"...a true chanteuse whose flying feet will heat up the hall while her voice melts your heart."
- The Valley Advocate, Amherst, MA (May 97)
NEW CD Release!
Since 1980 Josée Vachon has been making a name for herself in the Franco-American communities of the Northeast. A native of Québec, transplanted as a child to central Maine, she sings traditional and original songs in French with a warm humor and upbeat, engaging rhythm. She has recorded eight solo albums in French, marketed primarily to the French communities of the Northeast, plus two CDs with Franco-American folkgroup, Chanterelle. She now brings us her latest, "Déracinée --uprooted", an inviting mix of chansons à répondre, nostalgia and contemporary songs that include themes about women's roles in the history of the culture, all reflective of her traditional roots, upbringing, and pride in her Franco-American culture.
Produced by Pete Sutherland and surrounded by a dynamic and multi-talented group of musicians (including Donna Hébert, Jeremiah McLane, Keith Murphy, David Surette, Colin McCaffrey, Peter Davis and many others), this new CD clearly reflects the color and excitement of French-Canadian musical influence in New England. Josée presents many songs which she has known since she was a child, some traditional, (Le p'tit cordonnier "the little shoemaker"; Tu maries ma fille "First you marry my daughter"; I go yesterday "frenglish" words to the tune of Sweet Betsy from Pike) some contemporary, (Ah! Que l'hiver, "How winter is long"; Du pain et des roses, Québec's version of the Bread and Roses movement) as well as a couple of originals (French in America; Je viens tout juste de débarquer "I've just arrived") that deal with language and cultural struggles with immigration.
Josée Vachon's first performances at the University of Maine and at Franco-American festivals in New England led her to compose original songs about her Québec roots, as well as blending popular and traditional songs from Canada. Josée's warm vocals and personality as well as her increasing popularity led to a new career in 1987 as host, for 11 years, of NH Association Canado-Américaine's "Bonjour!", the most widely seen French language cable TV show produced in the U.S., airing throughout New England, New Brunswick, Ontario and Louisiana. Her international TV appearances include "Le grand échiquier" and "Espace francophone" in Paris in 1989, as well as TV Ontario and Radio-Canada in Moncton and Montreal in 1987. Awards include the 1999 National Culture Through the Arts Award from NY State Association of Foreign Language Teachers for her work in schools, the key to the city of Woonsocket, R.I. and American Traditions Training and Touring Project. She was recorded for a special on La Bolduc on Canada's History Channel, has a regional music clip on MicroSoft's AutoMap Trip Planner software and has an original song on Smithsonian Folkways's CD "Mademoiselle voulez-vous danser: Franco-American Music from the New England Borderlands". She was a member of the Women's Singing Traditions of New England Tour of 1994, and is a founding member of the Franco-American group, Chanterelle.