Les Trois Blondes is the only band in Scotland tapping into the Scottish French connection and playing Bal Musette, the accordion music of Parisian cafés.
They say that music is the food of love and Les Trois Blondes have proved this old adage to be true.
The trio played their first gig on St Valentine’s Day 2013 and have never looked back.
Sheep farmer, former Stirling councillor, commander of the Quack Commandos sheepdog and duck display team, drummer and raconteur Fergus Wood, along with brothers John and George Burns, play Bal Musette, the café music of Paris, all over Scotland.
It is the accordion that provides the little-known link between the musical heritages of France and Scotland, and is why Bal Musette is so well received on this side of the Channel. Musette music first came to the fore in the 1930s with artists like Edith Piaf championing the style.
‘A number of Scottish accordion players found themselves in Paris during the war,’ tells Fergus. ‘Many of them were professional players and spoke very good French, so they were trained as saboteurs and radio operators for the resistance.’
On returning to Scotland, they brought back the musette style which is now part of the upbringing of any serious accordion player.
Les Trois Blondes came into being at a Scottish/French wedding where the members were part of a ceilidh band. The French guests demanded some traditional French music and were impressed with the resulting set.
‘We told then to sit down and shut up, and then we blew them away,’ laughs Fergus. Since then, the trio have played in French restaurants in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Perth. They’ve also played at a Bastille Day party for the French Consul General in Edinburgh.
‘It’s great music for dancing,’ says Fergus. ‘Most musette is in waltz tempo, so it’s cheek-to-cheek stuff. It’s highly romantic and designed to be enjoyed with great French food and wine.’
Much of the music played by Les Trois Blondes is written in Scotland.
The Burns brothers, who play lead and second accordion, compose their own pieces, and Fergus credits their ability to create a rounded sound using two accordions with some of their popularity.
‘The first plays the melody and the second embellishes it and rounds it off. The traditional French style features just one accordion with a piano, bass and drums.’
For more details visit www.les-trois-blondes.co.uk
(This feature was originally published in 2016)