Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Bodh'aktan = Energy

“Check, check. 1, 2. 1, 2”

“Sounds mushy” was the comment from the bass guitarist. “1, 2. 1, 2.”

“Check, check. Check, check.”

“Stronger,” advised the drummer, as the speakers shook.

At that moment, my ears would have responded, “Sounds fine to us.” (I felt older than my years at this point in the sound check.)

For someone who would arrive at baseball games as early as possible so I could watch the ground crew prepare the playing field, arriving for the sound check that performers go through has the same appeal—preparing the setting for the best performance possible.

So here we were, listening to the microphone checks for Bodh’aktan, (Bo-DAK-tan) a Celtic rock band appearing on Day 3 at the Festival International de Louisiane in Lafayette, LA.

We had not heard the band, which hailed from Isle de la Madeleine, Quebec, before deciding to attend their performance this evening. But our curiosity of hearing a Celtic rock band brought us this venue.

Then came the unexpected opening. The band’s fiddle player appeared playing a tune.

A fiddle in a rock band?

He was soon joined by the bagpipe piper. They were playing “Ashokan Farewell.”* It was beautiful…and quite unexpected.

But a bagpipe in a rock band??

The other members of the band appeared.

An accordion...?
Then they put this all together.

The band pushed its “Go” button and took off. What followed in the next 72 minutes or so was pure musical energy. The combination of the band’s sounds and the members’ movement around the stage was contagious. The result was pure power.

The band’s bio notes: “Bodh’aktan is made up of seven musicians who, like pirates, disembark to ransack the troubles of daily life and leave nothing but good times and lifted spirits in their wake! Armed with a musical arsenal influenced by the sounds of traditional, polka, Celtic and punk, as well as the folklores of Ireland, England, the Maritime Islands and Quebec, this group has the boldness to deliver their music in an upsurge of humor and rock. Bodh’aktan brings young and old together thanks to their carefree effect.

“The word ‘festive’ can be applied to many avenues of life, but it has never held more truth than with Bodh’aktan. Listen and watch uninhibited!”

I have had a difficult time finding the names of the group’s members, because they seem to change often. But what a marvelous combination of instrumental “voices.”
Several of the performers are scheduled for two and even three performances over the Festival's five days. This was the case with Bodh'aktan.The following morning, they provided a 45-minute set; at 2:30, they performed a 75-minute set with just as much energy as the night before.

“Playing in almost every major summer festival in Quebec in 2012, Bodh’aktan charmed massive crowds, swelling the ranks of the faithful with every song. Many bands claim to ‘bring the party;’ none has ever succeeded like Bodh’aktan. Just ask the Bodh army!!” (

An accordion plus a bagpipe plus a fiddle in a rock band? Somehow it works--and works extremely well.
* I associate this song with the Ken Burns’ PBS series The Civil War. The plaintive song played on the fiddle was played so often that I would call it the series’ theme song.

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