Kristi Guillory & Anya Burgess, Kristi Guillory & Anya Burgess (Valcour Records)

It’s been quite a run lately for Kristi Guillory and Anya Burgess.

In the spring, their band Bonsoir, Catin released its third album, Light the Stars, to critical acclaim.

This duo offering that’s 180 degrees at the other end of spectrum reveals their fondness for traditional songs from the late ’20s and early ’30s. Since many of these early songs were based more on spontaneity than the standard structure of today’s music, they’re more suitable for duos where it’s easier to play off each other than coordinate a full band. “Belle of Pointe Claire” is one such example—the ‘A’ part is a slower one-step followed by a ‘B’ part that erupts into a frolicking waltz.

Interestingly, some songs may sound familiar even if their titles aren’t. The ‘A’ part of “Valse de Pointe Noire” is known as the “Cherokee Waltz;” “Quelqu’un Qu’est Jaloux” is an earlier form of the “Bosco Stomp.”

Though it’s primarily an accordion and fiddle affair, the arrangements, emotions and tempos are balanced for a pleasing flow. The Celtic-sounding “Contredanse Française” features Burgess’ gravity-defying, spirited fiddling and Guillory’s guitar accompaniment; the heartbreaking “Un Matin de Mai” is rendered with just voice and guitar as Didier Hébert waxed it in 1929.

No doubt Guillory and Burgess capture the spirit of these pioneers, especially with Burgess channeling Edius Naquin by playing his heirloom fiddle on “Hack à Moreau.” Elements of today’s music are also prominent, such as Guillory and Burgess ripping it up powerhouse style on “Je Va’s Jouer Cela Pour Toi” and “Waxia Special.”

With Guillory and Burgess’ royal treatment of this sacred material, past becomes present.

  • iamhe

    We have been playing “Light the Stars” more than any other CD since we got it at Rhythm & Roots music festival this past summer. The music is great and the recording audio quality is equally great. Congatulations ladies on a very fine accomplishment.