February 20, 2001

"captivating … their music was superb."--The Boston Globe

"all four members are extremely talented multi-instrumental musicians, singers, and percussive step dancers." --Living Tradition Magazine, U.K.

Barachois of Prince Edward Island, Canada, to give Acadian music show March 4

Concert is free and open to the public

MIDDLEBURY, Vt.—Barachois, an Acadian music and step-dance ensemble from Prince Edward Island, Canada, will perform at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 4, in the Middlebury College McCullough Student Center on Old Chapel Road off South Main Street (Route 30). This family quartet combines dancing and humor with lively traditional French songs and music on fiddle, piano, percussion, and guitar. The concert is free and open to the public.

Acadian traditional music was born on tiny Prince Edward Island when some of the first settlers in North America came from France and brought their songs with them. Kept alive there for two and a half centuries, the music has been infused with other influences—most recognizably the Scottish and Irish fiddling styles. The music has been passed down through generation after generation by way of kitchen parties and community dances and gatherings.

All four members of Barachois are multi-instrumentalists, step-dancers, and singers in their mother tongue―French. Fluently bilingual, they collectively banter in English as they explain their songs. Driven by the fiddling of Louise Arsenault, whose feet tap out the lickety- split rhythm that is characteristic of the Acadian sound, their music relies on the harmonica, the trumpet, and the pump-organ as well as innovative percussion of all sorts, including spoons, knives, and forks.

Along with Louise, Albert Arsenault also plays fiddle in the group, and is one of the two primary vocalists. Albert’s sister, Hélène Arsenault-Bergeron, plays the piano and pump-organ. Chuck Arsenault, who serves as the second lead vocalist, plays the acoustic guitar and trumpet.

Critics often mention the group’s energy and humor. The Boston Herald declared, "The night’s biggest surprise was Barachois, an Acadian quartet from Prince Edward Island that combined French lyrics, vivacious drive, daffy wit and a theatrical flair."

In 1997 the group’s first recording, "Barachois," received three East Coast Music Award nominations and then went on to win the Francophone Recording of the Year. The band has also released a second recording titled "Encore."

Barachois has performed throughout Canada and in a number of locations in the United States at such events and venues as the Vancouver Folk Festival and Lincoln Center in New York City. Their travels abroad include concerts in Sweden, Germany, and England.

For more information, contact Anna Sun, Middlebury College French department coordinator, at 802-443-5527.

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