Ryan Leblanc
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Ryan Leblanc


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"Ryan Leblanc at Les Nuits Acadiennes en Paris"

Translated from French


Complete change of environment for the third night. Ryan Leblanc does not speak very quite French, to explain just enough in a few words the history of each piece. Its hands run on the cords of its guitar, hardly effleurent them. There is almost evil to believe that it is well him which plays. Ryan has the precision of the genius and the agility of the virtuoso in the fingers. Not less. The proof with the following pieces, where it plays... three instruments at the same time: guitar with the right hand, banjo with left (the instrument is then fixed upright in front of him), and percussion meanwhile. How does it make? This mystery returns its jazz-percussion, without word, all the more impressive. Just like its melodies envoûtantes and new. Following titles: Ryan still juggles between the instruments, adds djembé, harmonica, and is not satisfied to scrape its guitar: it strikes it like a percu, hammers it, taps... Dazling!

The group which succeeds to him, Vishten, explores a more traditional repertory: flute, mandoline, violin, accordion and guitar. The four musicians revisit the traditional airs acadian by briskly interfering it influences Scottish, Irish, and of rates/rhythms almost rock'n'roll. These three evenings, will have still shown the musical promptness of Acadie once again. And recalled how much to create in French in the medium of a largely majority anglophone community is a daily challenge.

en francais

Changement complet d'ambiance pour la troisième nuit. Ryan Leblanc ne parle pas très bien français, juste assez pour expliquer en quelques mots l'histoire de chaque morceau. Ses mains courent sur les cordes de sa guitare, les effleurent à peine. On a presque du mal à croire que c'est bien lui qui joue. Ryan a la précision du génie et l'agilité du virtuose dans les doigts. Pas moins. La preuve avec les morceaux suivants, où il joue... trois instruments en même temps : guitare avec la main droite, banjo avec gauche (l'instrument est alors calé debout devant lui), et percussion entre temps. Comment fait-il ? Ce mystère rend son jazz-percussion, sans parole, d'autant plus impressionnant. Tout comme ses mélodies envoûtantes et inédites. Titres suivants : Ryan jongle encore entre les instruments, ajoute djembé, harmonica, et ne se contente pas de gratter sa guitare : il la frappe comme une percu, la martèle, tapote... Etourdissant !

Le groupe qui lui succède, Vishten, explore un répertoire plus classique : flûte, mandoline, violon, accordéon et guitare. Les quatre musiciens revisitent les airs traditionnels acadien en le mêlant allégrement d'influences écossaises, irlandaises, et de rythmes presque rock.

Ces trois soirées auront, une nouvelle fois encore, démontré la vivacité musicale de l'Acadie. Et rappelé combien créer en français au milieu d'une communauté anglophone largement majoritaire est un défi quotidien.

- Serge Beyer, Longueur D’Ondes, France

"Don't Read His Lips"

By Mike Parker

St. Andrews musician Ryan LeBlanc will perform at the Roots Room when the ECMAs convene in Sydney, Cape Breton Feb. 17 - 20.

Don't read his lips

Instrumental guitarist Ryan LeBlanc plays with other ECMA nominated groups at the Blue Olive

Don't listen to a word Ryan LeBlanc says. He's not a liar. It's just better to watch his hands."I can't carry much of a tune," he confesses."People tell me that all of the time."

LeBlanc prefers to wow people with his play-ing. The instrumental guitarist plays a form of guitar called percussive jazz. Instead of strum-ming with his right hand and playing chords with his left, Leblanc lightly taps the instru-ment's string, neck, and body to produce a wonder-ful and intriguing mix of sounds. "Most people don't know what to make of it," he says.

The jazz guitarist will be performing at the Blue Olive on Feb. 4 with ECMA-nominated artists Vetch, Hot Toddy, and Isaac and Blewett.

LeBlanc will also be playing the Roots Room during the East Coast Music Awards Feb. 17-20 in Sydney, Cape Breton. The musician says the awards gala and trade show is a great opportunity to meet industry reps and to spread his name around the music scene.

But it is far from being a quick ticket to stardom."It doesn't mean one show and your set. There is still a lot of work for me to do," he says.

LeBlanc first stumbled onto the percussive technique after moving to Toronto in the mid-90s.For several years, he owned a small set of conga drums that he dragged around to kitchen parties and family get-togethers. But when he moved to Ontario, he forgot his drums at home.Bored one day, he started playing around with his guitar and came upon the technique by accident.

He quickly grew to love the sound and honed the skill by playing with other musicians in the Toronto scene. LeBlanc, 33, grew up in Moncton and for several years was a familiar face on the city's club circuit as both a member of various bands and as a solo act.

He is the son of well-known country guitarist Raymond LeBlanc, who has made a name for himself playing with Joan Kennedy and Denise Murray. He also has a brother who plays drums in a band in Moncton."Three musicians and a patient mom," he says, laughing.

Since coming home to New Brunswick, LeBlanc has been busy concentrat-ing on making a name for himself. Last May, he released his first CD Down Deep, a collection of original songs recorded in St.Andrews. This summer, he played at Festival By The Sea and the Nesbitt Burns Jazz and Blues Festival in Saint John.In the fall, it was off to Fredericton and the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival.

He says that playing festivals is a relief from the club scene, where musicians are judged solely by the number of people they attract to a bar. But the country's jazz and folk festivals tend to judge artists on their merit, not on the number of butts they put into seats."They pay you to entertain people," he says.

Admission to the February 4 show are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. Tickets are avail-able at The Blue Olive on Rothesay Avenue or at Blue Tone Records on Germain Street.

- HERE Magazine


Down Deep Released May 2004
Against The Grain Released October 2007



Against the Grain is an appropriate title for Ryan LeBlanc’s latest CD. After all, his approach to playing music is anything but conventional.

Weaving together rich acoustic guitar tones, the unique timbre of a claw hammer banjo, and the sweet, lonely voice of harmonica, Ryan creates layered melodic soundscapes that are nothing short of captivating. A strong rhythmic feel from cajon (box drum) and djembe is accented by the resonating tones of his instruments as his hands dance gently between fret board and body.

Against The Grain is a live-off-the-floor sampling of Ryan’s unique sound. No overdubs. No multi-tracking. Ryan’s unique performance style defies genre. He has endured every label from percussive blues and alternative roots to jazz and world fusion. Of course, none of these titles come close to capturing what Ryan’s music really is but they do touch on the elements it includes. A grassroots orchestra maybe?

In recent years, Ryan has shared sound on many festival stages including the Montreal Jazz Festival, the Stan Rogers Folk Festival, Deep Roots Festival, Winterfolk, The Tremblant Blues Festival, The Harvest Jazz an Blues Festival, The Atlin Music Festival and Canadian Music Week among others. He has become a favorite around Maritime concert halls and has had the privilege to perform as part of a number of international delegations in Paris and Roubaix, France, Memphis, Tennessee and Austin, Texas. Ryan has been invited to perform at the Open Strings International Guitar Festival in Osnabruck Germany in October 2008. He is the only Canadian to be invited to the event showcasing more than 16 acoustic guitar masters from around the world. In addition he will tour in the UK, France, Belgium and Germany.