La Bottine Souriante first appeared on the Québec music scene in 1976 and since has become a living legend of French North American roots music. In over twenty five years, this remarkable group has released twelve albums, four of which are certified Gold and three Platinum. In 2001, they also released a musical anthology to celebrate their 25th anniversary.
Altogether, they have sold over half a million albums! The group has won dozens of awards and headlined festivals around the world. La Bottine Souriante is no longer simply a Québécois/Canadian musical phenomenon. The group and their explosive sound have crossed borders the world over and left in their wake countless enchanted audiences. The group has developed a distinctive sound that successfully combines traditional sounds with a dash of jazz, salsa and pure folk, while at the same time exhibiting the vitality and pride of its mother culture. In addition, the music identifies strongly with the current World Music movement. La Bottine has developed an exceptionally tight, cohesive sound, with their unique flavour of celebratory music. These two elements, music and celebration, characterised by pulsating rhythm, breathtaking sound, and exuberant spirit, have been inseparable. And it is directly into this turbulent energy that La Bottine Souriante sweeps the listening audience. It is no wonder that the US-based Dirty Linen magazine has proclaimed La Bottine “The best band in the world”!
This musical blend is generated by nine solid, traditionally rooted musicians: Éric Beaudry (vocals, foot tapping, mandolin, bouzouki, guitar); David Boulanger (vocals, fiddle, foot tapping, percussion); Benoit Bourque (vocals, button accordion, bones, foot tapping and step dance); Jean-François Gagnon-Branchaud (vocals, fiddle, guitar, foot tapping); and Pierre “Pedro” Belisle (piano, piano-accordion, trumpet) taking up the swing with jazzman François Marion (acoustic and electric bass). Since 1990, a fourpiece brass section has added an even more exciting dimension to La Bottine’s incomparable sound, featuring the musical direction and brass arrangements of Jean Fréchette (saxophone, percussions and arrangements), Robert “Bob” Ellis (bass trombone), André Verreault (trombone), Jocelyn Lapointe (trumpet) and Sandy Silva (percussive dance).
La Bottine Souriante has taken part in numerous folk festivals around the world, among them the TØNDER FESTIVAL and the prestigious WOMAD. The group has appeared on many compilations, notably with Kepa Junkera(Bilbao 00:00h) from the Basque country as well as with Paddy Moloney and The Chieftains (Fire in the Kitchen).
? La Bottine Souriante means smiling boot, a reference to the worn-out soles of a working man’s footwear.
They’ll wear out your soles pretty quickly as well.