Vishtèn have been around for about 15 years, and Horizons is album number six for this trio. Consisting of Acadian sisters Pastelle and Emmanuelle LeBlanc from PEI and Pascal Miousse from the Magdalen Islands (Quebec), the three play multiple instruments and bring to life music that may have disappeared from the general population, were it not for artists and groups like Vishtèn. In their case, this band takes traditional Acadian music and mixes it with Celtic and French traditional music. While they have their own distinct style, it is within the ‘folk tradition’, or if you prefer ‘roots’.
This music, when played right — and Vishtèn do — transports the listener to another location, another time, and another state of mind. This is the kind of music where one can truly escape urban life. And that is no small feat. Some of the songs on Horizon are original compositions (such as the first single from the album, the brilliant, “Bi Bi Box”), while others are arrangements of traditional songs. The truth is, they run into each other perfectly and all fit together like a perfect puzzle.
Some of the songs are instrumental and are perfect in that form. A good example is “Les Sirènes à Roméo”, a beautiful song featuring not only incredible piano, but some incredible guitar work. It also is more Celtic than other tracks, and yet it fits in beautifully. A stunningly beautiful song. It is a good example of how they are able to blend styles, that in all honesty have been blended in the past. They understand the history of the music they are performing.
When they sing, it is angelic. The sisters harmonize together and for a perfect sound, factor in Miousse and the vocals are taken to a whole new level. Listen to “L’Hermite”. The fiddle, and percussion (sounding like step dancing) with those vocals all come together to form a song that begs to put on repeat.
The lyrics are in French, but you do not need to be bilingual to enjoy. You may not know exactly what the content is, but the emotion and spirit is all that is need to be heard. The album is full of fantastic music, sounds, melody, and vocals. It runs the gamut between melancholy to extreme joyfulness. It is a wonder to listen to, and Horizons has a flow that adds to the beauty of this album. Horizons takes you to many different horizons, which makes it such a great album title. In its whole, it is the perfect travelogue for your mind as you listen to some of the most beautiful sounds from yesterday and today. Vishtèn respect the past and the style of music, yet they are smart enough to know that this music needs to appeal to a 2018 audience and they succeed. Horizons is a brilliant album and one that is perfect for the fall weather upon us. Time to get into some truly Canadian roots.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: VISHTÈN – HORIZONS