Angèle Arsenault dies: Singer brought fame to Acadian music

Angèle Arsenault, the P.E.I. Acadian singer who gained fame with her French-language songs, has died.

P.E.I. Acadian singer Angèle Arsenault has died.

Angèle Arsenault recently returned to recording music after a long hiatus. (Angele Arsenault)

The well-known entertainer passed away Tuesday at a hospital in Quebec.

Arsenault was a member of the Order of Canada and Order of Prince Edward Island.

She was born in Abram-Village in the Evangeline region of P.E.I. in 1943, the eighth of 14 children, and grew up surrounded by music. She won her first singing contest at the age of 14.

Educated as a teacher she eventually moved to Quebec to pursue her musical career. She hosted several television shows for TVO in the 1970s. In 1974 her program Avec Angele won a Gold Hugo Award at the Chicago International Film Festival.

Radio Canada producer Audette Chaisson once shared a stage with Arsenault, and remembers the impact she had on Canada's musical culture.

"She was really the first woman bringing so much culture from P.E.I. in French," said Chaisson.

"A lot of people didn't even know at that time there were Acadians on the Island, speaking French, and she made all the culture of P.E.I. be known."

In 1977, her album Libre went triple platinum. Her music was popular across Canada, the U.S. and Europe.

She moved back to the Island in the mid 1990s to be closer to her family. Arsenault was commissioned to translate the lyrics for the P.E.I. 2014 celebration theme song Forever Strong, and was recently part of a show that travelled across Canada promoting events on P.E.I. celebrating 2014.