Home Feature Vishtèn’s new album, Horizons, pushes the Acadian music envelope yet again!

Vishtèn’s new album, Horizons, pushes the Acadian music envelope yet again!

Pastelle LeBlanc, left, died of breast cancer in 2022 at the age of 42. The two remaining band members formed Vishtèn Connexions to continue making music with her in spirit. Photo by Jacinta Bernard Photography.

Award-winning powerhouse Acadian roots trio Vishtèn celebrates 15 years together with the release of its sixth album, Horizons, which came out on Friday. It’s the latest opus from the East Coast group – which includes sisters Pastelle and Emmanuelle LeBlanc from PEI and Pascal Miousse from the Magdalen Islands – who have consistently dazzled audiences with their fiery blend of traditional French songs and original instrumentals.

While in the process of completing close to 60 prestigious Canadian, American and European performances in 2018, the trio has also been officially selected to perform at the WOMEX18 Conference that will be held in Las Palmas, Spain, in October of this year.

Vishtèn has earned its place as one of the most respected bands on the international folk/trad live circuit. These three brilliant multi-instrumentalists and ambassadors for Francophone culture arrange traditional Acadian songs in a wholly unique way, while penning captivating originals in Acadian and Celtic styles, all conveyed with a strikingly contemporary sensibility that includes indie-rock production. It’s no surprise that Vishtèn has won four East Coast Music Awards, four Music PEI Awards, and a SPACQ Award since 2002.

On Horizons, the infectious rhythms of tapping feet and lilting mouth music blend seamlessly with fiddle, guitar, accordion, octave mandolin, whistles, piano, bodhrán and jaw harp to offer a musical experience that illustrates the band’s widescreen view of the world, and that breathes new energy into traditional sounds.

The first song, “Elle Tempête,” incorporates Celtic influences, beefed up with an indie-rock feel. The captivating sibling harmonies ride a wave of propulsive bodhrán and magnetically droning violin. “Bi Bi Box” is the first single from Horizons, about a message in a bottle bringing hope to a lonely heart.

It showcases and enhances a classic idea with a modern groove, vocal production, and electric piano sound. In the title track of the 11-song album an intertwined penny whistle and fiddle lead the charge on a gently percolating three-song medley that paints a musical portrait of the seascapes that are ever-present for these native islanders.

In addition to showcasing original songs like these, the members of Vishtèn prove themselves masterful recording artists and arrangers of traditional material. As is often the case in traditional pieces, the Cajun song “Les Clefs de la Prison” juxtaposes dark lyrical content about a prisoner facing execution with a bright, uptempo melody.

“L’Autre Femme” and “Âmes Soeurs” are both real departures from the rest of the album, with dreamy electric guitar textures and a moody, ambient feel. The latter is a powerful, atmospheric anthem to sisterhood, with sweet, soft, and lulling “dum diddley dum” vocals.

The band has performed thousands of shows at international events and venues, including the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, the Philadelphia Folk Festival, the New Orleans Jazz Festival, Festival Interceltique de Lorient in France, the Woodford Folk Festival in Austrailia, the Shetland Folk Festival in Scotland and the Temple Bar Trad Festival in Ireland, among others.

They have several Canadian dates lined up to help launch their new album.

  • Sept. 28-29 – The Deep Roots Music Festival, Wolfville, NS
  • Oct. 4 – Festival La Virée, Carleton-sur-Mer, QC
  • Oct. 17 – Cafe Campus, Montreal, QC
  • Oct. 20 – The Mack, Charlottetown, PEI

Have a listen to “L’Autre Femme” from the new album, here.


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