Since we’re still in the series of posts which talks about Dolbeau-Mistassini, let’s talk about one of the city’s native sons: Mario Pelchat. Pelchat was born in Dolbeau-Mistassini. He moved away as a child, but still grew up in the region not far from Dolbeau-Mistassini.
Perhaps one of the best ways to describe him is by saying he’s possibly Québec’s own version of “Michael Bolton”. I suppose there are a number of comparisons to be made.
- Both sing very similar styles of music – “pop rock ballads”.
- Both were huge in the 1990s and saw a good deal of career success in the 1980s (and they’re still both very famous to this day).
- Both garnered international fame (Mario Pelchat became quite famous in many Francophone countries, such as France, Switzerland, Lebanon and Belgium, whereas Michael Bolton became quite famous in Anglophone countries, such as Canada, the UK and Australia).
- Both began their careers quite young (Pelchat was a star at a much younger age when he was in his late teens and early 20’s, capturing a solid fan base of an entire generation).
- And just like Michael Bolton, Mario Pelchat has the ability to sell out concert halls everywhere he goes (even to this day).
Actually, if you’re learning French, perhaps MarioPelchat’s song would be perfect to help with your studies. Because he sings pop rock “ballads”, his songs and the pace of the lyrics are quite slow and well enunciated. They just might be the type of lyrics which are conducive to learning French.
Here’s an interesting personal anecdote I have which involved Mario Pelchat… When I lived and worked for a couple years in Lebanon, I quickly came to realize that everyone of a certain generation there knows Mario Pelchat (at least it seemed that way). He spent a good deal of time performing in Lebanon in the 1990s (the post civil-war years), and many Lebanese associate him with the “good times” the country went through as the war finished and they began to rebuild. It’s kind of funny actually… when people in Lebanon of a particular generation found out I was Canadian, they’d often ask me three things:
- Are you from Montréal? (to which I finally started to lie and simply said yes, because it was just too complicated to say I was from another part of the country! You have to keep in mind that everyone in Lebanon seemingly has at least one relative or friend in Montréal – and for them, Canada pretty much has no other cities),
- Is your French accent the same as Celine Dion’s? (always an awkward question – I’d just get blank stares if I said “actually, my accent has a bit more of an Alberta twinge to it” – hahaha), and
- Do you know Mario Pelchat?
It’s funny to find out what first comes to mind when people around the world think of your country – and those impressions certainly are not static, and tend vary from place to place. In Lebanon, Mario Pelchat is definitely one of the first Canadian subjects people think of – go figure!
He is also associated with the biggest of the big music names in Québec and in the French world (he’s certainly part of that small inner circle of the biggest names), many of whom have already been featured in this blog.
Suffice to say, I could write quite a bit. Pelchat has had his fair share of career ups and downs (but I’d say far more ups than downs). But instead of going on, I’ll simply refer you to the Wikipedia articles if you want to know more (the French article is particularly comprehensive):
- French Wikipedia article: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mario_Pelchat
- English Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mario_Pelchat
You would have to search far and wide to find someone in Québec or Francophone Canada who does not know Mario Pelchat. He has been on our TV screens and on the radio for the past 30 years.
The song I know him best for (and which I think most people in Québec and most Francophones across know word-for-word) would be:
- Je ne t’aime plus
Other songs which are well known include
- Perdu l’envie d’aimer
- Quand on y croit (a bit older)
- Pleurs dans la pluie
- Les femmes
- Reste-là (an older hit from the 1980s)
- Voyager sans toi
- Le Semeur
- Noël à Jerusalem
Pelchat has also sung a good number of French country songs (you may recall the earlier post on Québec country music which I wrote. Click here for it). One of his more popular country songs (a duet with Paul Daraîche) is Rosalie.
Anyway, check out his songs and videos… particularly Je ne t’aime plus. His work is available for sale through various venues. Please stick to official sites and do not pirate (our artists are part of our cultural fabric).
SERIES: THE WORST CITIES?? SERIOUSLY?? DON’T BE SO QUICK TO JUDGE!! (5 POSTS):
- The worst cities? — Don’t be so quick to judge! — Part 1: Introduction (#157)
- Dolbeau-Mistassini – The worst cities? — Don’t be so quick to judge! — Part 2 (#158)
- Port-Alberni – Les pires villes? — Ne soyez pas si prompt à « appuyer sur la détente » — Partie 3 (#159) (in French)
- Mario Pelchat – Dolbeau-Mistassini’s “native son” — Part 4 (#160)
- Rick Hansen – de Port-Alberni — Part 5 (#161) (in French)