La Bottine Souriante at Edison Theatre Nov. 15

“Best band in the world!” according to folk magazine *Dirty Linen*

Quebec’s La Bottine Souriante are living legends of French North American roots music, an explosive ten-member ensemble whose distinctive sound infuses traditional folk with the quickness of jazz, the energy of salsa and the breadth of world music.

In November, “the best band in the world!” (according to folk magazine Dirty Linen) comes to Washington University in St. Louis as part of the Edison Theatre OVATIONS! Series.

The special, one-night-only event begins at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 15. Tickets are $28 for the general public; $23 for seniors and students; and $14 for Washington University students and children under 12. Tickets are available at the Edison Theatre Box Office and through all MetroTix outlets. Edison Theatre is located in the Mallinckrodt Student Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd. For more information, call (314) 935-6543.

La Bottine Souriante
La Bottine Souriante

La Bottine Souriante formed in 1976 as a Quebecois folk quintet, taking their name, which means “smiling boot,” in reference to both the worn-out soles of workingman footwear and their own exceptionally tight, dance-till-you-drop live sets.

The original line-up featured four traditional musicians — Pierre-Luc Dupuis (vocals, button accordion, harmonica), Éric Beaudry (foot tapping, mandolin, guitar, vocals), André Brunet (fiddle, guitar, vocals) and Pierre “Pedro” Belisle (piano, piano accordion) — along with jazzmen Régent Archambault (acoustic and electric bass). In 1990, they added a four-piece brass section comprised of Jean Fréchette (saxophone and arrangements), Robert “Bob” Ellis (bass trombone), André Verreault (trombone) and Jocelyn Lapointe (trumpet). Rounding out the group is percussive dancer Sandy Silva.

“The urban and the rural, the now and then fuse wonderfully in the music of La Bottine Souriante, [which] slams together French-language chanson with Latin music, jazz, pop and Irish, Cajun and Acadian folk,” writes Cary Darling of the Orange County Register. “This band makes a wicked noise and the longer they play, the more you’ll love them,” concurs Rogue Folk Review, while The Vancouver Courrier calls them “one of the most innovative and uplifting bands playing contemporary roots music anywhere.”

La Bottine Souriante has gained an international following both through constant touring (more than 2200 live shows!) and 11 albums, released since 1982 on their own Les Disques Mille-Pattes label, that have collectively sold more than a half-million copies. Three of these — Je Voudrais Changer D’Chapeau (1988), En Spectacle (1996) and Fire In the Kitchen (as guests of the Chieftains in 1998) — have reached gold status and one, La Mistrine (1994), reached platinum.

In 2001, La Bottine Souriante celebrated its 25th anniversary with Anthology, a collection of songs illustrating their musical evolution as well as key musical influences. The group’s most recent release, Cordial, received a 2002 Juno Award from the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences for Best Roots & Traditional Album and a 2002 Felix Award (French Canada’s equivalent to the Juno) for Best Traditional Album.

Other honors include Juno Awards for Je Voudrais Changer d’Chapeau and Jusqu’aux P’tites Heures (1992), and Felix Awards for Jusqu’aux P’tites Heures and La Mistrine. They have appeared at folk festivals around the world — notably the prestigious Tønder Festival in Denmark and WOMAD (World of Music Arts and Dance) Festival, founded by Peter Gabriel — and in 1999 were named Best Live Act by the BBC.

Edison Theatre’s OVATIONS! Series serves both Washington University and the St. Louis community by providing the highest caliber national and international artists in music, dance and theater, performing new works as well as innovative interpretations of classical material not otherwise seen in St. Louis. Focusing on presentations that are interdisciplinary, multicultural and/or experimental, Edison Theatre presents work intended to challenge, educate and inspire.

Edison Theatre programs are supported by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency, and the Regional Arts Commission, St. Louis.