Valley Falls, Washington County
French American Musicians and Rug Weavers
La Famille Ouimet actively practice the music, cooking, dances, and celebrations traditional in their family. In the early 1950s, family moved to Cohoes, where everybody in their neighborhood spoke French and worshipped at St. Anne's Roman Catholic Church. In those days, the Ouimets often went home to St. Jean, Quebec, for family occasions where they learned songs, some of which go back to medieval Brittany. For public performances, Bernard plays the traditional button accordion or keyboard, while his brother Normand plays the guitar. They both sing, often demonstrating traditional rounds or answering songs, as well as ballads. Nephews whom they have taught sometimes join them. Their mother Lucille is an accomplished needleworker, having taught Bernard's wife Francoise a very rare rug weaving tradition from old Quebec. They use a wagon wheel as a form and colorful scraps from the textile mills in Cohoes.
Click here to listen to the NCPR/TAUNY "Meet the Masters" program about the Ouimets.
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