Qristina & Quinn Bachand
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Qristina & Quinn Bachand

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2008 | INDIE | AFM

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada | INDIE | AFM
Established on Jan, 2008
Duo Folk Celtic

Calendar

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Jan
16
Qristina & Quinn Bachand @ The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom

Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom

Jan
03
Qristina & Quinn Bachand @ Oak Bay United Church

Oak Bay, British Columbia, Canada

Oak Bay, British Columbia, Canada

Oct
17
Qristina & Quinn Bachand @ Celtic Colours Festival

Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada

Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada

Music

Press


Irish, Celtic and Scottish music has always provided some of the most rousing, energetic and melodic tunes ever recorded. As an admirer of artists such as Spirit of the West, The Oysterband, Black 47, The Pogues, The Skels, The Rankins and The Drop-Kick Murphys I always marveled at their inventiveness, well-recorded songs, aggressiveness, inventive lyrics and word play, not to mention -- a never ending well of originality even when sounding quite traditional.

Well, here is another smoking duo with personality performing music with a decorative touch with some stinging approaches to a vintage tradition: Qristina & Quinn Bachand. They are a brother-sister team who have already accumulated multiple awards for having opened the door a little further on their Celtic interpretations – both traditional and progressive. Quinn has accompanied fiddling artists such as Natalie McMaster and Ashley MacIssac on tours.

At times, I thought what I was listening to was the Celtic equivalent of Dead Can Dance. Dead Can Dance being well-known for their blending its well-crafted mix of Gothic, Middle-Eastern and rock recipes. Well, the Bachands push back with their familiar Irish-Celtic-Scottish styles but they pepper it with heavy-duty fiddle, low booming bass, delicate female vocals over pounding production values and a surprising array of beguiling instruments. The music easily gets into your skin, down through your pores and triggers your curiosity. Could this possibly work?

Several years ago an equally young band with a fiery female violinist ignited my speakers with "While You're Laughing," by Private Lightning. (Available on YouTube) and Patty Van Ness' wall of sound violin assault was exciting and driving. It simply upstaged every one else. While perhaps not as intricate as what Qristina is capable of -- Van Ness is the female violinist that got me interested in what that instrument was capable of and this is what interests me with the art of Qristina and Quinn. Of course, there have been other bands that featured violins -- The Flock is an excellent example.

The music here with The Bachands remains true to its original form by being melodic and at times haunting. Moments are wrung out with bright flourishes in reels and instrumentals – but you won’t imagine a roomful of busty women lifting their skirts and banging the hard wooden floor with their shoes as they dance across the sawdust with half-drunk happy men who are celebrating life in a pub at the end of the world. Instead, I envisioned smiling skeletons dancing, whirling dervishes of skirts on otherworldly women with gothic inclinations, spider tattoos, and black candles with curvy flames tossing big spooky shadows on the walls and the whiskey flowing like water. It was like out of the movie “Plunkett and Macleane,” but without the real dark Bertolt Brecht-Kurt Weill by way of The Tiger Lillies music. The Bachands experiment is far more accessible in an intense, sauteed over a low flame sort of way.

The band sets the stage with a strange, short introductory instrumental out of early "Ummagumma" Pink Floyd and then suddenly “The Reunion” begins – with a surprisingly catchy fiddle and some of the strangeness slips away into a jaunty instrumental. From out of the dark you’re at once with a friendlier environment. As it moves along additional instruments join as if more wondrous faces join the party. The melody gets louder, the intensity slowly sucks you into the magic that will unveil the “big things (that) swing on little hinges.” Creepy or prophetic?

“What You Do With What You’ve Got,” introduces the delightful vocals of Qristina. No, she’s not another Sandy Denny or June Tabor…she has that charm that Alison Marr of Lick the Tins possessed. Clear as spring water Qristina’s energy is infectious and the acoustic guitar with the fiddles is sweet. On this track the fiddles are played by both Qristina and Quinn, with percussion by Joby Baker. Quinn also plays acoustic guitar and this is all not bad for just three people. This is a great song and video.






Breaking from vocals the next tune “The Bachand Jigs” is a fascinating diversion especially when without warning a strange devilishly sounding tenor banjo supplants the other instruments with its up from the earth notes. It’s like sweet chocolate eaten with salty potato chips – it shouldn’t taste so good but it does. All this from a felicitously young duo. You would think they are two seasoned veterans with long hair, a beard, a jug of whiskey between their knees and whatever else you can conjure of back woods, rolling hills, rustic porch Appalachian style musicians. But, when you do see Qristina and Quinn – you will certainly have a jaw dropping moment. I did. Young people are not supposed to be this good. Right?

One of the best tracks featured in this collection is vocal painting of “Crooked Jack,” as rendered by Qristina – her vocals and her fiddling are perfection. The tale is mesmerizing and woven like a spider’s web into a tight showcase. Not an original tune, Qristina admits she learned the song by listening to a legendary folk singer Dick Gaughan – a compelling song with lyrics included in a booklet with their CD.

Once again, to pace the album, another instrumental “The Welcome Farewell Set,” -- an impassioned melody driven by Qristina’s relentless fiddle work. Her approach is never boring, it’s filled with equal pinches of salt and sugar. Along with its accompanying percussion the instrumentals play in a tight structure that is well-crafted.

The title track “Little Hinges,” is reminiscent of the English band The Strawbs who explored the depths of traditional music, some bluegrass and progressive music. That was daring back then. This song works as a bridge between two halves of the album. “Hang Me,” is sung by Quinn – and this time with its varied web of instruments sounding like they were recorded in a long hall way I hear hints of Tom Rapp and his eclectic band Pearls Before Swine – which is a compliment. That band was so original no one ever attempted to sound like them – but this is very close to achieving magical moments that Rapp always invented with his creativity. This, in many ways, shows the sharp diversity this duo is capable of.

With “Jimmy’s Fiddle,” – Qristina sings with just a lilt of echo and the band performs with mystical gypsy reverence. Still, this is in the tradition of Pearls Before Swine and with the variety of instruments used it all came together with precision. It’s a feast for the ears – and quite original in its execution.

Back in the hall way for “Saint Nothing,” the banjo is herky-jerky with perculating percussive effects. This time, Quinn sings – but with an entirely different and possessed-like voice. This tune is closer to the Dead Can Dance approach had they decided to use these instruments in their ensemble. The Bachands provide fascinating layers of sounds, with deep dark deviant foggy atmospheric tones. I’m not big on special effects but the finale with the torrential rain was cool.

A sincere Qristina vocal makes “Listen” the polar opposite of “Saint Nothing.” This is the most accessible tune on the album. It has a savoring vocal but it injects little dark instrumentations. It doesn’t interfere with the message the vocalist is singing about. It's a sad song with a determined vocal – sung by a voice that simply has had enough of a failed relationship and it's intriguing. The music projects that sadness in its undertones but the singer sounds both sad and optimistic or will be – once she has gone. That’s certainly a different angle for a song.

Pacing the album cleverly Qristina and Quinn open with beautiful fiddle and acoustic guitars in “Never Goodbye.” There is no singing, but the melody is uplifting and seems to suggest that better days are coming. A hint towards a traditional melody the distortion mixed in with the acoustic instruments can be jarring. However, the instruments are trying to tell a story – it’s like when someone is angry and is yelling at you but it’s for your own good. It’s to wake you up. This is a song that sounds like it’s trying to bridge feelings and I believe it succeeds.

“Three Little Babes,” is from The Child Ballads – 305 traditional tunes collected in the 19th Century by Francis James Child. To understand that beautiful melodies and words such as this exist in some obscurity and are revived by artists such as Qristina and Quinn is a marvel. The words are included in the lyric book with the CD. This is a stirring lullaby-type tune that should endure. This is without a doubt Qristina’s finest vocal. Dramatic in a melodious way the tune is worth listening to over and over again.

The final song on this 14 song collection is old school – “The Hangman’s Reel,” with twin fiddles by Qristina and Quinn that is just a wall of beautiful rousing notes. It is way too short – should have gone on for another two minutes. But, this a respectful way of signing off on an ambitious and brave album that certainly has a number of bright moments and intense ones.

“Little Hinges,” is their third album. While not a conventional approach, they share that distinction with another band I recently reviewed with twin fiddles and performances that have excitement – Burning Bridgett Cleary.

The Victoria, British Columbia-based band is primarily made up of The Bachand's along with their percussionist Joby Baker and Josh Dixon (who drummed on paint cans and was looped into "Crooked Jack," for additional effect.) So, the entire production is quite lean – yet, the sound is full and magnetic. If you are curious about how traditional Irish-Celtic-Scottish-Appalachian music would sound like stitched into some Gothic-dark intensity this would be the place to start. Quite an interesting collection and a brave one. - No Depression


This young duo from Canada shows thrilling virtuosity on fiddle and guitar/banjo while displaying great freshness and originality in their approach to Celtic music. Qristina is also a fabulous singer and the way they guide us through pure traditional playing on Crooked Jack into experimental arrangements with subtle electronic atmospherics and an almost Lanois-esque production of Hang Me and Three Little Babes is startling. - Colin Irwin - Mojo Magazine


Qristina and Quinn Bachand are a brother and sister duo from Victoria, BC who have just released their new album, Little Hinges. The band have recently been nominated at the Canadian Folk Music Awards and the Western Canadian Music Awards. Keep reading to find out what they think of all the exciting things happening for them.

Can you introduce yourself for the readers who may not be familiar with you and your music?

We are a brother-sister folk/roots duo. We grew up in Victoria, BC, but are now living and studying abroad in Boston, USA (Quinn) and Limerick, IE (Qristina). We recently released our third studio album, Little Hinges, in which we attempt to swing open the doors of the beautiful but oftentimes rigid-minded traditional music we love to the various sounds and inspirations we have accumulated over the past few years. The result was an album split into two sections, separated by the title-track, with a slightly more traditional first half followed by an experimental second half.

What can you tell us about the writing and recording process of your new album, Little Hinges?

Quinn: A few years ago Qristina moved to the Netherlands to do a Masters study in Health Sciences. It was at this time that I started working on my own gypsy jazz project and recorded an album with Joby Baker (the same co-producer we worked with on Little Hinges). For about a year Joby and I worked together on a number of other artist’s albums and “geeked-out” on our shared love of a certain type of production that we felt captured the vibe of the music in its best light. When it came time for Qristina and I to record our new album, we brought together a collection of traditional and original tunes and songs that we thought would fit well together on a slightly experimental album like this. Most of the tracks were recorded at Joby Baker’s studio in Victoria and a couple I recorded in our parents’ basement and backyard in Victoria during my last year at high school. We tried to use as few digital plug-ins as possible by using real objects around us to create reverb and delay (for example, garbage cans, metal pipes and analog machines like the space echo re-201) and on some tracks attempted to capture the ambient sound of the environment we were recording in by tracking outside or taking portable recorders traveling with us.

Little Hinges is your third release but the debut of Quinn’s singing voice. What made you decide to have Quinn sing on this album?

Quinn: It wasn’t really a conscious decision to do that. I was singing songs so it was natural. Also Qristina and I have pretty different voices so that is nice as a contrast.

You were recently awarded Top Duo and Top Traditional Group awards from Irish Music. How did it feel to be rewarded for the hard work you’ve put into your group?

The Irish Music Awards wins were awhile ago now (2010 and 2011), but were definitely a huge honour! We love Irish traditional music and, though we didn’t grow up in the tradition, we are very passionate about it. Being recognized was very rewarding.

You have nominations for the upcoming Canadian Folk Music Awards and the Western Canadian Music Awards. What are you most excited for with both of these events?

We recently found out that Little Hinges was nominated for a Western Canadian Music Award for Roots Duo/Group Recording of the Year. The Canadian Folk Music Awards have yet to be announced. We’ll see! We have had a lot of nominations at the Canadian Folk Music Awards in the past and no wins – who knows, maybe this is finally our time!

Do you have any plans for touring?

Qristina: We just finished our summer tour and are both heading off to school pretty soon. Quinn was awarded the Slaight Scholarship to study music at Berklee College of Music in Boston (which covers his tuition and room and board)! He will be starting his second year there in September. Around that same time, I will be moving to Limerick to do a Masters of Traditional Irish Music Performance. Anyway, we are trying not to book too much during the school year as we would like to focus on our studies. Instead, we are focusing on booking tours for the summer of 2016 and smaller groups of performances during the school year. We are also booking an east coast tour for during our winter break (January of 2016).

What songs are your favourite to play live?

It really depends on the audience we’re playing for and whether we have a band with us. When we’re playing as a duo it’s a lot of fun to rip some fast reels and songs from the first half of Little Hinges but when we’re with the band it’s nice to sing some of the more dynamic songs that have electric guitar and drums (from the second half of the album).

What’s your most memorable fan experience?

We have been active on YouTube since the start of our musical career (around 2007), and our channel still houses videos from those early times. From time to time we see fan musicians from other parts of the world posting covers of our music. We love that. It’s very cool that people would like our music enough to learn our arrangements and play along. That is actually how we learned a lot of what we play – using technology like iTunes and Youtube – and it’s amazing to see that come full-circle!

Is there anyone you’d like to collaborate with in the future?

The list keeps getting bigger and bigger! It would be fun to work with a string arranger/composer and have an orchestral sound for something to fill out the sonic spectrum, as it can be tough doing so with just guitar/fiddle.

Since we’re all about Canadian music, who are your favorite Canadian bands/artists?

Qristina: Obviously some of the greats: Neil Young, Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell, for example. When it comes to traditional fiddle music, Cape Breton music was really our first foot-in-the-door of Celtic music. Back in 2006 our mom organized a cultural exchange between around 20 youth from the Cape Breton Fiddler’s Association and 20 youth from the Victoria Fiddle Society. It was during this exchange that Quinn and I were exposed to Cape Breton fiddling for the first time. This was one of our earliest inspirations and we both spent the next while listening to a lot of Cape Breton music from fiddlers such as Ashley MacIsaac, Jerry Holland and Angus Chisholm. Since then, Quinn has had the opportunity to tour with Ashley, including a month-long tour of Australia. - Canadian Beats


There is a depth of inventiveness on Little Hinges by Qristina and Quinn Bachand that will raise their profile far beyond their Canadian homeland. Traditional tunes and songs are layered with an array of technical embellishments to give them a modern and funky setting. Artistically it excels by taking base material that is simple, and creating something special from it. They have been receiving rave reviews and awards for their earlier releases, Relative Minors (2008) and Family (2011). This however is a major leap forward as they move from traditional material to creative pop/folk self-compositions. The early tracks are traditional in nature as they introduce the listener to some carefully crafted arrangements that hint at something special. This includes the beautifully lush and exquisitely delivered What You Do With What You've Got to the equally captivating Crooked Jack. With two traditional sets to partner these songs the first half is a very solid affair.

The subconscious dreamland of sounds that is the instrumental track Little Hinges acts as a bridge between the first and second parts of the album, and it’s here that the music takes a turn. The experimental nature of Hang Me, a song from the singing of Dave Van Ronk shows how Qristina and Quinn are willing to take creative risks with their music and this is the story of the album. The second half drifts further from their traditional roots with studio techniques and percussive soundscapes further layering the tracks with atmospheric echoes and quirky harmonies. There are even pop traces reminiscent of Canada’s own Ron Sexsmith within some of the intros and breaks. Jimmy’s Fiddle written by Daniel Jordan of Canadian folk trio Red Moon Road is a delight. The hazy vocals and clawhammer banjo of Saint Nothing and the self-composition Listen are equally compelling. Little Hinges is an inspiring recording from two equally inspiring musicians who are compelled by self-belief and attitude to find a new voice. To quote the liner notes to the song Listen. “There will always be naysayers who try to cramp your style - how you choose to react is up to you.” Outstanding.
- Tony Lawless - Trad Connect


Qristina & Quinn Bachand
Album: Little Hinges
Label: Beacon Ridge Productions
Tracks: 14
Website: http://www.qbachand.com

Canadian brother-and-sister duo who scored with their earlier CD Family a year or so back now return with a fresh collection of tracks launched at this year's Celtic Connections barely a day or so ago. Little Hinges both opens and holds open the doors between the duo's twin worlds of musical experience: the beautiful but rigidly-grounded traditional music they love and the various sounds and inspirations they've accumulated over the past three years.

Little Hinges is a more consciously assembled set than its predecessor, ostensibly sub-divided into two sections with a subdued "subconscious dreamland of sounds" interlude (which gives the album its overall title) connecting them. The whole album's prelude is a moody "puzzle piece" created on a Space Echo with a mangled loop (don't ask!). The first half of the disc is the more traditional, with spirited sets of tunes alternating with songs (the standard Crooked Jack is given a mellow, considered reading, while Si Kahn's What You Do With What You've Got is highly driven and motivated).

Moving past the connecting interlude, we encounter the duo's more experimental side, with further demonstrations of Quinn's prowess as multi-instrumentalist (acoustic and electric guitars, fiddle, tenor and clawhammer banjo, bass, percussion, autoharp, Wurlitzer, Rhodes, Hammond, pump organ etc.) on an even more eclectic selection of source material that at times is subjected to some decidedly weird treatments. Hang Me and Hangman's Reel provide the bookends, the former sounding like a distortion-addled early-Grateful-Dead adventure from Aoxomoxoa and the latter a vibrant twin-fiddle outing recorded in the kitchen I'd guess! Jimmy's Fiddle is a dreamy psychedelic number from the pen of Red Moon Road's Daniel Jordan; Saint Nothing has an ominously languid trip-hop feel and sampled thunderstorm; Listen is a reflective self-penned number replete with glowering atmospherics; Never Goodbye an affectionate close-of-evening tune; and Three Little Babes is a chillingly-turned, almost Snakefarm-like adaptation of Child Ballad #79.

I could further persuade you of the disc's charms by turning the spotlight onto Qristina's excellent lead vocals and characterful, uplifting fiddle playing. But either way, just one listen to this interestingly diverse record should convince you of its lasting quality and highly stimulating nature.

David Kidman - Fatea Magazine


Qristina and Quinn Bachand, “Family"

The second release from the Bachands, a young sister-brother fiddle-guitar duo from Victoria, Canada.
If seeing the word “Canada” makes you automatically think “Quebecois” or “Cape Breton,” don’t; the
Bachands are far more steeped in the Irish tradition, with a few exceptions here and there. Twenty-oneyear-
old Qristina and 15-year-old Quinn have, among other distinctions, performed at the All-Ireland Fleadh
Cheoil, the Feakle International Music Festival in Clare, and the Milwaukee and Kansas City Irish fests,
while racking up a bunch of prizes and nominations at the Irish Music Association Awards and Canadian
Folk Music Awards.

Qristina and Quinn’s individual talents and obvious affinity for each other’s playing are at the heart
of “Family,” which earned a Western Canada Music Awards nomination for “World Recording of the Year.”
To say that they demonstrate musical ability, confidence and maturity well beyond their years may seem
unavoidably patronizing, but the Bachands sound like they’ve been at this for decades. Qristina’s fiddle playing
reflects her background and interest in several traditions – she studied at the Gaelic College in Cape
Breton, among other places (that Cape Breton aspect is represented here in their rendition of the late Jerry
Holland’s “Lonesome Eyes”). Quinn’s approach to guitar (he also plays five-string and tenor banjo, bodhran,
and harmony fiddle on the album) is influenced by contemporary accompaniment styles that experiment
with chord voicings and rhythmic effects, but does not overpower or distract. There are plenty of familiar tunes among the CD’s sets – “Mountain Road,” “Gravel Walks, “Lark in the Morning,” “Inisheer,” even Simon Jeffe’s “Music for a Found Harmonium” – but these get a fresh, energetic take at the Bachands’ hands, with some well-crafted, thoughtful arrangements to enhance the listening experience. On the first track, for example, they play the first two parts of the reel “Maid of Mt. Kisco” as a jig before going into the original tune. Qristina’s
majestic solo on “The Rights of Man” (played atop a moody sounds cape courtesy of Quinn’s electric guitar)
proceeds into a trio of reels that inexorably gathers steam, from “Cup of Tea” through “Rakish Paddy” and
into “Tripping Up the Stairs,” with its distinctive third part. Another set starts off with “The Mountain Road”
at an ambling pace, then speeds up a notch for “The Flowing Bowl,” which segues neatly into “Music for a
Sound Harmonium,” Adrian Dolan’s accordion matching Qristina’s fiddle through the tune’s now-famous key
changes and other peculiarities.

Dolan is one of six guest musicians appearing on “Family,” along with Zac Leger (whistles, flute, Uilleann
pipes), Felix Prummel (low whistle), Bryan Skinner (bodhran), Oliver Swain (double bass), and Scott Senior
(percussion). Leger, in particular, contributes some lovely coloring to the second t r a c k , n o t a b l y Emer Mayock’s “Kalyana” – with more sustained flourishes from Quinn’s electric guitar in the background
– and the venerable “Jimmy Ward’s Jig.”

Qristina’s singing takes center stage on two tracks, “Smile or Cry” – written by Mairi Campbell and Dave
Francis in the evocative-scenes-of-nature/absent-lover vein – and the traditional Appalachian song “Red Rocking Chair.” Quinn’s guitar chops are truly on display in the former song (which includes a clever interpolation of the trad Irish pipe tune “The Dusty Miller”), gently and precisely underpinning Qristina’s wistful,
polished vocals, with Dolan’s accordion and mandola adding the right subtle touches. “Red Rocking Chair”
has all the earmarks of its American roots, from Quinn’s five-string and Swain’s one-two rhythm (and harmony
vocals) to Qristina’s fiddle breaks. To be sure, the song’s a decided departure from much of the other material
on the album, but it’s hard not to appreciate the verve and enthusiasm they bring to their music.

Sean Smith, Boston Irish Reporter - August 2012
- Boston Irish Reporter, August 2012 (see Page 15)


QRISTINA (yes, with a “Q”) and her younger
brother, Quinn, are a formidable musical
duo. At just 21 and 16 years old, respectively,
the Bachands have two critically acclaimed
CDs, Relative Minors and Family. They have
also won a host of prestigious folk and Celtic
music awards, including the Irish Music Award
for Top Traditional Group in multiple venues,
and just weeks ago, they were honoured with
the Irish Music Award for Top Duo. For their
March 10 Ceilidh, they’ll be joined by piping
champion Zac Leger and Juno-nominated
multi-instrumentalist and co-producer of
their album, Adrian Dolan, as well as other
special guests.

Both siblings began classical violin studies
at an early age. After seeing a concert with the
outrageous Canadian Celtic group, Barrage,
however, Qristina was immediately hooked
on all things Celtic. “It was really exciting, and
fun, and upbeat,” she explains. As Qristina
honed her skills with fiddle lessons and sessions
with the Victoria Fiddle Society, Quinn eventually
put away his violin, and took up the
guitar to accompany her.

Quinn has since proven to be a Celtic guitar
prodigy. He’s just been invited to perform in
two shows with award-winning fiddler Natalie
MacMaster. And for years—since he was 13—
he has accompanied renowned Canadian Celtic
fiddler Ashley MacIsaac. Young Quinn has
learned a lot in his travels with MacIsaac. The
fiddler has helped him to coax unique and
original sounds from his guitar, and has shown
him a thing or two about showmanship: “He’s
got the biggest stage presence of anybody that
I’ve ever played with before,” says Quinn. “He
knows how to work a crowd.”
Not that Qristina doesn’t. Rather than
bombast and lightning, however, hers is a
gracious, sweeter style of performing, with a
greater emphasis on melodies. She is a delight
to watch, playing with obvious joy and passion
for her craft, easily carrying the audience along
with her. “[Performing] is a good feeling, for
sure,” she explains. “It’s sort of like when
you’re off [the stage] you’re like ‘when can I
get back on,’ cause that was really fun!’”

Quinn is Qristina’s mirror opposite on stage.
With his dark, curly locks and his intense,
introspective performance style, he is a young
Bob Dylan, doing with music what Dylan did
with poetry. They have a unique chemistry on
stage. Once, Quinn even tuned one of Qristina’s
strings in the middle of a piece! Says Quinn,
“We grew up together and our minds are somewhat
in the same place.”

The Bachands are delighted to be performing
again at Fairfield United Church. Qristina has
fond memories of jamming in the Church basement
with the Victoria Fiddle Society. “It’s a
place where we grew up,” she explains. But
now, they’re coming home to play on the
big stage!

Fairfield United Church is at Fairfield and
Moss St. The show starts at 7:30pm. Tickets
at Ivy’s, Long & McQuade, Larsen Music, and
Ditch Records.
See www.qbachand.com.
—Lisa Szeker-Madden - Focus Magazine - March 2012


QRISTINA & QUINN BACHAND - Family
Q&Q Music QQ1002




Every once a while a CD comes in that completely takes you by surprise. This second release from brother and sister duo from Victoria BC was one of them.

Qristina is a gutsy, fiery fiddle player, who injects real life into her playing of what are in the main fairly well known and frequently heard traditional Irish tunes. And while her attacking style really suits the jigs and reels, she has an equally light and subtle touch when it comes to slower material.

Quinn is nothing short of amazing. Close your eyes and listen to his up-tempo, inventive, modern guitar playing and you would swear it was John Doyle (who I always thought was in a league of his own – apparently not!) High praise indeed, especially when you realise Quinn is only 15 years old, and also plays several other instruments!

Qristina gives us a couple of songs here too. She has a delicate, sweet voice, the addition of which gives the CD a nice balance. I think she could have chosen stronger songs that suited the feel of this album better, but that is a minor criticism.

From the opening track, where they cleverly morph from jig to reel time in the middle of the tune, to the closing old-timey Red Rocking Chair, this is 48 minutes of nigh on perfection. A highlight for me is their handling of two slower tunes: the Irish air Inisheer, and Jerry Holland’s Lonesome Eyes. Both are treated exactly as they should be, and are allowed to shine on their own, without any overly flashy arrangements or appended up-beat tunes.

Qristina and Quinn are already making a name for themselves on the international stage, and are being nominated for and winning awards all over the place. On the evidence of this CD, I am sure we will see a lot more of them.

This CD surprised me. I like surprises!

Fiona Heywood

- The Living Tradition


Qristina & Quinn Bachand "Family"
Own label, 2011

Qristina and Quinn Bachand's CD, Family, is a revelation. We're all familiar with young whippersnapper fiddlers from Atlantic Canada playing Scots and Stateside music with skill and soul, but here's a teenage prodigy from the other side of Canada who plays Irish fiddle as though she was born to it, with strong French roots and a bit of Americana thrown in. I'd never heard of Qristina Bachand, with or without a Q, or her cadet brother Quinn who accompanies on guitars and plays a mean tenor banjo, until this album appeared. Apparently they've toured in Ireland and elsewhere, and are to be seen on YouTube as well as their own website www.qbachand.com. Their brand of Qanadian music embraces a few Scots and Cape Breton tunes - a slightly slow version of Fred Morrison's composition The Lochaber Badger and a lovely waltz by Jerry Holland - as well as the old-time fiddle classic Cumberland Gap in a version inspired by bleeding-edge bluegrass bow-wielding Casey Driessen and a front-porch tune by Qristina, but the vast majority of the material here is traditional Irish, expertly played and excitingly arranged.
The opening jig Scatter the Mud slips into a 6/8 version of The Noonday Feast before switching to more usual reel time for this great old melody. Track 1 ends with a reel learnt from Blake Ritter, the source of several tunes on Family. A set of jigs starting with Emer Mayock's Kalyana is a definite highlight, lovely lyrical playing on fiddle and flute (Zac Leger) before a powerful shift into Jim Ward's with Zac on uilleann pipes and Quinn on tenor banjo. The slow air Inisheer is beautifully bowed, contrasting perfectly with the fiery wildness of Paddy Keenan's Toss the Feathers and the old favourite Gravel Walks. An eerie rendition of The Rights of Man precedes a trio of big reels in showpiece style, before Qristina gives us the first of two songs: Smile or Cry is a composition by Edinburgh couple Mairi Campbell and Dave Francis, also known as The Cast, and Qristina sings it sweetly. Her other vocal sortie is the final track, Red Rocking Chair, an old-time standard which seems to suit her alto range and slightly earthy tone. Both songs feature fine fiddle breaks.
The Mountain Road, Lough Mountain, The Lark in the Morning: those Irish reels and jigs keep pouring out in first class fashion. There's a bit of a wobble on The Flowing Bowl, but otherwise it's hard to fault the fiddling on this CD. Quinn's accompaniment and duets are equally impressive. The Penguin Cafe Orchestra favourite Music for a Found Harmonium is despatched with flair, and there are a couple of other unexpected treats in the reel Elzick's Farewell and the jig October from Blake Ritter's repertoire. Like I said, a revelation: great music old and new from two fresh young talents, well worth seeking out.
© Alex Monaghan

- Folkworld Magazine (UK)


Qristina & Quinn Bachand

Family (Q&Q Music QQ1002, 2011)

Fiddler Qristina Bachand and guitarist Quinn Bachand are two siblings from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Their album Family introduces the listener to one of the most exciting recordings coming out of the roots music scene in North America. The young duo are skilled musicians who are clearly comfortable playing Irish, Scottish and Cape Breton Celtic music as well as contemporary bluegrass, swing and folk music.

Qristina Bachand plays fiddle and sings on two tracks. Quinn Bachand, who is 15, plays acoustic guitars, electric guitar guitar, banjo, harmony fiddle and bodhran.

Although the focus is on fiddle and guitar, the Bachands are joined by Adrian Dolan on accordion and mandola; Scott Senior on percussion; Zac Leger on whistles, flutes and pipers; Bryan Skinner on bodhran; Oliver Swain on bass; and Felix prummel on low whistle.

At the age of seven Qristina Bachand began her musical studies with classical violin lessons through the Suzuki Violin Method quickly taking an interest in folk fiddle. Over the years Qristina has received many regional and national awards, trophies & scholarships for her fiddling. She received full scholarships to study Irish Fiddle at Ceili Camp (Harrison Hot Springs) and Cape Breton fiddle at the Gaelic College (Cape Breton). She has also immersed herself in the Scottish and Irish Fiddle traditions while touring & performing in those countries. Qristina has also performed in Calvin Cairns’ Fiddle Ensemble and Daniel Lapp’s B.C. Fiddle Orchestra.

Quinn Bachand was honored when Cape Breton fiddling sensation Ashley MacIsaac asked him to be his sideman at the 2009 Vancouver Celticfest. Since then Quinn has performed with the acclaimed fiddler at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and across Canada at many music events and festivals such as Edmonton Folk Festival, Celtic Colours International Festival, Mariposa Folk Festival, Cavendish Music Festival and more.

In addition to regular performances with his sister Qristina and with Ashley MacIsaac, Quinn has also performed with many other high profile Celtic and Jazz musicians including Buddy MacMaster, Liz Carroll, Daniel Lapp, Mark Sullivan, Pierre Schryer, Andrea Beaton, Robin Nolan, Marc Atkinson to name but a few.

A superb album by the two of the most important young musicians in the international Celtic music scene.
- World Music Central


My first exposure to family music was The Lawrence Welk Hour. It was a painful Saturday night ritual but, if you wanted to see Petticoat Junction (and we did), ‘twas a rite of passage.

And, as it turned out, it was Lawrence’s “musical family” in name only, save a few Lennon Sisters’ drive-bys. Genetically, there have been many famous musical families – the Stanley Brothers, the Carpenters, the Rankins, the Cashs, the Judds and those beach-friendly Wilson boys.

However, all achieved fame at later stages of life compared to young upstarts, Qristina & Quinn Bachard (who in Qhrist taught them how to spell?). But they’re surely headed in the right direction with the release of their second album, Family – and how a propos.

Like most family acts, they play from a connection deeper than most – each note created by a connection that stems from growing up together, if not from swimming in the same gene pool. That Qristina is 20 and her brother, Quinn, is 14 is not worthy of mention, except to underline such ageless talents at such an early stage.

They play from a place lightyears beyond their time on earth. On Family, the duo’s penchant for running jigs into reels accounts for the double and triple song titles across the release’s twelve tracks. The titles, alone, reveal their Irish roots and the duo have already earned themselves the Irish Music Association’s Top Traditional Group for 2010 (Festival, Pub and Concert category).

Opening for the likes of Liz Carroll & John Doyle (their musical counterparts), Lunasa, Lau and Le Vent du Nord, the Bachands have wasted no time in elevating the status of Canadian Celtic fare on an international level.

This recording, co-produced with Adrian Dolan (who also volunteers accordion and mandola) includes Oliver Swain (bass/vocals) Zac Leger (uilleann pipes, flute, whistle), Scott Senior (cajon, bonjo, shakers, percussion), Bryan Skinner (bodhran) and Felix Prummel (low whistle).

Qristina’s fiddle skills are the true highlight: beautiful tone and crisp delivery. Brother Quinn anchors the rhythm with his clean guitar playing when he’s not leading the charge with his lightning quick fingerstyle picking on acoustic, electric and banjo.

Qristina also offers up lovely, delicate vocals on one of the disc’s best tracks, “Smile Or Cry” and, again, on the banjo-led and the decidedly Celtic-free “Red Rocking Chair/Halfmoon Bay”, adding in a smidgen of Western Swing as Qristina’s voice rekindles the laidback sweetness of Suzy Bogguss.

Other favourites include the heartfelt “Lonesome Eyes”, composed by the late, great Jerry Holland, blending deep respect and a dash of melancholy. The beautiful “Rights of Man/Cup of Tea/Rakish Paddy/Tripping Up The Stairs” begins with Qristina’s jaunty strain on fiddle that picks up steam, as Quinn’s guitar picks up the lead, adding banjo as it accelerates skyward.

The CD’s most infectious track is surely the breathtaking “Inisheer”, a traditional Irish tune which reveals a passion in the elder Bachand fired by love and happy memories. You can’t play this song enough, it seems.

Some might say there’s a glut of Celtic music in the marketplace and, although this release is free of any bumps or burrs due to its slightly over-crystalline production, it’s got the true spark of youth and brings that much more appeal to a wider audience than might normally be theirs.

The Bachands have got the Celtic fever in spades and play it superbly. At the same time, they’re finding their footing and have time on their side. Let’s hope they fan out as musicians (and perfectionists) to develop their muse across an even wider spectrum.

Recommended to anyone who leans to tapping both feet.
- Roots Music Canada


Discography

Relative Minors (2008)

Family (2011)

Little Hinges (2015)

Photos

Bio

"Thrilling virtuosity... great freshness and originality" - Mojo Magazine 
"A never ending well of originality from this smoking hot duo" - No Depression
"Little Hinges is an inspiring recording from two equally inspiring musicians who are compelled by self-belief and attitude to find a new voice" -
Trad Connect 

Blood runs thicker than water it is said­ and, in the case of the rich, genetic pooling of Bretagne (France) and Asturias (Spain) via Victoria, Canada, this fact is audibly apparent in the beautiful music of siblings Qristina & Quinn Bachand. With a youthful head start towards acquiring their vocal and instrumental prowess, the release of Relative Minors in ‘08 served notice of the arrival of a fresh-faced, Canadian-based, Celtic powerhouse. Qristina’s combination of shimmering vocals and inspirational fiddling to Quinn’s old-soul mastery of all things stringed, this brother and sister act clearly hit its mark with the music industry, garnering a mantle-packing collection of awards and recognition prior to the release of the next chapter, Family, three years later. Thrusting them to the top of the international Celtic music world, the pair has earned accolades and touring opportunities with the likes of Ashley MacIsaac and Natalie MacMaster, as well as the titles of Top Traditional Group and Top Duo at the Irish Music Awards, three Canadian Folk Music Award nominations, a Western Canadian Music Award nomination and four Vancouver Island Music Award nominations.

Hailing from Canada's West Coast,  with its signature embrace of experimentation,  Qristina & Quinn Bachand have developed their own ‘voice" while exploring various musical traditions, fusing styles such as Old-time, Celtic, Folk, and Jazz to create their own distinctive sound.  The intense musical bond shared by siblings conjures other famous Canadian acts – from Leahy and The Barra MacNeils to The Rankins and the MacIsaacs – acts steeped in the heady combination of youthful vigor and traditional Celtic-tinged folk music. Yet, the Bachands have already eclipsed any attempts to narrow their focus. As both artists pursue their love of music through their schooling – the classically-trained Qristina started at 6, following national and international fiddle scholarships while multi-instrumentalist and newfound singer, Quinn, currently follows his muse through securing the coveted Slaight Family Scholarship to the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. His gypsy-jazz based side project, Brishen, has also distinguished Quinn within jazz circles, adding honours such as “Instrumental Album of the Year”, Saga Djangofest Award and a staggering five nominations from the Canadian Folk Music Awards. 

More committed than ever to their music, Qristina & Quinn recently released their third album, "Little Hinges" (2015) - so titled for its sonic resemblance to the adage, "big things swing on little hinges".  The album has already garnered a nomination at the 2015 Western Canadian Music Awards!  As Qristina & Quinn lay waste to conventional expectations with this true hybrid marrying two worlds, blending spirited new sounds to pre-established Celtic traditions - "Little Hinges" yields big results.   Carrying their audience with them, the charismatic duo add an exciting array of instruments and sound effects to their palate, further mining the emotional landscape while digging deep into what they already do well - on fiddle, guitar and banjo, supplemented by Quinn's first-time vocals and artistry on over a dozen instruments.  "Little Hinges" achieves its promise - opening the door and further exploring the Bachands' diverse musical talents and bottomless pool of creativity.  The results are arresting, provocative, stimulating and thoroughly intoxicating.

Band Members