Written by Becka Viau
“I love P.E.I. but I haven’t spent a winter here…” is a statement I hear often from people who come from away. It suggests that an Island winter is hard to endure, and sure, it does get cold. It does get snowy, slippy and dark; the Island shrinks to its yearlong resident population. Things slow down. The snow brings the quiet, but I wouldn’t say it brings the sleepy.
Winter is my favorite time of year on P.E.I. not because I love the extreme altitude of Brookvale ski hill but because I love P.E.I. people. The true Island community surfaces during the winter months. What do we do here when it is cold, slippy and dark … well we bunker down and start to play, nourish and grow our friendships and our crafts. We potluck, drink wine and stick close together to get warm.
Winter is a great time to be an Islander. We have the place to ourselves! Well at least till Jack Frost and the East Coast Music Awards… but still I am so very happy to be an Islander, one that sticks around from November till April (it is true that winter can come early and stay late.) Surrounded by great people, great music and great food I wouldn’t dream of being anywhere else.
A common sight and sound at my best friends’ place, just down the road, are fiddles and drums, accordions, whistles and I can’t forget the keys. Traditional inspiration for my art and my life, I am so blessed to be a part of this great place!
When I was young I didn’t see the connection between me and tradition, maybe it was that New Kids on the Bloc and spandex were much more cool, but now as I enter my 29th year I am honored to know that Island traditions are being preserved and created by other people my age and all this happens just in my backyard. Kitchen parties are not a myth. They bring artists and families together, keeping old tunes and ways alive and creating new traditions and memories for the years to come.
My dear friends and dedicated “new traditionalists” Vishten are kicking off the wonderful season of kitchen parties and tunes with a Christmas concert at Harmony House in Hunter River tomorrow Saturday December 11, it is always a great show and I can’t wait see them play! They are often touring around the world, BUT winter brings them home (after a small christmas tour in France!) Welcome home.