The group Vishten was formed in Prince Edward Island, in the Canadian Maritimes, at the beginning of the new millennium by traditional Acadian musicians/dancers 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. Their stage show re-creates the joy and energy of the “kitchen party,” the informal community gatherings where all are welcomed to sing, play and dance. 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.
Since their formation in 2000, Vishten has played major festivals in the U.S. and Canada, from Lafayette,LA to Winnipeg, Manitoba and all through the Maritime provinces of eastern Canada. The group has now expanded to four members: Pastelle (accordian, piano, dance) and Emmanuelle (bodhran, tin whistle, piano, dance) Le Blanc, 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.
All the members in the group contribute to the choreography and musical arrangements, and they all sing. On stage, they work with individual wooden “blocs” that they sit on, dance and play on top of, and use as percussion instruments with both their hands and feet. Audiences are struck by their whirlwind energy, dancing as they play, and the unbridled enthusiasm they feel for their native culture.
Vishten’s popularity has grown quickly. Audiences relate to the pleasure Vishten takes in performing on the concert stage, and the desire to bring their unique culture to audiences throughout the world. As they like to say, “Wherever Vishten goes, a party is sure to follow.”
Pastelle took her first dance steps not long after she learned to walk. Along with Emmanuelle, her twin sister, she was nominated in 1999 for the Dance Artist of the Year award at Moncton’s Millennium Gala. Pastelle’s incredible talent is evident in all she undertakes, whether piano, accordion, or singing. She is also a skilled composer and choreographer for Vishten’s projects.
In addition to playing piano, bodhran, and Irish flute, Emmanuelle sings and dances. She and Pastelle, her twin sister, were invited as members of the group Pas d’folies to take part in the World Dance Festival in Prince Edward Island for three years running. Emmanuelle is fascinated and inspired by musical rhythm, and uses the flute to convey the sentimental, mysterious side of her spirit. Music and dance play central roles in her life, and her contagious enthusiasm contributes enormously to the colourful, original magic of Vishten.
Music has always been part a part of Pascal’s life. His father was one of the Magdelan Islands’ best accompanist. Under his influence, he learned to play the fiddle and it was not uncommon for father and son to share the same stage. Wanting to pursue his career, Pascal left the Islands at the age of 18 and headed for mainland Québec. This was a wise choice because, it was not long after that he played with such groups such as: Les Gabotteux, Kootchie Band and Sêve and accompanied them on tours in Quebec, Nunavut and New Brunswick. Recently he performed with Les Frères Painchaud during their tour of Eastern Canada. Pascal’s remarkable sound and his unique bow swing brings a vibrant energy to Vishten. Most recently, Pascal's excellent lead guitar playing has given Vishten a new sound.
Elmer Deagle is an innovative artist on the Canadian celtic music scene. Playing the traditional music of the ceilidh and merging it with the contemporary, the Prince Edward Islander has developed a musical niche as the island's foremost celtic mandolin player. A member of PEI's Chiasson family, Elmer is one of seventy first-cousins of the famous fiddle dynasty's seventh generation. Music was always an integral part of the family's life, and from this creative crucible several accomplished artists emerged known for their versatility as well as their virtuosity. Many of the clan are noted multi-instrumentalists and Elmer is no exception, showing impressive proficiency not only on his mandolin but on the violin, tenor banjo and guitar as well.
July 26 Full Circle Fair, Blue Hill ME
August 1-3 Dublin Irish Festival, Dublin OH
August 8-10 Great Lakes Folk Festival, E. Lansing MI
September 20-21 Celtic Festival, Sebastopopl CA
September 27 KVMR Celtic Festival, Nevada City CA
February 21-22 Festival du Sucre d'Erable, Nanaimo BC
March 7-8 Festival du Bois de Maillardvillen, Coquitlam, BC
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