August 8-10, 2008
Programs & Activities: Music & Dance

Prince Edward Island, Magdalen Islands, Canada

Vishten was formed in Prince Edward Island, in the Canadian Maritimes, at the beginning of the new millennium by traditional Acadian musicians/dancers and twin sisters Pastelle and Emmanuelle LeBlanc. Vishten's music is a hardy mixture of the French, Irish and Scottish styles of Eastern Canada, with fiery fiddling and powerful step dancing taking front and center. The rhythms and melodies are inseparable, and reflect a special joie de vivre unique to the Acadian culture, with flying fingers, tapping feet, and an unabashed sense of celebration. Vishten's stage show re-creates the joy and energy of the soirée (kitchen party), the informal community gatherings where all are welcomed to sing, play, and dance.

The group's four members are Pastelle (accordion, piano, dance), Emmanuelle (piano, bodhran, dance, vocals, and Irish flute), Pascal Miousse (fiddle, mandolin, lead guitar) and Elmer Deagle (rhythm guitar, banjo, fiddle). Emmanuelle, Pastelle, and Elmer are from Prince Edward Island. Pascal is from the Magdalen Islands, eight hours to the north.

Pastelle and Emmanuelle took their first dance steps not long after they learned to walk. By 1999 they were nominated for the Dance Artist of the Year award at Moncton (New Brunswick)'s Millennium Gala. For three years running, the sisters were invited as members of the group Pas d'folies to take part in the World Dance Festival in Prince Edward Island.

Under the influence of his father, one of the Magdelan Islands' best accompanists, Pascal learned to play the fiddle and it was not uncommon for father and son to share the same stage. Pascal left the Islands at the age of 18 and headed for mainland Québec, where he played with such groups such as Les Gabotteux, Kootchie Band, Sêve, and more recently, Les Frères Painchaud.

A member of Prince Edward Island's Chiasson family, Elmer Deagle is one of the seventy-first cousins of the famous fiddle dynasty's seventh generation. Elmer has developed a musical niche as the island's foremost Celtic mandolin player, and is proficient with violin, tenor banjo and guitar as well.


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