Beaucoup Chapeaux

Beaucoup Chapeaux

 Nevada City, California, USA

Beaucoup Chapeaux plays ancient, contemporary, and original music, "...something lovers can whisper behind, and get up and dance to", performances that are called magical, beautiful, inspiring, world class, a voice to knock your socks off, the real thing, true joie de vivre, with an uncanny ability to carry audiences away to the finest bistros, tavernas, pubs, and concert halls one might find in Europe, the Balkans, and North and South America.


Descriptions of Beaucoup Chapeaux's music vary, but the term "magic" is frequently invoked.  Whether raising the roof on a rural community dance hall or bustling bistro, or hairs on listener's arms in pristine concert settings, this lithesome quartet knows how to create joy, beauty...and magic. Their extraordinary repertoire of originals and music re-imagined from dozens of European and Balkan cultures, ancient and contemporary, is fresh, personal, and universal. 

"We love your new CD!"--Sean Bianco, host of Capitol Public Radio's "Night at the Opera".

For ten years, and 700+ performances, Beaucoup Chapeaux has been creating community and joie de vivre:

"...Beaucoup Chapeaux, a world and fusion quartet was at the Red Poppy (Art House)...So many fans showed up that the Poppy’s small wine bar ran out of glasses, but the crowd felt like family, with cousins crowded around the table, and you almost felt like volunteering to do the washing up."--Leah Garchik, San Francisco Chronicle, Jan 19, 2016  

Beaucoup Chapeaux's founder and leader is guitarist, accordionist, singer and composer Maggie McKaig. With a voice described as "the real thing," Maggie sings in dozens of languages.  She's recorded seven albums and composed the folk opera "Cumberland Suite." Collaborations include work with bassist/mandolinist Michael Zisman, bassist Bill Douglass, saxophonist George Brooks, singer/songwriters Paul Kamm, Eleanore MacDonald, and Utah Phillips, who described Maggie as one of the best musicians he knew. As a side person, Maggie toured as lead guitarist/harmony singer for 2-time Grammy award winner Mary Youngblood, and with singer/songwriter Sands Hall. Her past bands include: Canadian folk rock band Lost in the Colonies; Celtic Wonder Band; Storm Session.

Notable compositions include "Flora's Waltz," a top 5 winner for Best Celtic Instrumental at the "2009 Just Plain Folks Awards"in Nashville, TN, and "War Is A Business," featured on Amy Goodman's "Democracy Now."

Luke P. Wilson, on plectrum banjo, tenor guitar, 5-string banjo, steel guitar, dobro, and vocals--also described by Utah Phillips as one of the best musicians he knew--has performed and recorded in Europe and North America, was a Capitol Records recording artist (with Ron Paul Morin), and worked with many Canadian musicians including Valdy, Ian Tyson, Diamond Joe White, Ron Paul Morin, Ken Hamm, members of Prairie Oyster, Ron Casat, Miles Jackson, Peter Marley, and the Backline Orchestra.  In California, jazz bassists Michael Zisman and Bill Douglass, violinist Alasdair Fraser, singer/songwriters Saul Rayo, Kimberly Bass, Sands Hall, and Utah Phillips. Luke is also a luthier, running Wolfnote Studio with his son Bryn Wilson near Nevada City, CA.

Murray Campbell, on violin, oboe, cor anglais, and vocals, also plays reeds for numerous symphony orchestras, including North State, Auburn, and InConcert Sierra.  One of those rare beings who is equally at home on the orchestral stage as he is improvising on reeds and strings, Murray has worked with the Belfry Brothers, ChickenBonz, Paul Kamm and Eleanor MacDonald, Alasdair Fraser, Kipchoge Spencer,  Bristle, and Lisa Mezzacappo's String Band, among many others.

Randy McKean, on clarinet, bass clarinet, and tenor sax, and vocals, draws upon methods of distillation and synthesis pioneered by composers such as Anthony Braxton and Iannis Xenakis. Other projects include leading the avant-garde quartet "Bristle" (with Campbell, bassist Lisa Mezzacappa, and reed player Cory Wright).

Beaucoup Chapeaux has warmed up for Aaron Neville, Allen Toussaint, and Dr. John and the Nite Trippers. Past performances include Ridgestock Music and Sustainability Festival; Salem World Beat Festival; Red Poppy Art House; The Big Easy; Augergine; Music in the Mountains; InConcert Sierra; North Columbia Schoolhouse; Wild and Scenic Film Festival; Stars at North Star House; Sir and Star; the Emerald Tablet; the Nevada Theatre; Valhalla Art and Music Festival; the White Rabbit; Blackbird Cafe; Point Reyes Station House Café; Smiley's Schooner Saloon; Plough and Stars.   



Written By: Maggie McKaig


Verse 1:
Everything I want, everything I need,
Everything I see, everything I dream,
The best of these has been you,
Every time I’ve danced, every time I’ve laughed,
Every song I’ve sung, every single one,
I’ve been harmonizing with you,

Bridge 1:
All the winds can blow, all the waves can crash,
It’s no matter if I’m with you,
The very world could split in half,
I’d laugh as long as I am with you,

Verse 3:
All the coldest nights, all the dead-end streets,
All the fears that rise and daily we meet,
Are easier ‘cause of you,
All the sunset skies, all the swaying trees,
Every piece of fruit is sweeter to me,
Like peaches and cream ‘cause of you,

Bridge 2:
Every day we have together shines,
And sparkles like some kind of jewel,
Every day we have together finds,
I’m deeper in love with you.

Repeat Bridge 1, then Verse 1

War Is A Business

Written By: Maggie McKaig

War is a business, you know that it’s true,
And after a war there is so much to do,
Infrastructures to be rebuilt,
That opens the door to the folks who without any
Guilt brought us war on a silver plate,
Dangling security as the bait,
Causing our deepest fears to rise,
We’re so paranoid we’re not even surprised.

To hear the Vice President while CEO,
Made sure Halliburton was ready to go,
The moment the first declaration was made,
Cheney made sure Halliburton got paid,
The toll of the wounded and dead rise each day,
We’re told not to question, that’s just not the way,
The big picture is something we can’t understand,
Only a genius like George Bush can,

War is a business, you know that it’s true,
And in any business you often get screwed,
But losing your freedom is really a bitch,
While watching the friends of Dick Cheney get rich.

When did we let the government start,
To deliver the country to hell in a cart,
Well, we sat on our asses and watched the High Court,
Steal the election, then tell us "Don’t worry,
We’ll sort out the votes, then make Our choice,
Make you believe you’ve still got a voice..."
That’s when we should have been out on the streets,
Marching by millions and millions and billions and
War is a Business....

Millions and billions and millions and billions...........

A Few Important Things

Written By: Maggie McKaig

From Edge of the World, 2008

Verse 1:
I am alone now,
I have no mother,
I have no father,
They�ve passed on,
I find myself now,
To be an elder,
But I still remember being young,
Believing I could fly,
Not knowing I could ever die,
Thinking I had important things to say,

Shining like gold coins,
In the depths of the sea,
Like a pearl in an oyster,
Like a magic key,
To the treasures of our sweetest dreams,
Waiting to be found,
Try to remember every night when we lay down,

Verse 2
Sometimes I want the whole truth,
Give it to me straight
I�ve got to feel the passion,
Don�t make me wait,
And some days it�s too much,
Getting out of bed,
Can�t stop trouble,
Talking in my head,

Do we ever really get it?
Ever understand?
Ever know the meaning,
Unravel all these plans?
From what I�ve got figured,
The only thing to do,
Is hope you find kindness and love around you...


I am alone now,
I have no mother,
I have no father,
They�ve passed on,
I find myself now,
To be an elder,
And even though I still remember being young,
I know now I can�t fly,
And someday I�ll surely die,
But I�ve still a few important things to say,

Repeat Chorus


Written By: Maggie McKaig

From "Edge of the World", 2008

She is a Chimera, a fantastic beast of dreams,
Foolish, or fabulous, with no place in reality,
She lives among the clouds where the air is rare and thin,
A lion�s head, sharp goat hooves, and the tail of a serpent,

When she gets riled she tends to breathe fire,
And burns everything that she sees,
That�s why she lives amongst eagles and marmots,
Such creatures that just let her be.

They all danced circles, around, dance around,
The serpent chasing its tail,
Aleman with the left, promenade to the right,
Bow down, balance me, bow down.

Long ago, before the sun had retreated to it�s cave,
And before the moon had lost any chance of being saved,
She lived in the world, just like anyone you see,
And no one saw her lion�s head, her tail or cloven feet,

As they whispered prayers to dry bread and wine,
And madonna�s in lovely white veils,
With a passion more frightening than anything else,
They were lost on the labyrinth�s trail

They all danced in circles, around, dance around,
The serpent chasing its tail,
Aleman with the left, aleman with the right,
Bow down, balance me, bow down.

But in, a trying time, people did desperate things,
Blind with fear, they could not hear,
The message peace would bring,
And so the shields, of prejudice, were raised by many hands,
Only war, and nothing more, burned across the land.

The Chimaera was frantic to turn back the tide,
But alas, there was little to do,
So in bitter defeat she made her retreat,
Off to the mountain she flew,

They all danced in circles, around, dance around,
Like a serpent chasing its tail,
Aleman with the left, aleman with the right,
Bow down, balance me, bow down.

Come Now Children

Written By: Maggie McKaig

How did this happen to you?
It’s true, you’ve gone insane
And yes, millions to blame
But if we play that game it’s such a shame,

Melting ice caps, rising oceans,
Do you all know how to swim?
Don’t delay another moment
Or you’ll take it on the chin

Come, now, children,
You know what you must do
Clean up your mess
Do the best that you can possibly do.

You’ll push me ‘round the bend
Straight to the end, ‘til I’ve nothing left but to
Send you all to your graves
When you’ve still time to save your sorry asses

It’s not really hard to fathom
Just how much this means to you
You yourselves are now the hazard,
Look how much you have to lose


Tsk tsk, impossible task?
Why would I ask? If it were so
I give credit where due—now it’s up to you
It’s time to be true

Don’t try to fix someone else
Your concern should be yourself
You’ll be done before you know it
Then there’s treats, just don’t blow it


Mere Mortals

Written By: Maggie McKaig

When you’re a mere mortal you often complain,
Just how fast time can go by,
But can you imagine how it must be,
When you’re a lowly Mayfly,
You’re born in the morning, by noon you’re a teen, at
Five you’re an adult--you see what we mean--
You spend the night mating, then laying eggs,
Only to discover by morning you’re dead…

Twenty-four hours, Twenty-four hours,

Meeting and mating, meeting and mating,
Meeting and mating and then laying eggs,
Meeting and mating, meeting and mating,
Meeting and mating and then you are dead.

We are mere mortals, and we won’t live forever, we are
Mere mortals, prawns in a bigger game, we are
Mere mortals, trying to make our way,
Knowing that today could be our
Last day,

You might wake up one morning, to find
Everything has changed,
What you thought was set in stone has
All been rearranged, so you
Pray to Jesus, maybe Krishna,
Buddha is good too, and
Hope that somehow in the end it
All makes sense to you

We are mere mortals, and we won’t live forever,
We are mere mortals, prawns in a bigger game,
We are mere mortals, trying to make our way,
Knowing that today could be our
Last day!

Waxing and Waning

Written By: Maggie McKiag

From "Lost in the Colonies", 1984

Watching the snow blowing by,

Makes my dreams carry me far to the south,

Where a lover once waited for me,

But he wrote, said I’m sorry but you surely must see,


That I’m tired of waiting,

and watching each rising moon,

Waxing, and waning, and feeling a fool.

I remember that spring had gone by,
So I followed the swans and the geese flying north, and I
Thought I’d return in the fall,
But when the leaves started turning I knew I’d remain,

Now you’re tired of waiting....


Its nothing you said or did,

I just needed more room to live

So I stayed up in Canada,
Though my heart was left somewhere between the two,
And whenever I see the moon full,
It reminds me of arms that will hold me no more, you were tired.....of waiting

Castles of Sand

Written By: Maggie McKaig

Verse 1:
No other place was mine it was the closest to,
Wherever my deepest self was found,
I could be running blind, from the craziest escapade,
And always there was a sense of solid ground,

But that was the strangest thing, there was no solid ground,
For my place was built entirely of sand,
On an earthquake fault, sand as white as salt,
Sitting on the edge of the bay,

You know it’s not just black or white,
Or day and night, or dark and light,
Or what you give, or what you take,
Or how you move, or what you make,

Verse 2:
They built her house, of redwood trees,
Ancient ones, 500 years or more,
And anchored it with ocean stones,
That held it through a thousand storms,

The winds had tried their very best
To blow the thing right out into the waves,
Yet wood and stone had stood their ground,
And time and time again she was saved,


Dreams are shaped by shifting tides,
Hissing waves, the seagull’s cry,
Haunting mists, the lion’s call,
The brilliant sunrise through the fog

And what comes must surely pass,
We like to think we’re constant as the moon,
And yet by nature ever changing,
And lonely as the calling of the loon,


Neptune's Garden

Written By: Maggie McKaig

Verse 1:
I tried so hard to find you,
In the grove of olive trees,
Through the turrets of the castle
But you hid yourself away

It’s a simple thing to think of,
And the hardest thing to do,
When you’re heart’s completely flustered,
And you know you cannot choose,

And your beard is growing lichen,
And you give a stony stare
But your eyes never leave me,
They follow everywhere

Bridge 1:
And I think, if I’m crafty,
I’ll turn, and see you move,
And though I try, I cannot,
Therefore, I guess I lose

Verse 2:
So I’ll leave you to your cool,
Green mossy pedestal,
Where heart sick girls toss coins,
While they sit and tell,

You all about their sorrows,
Brave knights that never came,
Abandoned by true love,
And forever curse it’s name,

Bridge 2:
And I have just enough wisdom,
To know I cannot stay,
And you, fain follow,
Where time can wear away,

Verse 3:
The minutes and the hours
Like you have never seen,
A far different world,
Where you have never been,


Verse 4:
Words carry on the water,
And picked up by the wind
For thousands of years,
On and on they spin

So sleep now my sweet love,
Let the waters sing your song,
Long after my passing,
Long after I’m gone

Set List

Le Charm 

O De Vogel Me Gelqere 

Bella Ciao   

Scythian Steppe  

La Historia De Un Amor  

This Must Be the Place

Sicilian Tarantella      

Besame Mucho  

Karanfile Cvece Moje 



Ook Pic/V'la L'bon Vent  

You Ain't Going Nowhere  

U Krusevo Ogin Gori 

Kaci Se Gori   

Marina Marina  


Cigani Lybiut  

What the Northern Lights Did


Usti Usti 

M'envoyer des Fleurs    

Cheeky Chic  

Ajde Jano

Home is the Road  

Cafe De La Mort  

Autumn Leaves

Wallachian Suite 


Dracevka Oro   

La Franska