Bette & Wallet
Origin: Antigonish County, Nova Scotia (Mary Beth Carty); Portneuf County, Québec (Gabriel Ouellette)
Bette & Wallet (pronounced bet and wal-ette) are Mary Beth Carty from Antigonish County, Nova Scotia, and Gabriel Ouellette from Portneuf County, Québec. They make recycled music, a culturally-ecological artform designed to combat cultural-imperialism one sing-along at a time. Putting contemporary lyrics to old melodies, Bette & Wallet sing of Squeegee Kids, Haunted Condos, and Walmart in a call-and-response song style. They draw on sounds from their respective homelands, as well as from Klezmer, Cajun, and Irish traditions, add progressive rock and country influences, a ton of energy, and Voila! A musical patchwork you can dance to is created! CBC's Tom Power recently reported, “It's an incredible, incredible live performance like you've never seen before.” Their home-recorded, independently-released debut album Voici... Bette & Wallet earned them nominations at the Canadian Folk Music Awards, the ECMAs, and invitations to festivals in France. Bette & Wallet are currently composing and recording their sophmore album.
Mary Beth (Bette) Carty / Vocals, accordion, guitar, bass, bones, piano, percussion, dance, dance calling, artwork / Mary Beth grew up in the shadow of the Appalachian Mountains on a spit of land over-looking the Antigonish Harbour, in Nova Scotia. Surrounded by a gang of third cousins, she spent her childhood creating songs, dances, plays, and other dream worlds. Already a prodigious pianist and highland dancer, Mary Beth discovered guitar and bass at 15 and formed bands with local musicians. She moved to Halifax to attend the University of King's College, studying literature and contemporary studies. There she discovered her talent as a songwriter, forming harmonizing trio The Johnson Sisters. A sense of adventure brought her to Québec in 2004, where she worked as a teacher and played in a Brazilian folk band before forming Bette & Wallet in 2006. Mary Beth has been nominated ‘Traditional Singer of the Year’ at the Canadian Folk Music Awards, and is currently uncovering lost square dances, writing new ones, and studying Scottish Gaelic, the language of her ancestors.
Gabriel F. (Wallet) Ouellette / Vocals, fiddle, feet, electric & acoustic guitars, banjo, bouzouki, bass, sound engineer, website / Gab was born to a family of stone carvers, social workers, and actors, outside the quarry town of St-Marc, Quebec, and spent much of his youth in the forest building tree-houses. At 13, after years of classical piano, he and his friends formed rock bands and immediately started playing bar gigs (accompanied by a chaperone, oui). Gabriel composed songs and taught guitar. He studied history at CEGEP and attained an art history degree from Université Laval. Eventually, he traded the academic life, along with his electric amplifiers, for the fiddle, starting a band called Les Queteux (The Beggars). He collected folk songs from his county and started hanging around his neighbor, fiddler Jean-Marie LaFromboise, learning a unique repertoire of Nova Scotian suites and Quebecois crooked tunes by ear. Gabriel has taught at Jeunes Musiciens du Monde traditional music school in Québec City, and is a talented sound engineer and microphone maker!
Prix Coup de Coeur des Disquaires / Best First Album : Gala de la musique de Québec 2009
Nominated : Traditional Group / Francophone Album : East Coast Music Awards 2009
Traditional Singer of the Year (Mary Beth Carty) : Canadian Folk Music Awards 2008
Traditional Album / Francophone Album of the Year : Nova Scotia Music Awards 2008