REVIEW, LA VIOLETTE
"La Violette connects generations to their history in New England, in Quebec, and in France to their history as Franco-Americans. It tells a story of a people connected through musical, linguistic, and cultural traditions, historical snapshots evoking time and place for the nearly lost roots of New England's Francophones. With sprightly songs, Choiniere beckons to audiences to listen to her cultural call, and increasingly, they do.
Feature Article, NPR Music News - July 6, 2010.
REVIEW, LA VIOLETTE
"Descendante de la migration canadienne-francaise en Nouvelle-Angleterre au debut du siecle dernier, Michele Choiniere suit les traces de la defunte Martha Pellerin que l'on avait connue avec le groupe Jeter le Pont. Franco-Americaine du Vermont, Choiniere porte fierement un repertoire traditionnel et populaire de chez elle, aussi bien que du Quebec, d'Acadie et de France, allant meme jusqu'a interpreter une piece de cabaret des annees 1920, deux de Piaf et le classique du country Quand le soleil dit bonjour aux montagnes. Elle chuchote, serpente bellement autour des melodies, penetre profondement les silences et les complaintes. Mais elle peut faire swigner le reel et la chanson a repondre, d'autant qu'elle est accompagnee par d'excellents musiciens, dont Sabin Jacques a l'accordeon ou aux percussions et Rachel Aucoin au piano impressionniste, dramatique ou rythmique. Un regard unique et senti sur notre histoire."
Reviewer, Le Devoir - August 6, 2010.
REVIEW, LA VIOLETTE
"I read the book The Town that Food Saved that focused on the food system of a village of 3,000 people, Hardwick, Vermont.
The author of the book mentioned a community of French-Canadians that immigrated to Vermont to set up dairy farms during the early
decades of the 20th century. While there are few French-Canadian dairy farms left in Vermont and many of the former Canadians
assimilated into American (US) culture, a few diehards such as Michele Choiniere still exist. And what is interesting about Choiniere
is that she collects music from Acadians, Quebecois, 20th century France and her own lineage in Vermont. She considers La Violette a
dance album and sure enough, you will find waltzes and soiree (kitchen party) send-ups on the album.
While there isn't enough space in a CD review to delve into contrasts and comparisons between the Franco-Vermont music and Cajun music
of Louisiana or traditional Quebecois fare, you will hear obvious connections such as a focus on waltzes (share with Cajuns), feet and
spoons playing out enticing rhythms and hearty call and response vocals (Quebecois), which is not surprising since the
Franco-Vermonters originally came from French-Canada.
Even of more importance is Choiniere's choice of songs which she collected, and her powerhouse voice that lends itself well to the
Edith Piaf songs she covers on La Violette. In fact, she embodies Piaf and at times is a dead ringer for the late singer. She
provides two versions of Padam, Padam - the first version features guitar and gypsy-style violin and the second her vocals are backed
by Rachel Aucoin's piano, which in itself conjures up a French cabaret atmosphere. On the Piaf song Tu es Partout the French gypsy
violin returns. These aren't the only two gems on an album filled with show stoppers.
Vive la rose features solo voice with beautiful inflections and sharp intonation. The lament sur le pont de Londres follows with its
haunting and melancholic atmosphere. Aucoin's piano contributes to the sadness with its solemn tones. But before too many tears are
lost, the musicians perform a flirtatious French classic (from the 1920s) Brind'Amour. The accordion solo performed by Sabin Jacques
alone has the ability to entice and with Choiniere's rousing vocals, irresistible. A rousing wedding song follows and we're up on our
Listening to La Violette feels delightful, almost like a guiltless pleasure. I can hear why Choiniere has chosen to preserve these
songs and her heritage. I'm thankful that she has chosen to share it with us. (As I play this CD, the chickadees outside my window
Reviewer, The Whole Music Experience - August 15, 2010.
FEATURE INTERVIEW WITH MICHELE
"Choiniere's finely detailed, emotionally rich music is a testament to Franco-American creativity.
It's also a channel through which tradition meets modernity: Her work combines the rugged vitality
of Quebecois folk music with the wistful poetry of cabaret and cafe culture. ...[Her} 2003 solo debut,
Coeur Fragile, was well received by both traditional music enthusiasts and world-pop fans. Its elegant
simplicity belies a sophisticated compositional style, one that evokes both the passion of French-Canadian
folk and Old World romanticism."
Music Editor, Seven Days Newspaper, Feb. 8-15, 2006.
Seven Days article
REVIEW, COEUR FRAGILE
"St. Albans native Michele Choiniere has been working on this recording of traditional French-Canadian and original songs for years. Now that it's finally here -- just in time for performances at the Enosburg Opera House on November 29 and at First Night Burlington [at the Flynn Theatre Main Stage] -- longtime fans and first-time listeners alike will be impressed and delighted. Choiniere has always been inspired by the late, great Martha Pellerin, who was also an important voice for French music in Vermont. On Coeur Fragile (fragile heart) she rises to the challenge of presenting new material along with traditional music that she's sung all her life. The mix works. Choiniere sings beautifully in both French and English, and is accompanied here by past and present members of Matapat and Le Vent du Nord, two of the hottest Canadian bands going. The result is sometimes jazzy, sometimes tres romantique, and always full of heart. Choiniere's... show[s] will include a performance by Le Vent du Nord, which absolutely guarantees a spectacular night of music."
Host, All the Traditions radio program, Vermont Public Radio
Reviewed in Seven Days Newspaper, V. 9, No. 14, Nov. 26-Dec. 3, 2003.
Seven Days Newspaper
Michele Choiniere is
"a singer-songwriter of great talent and promise. Writing and singing in
both English and French, she powerfully expresses her cultural identity
as a bilingual Franco-American from the New England borderlands. Her repertory
and vocal style are as eclectic as they are evocative: jaunty French cabaret
songs rub elbows with contemplative ballads and pop-tinged lyrical folk
melodies. The overarching emotion of this music is a dark gaiety, sophisticated
and brooding. Ms. Choiniere represents contemporary New England "roots"
music at its best."
-Dr. Ted Levin
Ethnomusicologist and Professor of Music
Dartmouth College, NH
"....from the experience
of a young woman growing up in a predominantly French speaking culture
in Northwestern Vermont, with a balanced appetite for modern influences
and fresh ideas, comes a side of Michele I am utterly delighted to discover.
Her new CD is the equivalent of a coming out party for an important new
artist. As a friend and admirer of the Michele I thought I knew, let me
be the first to introduce you to the Michele everyone should know about
and listen to."
Founder and Past-President Champlain Valley Folk Festival
"Michele is a fine example of a young and talented
Franco-American Artist whose creativity includes cultural expression.
She draws from her rich cultural heritage and creates an exciting contemporary
sound. An inspiration to others!"
-the late Martha Pellerin
Franglais Cultural Center,