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Barachois

Review by Sue GallantLouise Arsenault of Barachois, live on stage with guest artist, son Jonathan, at the Harbourfront Jubilee Theatre, Summerside

If you don't know anything about the tradition of Acadian music; if you've been living on another planet and have never heard of Barachois; you would still live to regret not booking tickets to see this awesome foursome perform for the last time this summer on PEI.

Barachois are taking their final bow this year after nine years together. Their high energy performances are full of musical talent, warmth and wit. They will be sadly missed.

The Summerside Harbourfront Jubilee Theatre was full of die-hard fans on opening night there recently. Many had seen the group perform many times before. For some, their annual PEI vacation would not be complete, without an evening spent in the company of Barachois.

The members of Barachois are, Albert Arsenault (vocals, dance, fiddle, bass, percussion); Helene Arsenault-Bergeron (piano, vocals, dance, reed pump organ, guitar, foot percussion); Louise Arsenault (fiddle, vocals, dance, harmonica, guitar, foot percussion); and Chuck Arsenault (vocals, guitar, harmonica, dance, sousaphone, trumpet). Each group member hails from PEI. Albert, Helene, and Louise, play music by ear. Chuck is the only classically trained musician, a fact Albert seizes to rib Chuck mercilessly with throughout the show. Chuck, of course, gives back as good as he gets, with equally good humour and merriment.

Barachois' combined performance is polished and a whole whack of fun. The entire time the group is on stage, they do not stop smiling and enjoying themselves. It is a sentiment entirely reciprocated by their audience. And yet, if a fan is seated in the front three throws, or sneaks down front to grab a quick snap of the group on stage (you're not supposed to!), he or she suddenly becomes aware that these people are working very, very hard up there to deliver the goods. The resulting performance is seamless and professional, enormously entertaining and most enjoyable. Merci Barachois!

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