The weekend temperatures of over 90 degrees did not stop patrons at the New Bedford Folk Festival from listening to the Acadian songs of Vishtèn. The group performed in the air conditioning of the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center on Saturday afternoon and Sunday evening, as well as some outdoor tents throughout the festival grounds.
A short cellular phone video
The band has only three members; twin sisters Emmanuelle and Pastelle LeBlanc from Prince Edward Island and Pascal Miousse from the Magdalen Islands (Îles de la Madeleine). All play multiple instruments from flute to fiddle to feet and sing in three-part harmony. The music is a blend of Celtic and Acadian, but the lyrics are sung in French.
After the Saturday afternoon show, the group signed copies of their CDs. Although I have seen them play before, this was my first occasion to speak with them. It was like talking with old friends. Funny, humble, gracious, and charming are a few adjectives that come to mind. “Do people ask why you don’t sing in English”, I asked. Pastelle replied “Yes, they have asked, but I don’t think we ever thought about it”. Why would they? The songs are Acadian. They wouldn’t translate well or with the feeling they are meant to convey.
On Sunday, Vishtèn was joined on stage by Benoit Bourque and Son for a French Canadian Kitchen Party. The large outdoor crowd was treated to the singing, dancing, and comedy of both groups.