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Biddeford and Québec City get together to celebrate the French language

July 26 2018

Every summer, the community of Biddeford, Maine, holds a festival to honour its French-Canadian heritage: La Kermesse Franco-Américaine. This year, Québec City was there! The mayor of the historical East Coast locality, Alan Casavant, invited his Québec City counterpart, Régis Labeaume to support the event, which is significant for La Francophonie in that part of America. In response, Québec delegated an artist to attend the ever-popular celebration, which was held from June 22 to 24.

Musician Jordane Labrie represented Québec talent on the American stage. Originally from the Côte-Nord region, she was discovered through Volet Pro 2014, a program by the Québec organization L’Ampli to support up-and-coming musicians. After singing with the band Tous Azimuts for five years, she launched her solo career in 2018 with a striking performance at the televised talent show La Voix (The Voice). Her warm, expressive tones can be heard on the album Folk Expression, where she covers famous Canadian folk songs. An original album is currently under production.

Jordane’s participation in La Kermesse Franco-Américaine was a success. Her performance was heartily applauded by the Biddeford public. Was it the selection, a mix of American and Québec songs, with original compositions? Or was it the French-language interactions on stage? In any case, both the audience and the artist seemed to greatly enjoy the result.

The following week, the mayor of Québec City, Régis Labeaume, received Alan Casavant at the Hôtel de Ville de Québec (city hall) as the guest of honour of the July 3, 2018 celebrations marking the 410th anniversary of the founding of Québec City. The mayor of Biddeford was invited in recognition of his commitment to La Francophonie in the United States, his contributions to the Francophone and Francophile Cities Network (FFCN), and his attachment to Québec City.

The theme of the 410th anniversary celebrations was genealogy. Accordingly, Mr. Casavant and Mr. Labeaume each received a copy of their family tree, prepared by the Société généalogique de Québec. For Mr. Casavant, the gift was of particular symbolic importance, since his parents and grandparents all bore Franco-American names!

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