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Franco American Fiddler
Donna Hébert, Franco American Fiddler, 2008; Donna Hébert; Amherst, Massachusetts;
Donna Hébert, Franco American Fiddler, 2008
Donna Hébert
Amherst, Massachusetts
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Donna Hébert
Amherst, MA
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"Our audiences are drawn from both folk music and Franco-American communities, schools and colleges, but we always know when the audience is French. Not only do they get the jokes and sing the response lines to our songs, but more than one Franco concert-goer has jumped out of their seat spontaneously stepdancing"

Donna Hébert's cultural roots run as deep as the syncopated rhythms of the Franco-American fiddle music that she is most known for. Born into a third generation immigrant family, her natural gift for music was nurtured in the traditional house parties (soirees) and public dances of her Franco-American upbringing. In addition to violin lessons, the tunes from these traditional musical gatherings primed her for a life in music. Beginning in her twenties, Hébert began to play at contradances; and since 1974, she has played French fiddle tunes for more than a thousand contra and square dances. However, this isn't the only accomplishment that sets her apart from fellow Franco-American fiddlers. In 2005, she spearheaded the Beaudoin Project, named after the legendary Franco-American fiddler Louis Beaudoin, whose playing style and repertoire were formative in Hébert's growth as a musician.

In 1973, Beaudoin met Hébert at the Barre, Vermont fiddle contest, where he immediately recognized the young woman's ambition and talent. Soon after, they were playing together regularly at musical gatherings in the Beaudoin family's home. It was in this setting that Hébert learned Beaudoin's syncopated swing that is so characteristic to Quebecois fiddling style. Since Beaudoin's untimely death in 1980, Hébert has continued to keep his repertoire and playing style alive through her own music, as well as through the work of the Beaudoin Project. In addition to studying Quebecois (inland) fiddling style with Louis Beaudoin, Hébert is also an accomplished Acadian (Canadian maritime) fiddler, a style learned from Gerry Robichaud. Today, Hébert tours with her bands Chanterelle, The Beaudoin Legacy, Great Groove Band, and Groovemama. She teaches and performs across the nation in opera houses, festivals, concert series, and school assemblies. It is Hébert's dedication to the distinctive French flair of Acadian and Quebecois fiddling styles that has earned her the respect and admiration of fellow Franco-American fiddlers and music fans. In 2006, Donna Hébert was named a Mass Cultural Council Finalist in the Traditional Arts. Two years later, she was awarded a Mass Cultural Council Artist Fellowship in the Traditional Arts.
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