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Today’s French hit music countdown (#134)

Many of you may be looking for new music for your iPod or MP3 player to listen to while jogging away the Christmas pounds. It has been three months since I gave the last hit music countdown. Instead of averaging the rankings from several different radio stations like I did last time, I’ll provide you with the count-down rankings from three separate radio stations. Some names you’ll definitely recognize from the last countdown I provided.  Some singers have also been the topics of previous posts. From Sirius XM Satellite Radio – Station Franco:

  • # 1 – “Translators” by Louis-Jean Cormier
  • # 2 – “Piscine” by Fanny Bloom
  • # 3 – “Supernova” by Koriass
  • # 4 – “Ces gens qui dansent” by Gazoline
  • # 5 – “Dernier jour” by Hôtel Morphée
  • # 6 – “La Jeunesse féline” by La Bronze
  • # 7 – “Lumière” by Alfa Rococo
  • # 8 – “Le matin des raisons” by Philippe Brach
  • # 9 – “Ej feel zoo” by Radio Radio
  • #10 – “Rest Area” by David Marin

From Radio NRJ 93,4 FM – Montréal: 

  • # 1 – “Lili” by Vincent Vallières
  • # 2 – “L’amour est un monstre (avec Karim Ouellet) ” by Misteur Valaire
  • # 3 – “Fleur bleue” by Simon Boudreau
  • # 4 – “Maxyme” by Caravane
  • # 5 – “Révolver” by Sally Folk
  • # 6 – “Là dans ma tête” by Marc Dupré
  • # 7 – “Je cours après Marie” by Patrice Michaud
  • # 8 – “Menteur” by Jonathan Painchaud
  • # 9 – “Le sexe des anges” by Alfa Rococo
  • #10 – “Vivre pauvre” by Alex Nevsky

From Radio CKOI 96,9 FM – Montréal :

  • # 1 – “Comme Joe Dassin” by Les Cowboys Fringants
  • # 2 – “Lili” by Vincent Vallières
  • # 3 – “Good Life” by Jonas & The Massive Attraction
  • # 4 – “Retour à l’institut” by Les Trois Accords
  • # 5 – “Désaccordé” by Éric Lapointe
  • # 6 – “Je cours après Marie” by Patrice Michaud
  • # 7 – “Dans ma tête” by Marc Dupré
  • # 8 – “La bonne franquette” by Kaïn
  • # 9 – “C Okay” by Swing
  • #10 – “Sommeil” by Stromae

The above music is available for purchase through various online platforms.  When searching for music or videos, please stick to official websites and do not pirate.  Our artists are part of our cultural fabric. Bonne écoute!


Marina Orsini (#117)

The snow finally let up, and you know the sun is out when the sidewalks of Montréal are invaded by… well… holiday elves and raindeer (you know, just the usual same old, same old…) 🙂   (and no… the pic is not of Marina Orsini, unless you think I look like her… which I don’t!  lol 🙂 )


This post is about one of those actresses who has filled some of the best known roles in Montréwood television drama series.

Marina Orsini is currently a radio host of one of Montréal’s more popular easy-listening radio stations, Rouge FM.  But she’s better known for her roles in some of the hottest, and highest rated TV drama series of the past 20 years.

One such series was Lance et compte, about a fictitious hockey team and the lives of those associated with the team.  The series was aired over the course of two eras… an initial block of seasons on TQS (now Télé-Québec) in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and then as a come-back series on the TVA network from 2006 to 2012.   Its TV viewership rarely dipped below 1,000,000 viewers, and on occasion it would surpass 3,000,000 viewers.

Marina Orsini was also one of the main stars in the TV drama Les filles de caleb which aired on Radio-Canada in the early 1990s (as well as in France).   It was about a fictional family’s rural hardships in early 20th century Québec.   This program is said to have attracted one of the highest television viewer audiences of all time in Québec, surpassing 3,600,000 viewers (with only La Petite Vie, and Star Académie having garnered more viewers).  In France, an average of more than 4,000,000 people followed the series.

I personally was a big fan of her other series;  the Radio-Canada drama series Urgence which ran from 1995 to 1997.  These were my first couple of years in university and there was a small group of us who would occasionally get together in our university dorm to watch the weekly episodes back in Edmonton.   It was set in a Montréal hospital, and featured the dramatic lives of hospital staff.

Orsini also starred in many other television series of varying degrees of success.

In the “Qui êtes-vous?” family history program, she traced her family roots to Italy, the US, Ontario and Scotland.  This was one of the episodes of the program which, again, debunked the false belief that Québécois and  France geneology are synonymous with each other.  You can’t get much more Québécois than Marina Orsini, despite her having no French roots.   The episode of the program featuring Orsini was particularly touching – her mother was suffering from cancer, and just before her mother passed away, both Orsini and her mother made the on-camera trip to Italy to find their roots – one of the last major mother-daughter moments they spent together.

When Orsini was speaking to Scottish genealogists in the episode, I was surprised to notice that she didn’t have a French accent when she spoke English (she spoke with a Standard English Canadian accent).   Only later did I find out that she attended high school in English in Montréal – I found that quite interesting.  I’m always impressed when I see people who can effortlessly transcend the linguistic divide in this manner.

Denise Bombardier (#94)

I have have it in the back of my mind for quite some time to write a post on Denise Bombardier.  But I’ve been at a loss on how to describe her.   In a nutshell, she’s complex because of her varied interests and varied background.  Yet everyone seems to know and understand her in a simple kind of way.  They know who she is as a person and what can be expected from her.   In that sense, I can probably capture who she is in a few paragraphs if I just shoot from the hip.

She is in her mid-70’s, but has the energy of someone in their mid 30s.  She has had a 40 year career in the public light and media – with much of her career as a current affairs, societal, and commentary talk-show host.  Year after year she has published books on societal topics from A to Z, and she remains a high-profile columnist.

Through her publicly expressed opinions, she has become very influential in political circles by way of attracting public attention to various issues of societal concern.  She has never been a politician, but she is almost like the elder statesman/stateswoman who never was.

She does not shy away from controversial issues – which I suppose is her hallmark.  When she talks, people tune in and listen.

Bombardier has not hosted her own television talk show for a number of years, but that does not mean we see her any less (she does have a column in Le journal de Montréal… and considering the nature of the newspaper, I think it may have taken many by surprise – considering I and many other would probably have pegged her as a Le Devoir type of person).

Apart from being known for her strong views, she is also well known for publicly maintaining a “high-level” of French.  If you’re learning French (and many of the readers of this blog are learning French at a basic or elementary level), Mme. Bombardier may be someone who you would like to follow.   She speaks in standard Quebecois and International French, but she is known to incorporate an expanded and well-enunciated vocabulary into her speech — sometime with a more complex grammar (basically, she speaks “literary” French, which is the type of French Anglophones learn in school).   In this sense, she is to Francophone Canada what Conrad Black might be to Anglophone Canada when it comes to how she speaks.

Here is a video of an interview with Denise Bombardier (in French) made by program “Carte de visite” of TFO (Ontario’s public French-language broadcaster.  This is one of the better (and more enlightening) works I have seen on the subject of Denise Bombardier.

Denise Bombardier holds a Ph.D in sociology and a degree in political science.   In this context, she`s also an accomplished author on subjects as diverse as relationships, the role of French in society, societal morals, how society (especially Québec’s) should be viewed, and its current evolution.   Her views are strong, and very nationalistic.

She is particularly known for her on-air debates and exchange of opinions with some of the widest swaths of society, both influential figures, and experts alike.

One of the things which strikes me is just how much media attention she attracts, and the scale of her media presence.   It’s no exaggeration to say that she shows up everywhere.   In the span my entire life, whenever I have tuned into any francophone media, it would be rare to have not seen her, or to have not heard of her at least once every few days (a minimum of once a week).  It baffles me to think that someone can possibly be everywhere, all the time.  In this sense, I “grew up” with her in the background (like the family member who never was).

You could sometimes easily get the impression she is doing an interview in Montréal one morning, then seemingly attends a sit-down interview in Paris later that evening, an appearance the next day on a morning radio interview show in Québec City, then magically appears as an audience member at a gala awards event in Montréal the following day – I mean… seriously, holy crap!   It has been like this for as long as I can remember — and I’m in my late 30s..

She speaks her opinion and can be a passionate, emotional, and determined debater.   Only those who have very honed and strong debating skills seem to be able to hold their own against her.  However, her objectivity comes through in her ability to place her opinions it in the context of an overall opinion scale.

She’s very sure of herself and knows exactly where she stands with respect to others and societal issues.  But she has been known to vehemently shoot the arguments of others down if they can’t hold their own when they debate against her.  That’s perhaps why she attracts such a wide audience (of both like-minded people, and those with different views from her’s).  Tongue in cheek – If she were still a student at university, she would not be the head of the debating team, but rather she would be the head of the entire provincial debating association 😉 .

With that being said, I have seen many many instances where she holds an admirably cool-head, proving she knows there’s a proper time and place for debate, as well as a proper time and place for balanced, paced discussion (she has a keen sense of what others think, and she can objectively evaluate other’s opinions – before adding her own comments).

She’s often solicited as a commentator by right wing media, left wing media, sovereignist slanted media personalities, and federalist media personalities.

Unfortunately, I’ve never seen her appear in cross-Canada Anglophone media, which is a shame (a crime, really).  She could add a completely different perspective to many issues Anglophones would be interested in hearing about (many many issues which Francophones and Anglophones across Canada share and live with on a daily basis).  Interestingly, despite her assertive/aggressive debating style and nationalistic inclinations, I believe she would have the tact, and above all, the patience with which to wander through the murky waters of the Two Solitudes.

But it’s because of her accentuated criticism of all political stripes (she can be very critical of the sovereignist movement despite her own affirmations), that I would love to see her regularly appear in Anglophone media.   I assume she speaks English, but I don’t know for sure.   (Her husband is British, but I assume he speaks French owing to his professional background).

Her passion is for Quebec’s society.  She often relates her passion in the context of eras she grew up and worked in (although younger generations do know her, they may not follow her as much).  Because of her generational stance on many issues, I have heard her be referred to as a lightning rod for criticism (ie: she may view something one way, but younger generations may view in another light).

Nonetheless, she’s is granted a forum for debate because of the importance placed on her views and because she defends them so well.

Regardless if you do or do not agree with her views, I get the impression that her views are listened to, weighed and considered by those who are making decisions (administrators, elected government officials, organizations, the media, etc.).

If I could chose how best to describe Denise Bombardier’s public nature, they would be “pragmatic” and “a caring nationalist” (She is “pro-Québec, has traditionally been sovereignist, has always deeply cared for society’s welfare, and she does not become involved in the dirty side of politics which otherwise comes with these sorts of topics),  Her social opinions are very strong, and could be considered both progressive and conservative — depending on how you look at them (and depending on the issue being discussed).

There certainly are areas where I do not agree with her, but she has other many other views which I do agree with.  And then there are other instances which she simply makes me (and many others) think.  That’s why she gets my attention (and respect).  She helps to round out one’s views, and especially gives people a better awareness of where they personally stand on issues — regardless if their views are opposed or in line with Bombardier’s.   She strikes a chord – sometimes a sensitive one – but that’s her nature, and one of her numerous valued contributions to society.

Addendum 2014-11-28:. Yesterday I tuned into “C’est la vie” and found they did an interview with Denise Bombardier later in the same day as my post.  Her interview was given in English — a very interesting interview.  I’d encourage you to check it out on “C’est la vie’s” website.   http://www.cbc.ca/radio/cestlavie

Addenedum 2015-04-11:   A week ago I found out that Denise Bombardier would be signing her most recent book at the international book fair in Québec City.  I was grateful she took a few moments to chat and sign her book for me.  🙂


Les 2 minutes du peuple (#61)

You may recall I previously mentioned Les 2 minutes du peuple in an earlier post, “Montréwood Radio”.

Considering the last two posts were regarding human-created animation using computer technology, I thought it might be appropriate to speak a bit more about Les 2 minutes du peuple, which uses digital audio enhancements to make the series.

This is humouristic series, running 2 minutes per episode on the radio (Radio NRJ), which has become a cultural mainstay in Québec (it’s difficult to think of a day when Les 2 minutes du peuple may not exist).  It’s not unusual for people to ask their colleagues first thing in the morning at work if they happened to catch the latest episode of Les 2 minutes du peuple.  It’s also hilarious to look out your car window at other drivers on the road when an episode is on air, and to see that everyone around you also laughing at the same time.   This show really is Québec.

It’s creator, François Pérusse has become as famous as the series.  In each episode, Pérusse acts as the voice for all the characters in the sketches, who are interacting with each other in hilarious scenarios.  To add to the humouristic dimension, the series integrates no small amount of joual (Canadian French slang), and digital audio technology is used to speed up the voices and alter their tones.   You might get the impression two chipmunks are going hard at it from all angles (arguing, conniving, having fun together, or worse! – whatever Pérusse dreams up), and you can’t help but laugh.

At 25 years, this series is truly one of the unmatched masterpieces in Québec and Canadian comedy history.  It is now broadcast in three other countries in Europe (Switzerland, France and Belgium).  For the sake of safety, you may actually want to turn the radio down if you have to choose between driving your car straight and safe, or risk laughing hysterically and weaving like a drunkard.

The latest episodes can be heard by linking to NRJ’s official website HERE.

Apart from the free episodes on NRJ’s above website, François Pérusse has several comedy albums for sale on iTunes and through other platforms.  Please do not pirate and stick to official sites (Pérusse works his butt of to make the world laugh – so repay in kind and compensate him for his work).  Our artists form part of our cultural fabric.

“Patrice Lemieux” or “Daniel Savoie”? (#57)

In a strange twist, Patrice Lemieux is one of the best known Hockey players in Québec and Francophone Canada.  If the average person were to see him walking down the street anywhere in Québec, Patrice Lemieux would instantly be pounced upon by hockey fans (or by just about anybody) for autographs and photos.  The problem is, he is not a hockey player.  Nor is he real.   Patrice Lemieux is a fictional hockey player, personified by comedian Daniel Savoie (“Daniel Savoie” is not to be confused with the Anglophone Canadian actor / journalist “Dan Savoie” from Scarborough, Ontario).  True to Québec’s and Francophone Canada’s dominant hockey-gene and DNA, this character perfectly fills a pop-culture niche that could only exist in this hockey-crazy culture (well, almost… Edmonton and Winnipeg can also pretty prone to hockey fever).

Daniel Savoie is originally from Acadia (Francophone New Brunswick) – but was educated in Québec.  He makes in-character media appearances everywhere in Québec (and also New Brunswick) as Patrice Lemieux, playing the role of a satirical hockey player (playing on stereotypes).

He subjects himself to being interviewed on real television shows (as well as the radio), as if he were a real hockey player being interviewed.   He tries to give the most serious answers he possibly can to the questions being asked of him, but his answers typically come out as if he’s missing a few screws (likely from taking a few too many sticks and jabs to the head during games).  The answers come out as a hilarious babbling garbaldy-gook, complete with plays on words, hidden innuendo, and jokes in jokes.   The ironic thing is that the answers actually take a high degree of thought.   That’s part of the appeal.   The fans of “Patrice Lemieux” (including myself) can’t get enough of this dumb-witted, yet quick-witted character (Is he smart or dumb?  A question that leaves us as perplexed as Patrice Lemieux’s answers).

It’s very difficult in English to explain the appeal of Patrice Lemieux.  His character is intricately attached to nuances and cultural particularities of Québec and Canadian French.

There’s almost a “jock”-like macho accent and form of speech in French which is stereotypically associated with Francophone hockey players.  Lemieux doesn’t have an English accent, but it’s a type of talk which is influenced by Anglophone hockey players cross-trading onto Francophone professional league teams, mixed in with the high-energy type of speech we’re used to hearing from Francophone sports commentators.  Wrap that all together with the type of pep-talk that can only come from a locker-room full of sports players, the type of militaristic disciplined talk that coaches preach to team members, and then add a sense that he’s not allowed to stray from the team’s official robotic line, and there you have the makings of how Patrice Lemieux answers his interviewers.  His facial expressions as he talks, his age bracket (about the same as the average NHL player), and his real-life athletic build ends up adding the final touch of realism to whole package.

You may recall from the “Joual” post that I mentioned there are different styles of Joual (or French slang / informal speech).  This is definitely one unique style – true to sports culture.  (He also speaks with some of the hallmarks of a Beauce accent, heavy on “H’s” where there should be G’s and Y’s… true to a region where hockey is king!).

I’ve heard that many people actually thought Patrice Lemieux was a real hockey player – until they were told otherwise.   “Curiously”, Patrice Lemieux shares the same first name as NHL hockey players Patrice Cormier and Patrice Bergeron, and the same last name is Mario Lemieux.  (Coincidence??)

He (as Patrice Lemieux) has appeared on all types of programs, including some which have been mentioned in this blog such as Tout le monde en parle, Le Bye-Bye, En mode Salvail, Salut Bonjour, and even les Prix Gémeaux (as an awards presenter).  To put it bluntly, he’s everywhere.   And now that the 2014/2015 hockey season is underway, you can expect to see him all the time.

He (Patrice Lemieux) has a regular interview segment on CKOI 96,9 FM, styled on what would be a typical sports program interview.   You can listen to archived segments HERE on CKOI’s website.   Radio-Canada actually did an interview with the “real” Daniel Savoie (one of the few times I’ve heard the real-deal actually speak– hence why I keep referring to him as Patrice Lemieux rather than Daniel Savoie).  You can catch it HERE (click on entrevue at the bottom of the page).    TVA has also placed some official “Patrice Lemieux” clips on Youtube for officially sanctioned public viewing.

If you’re a hockey fan, check this dude out.  You’ll love it.  I’ve never seen anything quite like him before.