LEWISTON – The Franco-American Heritage Center on Cedar Street will present Josée Vachon in concert at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 24.

Vachon has been making a name for herself in the Franco-American communities in the Northeast for more than 20 years. A Quebec native transplanted to central Maine as a child, her traditional and original songs in French feature her warm, engaging humor and upbeat rhythms. She has recorded nine solo albums in French, marketed primarily to Franco communities in the Northeast, in addition to two CDs with the Franco-American folk group Chanterelle. Her latest, “Déracinée…uprooted,” is a mix of chansons à répondre, nostalgic and contemporary songs with themes about women’s roles in the history of the culture, all reflective of traditional roots and pride in her heritage.

Her first performances at the University of Maine and at New England Franco-American festivals inspired her to document her Quebec roots in original songs, as well as in popular and traditional songs from Canada. Her vocals, personality and popularity led to an 11-year stint as host of “Bonjour!” a French language cable TV show produced in the United States, which also airs in New Brunswick and Ontario.

Vachon’s international TV appearances include “Le grand échiquier” and “Espace francophone” in Paris, as well as TV Ontario and Radio-Canada in Moncton and Montreal. Awarded the 1999 National Culture Through the Arts Award from the New York State Association of Foreign Language Teachers for her work in schools, she also was a member of the National Endowment for the Arts’ American Traditions Training and Touring Project.

Vachon was recorded for a special on La Bolduc on Canada’s History Channel, made Yankee magazine’s Top 40 Music picks in July 2001 and contributed an original song on Smithsonian Folkway’s CD “Mademoiselle voulez-vous danser: Franco-American Music from the New England Borderlands,” a Top 10 folk music CD pick from NPR in 1999. She was a member of the Women’s Singing Traditions of New England Tour, and is a founding member of the Franco-American group Chanterelle.

She has performed at Constitution Hall in Washington, the Women’s Singing Traditions of New England Tour of 1994, Musee de la Civilisation, Quebec, and Festival Ete Indien, Ste. Etienne, France.

Locally, Vachon has been a favorite at the Festival de Joie in Lewiston.

In 2003, her husband was appointed president of Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, where they now live, along with their two children.

Tickets at the door will be $10 and, for people under 18, $6. For more information, people can call (888) 424-1007 or visit the Franco-American Heritage Center Web site at www.francoamericanheritage.org. Part of the proceeds will go to benefit the Franco-American Center at Orono.


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