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Les Franco-Americains


(Back Row- left to right) Raymond Belanger, Léonard Grenier Lionel Ouellette
(Front Row-left to right) Raymond Breault, Léo Dufresne

From a press release dated April 1991 we learn that Les Franco-Américains were a group of musicians of French Canadian descent who for many years entertained Merrimack Valley residents with their lively renditions of Québécois music. They frequently participated in the Lowell National Folk Festival. Lionel Ouellette is fiddler for the group, having learned from his father who taught him the old tunes he himself had learned while growing up in Sherbrooke, Québec. Léo Dufresne plays the lively French Canadian piano. He has been accompanying fiddlers since his teens, with a marked preference for the older Québécois style. Raymond Belanger has been a guitarist for Les Franco-Américains for several years. His solid rhythmic back up blends well with this lively style of music. Léonard Grenier, who plays the two-row button accordion, is a recent immigrant from Québec. He learned the accordion at a very early age and played often at dances and soirées.

We know that Mme Carole Dufresne-Lévesque acted as Mistress of Ceremonies for the group. Also involved were Mlle Régina Shearer, Mme Doris Lafortune, M. Raymond Lafortune, Mme Alberta Ouellette and M. Eddy Fleury.