Music History in the here and now

In the latest of her Global Music Match dispatches, The Magpies’ Holly Brandon meets up with Canadian trio VISHTEN, whose music thrillingly combines a rich cultural heritage with contemporary rock

MULTI-INSTRUMENTALISTS Emmanuelle and Pastelle LeBlanc and Pascal Miousse — Vishten — have been dazzling audiences with a fierylend of traditional French songs and original instrumentation for over a decade.

The name Vishten is a nod to the eponymous song whose lyrics are a percussive amalgam of French, Mi’kmaq and English, a musical realisation of the band’s fascinating Acadian heritage.

For millennia Acadia, a region in north-eastern North America, was occupied by the Mi’kmaq people. It was colonised by the French in 1604, hence the strong Francophone influence in the songs, while subsequent settlers from Ireland and Scotland left their Celtic stamp on the music

In the 1750s, following the British conquest, the Acadians’ refusal to swear allegiance to the British crown resulted in a deportation that saw the expulsion of almost 12,000 Acadians to the British-American colonies further south. When they returned, they added their newfound US influences to the Acadian musical melting pot. Continue reading “Music History in the here and now”