Performers: André Thibault, Pepe Danza, Qiu Xia He, Amy Stephen.
Though regarded as a local band, JouTou’s line-up is truly international, with representation from Quebec, China, Uruguay and Ireland. Their name, JouTou is an abbreviation of jouer-toute which means “play everything”, a philosophy that allows this multi-instrumentalist quartet to take their audience on a whirlwind musical tour without leaving the tiny, intimate venue of Studio 16.
In a two hour performance, Montrealer André Thibault and his band transported the audience to half a dozen exotic locations including Brazil, Morocco, Spain and France. Thibault, who specializes in Latin guitar styles, also handles most of the vocals.
The first ‘port of call’ was Brazil, and a lively samba entitled Samba du Pescador that gave an opportunity to introduce each member of the band. At times, it seemed like individual musicians making their own euphony, but closer listening revealed a harmonious band of talented musicians delivering great musical synergy.
Next, off to sunny Spain for a flamenco, Gitane à Moi, featuring fine guitar work by Thibault, with lyrics sung in French, relating the exploits of a stranger who falls in love with a young gypsy.
For a visit to Casbars of Morocco, the group was joined by an authentic belly dancer who offered an exhilarating, though lengthy interpretation of this oft maligned dance form.
After the break we heard Rhumba Calabria, featuring a bold, virtuoso solo performance on the pipa by Qiu Xia He (The pipa is a Chinese version of the Western lute). Qiu Xia, who was born in Shaanxi China, has taught the pipa at the prestigious Zian Academy of music. Thibault in his introduction claimed that the song was written as a homage to the Calabria Bar at 1815 Commercial Drive.
Dance of the People of Yi was introduced by Qiu Xia and featured Uruguay native Pepe Danza on the shakuhachi, a Japanese flute made from bamboo. Danza, a musicial nomad, and the most colourful member of the quartet, played an array of flutes and unusual percussion instruments from around the world.
University of British Columbia alumna, Amy Stephen is the fourth member of the quartet. She played accordion, melodica and penny whistle as well as providing support on vocals.
The small but enthusiastic
audience wasn’t ready to let the performers leave the stage without an
encore, and the band obliged with Cruise à Pointe St. Charles,
in deference to Thibault’s misspent youth in the blue-collar Montreal
© 2004, John Jane