Irish Moutarde – Rock Your Irish Ass!

Irish Moutarde – Rock Your Irish Ass!

By Jason Enlow

What do bagpipes, a bear, a maiden fair and an Irish giraffe named Olaf have in common? They’re all part of Irish Moutarde; a 7 member Celtic punk rock band from Quebec City. The name Irish Moutarde had its origins as a pun on the French expression “relish-moutard”. As the band writes on their website “We liked the name for two reasons: it said something about the band’s musical style, and it was both humorous and light.” Personally, the name reminded me of a character my brothers and I invented called Smarmy Bifteck. There’s something funny about mixing words from different languages and using them out of context.

He is a hairy bear
He wants to come to the fair

Irish Moutarde formed in 2009 by Mathieu Audet, Frédéric Audette, Jérôme Bélanger, Andrée-Anne Hallé and Sébastien Malenfant as a tribute to Irish and Celtic rock. They were later joined by piper, Christian Haerinck and his brother Dominic, both members of the Celtic-music band Crépuscule. Christian also plays with the 78th Fraser Highlanders Pipes and Drums of Quebec City. From the start, band members decided to adopt a punk rock feel to their music. “We wanted to reach a younger audience and offer performances in rock venues, rather than playing more traditional music in smaller venues like pubs.”

I am a maiden fair
With honey in my hair

Originally, Irish Moutarde intended to perform only once or twice a year in Quebec City around St. Patrick’s Day. As it turns out, Irish Moutarde has never stopped playing. They’ve given performances around the province of Quebec, a major one being their performance at Woodstock en Beauce in 2011 where they launched the festivities. On February 14th, 2012, Irish Moutarde released their debut single entitled “The Bear and the Maiden Fair”. The lyrics were adapted from George R.R. Martin’s book A Song of Ice and Fire. The single has had great success with more than 5,000 downloads in the first two weeks.

You can download it for free at:

He is a dancing bear
He wants to drink some beer

The Défilé de la St-Patrick de Québec will be taking place on Saturday, March 24, at 1:30 p.m. and Irish Moutarde will be a part of it.  Later that evening at the Dagobert, Irish Moutarde will be interpreting songs by The Dropkick Murphys, Flogging Molly, The Real McKenzies along with Celtic-rock adaptations of traditional airs and popular drinking songs as part of their Shamrock Trail Tour 2011-2012. As it states on the show page of their website, they “decided to give this name to the tour in honor of Marianna O’Gallagher, who passed away in 2010.”

I’m really standing here
In front of a crazy bear

What about the band’s mascot, Olaf the Irish Giraffe? An instant hit with audiences, it was created by collaborators and fans of the band, Julie Lévesque and Guillaume Racine. Irish Moutarde writes that “The origins of the idea of having a giraffe as a mascot for a Celtic-Irish music band remain obscure to this day.” But a little digging revealed that Olaf the White was named King of Dublin around 853. Add to that a passage I discovered from the Annals of the Four Masters (a chronicle of medieval Irish history). It reads as follows:

A wonderful animal was sent to Ireland by the King of England. She resembled a mare, and was of a yellow colour, with the hoofs, of a cow, a long neck, a very large head, a large tail, which was ugly and scant of hair. She had a saddle of her own. Wheat and salt were her usual food. She used to draw the largest sled-burden by her tail. She used to kneel when passing under any doorway, however high, and also to let her rider mount.

I suggest discovering Irish Moutarde.

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Categories: Arts & Culture, News

About Author

Jason Enlow

Jason Enlow is a Special Education Technician at an English elementary school. He was born in Montreal, Quebec and grew up in Burlington, Ontario. Jason studied Radio and Television at Ryerson University in Toronto. His previous employers include CityTV, CBC, The Weather Network, and Global Television. He’s worked as a DJ, camera operator, musician, teacher, translator and video game content designer. Jason moved to Quebec City in 1997 where he still lives today with his wife and three sons.