Middlebury

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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