Acadian Tradition: L'Escaouette
Marie Deveaux. Photograph by Ronald Caplan. Cape Breton's Magazine, Issue 30: 12. © 1972/2010 Ronald Caplan.
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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.

Marie Deveaux sings a more extended version 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. (Pat Aucoin sings just the first verse.) Through the lyrics, we are introduced to a "just married" couple who have not had supper yet.

This recording of Mrs. Marie Deveaux, age 75, was collected by Dr. Elizabeth Beaton in Belle Marche, August 1978.

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

Listen to an interview with Joe Delaney about La Chandeleur.

L'Escaouette, 1979. Marie Deveaux. T-1166. Beaton Institute, Cape Breton University.

About The Artist

For a period of thirty years, Marie Deveaux of Chéticamp worked tirelessly in the local rug-making economy. Due to her enthusiasm, devotion and talent, this Chéticamp industry underwent a new and phenomenal expansion. Her individual specialty was five-square-feet rugs featuring a sailing ship at sea by night.

In the 1940s, Marie à Luc would get a ten percent commission of the sales of the rugs which exhibited at her place during the summer for sale to tourists. For large rugs which she would commission, she would pay one dollar per square foot. She also accepted to buy rugs, at the same price as for the ones commissioned, from the ladies who wanted to sell to her directly, particularly in the wintertime because they needed the money.

She was an intelligent person, a woman of taste who was very adept at dealing with people. She was such a likeable woman and the rugs sold were of such beauty that the tourists who dealt with her, in effect, became her publicity agents. She sold only quality rugs, often retouching sections of the rugs that had been brought to her because they were not up to standards.

Marie à Luc bought jute canvas by the roll which she cut up in various sizes as required by the rugs to be made. She would stamp the designs on these canvases herself. She did this for most of the 200 people whom she represented.

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.