ABRAM-VILLAGE – July 17, 2023 – People who love to party and dance will have plenty of reasons to shake a leg during the two end-of-summer evenings of dancing being organized as part of the Evangeline Region’s Agricultural Exhibition and Acadian Festival in Abram-Village
Festival-goers can look forward to seeing some familiar faces up on stage as the group Réveil will be making its 14th glorious Festival appearance on Saturday evening (Sept. 2) at the Évangéline and Gabriel Dance. But folks can also look forward to a little step back in time as square dancing is brought back to the Friday night (Sept. 1) at the fun-filled evening that’s just been renamed to « La Soirée des retrouvailles » (An Evening of Reunions), thereby putting an end to all references to devils and demons of the former « Djâble dans l’corps » evening.
In fact, it will be an evening of combined musical entertainment: Acadian country-folk music by Terry Melanson interspersed with instrumental tunes by popular accordionist and square dance caller Ghislain Jutras.
The two evenings of dancing will run from 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Tickets will be sold at the door only. Organizers suggest arriving early to secure the best seats. Note that the evening will also serve as a concert for those who don’t dance much.
These two wonderful evenings will help with the celebration of the theme of this year’s four-day event: « V’nez fêter chez nous! » (Come party with us!)
AN EVENING OF REUNIONS
Terry Melanson is a singer, guitar player and songwriter from Moncton, NB. Since the 1990s, he has played in various musical groups, often as lead singer. He has been greatly influenced by country artists and bands such as Alabama, Randy Travis and Glen Campbell. In 2009 and 2013, Melanson recorded two country-folk albums with the group Acajun, which won the 2007 « Future Choice » Award in Moncton. Many of the songs on these albums reached #1 on the region’s francophone charts. Since 2015, Melanson has also been the lead singer of the AcadieParty Band, which has also released a few chart-topping singles.
Although Terry enjoyed singing with these groups, he decided it was time to make a name for himself as a solo artist. After two years of writing and developing his new material, Terry was able to record his very first solo album in Nashville – a long-awaited dream finally come true. This country album contains 12 modern-sounding traditional songs. Terry wrote the songs in collaboration with other local songwriters. Once again, six of his songs topped the charts, from spring 2019 to fall 2021.
Ghislain Jutras has already appeared live on the Island a few times in recent years. His energetic, authentic and unifying style is much appreciated by the public, who love this traditional Québécois square dance caller who accompanies himself on diatonic accordion, jaw harp and seated stepdancing.
Jutras knows how to adapt to any type of audience. « Whether in a classical or electro-trad atmosphere, he takes pleasure in transmitting from evening to evening that touch of humanity unique to square-dancing sets! » notes his promotional material. Ghislain, who began performing in the 2000s, inherited his talent from his grandfather, who was well known as a dance caller in the 50s. He has performed across Canada and as far away as Haiti.
ÉVANGÉLINE AND GABRIEL DANCE
Southeastern New Brunswick band Réveil considers its appearance at the Acadian Festival a high point of its summer, a tradition that is much anticipated as its members know they’ll be welcomed with open arms by the crowd at Abram-Village.
As always, Réveil promises « 100 percent French music, a traditional Acadian feel, and an energetic show that promises to get everyone dancing! » Recognized as one of Acadia’s most popular musical groups, Réveil is made up of Matt Hayes on fiddle, Joey McKinnon on drums, Marc Léger on bass guitar, Nancy Blanchard on vocals, Brian Hébert on electric guitar, Kevin Arsenault on vocals and acoustic guitar, and Richard Bourque on mandolin, acoustic guitar and banjo.
Over the years, Réveil has recorded four albums: Sans problème (2007), Ah! Qu’il fait beau! (2009), On y va!!! (2012) and Allez, buvez (2016). The original songs on the album were penned by brother-sister duo Kevin Arsenault and Nancy Blanchard. Their music has been played extensively on French-language radio stations in the Atlantic region, and their presence is a must at any major celebration in Acadia and the Magdalen Islands.
And last spring, they were back in the studio to record the energetic hit « Olé, olé, les Acadiens ». Audiences can look forward to seeing the band perform it this summer.
PHOTO 1: Terry Melanson and his band play their fantastic country music at « La Soirée des retrouvailles », the Acadian Festival’s 2023 Friday night dance, Sept. 1.
PHOTO 2: Ghislain Jutras, the popular musician and dance caller, will lead square dances during « La Soirée des retrouvailles » on Friday evening, Sept. 1.
PHOTO 3: Réveil returns for its 14th appearance at the Acadian Festival, this year at the Danse d’Évangéline et Gabriel on Saturday evening, Sept. 2. Pictured, from left, are Marc Léger on bass guitar, Richard Bourque on mandolin, Kevin Arsenault on acoustic guitar, Nancy Blanchard on vest frottoir and vocals, and Matt Hayes on fiddle. Absent from photo: Joey McKinnon on drums and Brian Hébert on electric guitar.
For further information, please contact:
Agricultural Exhibition and Acadian Festival employee
Board of directors volunteer
Agricultural Exhibition and Acadian Festival