LEWISTON – The House Party Music Tour, a celebration of traditional French music from Maine and Louisiana, will make a stop at the Franco-American Heritage Center Saturday, Aug. 23, courtesy of the Maine Arts Commission.

The French-speaking communities of Maine and Louisiana share a rich tradition of music that springs from the heart of the home. For centuries, the soirée, or house party, has been at the center of music-making for French people in North America, whether in the kitchen of a Maine farmhouse or on the front porch of a Cajun farm in southwest Louisiana.

The House Party tour promises audiences a variety of traditional music from danceable reels and jigs to ballads and old French songs called complaints.

Featured will be the Don Roy Trio and singers Marce Lacouture of Louisiana and Lucie Ouellette of the St. John Valley.

One of the leading presenters of Franco-American dance music traditions in Maine, Roy learned to play the fiddle from his uncle, Lucien Mathieu, and went on to become Maine’s fiddle champion.

Founder and director of the Maine French Fiddlers, Roy is a master teacher and fellowship winner of the Maine Arts Commission. He has performed at venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion,” to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

Ouellette sings traditional French ballads her family has kept for generations, songs that go back 300 years or more to the earliest days of French settlement in North America. She learned many songs from her mother, Rachael LeBlanc, who grew up on a farm in New Brunswick, Canada. LeBlanc and Ouellette recently took part in the Maine Arts Commission’s Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Project. Besides old ballads, Ouellette and her family also like to sing more recent French country songs.

Lacouture, whose musical career began in Austin, Texas, playing folk and rock ‘n’ roll, shares her cultural heritage through song. In 1983, she began spending time with traditional ballad singers Lula Landry and Inez Catalon, learning the old unaccompanied songs of the Louisiana French culture. Both Landry and Catalon are deceased but their songs remain alive through Lacouture’s voice. In 2000, she recorded “La Joie Cadienne,” produced by legendary slide guitarist Sonny Landreth. Her latest CD, “The Nouveau String Band with Marce Lacouture,” was released in 2006.

Admission is $10, $8 for seniors and students. For reservations, call 689-2000 or visit www.francoamericanheritage.org.


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