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Local Acadian youth mixes talents with others from Chéticamp

TRURO – From songwriting to drumming to collaborating, that’s what local Acadian youth are doing with their friends from Chéticamp these days.

Michelle Deveau, left, and Céline Thimot have been spending some time together on a project through Heritage Canada. Deveau is one of about a half-dozen youth from Chéticamp that are working with francophone youth from Colchester County.

Gathered at the Centre communautaire francophone de Truro on Wednesday, about a dozen youth from the two communities worked with members of the band Grand derangement.

“What will benefit us the most is collaborating with another group,” said Céline Thimot, one of the local participants. “We haven’t done much of that.”

“Working with another group allows us to see what others are doing and maybe make us better as our own group,” added Michelle Deveau, who travelled from Cape Breton.

The partnership is coming together thanks to an application through Heritage Canada that sees Acadians from a minority situation joined together with a group from a francophone community. The two groups had met at Frogstock, a four-day event for youth to train in the arts – improvisation, dance, music and visual arts.

In the spring, youth will combine to perform two concerts – one in each community.

“It’s an opportunity for us to play, too,” said Deveau, 17. “For us as a group, we only play together at Frogstock, so this is an opportunity for us to practice as a group and prepare for Frogstock.”

While it’s not the first time for Thimot and Deveau to work with Grand derangement members, it is the first time for some from Chéticamp.

“It’s awesome,” Deveau said about working with the members. “They’re someone we look up to. We listen to their music and they’re Acadian, so we can relate to them. And it’s nice that they take the time to work with us.”

Thimot is a member of the centre’s francophone musical group ACA-Jam, which just released an album this past June.

Deveau is releasing her debut album next week.

“It features 10 original songs I wrote, as well as two traditional songs that I arranged,” she said. “I started writing at 11 years old and always knew I wanted to release an album, I just didn’t think it would be possible before I graduated.”

She said it took a year to work on and it’s nice to have it done.

For Thimot, the Heritage Canada project is giving her an opportunity to finish her first song.

“It’s done, but we’re still working on it,” she said, adding a songwriting workshop with members of Grand derangement is helping finish the piece. “It’s about Acadians, so that’s where I got the inspiration.”

But while the two groups of youth are working toward their spring concert, ACA-Jam is hosting its annual Christmas concert, Un Noel Acadien, tonight at the Marigold Cultural Centre.

“We will be singing from French Christmas songs and a few arrangements we have, while opening for Grand derangement,” said Thimot.

Showtime is 7 p.m.

Twitter: @TDNRaissa


WHO: ACA-Jam, a local francophone band, and Grand derangement

WHAT: Un Noel Acadien

WHEN: Dec. 18, 7 p.m.

WHERE: Marigold Cultural Centre on Prince Street

TICKETS: $25; available at the Marigold or MacQuarries Pharmasave on the Esplanade

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