La Famille Leger
I’ll begin this post with an apology. With summer festival season in full swing here at Fiddlefreak World Headquarters, and my own new CD released in May, the blog has not been refreshed lately. Sorry gang! I’m just returned from the renowned and unrivalled-for-fun fiddle camp held in Port Townsend, WA and called Festival of American Fiddle Tunes. One could write a book on the amazing experience that is Fiddle Tunes, and I will write a series of posts to feature some of the great music I heard up there this year. Let’s begin with a listen to the recent release from La Famille Leger titled L’etoile Du Nord.
Dejah and Devon Leger of Seattle, WA are the talented young couple at the core of this band. If you recongize their names, it may be because they run a well-known music blog and promotion company called Hearth Music. At Fiddle Tunes, these two seemed to always be at the center of the sickest music sessions and parties, and Dejah presented a wonderful workshop on how to create crankies. Their new CD is a collection of heartwarming Acadian music (see below) that they field-collected in Eastern Canada. Since I don’t know jack about these wonderful fiddle tunes and old French songs, I will let them expound in their own words. Enjoy!
L’etoile Du Nord
“We are a true family band who play Acadian and French-Canadian music from Eastern Canada. We live in Seattle, Washington and play contra dances, concerts, festivals, and even dinner parties. Devon Leger plays fiddle, Dejah plays piano, guitar, sings & stepdances, Barb plays guitar, and Louis plays accordion, fiddle, spoons, and sings. Louis hails from a distinctive Acadian family from New Brunswick, and spent much of his youth in Québec City.
“Tunes from Hedar Bulger: After visiting André à Toto in Shipagan, New Brunswick, he pointed us to a fish market in nearby Le Goulet. Hedar Bulger owns this market, Le Marché de Poisson Bulger, along with his son and family, and is an older, retiring man with a warm smile and a great love for the fiddle. He played tentatively at first, but by the time we had to leave, he was playing tune after tune and didn’t want to stop! We learned these tunes in fragments from him, and learned that he has many more wonderful tunes as well.
LISTEN: Tunes From Hedar Bulger
“Ma Mie Tant Blanche: Dejah learned this song from the singing of Charlotte Cormier of Moncton, a pioneering woman of Acadian song collecting. The song is sung in an old Acadian dialect, and it’s yet another song about family troubles culminating in murder. The title loosely translates to ‘Honey, you look so pale.’ Probably because of blood loss.”
LISTEN: Ma Mie Tant Blanche
“The Acadians are the descendants of the 17th-century French colonists who settled in Acadia, some of whom are also Metis. The colony was located in what is now Eastern Canada’s Maritime provinces (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island), as well as part of Quebec, and present-day Maine to the Kennebec River. Although today most of the Acadians and Québécois are French speaking Canadians, Acadia was a distinctly separate colony of New France… The Acadians lived for almost 80 years in Acadia, prior to the British Siege of Port Royal in 1710. After the Conquest, they lived under British rule for the next forty-five years. During the French and Indian War, British colonial officers suspected they were aiding the French. The British, together with New England legislators and militia, carried out the Great Expulsion of 1755–1764 during and after the war years. They deported approximately 11,500 Acadians from the maritime region. Approximately one-third perished from disease and drowning… Many Acadians migrated to Spanish colonial Louisiana, where they developed what became known as Cajun culture. Others were transported to France.” MORE