Acadian Tradition: L'Escaouette

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About This Song

The second of February is the Chandeleur, Candlemas, or The Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Traditionally people would gather at a house, bringing lots of food. They sang, danced, and distributed the extra food they had brought to the poor.

In this selection, Pat Aucoin presents us with the first verse of the song which is a collage of bits and pieces, unrelated colourful scenes which, when set to lively music, are meant to evoke excitement. (Marie Deveaux performs a more extended version.) Through the lyrics, we are introduced to a "just married" couple who have not had supper yet.

This interview with Pat Aucoin was recorded by Dr. Elizabeth Beaton in Chèticamp, August 1978. He was 83 years old at the time.

Please refer to the Acadian song En Vous R'Merciant for another La Chandeleur piece.

Listen to an interview with Joe Delaney about La Chandeleur.

L'Escaouette, 1978. Pat Aucoin. T-239. Beaton Institute, Cape Breton University.

About The Artist

Patrick (Pat) à Joseph à Dosite Aucoin was born February 18, 1894 and grew up in Saint-Joseph-du-Moine, Inverness County. On January 18, 1917, he married Marie-Belle (à Frédéric "Minou" Desveaux, better known as Minnie). They were married for sixty-eight years and had twelve children: Freddie, Élizabeth, Lucie Mae, Léo, Philias, Thérèse, Hermine, Célina, Stella, Catherine, Gérard and Thomas.

For many years, Pat Aucoin was the leader of La Chandeleur in Saint-Joseph-du-Moine. This Acadian celebration would take place on February 2nd in a particular house from each district. On the last day of January and the first day of February, the young men would gather with their sleds to haul food for La Chandeleur. They would go door-to-door to collect the food. Pat Aucoin, the leader, went in first holding the cane of La Chandeleur. Pat and the other men would sing and dance L'Escaouette.

Pat and Minnie thrived on family and friends. They were the nucleus of many get-togethers and reunions and were always proud of their Acadian ancestry.

Lyrics

C'est monsieur I'marié et madam' marié. (bis)
C'est monsieur, madam' mariés qu'ont pas encore soupé. (bis)

Un p'tit moulin sur la rivière,
Un p'tit canot pour passer I'eau.

Le feu sur la montagne, boy run, boy run,
Le feu sur la montagne, boy run away.

J'ai vu le loup, le r'nard, le lièvre,
J'ai vu la grand' cité sauter.

J'ai foulé ma convert', couvert', vert', vert'.
J'ai foulé ma convert', couverte aux pieds.

Aouenne, aouenn', guenille.
Ah, rescou' ta guenille,

Aouenne, aouenne, aouenne, nippaillons.
Ah, rescou' tes brillons.

Tibounich', Nabet', Nabette.
Tibounich', Nabat.

Tibounich', Nabet', Nabette.
Tibounich', Nabat.

Translation:

It's Mr groom and Mrs bride; (twice)
It's Mr and Mrs newly wed,
Who haven't had supper yet. (twice)

A little mill on the river,
A little canoe to get over the water.

The fire on the mountain, boy run, boy run;
The fire on the mountain, boy run away.

I've seen the wolf, the fox, the hare;
I've seen the grand city leap.

I've milled my blanket, blanket, blanket, blanket;
I've milled over my blanket, blanket.

Aouenne, aouenne, raggedy dress;
Ah, mend your raggedy dress,

Aouenne, aouenne, aouenne, little oneI
Ah, mend your remnants (of cloth).

Tibounich', Nabet', Nabette.
Tibounich', Nabat.

Tibounich', Nabet', Nabette.
Tibounich', Nabat.