Contact: Sarah Ray
802-443-5794
sray@middlebury.edu
Posted: February 27, 2003

“This
is the most totally entertaining group we have ever seen perform in concert.”

—Bill
Margeson, Irish American News, Chicago

“Barachois
gave a first-class demonstration of how to drive a thousand people mad
with delight.”

Stephen
Pederson, The Chronicle-Herald, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

MIDDLEBURY,
VT - Barachois, an Acadian music and step-dance ensemble from Prince
Edward Island, Canada, will return to Middlebury College for the second
year in a row to perform at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 19. This family
quartet combines dancing and humor with lively traditional French songs
and music on fiddle, piano, percussion and guitar. The concert, which
is sponsored by the Middlebury College French Department, will consist
of two 50-minute sets and a 20-minute intermission in between. Free and
open to the public, the event will take place in the McCullough Student
Center on Old Chapel Road off South Main Street (Route 30).

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 (ECMA) nominations and then went on to win the
Francophone Recording of the Year. The band has two other recordings as
well, “Encore” and “Naturel.” The latter also received
three ECMA nominations.

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 New
York City’s Lincoln Center. The group’s travels abroad include concerts
in Sweden, Germany and England. In 2001, Barachois won the Irish American
News’ Tradition in Review Award for Concert of the Year for its performance
at the Milwaukee Irish Festival.

For
more information, contact Amy Comes, Middlebury College French Department
coordinator, at comes@middlebury.edu
or 802-443-5527.