La Bottine Souriante first appeared on the Québec music scene in 1976 and is a living legend of French North American roots music. In over twenty five years, this remarkable group has released thirteen albums, four of which are certified Gold (meaning that over 50,000 copies have been sold) and three Platinum (over 100,000 sold). In 2001, they also released a musical anthology to celebrate their 25th anniversary.
Altogether, they have sold over half a million albums! The group has won dozens of awards and headlined festivals around the world. La Bottine Souriante is no longer simply a Québécois/Canadian musical phenomenon. The group and their explosive sound have crossed borders the world over and left in their wake countless enchanted audiences. The group has developed a distinctive sound that successfully allies its homage to tradition with a dash of jazz, salsa and pure folk, while at the same time perfectly representing the symbol of vitality and pride of its mother culture. In addition, the music identifies strongly with the current World Music movement.
La Bottine has developed an exceptionally tight, cohesive sound, with their unique flavour of celebratory music. These two elements, music and celebration, characterised by pulsating rhythm, breathtaking sound, and exuberant spirit, have been inseparable. And it is directly into this turbulent energy that La Bottine Souriante sweeps its rapturous public. It is no wonder that the US-based Dirty Linen magazine has proclaimed La Bottine "The best band in the world"!
This musical blend is generated by eleven solid, traditionally rooted musicians: Éric Beaudry (vocals, foot tapping, mandolin, bouzouki, guitar); David Boulanger (vocals, fiddle, foot tapping, percussion); Benoit ''Shrek''Bourque (vocals, button accordion, bones, jaw harp, foot tapping and dance); Jean-François Gagnon Branchaud (vocals, fiddle, guitar, foot tapping, snare); the rythm section with Pierre ''Pedro''Belisle (piano, piano-accordion, trumpet, percussions) taking up the swing with jazzman François ''Pogo'' Marion (acoustic and electric bass, vocals). Since 1990, a four-piece brass section has added an even more exciting dimension to La Bottine's incomparable sound, featuring the musical direction and brass arrangements of Jean Fréchette (saxophone, tin whistle, vocals, percussions and arrangements), Robert "Bob" Ellis (bass trombone, percussions, bass vocals), André Verreault (trombone, vovcals), Jocelyn ''Bilou'' Lapointe (trumpet, vocals) and Sandy Silva (percussive dance).
La Bottine Souriante has taken part in numerous folk festivals around the world, among them the TØNDER FESTIVAL and the prestigious WOMAD. The group has appeared on many compilations, notably with Kepa Junkera (Bilbao 00:00h) from the Basque country as well as with Irish Paddy Molony and The Chieftains (Fire in the Kitchen).