Welcome to the Maine Folque Co-Op website. Our mission at the Maine Folque Co-op is to honor Maine's cultural heritage by bringing the generations together through traditional music and dance.
We've undertaken a variety of projects toward this end over the past several years. The photo above is from one of our earliest undertakings, a 2012 community residency by noted Quebecois folk artist Benoit Bourque and his son Antoine which served to spotlight and celebrate Lewiston's French-Canadian roots. In 2015 we sponsored another residency featuring the trio Le Bruit Court dans la Ville, and also hosted a group of gifted teen fiddlers from NY in a series of performances for local schoolchildren and senior citizens. In 2018 we brought in the duo Zigue for three days of activities which encompassed high school and college students as well as elders from the local Franco- American community. All of this is in addition to our own music program which provides an opportunity for fledgling Maine folk fiddlers to develop and share their talents with the support of veteran folk musicians from the area as well as visiting master artists. In the process, we've enjoyed exploring a variety of ethnic music and dance traditions while continuing to support and encourage Maine's own “indigenous” folk dancing - New England contra dancing - and the music that inspires it. Please feel free to explore our website to see some of what we've been up to, or to borrow a tune or two from our Tunes page. And drop us a line if you have questions, would like to offer feedback or have ideas for future activities.
St. Patrick's Day usually finds us entertaining diners at Governor's Restaurant in Lewiston. COVID has kept us from doing so this year, unfortunately, but here's a look back at some of our past revelries, as well as a special "grand finale" mustered up by our multi-talented Owen Kennedy for 2021.
Other recent Folque Co-op exploits:
Last fall the Folque Co-op provided some lively background music for a plant sale to help raise funds for the new Androscoggin Hospice Thrift Store in Auburn.
The Folque Co-op hosted a jam session at the Thorncrag Nature Santuary in Lewistion last June in honor of Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day. St. John the Baptist is the patron saint of French Canadians and June 24 is his feast day, which is observed as a holiday in Quebec and was also enthusiastically celebrated in Maine's Franco-American communities for many years. The sanctuary's gazebo served as the perfect venue to play an inspiring assortment of French tunes while safely socially-distanced and enjoying beaucoup de fresh air. The tune you hear is - appropriately enough - called Le 24 Juin (The 24th of June). written by noted Quebecois accordionist Phillipe Bruneau as a tribute to Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day.
The Mighty Folquemeisters were pleased to be the featured band for the 6/9/19 dance sponsored by the Penobscot Contradancers at the Unitarian Church in Bangor, Maine. Joining them as guest musician was guitarist Benjamin Foss (who, as you can see, also chipped in as a caller).
A high point from the summer of 2018, when our Mighty Folquemeisters were invited to join the fabulous Quebecois trio Genticorum on stage at the American Folk Festival to play for a floor full of enthusiastic dancers. (Caller: our own Cindy Larock, who made it a point to include some fun-&-easy French Canadian dances.)
The Folque Co-op's Music Program
In early 2013, the Folque Co-op established a community folk orchestra based in Lewiston-Auburn. This affable multi-generational ensemble – which numbered over a dozen musicians ranging in age from pre-teens to, shall we say, ageless – was spawned under the enthusiastic direction of Doug Protsik, a seasoned musician equally adept on fiddle, piano and accordion. He worked with the members of the folk orchestra to build a repertoire of music which reflects Maine's cultural heritage in particular, from jigs-&-reels to two-steps to waltzes and more. The membership of the orchestra continues to evolve, with spin-offs and subsets of the original group charming audiences of all ages at a variety of venues throughout the local community and beyond, appearing under a variety of whimsical names depending on the occasion, such as "The Sizzling Shamrocks" for St. Patrick's Day events and "Les Bijoux" for Franco-related (and many other) activities.