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Cajun band with Acadian ties returns to St. John Valley

FORT KENT, Maine — Shortly before boarding a connecting flight from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Bangor on Friday, Sept. 7, Shane Bellard, vocalist and accordion player for the Louisiana based band La Recolte said he is looking forward to returning to the St. John Valley to perform for the first time in three years.

“It does feel very much like home — the people, the culture — a whole lot like home,” Bellard said.

La Recolte will perform in the St. John Valley once again at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Fort Kent on Saturday, Sept. 8, at 7 p.m.

Band members are of Acadian descent so it is perhaps not surprising that when recalling previous visits to the Valley, Bellard describes the people here as “friendly and family oriented.”

“You really don’t meet a stranger when we go there,” Bellard said. “In addition to that, people are bilingual. They speak English and French. Whoever we meet there we can  communicate with.”

La Recolte performs only in French, and Bellard said that the St. John Valley is one of the few places besides their own home in Lafayette, Lousiana, where they find people who speak the language.

Their music is similarly authentic to their roots, according to Bellard.

“Our music is traditional Cajun music,” he said.

He said that while contemporary Cajun music embodies influences from rock and roll and blues, all of which he described as “great music,” modern musical culture has less of an influence on the stylings of La Recolte.

“Our music is more for 1940-1950 Cajun dance halls,” he said, “heavy two-steps, waltzes, traditional old-school French that was played by pioneers.”

The band previously visited the St. John Valley during the World Acadian Congress in 2014 and returned in June 2015 when they performed at the University of Maine at Fort Kent Fox Auditorium.

Tickets for the Fort Kent concert are $10 each and will be available at the door as well as at NAPA Auto Parts or by calling Raynold Blair at (207) 444-5923 or Warren Harvey at (207) 557-0968.

La Recolte will also perform during a special “Sunday on Sweden” concert in Caribou on Sunday evening during the 2018 BikeMaine event.

For more information about La Recolte check out their Facebook page or visit their website.

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