Vishtèn Connexions Sharing love, legacy and Acadian culture

The diversity of traditional Acadian music is vast and exciting, and Vishtèn Connexions looks forward to showcasing classic pieces with their own creative nuances. The Acadian multi-instrumentalist duo celebrates the vibrancy of francophone culture at Festival Du Bois, which takes places March 8 to 10.

“Our passion for our roots has always been a driving force,” says Emmanuelle LeBlanc, founding member of Vishtèn Connexions.

The Festival Du Bois is a lively event with francophone and French Canadian music at its forefront, allowing audiences to learn about artists’ culture in an enjoyable and creative way.

Connecting sound and heritage

Acadia, now encompassing the Maritime provinces of Canada, is the homeland of the Acadians, a cultural and ethnic group which is also deeply rooted in the history of Quebec, France and Louisiana. In the 1700s, they were caught in a military conflict between Britain and France, resulting in the expulsion of many from their land. Though they returned a decade later, the oppression they endured remains a bleak part of their history.

The upbeat and rhythmic tunes, primarily rooted in Irish and Scottish traditions, give Acadian music its distinctive groove, further enhanced by foot percussion, also known as podorythmie.

The original Vishtèn trio. Vishtèn Connexions pays tribute to founding member Pastelle LeBlanc by sharing Acadian culture and rhythm. | Photo courtesy of Festival du Bois.

Vishtèn Connexions incorporates these art forms in their work, alongside mouth music – vocal music that mimics instrumental melodies.

Both Leblanc and Pascal Miousse – the other half of the Vishtèn Connexions duo – were raised in music-rich households within Acadian communities in Prince Edward Island and the Magdalen Islands.

For LeBlanc, Vishtèn Connexions emerged organically. The duo revels in the creative process of diving into archives, experimenting with new compositions, and refining their sound.

“We’ve consistently felt compelled to bring it forward,” she says. “Share it with the world and contribute to the ongoing legacy of Acadian music.”

They are proud to share their culture and passion for music by exploring traditional techniques and revitalizing hidden gems.

LeBlanc and Miousse blend Acadian and Celtic genres with rock and indie-folk influences, infusing the music of their home with a flavourful twist of diversity.

The heartbeat of Connexions

Vishtèn Connexions was born out of love for LeBlanc’s late twin Pastelle LeBlanc, a founding member of a previous iteration of the group, known then as simply “Vishtèn.”

“Connexions” embodies the legacy of her spirit and the passion of her soul, serving as a heartfelt tribute that celebrates her musical contributions.

“Vishtèn Connexions is more than an album; it’s a soul-stirring celebration of love, shared experiences, and the enduring bond we still have with Pastelle,” says LeBlanc.

Pastelle left behind over 100 unfinished recordings, and Vishtèn Connexions aspires to complete as many of her works as possible through this project. Their first album, Expansion, scheduled for a spring 2024 release, features collaborations with talented guest artists. And her influence will undoubtedly continue to shape and enrich Vishtèn Connexions’ musical journey.

“Connexions allows us to continue creating with Pastelle. Her spirit guides us, and her vast musical repertoire remains a wellspring of inspiration,” adds LeBlanc.

Broadening musical horizons

Vishtèn Connexions aims to continue highlighting traditional and contemporary Acadian music, reaching global audiences. They are excited for future collaborations, performances and deeper exploration in their cultural music.

To broaden their musical horizons, the Expansion album was made in collaboration with visual artists and dancers, elevating this project into a multi-disciplinary experience.

“Connexions is an invitation for the audience to join us in celebrating the beauty of traditional and contemporary Acadian music,” says LeBlanc, “and to connect with others and ourselves.”

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