Vishtèn’s new series introduces the crankie box

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Acadian trio Vishtèn (Pastelle LeBlanc, Emmanuelle LeBlanc and Pascal Miousse­) presents Connexions, a unique, limited-run season, debuting this summer. They’ve invited their friends, both Francophone and Anglophone, to celebrate the existing connections between Island musicians, and to create new relationships around Vishtèn’s music and the unique art form of the crankie box—small moving panoramas that tell a story visually.

Rowen Gallant and Jesse Périard, Teresa Doyle, Don Ross, Louise Arsenault and Hélène Bergeron, Catherine MacLellan and Tim Chaisson will each take a night. They’ll play a few of their own tunes as well as chiming in on Vishtèn’s blend of new and familiar material. Island artists Monica Lacey and Norah Pendergast are each creating one new crankie to illustrate a selected Vishtèn piece.

The reimagined and reinterpreted older repertoire lays the foundation for new material which will be featured for the first time in Connexions—original and adapted traditional songs and tunes electrified and modernised with Vishtèn’s line-up of fiddle, guitar, piano, whistle, piano accordion, bodhran, mandolin, banjo and percussive dance.

Pastelle LeBlanc fell in love with crankies when she came across the work of Sue Truman of The Crankie Factory but it was Leonard Podolak, artistic director of Home Routes and founding Director of the Winnipeg Crankie Festival, who assisted her in the creation of the crankie she first presented years ago.

A crankie has story scrolls that are cranked across a wooden box, using two pegs attached to vertical scrolls. The scrolls can be painted, illustrated, sewn, collaged or beaded, and range from simple sketches to intricately hand-stitched scenes.

There is a common thread in the inclusion of musician friends dropping in to reinterpret familiar material, and in presentation of the small, intricate, labour-intensive, hand-made crankies: an attention to and appreciation of beauty, time, depth… and connection.

Connexion dates/info: