Barachois brings Acadian-style dance party to Bates

Barachois, a quartet from Prince Edward Island, brings a distinctively warm and lively kind of traditional Francophone folk music to Bates College at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4 in the Olin Arts Center Concert Hall, 75 Russel St. Admission is $12 for adults and $8 for seniors, children and full-time students.

Taking its name (pronounced “bara-SHWA”) from the Acadian term for pools of water cut off from the sea by sand dunes, Barachois plays the folk music of the Acadians, descendants of the French colonists whom the British expelled from Nova Scotia in 1755. (In Maine, the St. John River Valley in Aroostook County is home to a sizable Acadian population.)

With three albums to its credit and a growing international following, Barachois is a band on the rise. It consists of a brother and sister, Albert Arsenault and Hélène Arsenault-Bergeron (children of the renowned fiddler Eddy Arsenault); their cousin, Louise Arsenault; and Chuck Arsenault (not a family relation). To the traditional Acadian instrumentation of twin fiddles and piano or pump organ, the foursome adds guitar, harmonica, brass and myriad percussion.

Barachois brings a contemporary sophistication to songs that in some cases are centuries old. But its performance is as much about dance and humor as music. Veterans of countless family “kitchen parties,” the members of the band are lively wits and accomplished step dancers.

The concert is presented by the Freewill Folk Society.

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