The Electric Pencil

Back from Caraquet and the Grand Tintamarre

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Been off for a little while, but getting back into the swing of things. Funny how even just a week offline can really push you back from all things blogging & tweeting.

At the Grand Tintamarre

At the Grand Tintamarre

I was away on a little road-trip to l’Île d’Orléans, Tadoussac (to see the whales, of course), and Caraquet, NB, for the August 15th Acadian celebrations. It’s the Fête nationale d’Acadie, and they know how to celebrate. Caraquet is a small town of 5,000 people in north-eastern New Brunswick on the shores of the Baie des chaleurs. It’s a beautiful spot, and the hub for Aug. 15th celebrations in the area. On a normal year, the populatin swells to some 10 to 15,000 people. With the Congrès Mondial Acadien in town this year though, 50,000 people filled the main street of Caraquet to celebrate together.

The highlight was definitely the Grand Tintamarre, which roughly translates as The Big Ruckus or Racket. It was in 1755 that thousands of Acadians were deported from their homes in the Bitish colony where Nova Scotia stands today. While thousands died or never returned, some snuck back in, to the area that is now New Brunswick; many more came back when the deportation was eventually lifted, also to settle in New Brunswick.

Since returning, Acadians vowed to never again be forgotten or dismissed, so at 6pm on August 15th they gather in their streets with pots, pans, whistles, horns, and anything else that can make noise, and make the largest ruckus you’ve probably ever heard – for an entire hour. There’s definitely no way you can ignore that noise, and even just experiencing it and the 15th of August celebrations – even once – you’ll never doubt that Acadians are there to stay.

There’s so much history there – and so little of it known outside of the area – that myself and my travel-mates, Philippe and Danielle, couldn’t pass up the opportunity to record parts for the show we co-host on CKUT, Le lendemain de la veille. The result was an hour-long special broadcast that we produced a couple weeks ago. You can listen to the final product (about and hour long) below:

PS – We also had the chance to see the awesome group 1755 in concert. A truly amazing party band – if you ever have the chance to see them live, don’t pass it up. You can hear some of their music and an interview with their fiddler in the clip above, or look them up on Youtube to get an idea of them live…

Written by Tim McSorley

August 31, 2009 at 5:08 pm

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