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.
Their latest album ‘Bourdon’, is a French word that literally means ‘bumblebee’ – but also the drone of a bagpipe. 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’.
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.
They are preparing to go our on tour, playing ten small but lovely venues, scattered around England and Wales says Barnaby, “It’s not easy selling tickets for gigs at the moment, for all the obvious reasons. Still, having made a great new album, Bourdon, and having already postponed the tour twice, we are throwing caution to the wind! Wish us bon chance!!”
Absolutely, sending best wishes from all of us here at Spiral Earth!
Tour Dates as follows:
Thursday the 9th – Bristol – Southbank Club
Friday the 10th – Gower Folk Festival – Wales. Weobley Castle, Gower
Sunday the 12th – Stroud – Lansdown Hall
Monday the 13th – Birmingham – Centrala Space
Tuesday the 14th – N Wales – Llanfairfechan Community Hall
Wednesday the 15th – Lancaster – Gregson Centre
Thursday the 16th – Sheffield – Crookes Club
Friday the 17th – Norwich- Canary Club
Saturday the 18th – Margate Folk All-Dayer (Olby’s Soul Café and Music Rooms)
Sunday the 19th – London – Clapham Library
For more information and to browse their ‘Shopette’ visit: www.topette.co.uk