Gerald Laroche -- Canada's Harmonica Wizard! The JUNO Award-winning master of the harmonica has been compared to the legends of the harmonica: Larry Adler, Sonny Terry and Sonny Boy Williamson. He has performed all over Canada, in Europe, Africa and the USA for audiences of all ages. The sounds he creates with his myriad harmonicas is truly astonishing. His music is highly original as well, reflecting his French Canadian and Manitoba voyageur roots but also incorporating the music of the world. His compositions express his past and present, the people he has met and the places he has been. These images explode from the harmonica when he plays and tells his stories and legends in French and English. In addition to over 60 various harmonicas, Gerald also uses the penny whistle, Indian mouthbow, fiddle bow, jaw harp and other percussive toys to create his unique fusion of musical styles: French-Canadian, Zydeco, Cajun, boogie, African rhythms, Celtic, and of course the blues. In tying together natural sound and musical instruments, I create a 'painting' or a 'soundscape.' The sounds become music. The music becomes a story. These stories, imbued with Canada's Prairies and the North, are then narrated. Each story is like a little pencil drawing, and the music is colour added to complete the painting. As a result each soundscape tells a story of it's own. These stories are a result of my extensive touring and love of the North and of my family history in the Prairies. The recorded works take one from the north to the south and back again as in the spiritual journey of the first hunter which takes one from the North Pole down to the vast prairie among the great bison herds and back up to the North Pole; or into a child's dream where, in a field of spring flowers among giant oaks, a dragonfly invites a young girl to dance; or to marvel at a wizard transforming himself and his surroundings into eagles, chickens, colour, fire and sound; or into the haunting grasp of cabin fever or the Great Fever seizing the southern prairies; or to share a mirror-like calmness on Lake Winnipeg through a young Metis' eyes, just before the earth's secrets leave the bottom of the lake; or to join in the gritty last-minute yahoo of a mining town about to close. Rubato - Stealing Time is a sonic landscape where the 'paintings' are created with sounds which become music which in turn tell a story. The CD booklet presents the stories in French and English and as you read and listen to the brilliantly conceived music and sound, the stories burst into your senses -- for instance 'The Hunter', where you can hear the north winds, screaming eagles, the pulse of time and the very essence of the first hunter on the great plains. Using an electro-acoustic approach to blend the music and natural sound from his harmonicas, other mouth instruments, bass, guitar, and viola, Laroche has created a unique and distinctly Canadian work, unlike any release of recent years, especially by a harmonica player.
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