Valley Falls, Washington County
French American Musicians & Rug Weavers 

La Famille Ouimet actively practice the music, cooking, dances, and celebrations traditional in their family. In the early 1950s, the 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 TAUNY/NCPR “Meet the Masters” story about La Famille Ouimet.

See this video to learn about Francoise Ouimet’s wagon wheel rug making.



Click and listen to the audio clips below to learn more about La Famille Ouimet:

Bernie and Norm explain how they present the old song to modern ears.


Bernie describes the changing role that music plays in French American families.


The Ouimets sing the rousing traditional Vive La Compagnie.


The Ouimets sing the traditional French Canadian Le Petit Marie.

  • Award Inherited Traditions
  • Award Year 1994
  • Region Valley Falls, NY (Washington County, Mohawk Valley)
  • Categories Religion & Ethnicity