Trouz Bras
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Trouz Bras

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"Celtic Beat Review"


"To the strongly Gaelic music of the northeast United States a Brythonic-Gallic strain has been added. Trouz Bras, both traditional and innovative in its approach, with a touch of humor as well, judging by their first CD: Trouz Bras & Friends. This CD, a collage of traditional Breton, neo Breton, French, Irish and contemporary pop with shades of Bossa Nova (yes indeed!) is finely crafted. It all works well together.

Ray Price, leader of the band, dance master and veuze player extraordinaire starts off the right way with an upbeat "Jump" which, like the other pieces he has composed here, can still be danced to in a traditional style. Indeed he does well with tunes such as this and others because he can work with a traditional form, take educated liberties with it, and get out of an eeriness which marks much of Breton music. And I often like the eerie touch in Breton music.

Two fine examples here of traditional Breton music are "Ethan's Hanter Dro" which has that dour eeriness in it, and a fine, light handed treatment with vocals which really works for the classic tune "Laride"/"Son ar Christr" well supported by the flute of Beth Hall. Among Ray Price's tunes I also liked are the most appropriately named "Rainy Day Bourrée" with Barry Hall's bouzouki giving musical expression to a visual image, and the energetic "Life Is For Living." The latter would be an experience indeed to dance to. "Chichester Brawl" is another example of the energy which marks this CD.

The vielle marks it's presence here, with Barry Hall, and also notably with Shira Kammen in a tune composed by both she and Ray Price "Kafe Ha Far Breton." Other Breton and French compositions are featured here, such as an superbly performed dark earthy "Bourrée dans le Jardin" by Daniel Thonon and "Cinq Temps Pour Satan" where Barry Hall's fiddle waxes very poetic indeed. Mance Grady's percussion and Matthew Brown's bass add just the right infrastructure here and wherever they are in this album.

Mance continues with the Irish cuts, where Celtic Clan members Hughie Purcell, Noel Scott, Chris Turner, and other friends such as Roger Burridge, Tina Lech, and Jimmy Noonan come in. Mance and Roger combine for a fine "All Hands Around'/"Pigman's Fling"/"Within a Mile of Dublin." Noel Scott and Jimmy Noonan join in for "Paddy Taylor's"/"The Lucky Penny." Tina Lech goes to town with Mance in "Reavey's Grand Reel"/"The Curlew." There is humor in the final cut. As they say "now for something entirely different." In "Where Is Home?" sung by composer Hughie Purcell backed by Chris Turner's harmonica, and Mance Grady's percussion.

This is an enjoyable first CD, and holds out much promise for Trouz Bras and for innovation in a tradition from another part of Celtia not heard much here. Celtic music and dance are so much the richer in these parts for Trouz Bras." - Celtic Beat


"Celtic Beat Review"


"To the strongly Gaelic music of the northeast United States a Brythonic-Gallic strain has been added. Trouz Bras, both traditional and innovative in its approach, with a touch of humor as well, judging by their first CD: Trouz Bras & Friends. This CD, a collage of traditional Breton, neo Breton, French, Irish and contemporary pop with shades of Bossa Nova (yes indeed!) is finely crafted. It all works well together.

Ray Price, leader of the band, dance master and veuze player extraordinaire starts off the right way with an upbeat "Jump" which, like the other pieces he has composed here, can still be danced to in a traditional style. Indeed he does well with tunes such as this and others because he can work with a traditional form, take educated liberties with it, and get out of an eeriness which marks much of Breton music. And I often like the eerie touch in Breton music.

Two fine examples here of traditional Breton music are "Ethan's Hanter Dro" which has that dour eeriness in it, and a fine, light handed treatment with vocals which really works for the classic tune "Laride"/"Son ar Christr" well supported by the flute of Beth Hall. Among Ray Price's tunes I also liked are the most appropriately named "Rainy Day Bourrée" with Barry Hall's bouzouki giving musical expression to a visual image, and the energetic "Life Is For Living." The latter would be an experience indeed to dance to. "Chichester Brawl" is another example of the energy which marks this CD.

The vielle marks it's presence here, with Barry Hall, and also notably with Shira Kammen in a tune composed by both she and Ray Price "Kafe Ha Far Breton." Other Breton and French compositions are featured here, such as an superbly performed dark earthy "Bourrée dans le Jardin" by Daniel Thonon and "Cinq Temps Pour Satan" where Barry Hall's fiddle waxes very poetic indeed. Mance Grady's percussion and Matthew Brown's bass add just the right infrastructure here and wherever they are in this album.

Mance continues with the Irish cuts, where Celtic Clan members Hughie Purcell, Noel Scott, Chris Turner, and other friends such as Roger Burridge, Tina Lech, and Jimmy Noonan come in. Mance and Roger combine for a fine "All Hands Around'/"Pigman's Fling"/"Within a Mile of Dublin." Noel Scott and Jimmy Noonan join in for "Paddy Taylor's"/"The Lucky Penny." Tina Lech goes to town with Mance in "Reavey's Grand Reel"/"The Curlew." There is humor in the final cut. As they say "now for something entirely different." In "Where Is Home?" sung by composer Hughie Purcell backed by Chris Turner's harmonica, and Mance Grady's percussion.

This is an enjoyable first CD, and holds out much promise for Trouz Bras and for innovation in a tradition from another part of Celtia not heard much here. Celtic music and dance are so much the richer in these parts for Trouz Bras." - Celtic Beat


Discography

"Trouz Bras & Friends"

Our CD can be purchased online at www.TrouzBras.com. It's also available at www.CDbaby.com, www.amazon.com or www.itunes.com

Photos

Bio

Major Festivals we've performed at:
The Celtic Heritage Festival, Lake Charles, LA
The Celtic Classic, Bethlehem, PA
The Boston Celtic Music Festival, Cambridge, MA
The Celebration Of The Celts, Ghent, NY
The Omega Institute of Holistic Healing, Rhinebeck, NY
The New England Folk Festival, Natick, MA
The Dance Flurry, Saratoga Springs, NY
The Irish Connections Festival, Canton, MA
The Cortland Celtic Music Festival, NY
RiverFire, Hudson, NY
NOMAD, New Haven, CT

Trouz Bras (pronounced "True Brazz") means "Great Sound" in the language of Brittany, the ancient Celtic nation located in the northwestern region of modern-day France. It also translates as "Big Noise," a reference to the brazenly loud traditional Breton bagpipes and bombarde that fuel the band's driving sound.

Catapulting ancient Breton music into the 21st century, Trouz Bras combines swirling bagpipes and soaring fiddle with rhythmic bouzouki. The band was formed by bagpiper and vocalist Ray Price, a native Welshman who has expanded his Celtic roots to become a global ambassador of Breton music and dance.

Brittany is a magical place of barren landscapes, megaliths, Celtic myths and legends, and unique music and dance. Ray, who considers Brittany his second home, describes the tremendous recent renaissance of interest in the "Fest Noz" or Night Festival. "A Fest Noz can have thousands of dancers at large, international festivals, or just a handful of local dancers in a far-flung village," he says. "The music is driving, insistent and mesmerizing. The spiral and circle dances are performed by everyone from the very young to the very old."

The musicians of Trouz Bras seek to introduce these ancient traditions to a modern American audience.

"Our origins are in the trance-like spiral dances of Brittany," says fiddler and bouzouki player Barry Hall, who also plays the vielle (a Medieval-style fiddle) and the bombarde (a rustic Breton oboe). "Much of today's Breton dance repertoire remains unchanged from Medieval times. Because Brittany has been so culturally isolated, the ancient musical modes have survived for many centuries. These fascinating tunes provide Trouz Bras with a point of departure for our own musical vision."

Not content with merely recreating the past, Trouz Bras' repertoire extends from starkly primitive traditional tunes to modern tunes derived from the ancient dance beats. Barry continues, "Each type of dance has its own unique rhythmic pulse, which dictates our approach. When our music locks in with the dancers, it's like a symbiotic relationship. Their energy channels back to us and further invigorates our playing."

Since its formation in 2005, Trouz Bras has played at many diverse venues, from the floors of intimate dance halls to the stages of major Celtic festivals. Audiences have enthusiastically embraced Trouz Bras' unique style of traditional Celtic music that honors the past while giving it a swift kick into the present. Says Ray, "everyone with Celtic blood, and even those from other cultural traditions, seems to instantly connect with this music that our ancestors sang and danced to for thousands of years."

Booking:
Ray Price
keltikdancer@gmail.com
401.226.6934