Saturday, August 10, 1 p.m. at the Winthrop Performing Arts Center (211 Rambler Road in Winthrop), a concert by the Quebecois folk group Tidal Wave (Raz de Marée) and friends, featuring French Canadian songs and dance tunes performed on fiddle, accordion, piano, string bass and voice, plus folk dance demonstrations. Admission: $8, $5 for students up to age 22. For more information call: 782-0386.
More details: The celebrated Quebecois band Raz de Marée – whose name translates in English to “Tidal Wave” – has warned that they will be bringing a “deluge” of French-Canadian music to the area next weekend with performances scheduled in both Lewiston and Winthrop.
The quartet will play for an evening of contra dancing at Callahan Hall at the Lewiston Public Library on Friday, Aug. 9, from 8 to 11 p.m. The next afternoon (Aug. 10) at 1 p.m. they will present a full program of both songs and instrumental numbers at the Winthrop Performing Arts Center. Admission for either event is $8 with a reduced charge of $5 for youth/students (up to age 22).
The Tidal Wave ensemble consists of fiddler Eric Favreau, accordionist Sabin Jacques, pianist and singer Rachel Aucoin, and string bass player Stuart Kenney. Now based primarily in the Quebec City area, the band's members also have roots in the Gaspésie region of Quebec as well as in New Brunswick, Cape Breton in Nova Scotia, and – in Kenney's case – Massachusetts.
“With our combined Quebecois, Acadian and New England backgrounds, every musician in our group feels a special connection to the many people of French heritage who live in the Lewiston/Auburn and Augusta/Waterville area,” said Aucoin, who plans to lead the audience in some chansons à répondre (French sing-alongs) during the concert. “We are very much looking forward to sharing the music from our common ancestors, both the dance tunes and the old time ballads of Acadie and Quebec.”
Formed in 2004 primarily as a dance band, Tidal Wave plays a large collection of melodies – ranging from the beloved classic “St. Anne's Reel” to Favreau's recently composed jig “Le Petit Sarny” – which are known to be so contagiously energetic as to occasionally propel audience members at their concerts to dance in the aisles.
The group was featured as the headliner band at Maine's annual DownEast Country Dance Festival in Topsham last March, where their fan base of Maine dancers quickly multiplied into the hundreds. As a result, several experienced dancers from around the state have been invited to demonstrate some French-Canadian-style square and contra dancing as well as a bit of jigging as part of the Aug. 10 concert in Winthrop.
In keeping with the family spirit of the event, two or three of Maine's youngest rising-star fiddlers are also expected to join the band in playing a tune or two, including 14-year-old Victor So of Lewiston, who has studied with Eric Favreau at Maine Fiddle Camp.
Anyone interested in “shaking a leg” to Tidal Wave's music is encouraged to attend the previous evening's dance at LPL's Callahan Hall on Aug. 9. This venue is conveniently air-conditioned, meaning that “the dancing will remain cool regardless of how hot the music gets,” says caller Chrissy Fowler from Belfast, who will be on hand to lead attendees in an assortment of contra dances with an occasional square, mixer or circle dance thrown in for variety. No prior dance experience is necessary to participate, she points out, and people are invited to attend either with or without a partner.
Preceding the 8 p.m. dance will be a special French-Canadian style “barn” dance from 6:30 to 7:45 facilitated by Cindy Larock of Lewiston, a Franco dance instructor affiliated with the Maine Arts Commission's Traditional Arts Program who specializes in teaching dance to youngsters and beginners of all ages. A locally grown, multi-generational folk orchestra will provide the music for this family event, the admission charge for which is just $2 for adults, $1 for children/students. Those who prefer to just sit out and listen to the music are also welcome to attend, says Larock.
Partnering with the library in co-sponsoring the Friday evening dance programs at LPL is the Maine Folque Co-op, a grassroots community arts organization which is dedicating the net proceeds from the event to the continued support of the folk orchestra. Additional funding has been generously provided by Healthy Androscoggin and Auburn Plaza Family Dentistry.
Tidal Wave's latest album, “Marche du St-Laurent,” will be available for purchase at both of their upcoming Maine appearances. The recording was a Prix de Musique Folk Canadienne album-of-the-year finalist in 2011, and the band was also nominated as instrumental-group-of-the year for the 2011 Canadian Folk Music Awards.
The Winthrop Performing Arts Center is located on the Winthrop High School campus at 211 Rambler Road, just off Rte. 202 in Winthrop. The Lewiston Public More information on all of the above events is available by calling 207-782-0386.