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Les Trois Blondes

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John Burns and George Burns - accordions
Fergus Wood - drums

Les Trois Blondes“Les Trois Blondes” is a double entendre; in the context of the band, it means “Three Pints of Lager, please” and not “three blonde ladies”.

As far as we know, Les Trois Blondes are the only ensemble in the UK specialising in Bal Musette, the French café music of Paris. Perhaps surprisingly, there is a very strong tradition of playing this style of music with Scottish accordionists, which is mostly in waltz time. The band comprises John Burns (lead accordion), brother George Burns (2nd accordion) and Fergus Wood (drums and compère). John Burns is the current Musette Champion of Scotland and former All-Scotland Accordion Champion.

Much of the music played by the band features numbers made famous by French artists such Maurice Chevalier, Edith Piaf (the little sparrow), Yves Montand and Charles Trenet, with several items in their programme of over 80 compositions being by the two Burns brothers. Bal Musette goes well with French wines and French cooking and the band have played at romantic events on St Valentine’s Day in leading French restaurants in Scotland.

The music is accompanied by the story of musette - a small bagpipe brought to Paris from the Auvergne in the late 19th century and used for dancing in the cafés, hence "Bal Musette". During the 1920s and the recession many Italian musicians arrived in Paris with their accordions and gradually the accordion took over from the bagpipe. During the German occupation of the city musicians were under pressure from the Resistance not to play for the occupiers. Edith Piaf in particular gave many private concerts for senior German officers although she claimed she was a "listening post" for the Resistance. Maurice Chevalier was in a similar situation. The concerts also demonstrate the musical link between Scotland and France.

When not playing Bal Musette, the band’s mainline work is ceilidh music, which has taken them all around the world.

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