A francophone party for Hay River

At a time when everyone’s energy is beginning to wane, Montreal-based band De Temps Antan emerged to reignite the inner fire through music. 

The group, consisting of Eric Beaudry, Andre Brunet and Pierre-Luc Dupuis, was the fifth act in the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre’s Crossing Bridges season. 

They performed energetically and were well received by an audience made up almost entirely of anglophones. 

But Justin Lapointe of the Association Franco-Culturelle de Hay River said the difference of French and English in both the town and the territory is not a political one.

“I think as a programmer you have to look at what fits,” said Lapointe.

“It’s not a question of French or English. It’s not a fail if you can’t get a French singer. It’s like pizza without mushrooms. It’s still good.”

It seemed to fit with Hay River, as smiling faces, positive comments and rave reviews of the performance emerged from the Riverview Cineplex on Nov. 17.

A self-described ‘party band,’ they had audience members on the edge of their seats with their intricate foot stomping beats.

Lapointe said the band’s sound is very much influenced by Quebec artist Robert Charlebois. Charlebois emerged into the French-Canadian music scene in the ‘70s and changed its direction.

“In our music tradition there’s before him and after him,” said Lapointe.

Although it’s their first time in the Northwest Territories, De Temps Antan is used to travelling to mostly anglophone communities to perform said “blazing fiddle” player Brunet.

Coincidentally, their performance coincided with the release of a popular movie currently being raved about by preteens around the globe.

“It was fun to be the first act to Twilight,” said Brunet.

“We make party music and it’s not hard to get a party going on anywhere.”

It’s an adjustment to live in English but think, write and be in French said Lapointe.

For this reason, he said the performance was a nice harkening of home.

“The French side of you is still inside of you; it needs to be expressed,” said Lapointe.

“Day to day we live in English but we’re always thinking in French. (The performance) is something that makes you feel like you’re at home.”