French Acadian party band comes to Norwich Saturday

NORWICH – Vishtèn, performing Canada’s exhilarating French Acadian party music featuring three-part harmonies and stepdancing, appears at the Cheango Arts Council in Norwich at 7 p.m. Saturday.

“It’s like Buckwheat Zydeco meets the Irish. The first time I saw them, I loved them!” — Pittsburgh Irish Festival.

There’s an old saying that goes something like, “Go out and make your mark in the world exploring the new ways but don’t turn your back on your roots.” The members of Vishtèn have been doing just that for the past seven years, touring their brand of new-traditional Acadian music in over 1,000 performances rendered in eight different countries. Made up of third generation Acadians living separate but parallel musical experiences, twin sisters Pastelle and Emmanuelle LeBlanc from Prince Edward Island, Canada have teamed up with Pascal Miousse from the nearby Magdalen Islands to create a sound that incorporates elements of the new ways while retaining and staying true to the essential Acadian spirit of their roots. The sound is essentially Celtic, but with a difference. The songs are French, sung by each band member, alone or in three-part harmony. The foot percussion drives the rhythm in a fiddle tune at times yet refrains itself in the gentler musical moments. The band members are accomplished multi-instrumentalists and step-dancers incorporating the fiddle, guitar, accordion, penny-whistle, mandolin, piano, jaw-harp and bodhran into each performance. They are surely making their mark in the world today as their musical maturity comes through to captivate audiences wherever they play.

The three members who make up Vishtèn – Pastelle and Emmanuelle LeBlanc, and Pascal Miousse – have become a distinctive and powerful international voice for traditional music from this part of the world. These three musicians, guided by their own inherent traditions, have collectively arrived at the same intersection at the same point in time, making a conscious choice to play and interpret in new ways the music they learned from their parents’ generation. It certainly must stem from a deep respect for and love of the sounds and rhythms forged by the musicians who have come before, inspiring them to create anew and carry this music into the future. Vishtèn has evolved into a group that will leave its own legacy and inspire musicians for generations to come. To learn more about the group and sample their music visit

This is the third performance in the Arts Council’s 2012/13 performance season. Upcoming performances include Quartetto Gelato on March 9, Koresh Dance Company on April 13, and Forbidden Broadway on May 11. All performances are held in the Martin W. Kappel Theater at 27 West Main St., Norwich.

Tickets for Vishtèn range in price from $20 to $25 with discounts for members of the Arts Council and seniors. Youth 18 and under are always $10. For reservations, visit or call 336-ARTS (2787).

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