RELEASE DATE: June 3, 2013

By Devon Leger (Hearth Music)

ENREGISTRÉ LIVEInvariably, the first thing listeners do after loading in Genticorum and pushing play is to double check the list of artists. That’s because it’s almost impossible to believe that the sound you are hearing comes from just three people. There must be at least several guest musicians, one assumes, to generate the foudroyant smash of melody that begins immediately and never stops. However, we can confirm that there are in fact just three young and virtuosic Québécois musicians who make up this award-winning group: Pascal Gemme; Yann Falquet; and Alexandre de Grosbois-Garand. As if to put any doubts to rest, Genticorum (pronounced “Jawn-ti-core-um”) is releasing Enregistré Live, a live album, and it’s obvious that even without a studio smokescreen Genticorum is still pure magic.

Drawing from a wealth of deep traditional sources, Genticorum highlights the breadth of traditional French-Canadian music: from irresistible knee-bouncing reels to sinuous jigs; from rowdy call-and-response songs to haunting ballads with complex harmonies. Hidden in between the tracks of Enregistré Live (Recorded Live) one can catch snippets of their infectiously warm stage banter (in Québécois French), which is all part of the charm that has garnered them international fame and multiple awards.

Enregistré Live, the group’s fifth album, opens with Genticorum’s signature sound: a rousing, flowing flute line, played by multi-instrumentalist Alexandre, over the churning roil of Pascal’s fiddling, the whole supported by Yann, a master of DADGAD-style guitar. Together they create a current of energy that will have anyone in earshot tapping their feet. Their first song, Le Forgeron, showcases the pure joy of French-Canada’s tradition of “chansons à repondre” or “call-and-response songs,” as well as the irresistible gravel of Pascal’s voice and the delicious three-part harmonies the group employs. Déline is a bone-chilling melodic wandering through minor and major in the most eerie a cappella intertwined harmony, telling the story of a young soldier who talks to his dead lover beyond the grave. Many of the tunes on the album are originals, although even a purist would have trouble spotting which ones. Pascal’s composed set L’outarde au vin, refers to a back-woods dish of Canada goose cooked in wine, and is comprised of two rollicking tunes, translated as “The Sauce” and “The Breast.” As Pascal noted with a wink, it’s up to the listeners to decide which of the two is their favorite.

GENTICORUMEnregistré Live was recorded in Farnham, a small historic town in the Eastern Townships of Québec. Despite Genticorum’s dozen years of international tours and acclaim, the trio has rarely had an opportunity to play on their native soil—and for fiddler Pascal it was a particularly cathartic homecoming. Born and raised in the countryside just a few miles from the venue, “the highlight of this project was to get to play in front of my extended family and friends in my home town,” Pascal said. “My father had never seen me play on stage before that night.”

Which could explain why, of all their albums, Genticorum’s Enregistré Live sounds the most vibrant and hearty. It is fueled not only by their top-notch musicianship, but also by the deep fidelity they have to their roots, to those whom the music reflects and those who are reflected in it. Judging by the exuberant audience, there was an equal level of appreciation that evening for three of Québec’s finest musical diplomats.

So in a way, there is more than a trio creating the sound you are about to enjoy. Perhaps the list of guest artists simply includes an entire audience, a father seeing his son perform for the first time, a giant family knit around a centuries-old tradition of tunes and songs; and it is this captured moment of musical homecoming that makes this album truly magical.