Butler, Edith

Edith Butler, singer-songwriter (b at Paquetville, near Caraquet, NB 27 July 1942). Through her stormy songs and her expressive warmth, Edith Butler helps spread Acadian culture. She has a master's degree in literature and in traditional ethnography from Laval University (1966-69). Since 1973 she has composed her own music, which assimilates folk styles, spirited rock and roll, blues and world music. She represented Canada at the International Exposition in 1970 at Osaka, Japan, and has sung for sold-out audiences in Ireland, England, Switzerland, Belgium, France and the United States. Some of the prestigious concert halls in which she has performed include the Olympia in Paris, PLACE DES ARTS in Montréal, Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto, le Grand Théâtre de Québec and Rebecca Cohen Hall in Halifax. She is co-founder of Éditions de l'Acadie, of Acalf (Aide à la création artistique et littéraire de la femme) and of SPPS (Société de production et de programmation de spectacles). Sometimes referred to as the "mother of Acadian music," Butler writes songs that reflect the Acadian and Micmac traditions that have shaped New Brunswick's history.

Among the numerous distinctions she has been awarded are the Helen Creighton Lifetime Achievement Award (1997) and the Grand Prix de l'Académie Charles-Cros in Paris (1983) for her album De Paquetville à Paris. She was made a member of the Ordre du mérite de la culture française by the Canadian Senate (1971), an officer of the Order of Canada (1975) and a knight of the Ordre de la Pléiade (1978). She received an honorary doctorate from Université de Moncton in 1985.

She was honoured with a "lifetime achievement award" at the East Coast Music Awards in 1997, and was given the National Order of Merit from France in 1999. Over her 40-year career she has recorded 27 albums, composed film music, notably for Arrabal's L'Empereur du Pérou, and has acted on television. Her most recent release is an Acadian-world music fusion album called Madame Butlerfly: Légendes Intemporelles (2003).