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Band World Folk


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The best kept secret in music


"Penguin Eggs review of La Tondeuse (2010)"

« Dentdelion (“dandelion”) is a true family affair: Dana Whittle, Claude Méthé, and daughter Béatrix Méthé being three-fifths of the group, and Denise Levac and son Colin Savoie-Levac comprising the other two-fifths. Collectively the senior players in the group have an amazing breadth and depth of experience within Quebec’s folk traditions; past appearances include groups such as Ni Sarpe Ni Branche, Entourloupe, Jeter Le Pont, and Manigance. The younger Méthé and Savoie-Levac bring a fresh outlook to the table and the boundless enthusiasm of youth. The result is exhilarating. “Le galant noyé”, for example, positively bubbles with good feeling and energy, as does “La tondeuse”, the opening reel; and even on a slower song like “La belle prisonniére” there is a warmth and relaxed confidence to the singing and playing that welcomes listeners of all ages and languages. As this is only the second Dentdelion recording in 14 years (their first was made by Whittle and Méthé in 1995), we can only hope for more from this group before another decade has passed! » Richard Thornley, Penguin Eggs - Penguin Eggs magazine


Dentdelion / Les Beaux Yeux Bleus (1995, Minuit dans la cuisine)
Dentdelion / La Tondeuse (2009, Roues et Archets)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Folk-trad family-band Dentdelion is a playful twist in the tangled roots of traditional Québécois music. While solidly rooted in the tradition, the group remains open to new ideas that help to keep this vibrant lineage alive and kicking. Dentdelion borrows its name from the dandelion, or “pissenlit” in Québec French (in reference to its medicinal qualities). Like our ancestors, this flower came from far away to be planted in North American soil where it has toughed the climate and resolutely reseeded with each gust of wind.

From its beginnings in 1994, Dentdelion has been an amalgam of personal cultures : those of Claude Méthé (Québec) and Dana Whittle (New England). They’ve since been joined by Denise Levac, veteran trad flutist from Québec’s musically rich Lanaudière region, and more recently, by a new generation comprised of their talented offspring Colin Savoie-Levac (son of Denise) and Béatrix Méthé (daughter of Claude and Dana). The group lives in this region, considered by most to be a sanctuary for traditional Québécois music, which is being recognized more and more for its beauty and many qualities that include a refreshingly simple form but complex execution; music that breathes unequivocal spontaneity and vibrancy.

Dentdelion’s emphasis is on original music that draws from tradition – rejigs of centuries-old songs, new ones created from scratch or melodies melded with lyrics with long-forgotten melodies. Picking up the tradition where it left off, Dentdelion heads into what is perhaps best described as “folk-trad” territory – strictly due to its newness – yet they never stray far from the essential Québec sound with its omni-present fiddle, tapping feet and unique swing. Guitar accompaniment, flute, vocal harmonies, a capella
arrangements and stereo foot percussion, the raw and the refined come together to create a rich sound that is both intimate and energized and unescapably Québécois! Dentdelion has brought their fresh sound to audiences in Québec, Canada, the U.S.A., Europe and the U.K.

In 2009, the group was awarded a grant by the Canada Council for the Arts to record their most recent album, La Tondeuse. They also receive touring support from Québec’s Société pour le développement des entreprises culturelles (SODEC).

Fiddler-singer-guitarist-composer Claude Méthé was born in Québec City and has been a part of the traditional music world in Québec for more than thirty years.A self-taught fiddler, his style reflects most particularly the eighteen years he lived in the region of Lotbinière, Québec, on the south side of the St-Lawrence river not far from Québec City. Today, he resides in Ste-Béatrix, Québec, in the Lanaudière region, known worldwide as the epicenter of Québec trad music. Claude is a former founding member of the nearly legendary Le Rêve du Diable, winner of a Felix for best traditional album in 1983, and a group often credited with singlehandedly reviving public interest in traditional Québécois music. The group’s original recordings have recently been rereleased and it is interesting to note that today, a whole new generation is once again making this “discovery”-in the form of old albums (33s) by Le Rève du Diable! In addition, Claude is a former member of Joséphine (Danielle Martineau), Québec groups Manigance and Entourloupe, and Vermont group Jeter le Pont; he still performs on occasion with group Ni Sarpe Ni Branche. He has played all over Canada, in Europe and the U.S. Claude can be heard on at least a dozen recordings, including the soundtrack of Oscar-winning film “CRAC” by Frédéric Back. Claude’s impressive repertoire of traditional songs contains gems from Manitoba, Ontario, Québec and the maritimes, sung in a voice known for its textured and sentimental quality; ballads are a specialty. Claude also loves teaching Québécois fiddle repertoire and songs privately, in day-long or weekend workshops, in festival settings, school and music camps. He has taught at well-known camp Ashokan (NY), Goderich’s Celtic College (ON), Donna Hébert’s Groove Camp (PA) and the prestigious Pinewoods camp (MA).

Born and raised in New England, Dana Whittle, singer-song-and-reel-writer, guitarist, “podorythmiste” (foot-tapper), accordionist and immigrante réçue residing in Ste-Béatrix, Québec, offers music lovers a taste of the unique cultural mélange of her New England folk roots and her experience as an American transplanted to Québec. Influenced by the traditional Québécois music she has played for the past two decades, Whittle also claims inspiration from artists that include Bonnie Raitt, John Prine, Lucinda Williams and Aimee Mann. In 2001, she appeared with Vermont singer/songwriter Patti Casey on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion”. Known for her harmonic abilities, she can be heard on numerous albums as a guest artist – Yves Lambert, Linda Breitag, Tess LeBlanc, Patti Casey – and of course, Claude Méthé’s highly-praised solo release “L’amant confesseur”.