical vision.
Julien Cartonnet is a powerhouse on both bagpipes and banjo. Fiddler James Delarre’s innate melodic and harmonic sensibilities make him the perfect match for accordion virtuoso Andy Cutting. Tania Buisse’s propulsive bodhrán playing and Barn Stradling’s singularly distinctive bass grooves complete a sound that is irresistible to ears and feet alike.
‘Bourdon’, is a French word that literally means ‘bumblebee’ – but also the drone of a bagpipe. Bourdon the album might just be the only recording to feature a six-legged musician – as the titular insect makes a guest appearance on the album’s opening track!
Recorded in just four days by producer Joe Garcia, Topette’s third album shows a marked progression from their previous releases whilst retaining the immediacy that made those albums so appealing. If anything, the group’s long, enforced hiatus (their last pre-pandemic, pre-Brexit gig was in December 2019) has reinforced their sense of unity and reinvigorated their ensemble playing. The all-instrumental album features an eclectic selection, with tunes by band members sequenced alongside compositions by legendary French musicians Frédéric Paris and Bernard Blanc, and American ‘outsider folk’ hero Michael Hurley. The inclusion of both a Cotswold Morris tune and a traditional French folk melody celebrates the group’s roots and affirms their defining ‘spirit of European friendship and co-operation’.
By turns energising, lyrical and hypnotic, Bourdon is a joyous antidote to dispiriting lockdowns and dreary parochialism. Music that sounds as good from an armchair as it does in the middle of a packed festival dance tent.
Artists’ website: http://www.topette.co.uk/
UK TOUR DATES. JUNE 2022
9 Bristol – SouthBank Club
10 Gower Folk Festival
12 Stroud – Lansdown Hall
13 Birmingham – Centrala
14 Llanfairfechan – Community Hall
15 Lancaster – Gregson Centre
16 Sheffield – Crookes Club
17 Norwich – Canary Club
18 Margate Folk Festival
19 London – Clapham Library