Acadian word for - shallow pools of water separated from the sea by sand dunes
Barachois plays Acadian traditional music - a rhythmic, high-voltage style born in the heart of a culture kept alive through two and a half centuries on tiny Prince Edward Island, Canada. The songs were brought over from France with some of the first settlers in North America, and have been infused with other influences - most recognizably, the Scottish and Irish fiddling styles. The heartbeat of Barachois' music is what one writer calls the "bedevilled rhythms" inherent in the tunes. The voice is an energetic fiddle with a driving piano foundation. The music has been passed down through generation after generation by way of kitchen parties and community dances and gatherings. It is a musical genre all its own, filled with passion and life.
Throw in some driving foot rhythms, piano, a plethora of home made percussion instruments, close harmonies and the occasional brass instrument and you have the spicy Acadian stew that Barachois puts on the boil for every performance.
It's a stew well seasoned with laughter. Acadian parties are known for their warmth and humour - a welcome reward and a much needed respite from the daily business of raising a large family. The wit, charm, and even the antics that Barachois brings onstage is as much a part of their heritage as the songs they sing and the tunes they play.
The group's first recording, simply entitled BARACHOIS, picks up where the party trails off. Pulling its material and inspiration from the collective memory of the Acadian people, the album received three nominations at the 1997 East Coast Music Awards and was awarded Francophone Recording of the Year. The band has just released its second recording (in Canada) entitled ENCORE. They are very pleased with this record and feel that it succeeds in capturing the band's energy and spirit.
On stage, their music is dished up with equal portions of dance, humour and innovation, all delivered with a sincerity and confidence that comes from knowing the recipe for having one heck of a good time.
Alas, the quite wonderful Barachois decided to call it a day in 2003 to enjoy a less frantic lifestyle (both on and off stage) and they retired from showbusiness; probably to the relief of many concert & festival promoters who no longer need fear being dragged on-stage to become part of what was a delightful musical and visual performance.
Bon voyage, mes amis!
Place of birth: St. Chrysostome, Prince Edward Island
Talents: Fiddle, percussion, bass, vocals, dance
Son of renowned Prince Edward Island fiddler Eddy Arsenault, Albert began to play the fiddle at age 12 and the drums at age 14. He soon learned to step dance, sing, and act as well. His career as a performer has seen him tour Canada as a children’s entertainer, participate in a wide variety of bands and musical groups, act as a comedian in national theatre productions and do commercial work for television. Albert has delighted crowds in the course of his 15-year career as an entertainer.
Place of birth: Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
Talents: Keyboards, guitar, fiddle, vocals, dance
Hélène is considered by her peers to be one of Canada’s finest step dancers. Her career as a performer has led her to tour Canada, the U.S., Europe and Japan in a variety of cultural settings as a dancer, children's entertainer and musician. Daughter of the renowned Island fiddler Eddy Arsenault, Hélène grew up step dancing and accompanying her father on guitar, eventually adding traditional piano and pump organ playing to her skills. Hélène also plays fiddle, sings, choreographs dance and has co-written comedic plays as well as the Confederation Centre production "Racines acadiennes" with her brother Albert Arsenault.
Place of birth: Mont-Carmel, Prince Edward Island
Talents: Fiddle, harmonica, guitar, vocals, dance
Louise began to sneak her father’s fiddle out of its case at the age of seven. She soon began playing with a lively flair much to everyone’s delight and amazement. She has since gone on to develop her own fiddle style which is distinctive to Prince Edward Island with an Acadian "swing". An experienced performer whether acting, step dancing, playing guitar or harmonica, she is right at home on stage.
Place of birth: Montague, Prince Edward Island
Talents: Guitar, French horn, tuba, trumpet, vocals, harmonica, dance
Chuck has a degree in music from U.P.E.I. He has performed as a stand-up comic, acted and sung in a variety of productions, and played in the P.E.I. Symphony. He has recently rediscovered his Acadian roots and subsequently taken to the traditional music like a duck to water. His charismatic presence, innate talent and love for performing have all combined to make Chuck an important asset to the group.
You can listen to short samples from some of the tracks from this artist using the player below.
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