Out here in the wilds of English-speaking British Columbia it’s easy to forget that we are a bilingual country. Princeton does have one or two French-Canadian residents, but we don’t hear French spoken in town unless it is tourists from Québec. But at the Princeton Traditional Music Festival there will be French singing in the streets.
Vazzy is a duo from Grand Forks consisting of Suzanne LeClerc and Bryn Wilkin. Suzanne is an Acadian francophone from New Brunswick who grew up in a singing family. Her grandfather used to sing songs at parties and family gatherings and Suzanne has embraced this tradition in her repertoire. She sings traditional songs in French from the Maritimes, Québec and from France. Audiences needn’t worry if they understand no French because Suzanne translates the songs, and the energy and beauty of her reditions almost transcend the need for translation; music is, after all, a universal language.
As well as being a superb singer, Suzanne is also a multi-instrumentalist who plays bodhran, doumbek, harmonica, jews harp and foot percussion. Her partner Bryn plays fiddle, banjo and oud (a kind of Middle Eastern lute) and accompanies Suzanne’s singing. The voice and the instruments together weave a compelling musical tapestry. Vazzy in French means “Let’s go!” and when Suzanne and Bryn play lively dance tunes from Québec and other parts of French Canada on their menagerie of instruments it’s hard to stay sitting.
Les Fleurs (picture) Sauvage from Kelowna will be offering more French-Canadian songs at the Festival. The singing trio is composed of artist-scholar Jeannette Angel and her daughters Eva Rae and Etta Marguerite Angel-Fox. Jeannette comes from a francophone background and grew up in Manitoba where she attended the Festival du Voyageur for years. Her children attend Ėcole de l’Anse-au-sable where they are immersed in a local francophene environment. Les Fleurs Sauvages sings a capella and will be sharing a rich repertoire of French-Canadian songs. Previously known as Les Racines, this will be their third appearance at the Princeton Traditional Music Festival.
France is the motherland of “La Francophonie” and Quebec, Acadia, Louisiana, and many other places are its children. On the Sunday afternoon of the Festival Vazzy and Les Fluers Sauvages will be joined by Chris Roe, Lyn Pinkerton and Rika Ruebsaat for the “Songs of la Francophonie” session at which you will hear songs from, Quebec, France and Acadia. The hour-long time slot will allow the singers to translate and explain the origins of the songs as well as giving the audience a wonderful cross section of francophone culture.
Vazzy, Les Fleurs Sauvages and the “Francophonie” session are just a few of the items on the rich menu of music available at the Princeton Traditional Music Festival. The Festival begins at 6:15 pm on Friday 14 August with an opening ceremony and a participatory dance on Veterans’ Way. On Saturday and Sunday there is music from 10 am until 6 pm right in downtown Princeton. It’s all free and everyone is welcome. If you would like to find out more, visit the Festival’s website at www.princetontraditional.org. If you’d like to help out at the Festival or billet a performer the committee would love to hear from you.
Admission is FREE. Events are held on several stages in the centre of Princeton and begin on Friday evening with a public street dance and an Irish ceili band. Between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday there's a potpourri of concerts, workshops, and jams.
This event is primarily for and about the performers. Traditional Music lacks venue in the west, so players, singers, dancers, and fans are willing to travel in order to meet up. Professional performers are making personal sacrifices in order to be here, but the many people who come just to listen attests to the unique value of this event. For those new to the Festival please have a look at the Our Story page to learn about how it started and what Traditional Music means to us.
Nestled among rolling hills of ranchland, the little town of Princeton is the gateway to the Okanagan. About 300 km from Vancouver, it is the first town after Hope along the Crowsnest Highway. Summers are hot and dry - just what we like for our festival which takes place mostly in the streets.
In addition to the sponsors, this festival is primarily supported by hard work and artists who perform for free. However, we aim to pay for artist's meals and at least part of their transportation costs. Please consider contributing in order to help maintain this important cultural event.
You can support the continuing operation of the festival by buying a $10 membership.
Every year we need a stage crew, MCs, office staff, and many other important helpers. If you want to be part of this exciting event in this way, please let us know. firstname.lastname@example.org
We encourage the sale of food, crafts, art, and more at the Festival. Please contact the Vendor Coordinator. email@example.com