Trio from Quebec closes Carson City Celtic Series

The Sophie and Fiachra Trio visits Carson City Friday, May 17. The band is (from left) Sophie Lavoie, Fiachra O'Regan and Andre Marchand.

The Sophie and Fiachra Trio visits Carson City Friday, May 17. The band is (from left) Sophie Lavoie, Fiachra O'Regan and Andre Marchand.

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The Brewery Arts Celtic Concert Series hosts its last show on Friday. The Sophie and Fiachra Trio bring a new twist of Irish music from Quebec, Canada, to Carson City.

This will be the band’s first trip out west. The tour, Portraits USA West Coast Tour, comes on the heels of their new album “Portraits” released in September in Ireland and February in Canada. It gives them a chance to share their unique music with an entirely new audience.

The band travels from their home in Quebec, Canada, to Seattle to begin the tour May 8, and the trio travels down the coast, then heads to Carson City and Reno to close the tour.

“We’re really looking forward to Carson City,” Fiachra O’Regan said. “It’s really our first time in that area and I’m really excited about it.”

The band’s music has a different style than most Irish Celtic bands. They fuse music from Ireland with traditional Quebecois tunes — which isn’t common.

“There’s not very many out there doing it that way,” O’Regan said. “Quebecois has Irish repertoire in it, but the side of Quebecois music is very different. From feedback we’ve gotten, definitely no one is doing the same thing we’re doing.”

He said fans also give him feedback describing the band as high energy. Both cultures have lots of dance music, he said.

O’Regan grew up in Ireland and met Lavoie after a festival they were both playing at. The two have been playing together since 2009 and have two children together. The family moved to Quebec about five years ago, and it has influenced their playing tremendously. Lavoie is singing more now than before, which means there are more songs in French, he said. André Marchand recorded with the band in 2016 and joined the band that summer, which gave the lineup a more “Quebec tipped” scale, as O’Regan described it. This is the first bigger tour the three are playing together.

He said the community is constantly growing and expanding to learn new music.

“Quebec musicians are familiar with Irish tunes,” O’Regan said. “And Irish musicians are getting more open to Quebec music.”

O’Regan explained how fusing the two styles gives a different sound than most traditional bands.

“Irish music sticks to rhythm,” he said. “Quebec music is much more loose. You often get a beat or two added on. It’s the little tricky thing I’m still getting my head around.”

While traditional songs are the meat and potatoes for most Irish bands, O’Regan said a third of the band’s setlist contains originals.

“Sophie writes a lot of tunes,” he said.

Lavoie performs vocals and fiddle; Marchand plays guitar and foot percussion; and O’Regan plays banjo, uilleann pipes (an Irish bagpipe that is quieter than Scottish pipes) and whistle.

O’Regan said they started playing in the states a year and a half ago and they’ve played many places down the east coast. The band is ready to create many memories on their first visit to the west.

“It’ll be our first time over there,” he said. “And hopefully first of many.”


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