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Vishtèn are an Acadian group hailing from Prince Edward Island and Quebec’s Magdalen Islands. This exciting trio is one of the acts at the forefront of the Acadian revival going on in the Francophone communities of Canada. What once was a struggling art form in North America, has seen a big resurgence as of late and with bands as dedicated to their craft as Vishtèn, it was only a matter of time. Whistle player, pianist, percussionist and vocalist Emmanuelle LeBlanc says Acadian music isn’t the only thing on the rise.
“In all aspects of culture, we Acadians have felt a real revival, a renaissance more intensely the past decade. There’s a big buzz for Acadians across the Francophone areas of Canada and in many countries around the world. It’s exciting, and we’re one of the only bands touring with this traditional music.” – Emmanuelle LeBlanc
While Vishtèn are primarily a traditional group, it is their perfect balance of traditional and contemporary sounds that makes their latest release, Mōsaïk, so rewarding. While accordion, fiddle and whistles may sound familiar, piano, Moog bass synth and electric guitar are slightly unexpected, adding great depth to the music. Solid instrumental melodies and supportive rhythmic backing set the foundation for each engaging composition. Tight vocal harmonies, sung in a language tinged with Mi’kmaq, Acadian and English elements, and masterful foot percussion drive the original arrangements forward. This fresh version of North American roots music is compelling and makes the transition to CD effortlessly thanks in part to producer Éloi Painchaud.
The trio is made up of Emmanuelle LeBlanc and her twin sister Pastelle (accordion, piano, harmonium, vocals) along with Pascal Miousse (fiddle, guitar, mandolin, vocals). Listen to “L’Âme à P’tit Jean” above and check out Vishtèn’s video for “4:44/La Fougue des Fées” below. Vishtèn are currently touring the Northeast and will be appearing in Maine and New Hampshire this month, including several days this week at the Acadia School of Traditional Music & Arts in Bar Harbor. Check their tour dates and don’t hesitate to see them live.