Contra dance music – the signature sound of Quebec ensemble Raz de Marée (Tidal Wave) – is rooted in Celtic fiddle traditions, which probably originated in Ireland and Scotland two or three hundred years ago and, over the course of the centuries, filtered through the British Isles and North America, adapting to, and taking on the flavors of the music in the areas where it was played. The members of Raz de Marée hail from three of the primary regions in North America where contra dance still prevails: Quebec (Sabin Jacques, accordion/bones/foot percussion, and Éric Favreau, violin), Acadia (Rachel Aucoin, piano/vocals) and New England (Stuart Kenney, upright bass/banjo)..
Since debuting in 2004, the band have been guardians of this deeply rooted music, authentic and heartfelt, which makes them right at home wherever they play. Driving music from fiddle, accordion and piano ensures wonderful contra dancing. As one fan raved (re: Tidal Wave’s eponymous debut): “A rip-roaring cracking humdinger of an album… Pardon my enthusiasm, but this stuff is top-notch.” Sabin Jacques' foot percussion or "podorhythme" adds to the excitement, and he is also one of Quebec's leading master accordionists. Éric Favreau has recorded two solo albums, two with his other group Entourloupe, and has appeared on at least a dozen others. Stuart Kenney is a much-in-demand studio musician, as well, with over fifty recordings to his credit. Rachel Aucoin has two Masters degrees in classical music (performance, and piano pedagogy), but in 1999 she discovered folk music accompaniment and has never looked back.
The ensemble’s latest recording, Marche du St-Laurent, was nominated for best instrumental album at the 2011 Canadian Folk Music Awards. Flawlessly executed and backed by deliciously imaginative accompaniment, the CD features inspired melodies for dancing and listening. This band, with its cross-border personnel, proves that music not only transcends national boundaries, but brings people together…clearly, a perfect fit for TD Sunfest!