the Masters: La Famille Ouimet,
French American Traditions, Valley Falls
and Norm explain how they present the old songs to modern ears.
Ouimets sing the rousing traditional Vive La Compagnie.
describes the changing role that music plays in French American
Ouimets sing the traditional French Canadian Le Petit Marie.
Famille Ouimet actively
practices the music, cooking, dances, and celebrations traditional
in their family. In the early 1950s, the family moved from Quebec
to Cohoes, where everybody in their neighborhood spoke French
and worshipped at St. Anne's Roman Catholic Church. In those
days, the Ouimets often went home to St. Jean for family occasions
where they learned songs, some of which go back to medieval Brittany.
For public performances, Bernard plays the traditional button
accordion or keyboard, while his brother Normand plays the guitar.
They both sing, often demonstrating traditional rounds or answering
songs, as well as ballads. Nephews whom they have taught sometimes
join them. Their mother Lucille is an accomplished needleworker,
having taught Bernard's wife Françoise a very rare rug
weaving tradition from old Quebec. They use a wagon wheel as
a form and colorful scraps from the textile mills in Cohoes.
to Masters Homepage
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New York 13617-1475
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