Where should I go for great traditional music in Quebec?
December 16, 2012 11:41 AM   Subscribe

Where should I go to hear traditional music in Quebec this holiday season?

I have been gifted with a trip to Quebec over the holidays, hooray! I am a fiddle player (old time, New England, poorly-done Irish and Cape Breton) and a huge fan of traditional music in general. I'd really love to be able to get to hear some traditional French Canadian or Metis music while in Quebec. I'm open to any and all options and venues. I know that here in New York, if someone were to ask a similar question, I would recommend to them any number of jam sessions, open mics and very small venues that tend to feature the more traditional side of "roots" music. In other words, I'm not necessarily looking for a formal show, but more a place where I can go and drink a beer and enjoy some great music. Any recommendations for bands to seek out would be greatly appreciated as well. I'll be in Quebec from Dec. 26-31st, with access to a vehicle and staying at the Chateau Frontenac just for a little context.
posted by Polyhymnia to Travel & Transportation around Quebec, QC (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: If you live at the Chateau Frontenac, you'll be right in the heart of things as far traditional music is concerned. Take a look at this website for a couple of leads (it is in French, but you can easily translate it using google translate) : http://www.quoifaireaquebec.com/events/tag/musique_traditionnelle/

Have fun in Quebec City!
posted by gontrano at 2:34 PM on December 16, 2012

Best answer: I've found this site, with basically two concerts. The culture weekly Voir has an event calendar, but they don't seem to have anything traditional on it right now; they might update later on. But since I live in the other Capitale nationale, I don't know about the smaller stuff that might be going on.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 2:36 PM on December 16, 2012

La Bottine Souriante plays December 28 and 29 at the Rialto in Montreal's Mile End.
posted by zadcat at 3:00 PM on December 16, 2012

Oh, Quebec City. Sorry.
posted by zadcat at 3:01 PM on December 16, 2012

If you have the money to spend, it would be doable to take the Quebec-Montreal train on the 28th or the 29th and then come back the next day, so you could go see la Bottine. But you would need to get tickets v. soon, both for the train and the show.

That show won't exactly be intimate, though: the Rialto has a 700 person capacity, and la Bottine Souriante is an institution in traditional music here.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 3:16 PM on December 16, 2012

As for why I suggest taking the train: In addition to music, la Belle Province has a grand tradition of blocked roads and terrible driving conditions between Christmas and New Years Eve. The train isn't immune to the weather, but at least you're not driving.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 3:19 PM on December 16, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for the tips! My French is passable, so materials en francais are fine. La Bottine would be pretty outstanding- I do know that name! Also, apologies for the Quebec/Quebec City confusion. I think it's a 'merican thing. Also, I'm a contra dancer here in the States- anything similar available up North? I actually tried Quebecois step dancing once, but wow, I am not cut out for that.
posted by Polyhymnia at 4:07 PM on December 16, 2012

I believe there are some events equivalent to contra dance at Domaine maizeret but probably not during the holidays. Since you'll be here on the 27th, you should definitely check out "nuit blanche", mainly in Petit Champlain (down from chateau frontenac) : http://www.quartierpetitchamplain.com/en/node/1163
There will be some traditionnal music, but the group is not well known.
It's not totally "french canadian traditonnal" , but the place to jam trad music is pub nelligan on Tuesday nights, but I think you wont be here on a Tuesday (besides it's probably closed on Xmas day!)
posted by domi_p at 5:16 PM on December 16, 2012

I can't speak for Quebec City, but for posterity: here in Montreal, we absolutely do have contra dancing. I used to go regularly; it's well run and the people are very friendly.

(And also there is an organization called Espace Trad which does traditional Quebec step dancing. I went and found it largely similar to Contra, and the event I went to was large enough to have several circles of varying skill levels.)
posted by cinoyter at 7:50 AM on December 17, 2012

Response by poster: Thank you guys so much! My family and I had an absolute blast seeing Les Chauffeurs a Pieds, and then completely lucked out the next day when we passed the Centre d'Interpretation Place Royale and were exhorted by a man in a large fur coat to go upstairs to the "free party" going on. Turned out to be a sort of afternoon workshop featuring free hot chocolate, cookies, little lessons on traditional percussion, dancing and.... the unbelievable fiddler from the night before! We actually got a chance to chat with him and tell him how much we enjoyed the show. I'm enjoying my new Les Chauffeurs a Pieds Pandora station as I type!
posted by Polyhymnia at 12:45 PM on January 2, 2013

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