Twin sisters Pastelle and Emmanuelle LeBlanc formed Vishten a decade ago to play the traditional French Canadian tunes and songs of Prince Edward Island (PEI), a Canadian maritime province consisting of the main island and 231 minor islands. The smallest of the Canadian provinces, Prince Edward Island is home to some 140,000 people and is located north of Nova Scotia and west of Cape Breton Island, with which PEI shares many musical traditions, especially those of Scottish and Irish fiddling and French song.
Emmanuelle (bodhrán, piano, whistles, dance and vocals) and Pastelle LeBlanc (accordion, piano, dance and vocals) grew up in a musical family and a house filled with fiddle music and dancing. The sisters started step dancing at a young age and soon began playing piano. They grew up listening to the fiddlers and accompanying musicians of their parents’ generation, soaking up tunes from such respected local fiddlers as Louise Arsenault and Bertrand Deraspe, from the nearby Magdalen Islands.
The third member of Vishten, Pascal Miousse (fiddle, mandolin, guitar and vocals), grew up on the Magdelen Islands, a small archipelago located southwest of Prince Edward Island and part of the province of Quebec. Miousse also grew up in a very musical environment and began playing the fiddle at age five, eventually adding guitar, bass, mandolin and other instruments. He played traditional fiddle music during his teens, but spent the decade of his twenties touring eastern Canada with a rock band. He met the LeBlanc sisters at a festival in 2002 and quickly returned to his roots by joining Vishten.
Vishten has recorded four accomplished and acclaimed albums since making its debut in 2004: Vishten (2004), 11:11(2007), Live (2008) and Mosaik (2012). In its review of Live, Dirty Linen lavished praise on the trio, hailing the music as “a lively, upbeat dance-hall fusion sound that’s frequently punctuated by foot percussion and step dancing…The material is a mix of traditional and group compositions, the playing is perfect, and the energy level is high.”
Vishten, which last visited Dayton for the 2010 Cityfolk Festival, has performed at countless music festivals in Canada, the U.S., Scotland, France and elsewhere, captivating international audiences and earning such critical raves as “a near perfect ensemble” (La Petit Douchynois, France) with its unique mix of vocals sung in French, traditional fiddle and accordion tunes, driving foot percussion and multi-instrumental flexibility. Vishten has won many musical honors and awards, including several East Coast Music Awards in Canada.
Cityfolk is proud to present Vishten in concert at Gilly’s on Saturday, September 15 at 8:00 pm. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased here or by calling the Cityfolk box office at 496-3863.