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All Artists



Filtering by Category: Magdalen Islands

Stéphane Boudreau

Kith Folk

Our search for Stéphane Boudreau started with a video of a Madelinot fiddler playing a great tune for the Mi-Carême celebration. Unfortunately, all the musicians wore masks and we had no idea who was playing the tune. Then we found another video where the same group of musicians were sitting in costume but without the masks. We send a copy of this video to our good friend Bertrand Déraspe and he told us that the fiddler in the video was Stéphane Boudreau, who had been one of his students and was his second cousin. The tune he was playing was Reel du Pic Dûre and Bertrand had taught it to him. The videos were made by Micheline Cyr, who made a whole series of YouTube video of the Mi-Carême celebrations of the Magdalen Islands. To view the videos, click on the links below:

Masked Musicians

Unmasked Musicians




On a trouvé le violoneux Stéphane Boudreau grâce à une vidéo des célébrations de la Mi-Carême aux Îles-de-la-Madeleine. On a demandé à notre ami Bertrand Déraspe s'il connaissait le violoneux et il nous a répondu que c'était Stéphane Boudreau, son petit cousin et un de ses anciens élèves. Le morceau qu'il joue s'appelle "le reel du Pic dûre".

Avila LeBlanc

Louis Leger

Avila was born March 14th, 1914 and died July 13th 2010 at Gros-Cap in the Magdalen Islands off the coast of Canada. He was 96 when he died and during his lifetime he was celebrated as a fisherman, folklorist and fiddler. He fished for lobster and herring in Baie de Plaisance with his father and brothers. During his lifetime he gathered stories about the life and times of the Madelinots and was a respected storyteller and oral historian. He was a friend of Père Anselme Chiasson, the great collector of folklore and a co-author with Jean-Claude Delorme of the book « Histoires Populaires des Iles » (A Popular History of the Islands). He is cited in another book as the guardian of the oral tradition of the islands: « Deux Cents Ans d’Histoire aux Iles de la Madelaine » (Two Hundred Years of History in the Magdalen Islands). Above all, Avila was a great fiddler. His father bought him his first fiddle for 38 cents. Finally, his uncle bought him a Simpson/Sears fiddle for $50 and this is the one he played for gatherings and dances through the 1950’s to the 1970’s. Many of his tunes were recorded by the department of folklore studies at the Université Laval and there are also recordings at the University of Moncton. Robert Richard, the Archivist at the Centre d'Etudes Acadiennes Anselme Chiassson has graciously sent us some recordings of Avila Leblanc which we share below along with an approximate notation. Many of Avila's tunes are without titles and are known as either Rabestans (short pieces), Cotillons, Reels, and Gigues (Stepdances). La Bottine Souriante featured one of his tunes "Air de Cotillon"  in a Pot-Pouri (medley) called "Surf and Turf" on their CD: "Tout Comme au Jour de l'An". Another great fiddler who knows and plays many of Avila's tunes is Lisa Ornstein. On her CD: "Par un Beau Samedi d'Eté" (One Fine Summer Day), she plays a medley of a cotillons sandwiched between two rabestans in "La Suite des Madelinots".

Lisa Ornstein also posted one of Avila's rabestans on her monthly blog of fiddle tunes. Click on the link for her version of Le Petit Métier.

Bertrand Déraspe

Louis Leger

Bertrand Déraspe is a fiddler from the Magdalen Islands (Iles de la Madelaine), a small chain of islands off the East Coast of Canada. He was born in Point-aux-Loups and worked as a lobster fisherman when not busy fiddling. He inherited a large répertoire of Acadian and "madelinots" tunes from his father, Arnold Deraspe and other Acadian fiddlers. Bertrand started playing fiddle when he was 4 years old and was already playing for weddings when he was 6. He has been a member of various music groups, including Suroit, Les Clapotis, and Vent'arrière. He recorded a solo album called "Mes Racines" (my roots) - featuring the traditional fiddle style of the Magdalen Islands as well as other Acadian styles from PEI and Chéticamp in Cape Breton.

The Magdalen Islands are a group of small islands in the shape of a fishook that lie in the Gulf of St. Lawrence between New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Gaspé and Newfoundland. You can get there by airplane but the most rewarding trip is by boat, either from Montreal (3 days and 2 nights) or on a 5 hour ferry ride from Souris in Prince Edward Island. The main sources of income are fishing, hunting and tourism. The fiddling tradition is very strongly tied to the fishing industry and the "Madelinots" share the rich maritime tradition of the Acadians from PEI, New Bruswick and Cape Breton. We first discovered Bertrand through his CD "Vent'arrière" with Patrice Deraspe and Carole Painchaud. The first tune was "Célestin à Jos" and it totally blew us away. The recording starts off with the "toc-a-toc" sound of the old one lung "Make or Break" fishing boat motor and the fiddler takes up the off-beat rhythm and launches into the tune without a pause. 

Below are some of Bertrand's tunes that he taught at the Festival of American Fiddle tunes in Port Townsend WA. They are played slowly.

Pascal Miousse

Louis Leger

Pascale Miousse, the fiddler for the super group Vishtèn, is a native of the Magdalen Islands. From the ages of 4 to 10 he took classical violin lessons then started playing guitar with his dad. At 14 he learned bass and toured with a traditional folk group and at 20 went on a 10 year tour of eastern Canada. He joined Vishtèn in 2002 at the Franco-Fête in Moncton, New Brunswick.

Shediac Bridge

Shediac Bridge

Below is a video of Pascale Miousse playing one of Bertrand Déraspe's tunes: "C'est Fret sur le Picassou" 

Steeve Poirier

Louis Leger

Steeve Poirier is a self-taught fiddler from Havre aux Maisons on Iles de la Madelaine. He is representative of the new generation of Madelinot fiddlers and has recorded two albums with his group Rebels, as well as a solo CD Chemin des Sources.

Steeve and Emy Poirier. Photo by Maude G Jomphe, from the book   Têtes de violon : 64 violoneux des îles de la Madeleine.

Steeve and Emy Poirier. Photo by Maude G Jomphe, from the book Têtes de violon : 64 violoneux des îles de la Madeleine.

Mathieu Gallant

Louis Leger


A native of the Magdalen Islands, Mathieu Gallant is equally at home playing Madelinot as well as Québécois tunes. He started learning fiddle at 4. He also learned to play saxophone and joined a Reggae band for travels to Québec, Western Canada and Central America. He moved to Montreal a few years ago to devote himself to learning crooked fiddle tunes and also taught at the PEI Fiddle Camp in 2012. He has a Facebook page - check it out: