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Mario Pelchat – Dolbeau-Mistassini’s “native son” — Part 4 (#160)

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:

  1. 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),
  2. 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
  3. 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):

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)
  • Aimer
  • 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):

“L’Autre midi à la table d’à côté”; Mofatt – Tremblay discussion summary, post 3 of 3 (#152)

This post will tie the last two posts together, and you can use the audio track to as an opportunity to work on improving your French (if you’re at an elementary or intermediary level), or to help you develop an ear for French (if you’re at a more basic level).

In the audio track of this episode of radio program “L’Autre midi à la table d’à côté” (The Other Afternoon, at the Next Table…”), Ariane Moffatt and Guylaine Tremblay sit down for a one-on-one meal together.  I get the impression they have never met before, but they spend the hour learning about each other, and focusing on what they have in common.

Both are mothers, but both did not carry their own children (in Moffatt’s case, it was her spouse who carried their children, and in Tremblay’s case, her children were adopted).   They also speak about a number of other topics regarding children (such as Christmas and childhood memories).

I think you’ll hear both of their personalities shine (the intimacy and one-on-one nature of the conversation greatly facilitates the conversation).

The dialogue summary (below) is written in chronological order with the audio track, highlighting various discussion points and the dialogue continues.   You can use the summary as a crutch when listening and improving your French listening skills.

The official link-page for this episode of L’Autre midi à la table d’à côté can be opened by clicking HERE.  (Click “Audio fil” half way down the page… that will open an audio window with the sound track).

Dialogue summary;

  • Both spoke of Christmas as children and their Christmas experiences with their own children, what they like about Christmas, and how it fits in with their own experiences.
  • Guylaine talks about how Christmas in Québec used to be celebrated different than how it is celebrated now (mass traditions on Dec 24th have been moved to 7pm now from midnight decades ago). She says Christmas today seem to be all about gifts, whereas when Guylaine was a child, she could hardly remember receiving any gifts.
  • Ariane talks of her family’s Christmas traditions.
  • Ariane talks of how she slowly starting to fall into music as a child, and her family’s role in influencing her artistic talents. Guylaine also shares her childhood development stories and relates them to her family.
  • They talk about their different styles of communication and how they perceive their respective styles.
  • Guylaine took her two daughters to the 2012 protests, “le Printemps érable” to protest university tuition hikes
    • (Comment: “Le Printemps érable” (the “Maple Spring”) was a period of mass student protests in Québec in the spring of 2012, which greatly divided Québec society as a whole.  Students refused to accept government tuition hikes – and (in a very very general sense) it pitted right-against-left, and opposition parties against the government at the time.  Many believe it had a direct impact in the defeat of the Charest government, but it left much bitterness in Québec’s society – involving accusations flying everywhere;  against the government, the opposition, school bodies, and even the media.  It also greatly divided student bodies).
  • Guylaine talks about having being an angry child, and how she still becomes vexed and involved if she believes there’s an action she judges to be unjust.
    • (Comment:  This actually surprised me when she said this – she seems like such a calm, cool headed person whenever I have seen her in interviews, the type of person with measured and empathetic emotions.  It seems like this is a part of her character which she doesn’t regularly show in interviews – but she also seems very self-aware, which in itself is a very good thing – regardless if you do or do not agree with her politics or the battles she chooses to fight, and how she chooses to fight them.  Something also quite interesting is that she states she took her children to the protests.  I also found this surprising because many people were criticized for taking their minor children to events which (a) involved much emotion which minor perhaps could not have conscious control over, and (b) periodically turned quite violent, resulting in many arrest and police action.  However, I do not know the context in which she involved her own children.  All-in-all, I find what Tremblay says to be extremely interesting.  I will probably pay much more attention to her public appearances in the future.  Like I said in the earlier post about her, she has a personality I really like and greatly identify with, even if I don’t agree with her politics.  And I have learned many other things about her in the last couple of years, which makes her a very intriguing figure.  I don’t have to agree with her views on various issues to have to like her – and I still very much like her.  She’s the type of person who is difficult not to like – and as you listen to the audio track, I venture to say you’ll agree with me).
  • Both spoke about how they act upon what they feel is right (Ariane speaks about her own coming out, and both talk about how society has changed to be accepting of the new normal).
  • Both speak about their choices to have children which they didn’t carry themselves, and what their children signify to them in this context, and in general. Guylaine said people often ask her “Do you love your children as much as if you had carried them yourself?”
  • They speak of their worries as mothers.
  • At 44:00 minutes, they sing a Capella songs which bring back Christmas memories for both. For the remaining 15 minutes of their meal, they just sing Christmas carols.   You may be interested in this part, because they sing certain carols which do not exist in English – and even for me, they brought back memories from my childhood when much of that period of my life was in French.

I hope you enjoyed this 3-part mini blog series, and found it insightful on a few fronts.

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MINI “EAVESDROPPING” SERIES

Ariane Moffatt – An “eavesdropping” short series: Moffatt-Tremblay – Post 1 of 3 (#150)

Much like the last three posts, I’d like to keep the same format for the next several posts (a 3-part mini blog-series, with the first two parts featuring two famous people, and the third part directing you to the audio website of L’Autre midi à la table d’à côté, where you can hear the conversation between the two famous individuals).   In this case, we’ll be focusing on Ariane Moffatt and Guylaine Tremblay.  With that, lets get into the first post of this next mini blog-series.

In any culture, there seems to be two types of singers & musicians who garner mass public attention.

There are those who are one-hit wonders (you know the type – they come out with a catchy tune, are overplayed on the radio for a few weeks or a couple months, and then people get sick of them and they disappear forever).

Then there are those other ones who consistently come out with high quality work, a major hit or album here and there over the years, and they always seem to be there in the background, making long-lasting contributions to a society’s music.  Eventually they become part of a society’s collective cultural identity.  Ariane Moffatt is one such singer.

She was born in 1978, and her career really took off in the early 2000’s with a hit album Aquanaute.  Over the last decade, she has released a number of other albums.  Her numerous Félix Awards – one of Québec’s highest music awards – and her platinum and gold albums attest to her popularity.

A couple posts ago, I mentioned that Charles Lafortune is a host of the hit television singing competition program La Voix (The Voice).  Likewise, Ariane Moffatt is a judge on La Voix (You don’t become a judge on a show like that unless you’ve made it, bigtime!).

When discussing singers or actors, it’s always tricky when trying to describe who might be a similar Anglophone Canadian equivalent.   Everyone is truly their own person, with their own style – so I hesitate to give comparisons for fear of overgeneralizing.  But if I had to pick a couple names, I would say that many of her songs have traits in common with the “softer” side of Alanis Morissette’s (and perhaps even the softer side of Ireland’s Sinead O’Connor).  But even with that, Moffatt definitely ventures into other genres, and usually remains loyal to heavy guitar tones to carry many of her songs.

In a couple posts from now we’ll be looking at the conversation Moffatt has with Guylaine Tremblay,  Therefore, I’ll quickly mention a bit about her personal life to set the scene for this later post.   Moffatt came out a couple of years ago on the wildly popular show Tout le monde en parle.   She has a spouse, and they’re raising their two children.  Much of the conversation with Tremblay will focus on this aspect of her life.

If you’re looking for some of her work, some of Ariane Moffatt’s better known songs include:

  • Je veux tout,
  • Réverbère,
  • Point de mire,
  • Mon Corps,
  • Imparfait,
  • Hasard,
  • Blanche,
  • La barricade.
  • Also, if you want to hear her interpret an Anglophone song in French, check out her interpretation of “Everybody Hurts”.

Ariane Moffatt’s official website is: www.arianemoffatt.com

Her music is for sale through various venues.  Please stick to official sites and do not pirate (our artists are part of our cultural fabric).

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MINI “EAVESDROPPING” SERIES

Pierre Lapointe (#143)

A couple of posts ago (Examples of Stereotypes France has of Québec, and vice-versa), I wrote about a discussion between a well known Québecois music reporter and a well known French (France) song writer, André Manoukian.

It was Manoukian’s comments about a Québécois singer, Pierre Lapointe, which touched off the entire discussion.  So who is Pierre Lapointe?

He’s a multi-award winning, top-album selling singer.    His awards include multiple Felix awards (some of the highest music awards available in Québec).  Two of his albums ranked first-place best-sellers on two occasions in Québec, and two other albums ranked second place best-sellers (two platinums, one gold).   His songs and albums have also had high rankings in France.

His music is truly quite different.  I’m not sure how to describe it.  I’ve read others describe it as “melancholic”, “cloudy”, “foggy”, “out-there”, and “psychedelic” (I’m not sure how this latter one applies to music, unless the listener is on something).

Myself, I’m not sure that any of these apply as an accurate description in any great substance.  His genre is certainly different.  So here is my own attempt to describe his music using well-known Anglophone Canadians as comparisons:  -Imagine rhythms similar to those of Leonard Cohen, but much more modern and with more melody.  Mix that with a beat similar to many of Jan Arden’s songs (with the ability to carry lyrics in a much more patterned manner), and then wind it up with a spattering of Rufus Wainwright-styled lyrics and tones, but with a voice much more like that of Michael Buble (actually, I’ve thought on a number of occasions if Buble were Francophone, his voice would be very similar to Lapointe’s, and he’s 6 years younger than Buble).

See if you can find some of his videos (on official sites of course), and see what you think.  Am I sort of in the ball-park with my description?   I don’t really think his songs are melancholic… but they give you a fuzzy-foggy kind of feeling – yet strangely give you the desire to keep listening (they’re mesmerizing in that sense — is that “psychedelic”?).

He has been regularly coming out with albums from 2002 to present.   Some of his more popular songs have been (but are not exclusive to):

  • Je reviendrai
  • L’étrange route des amoureux
  • Nos joies répétitives
  • L’étrange route des amoureux
  • Deux par deux rassemblés
  • Tel un seul home
  • Dans la forêt des mal-aimés

Pierre Lapointe’s official website is :  http://www.pierrelapointe.com/nouvelles.php.

His website lists his next concerts (all in Québec for the next few months).  But if you are in the area, it would make for a really nice out – some fine dining then a night out with friends at the concert hall 🙂 .

His songs and albums are available through various venues and platforms.  Please do not pirate and stick to official sites.   Our artists are part of our cultural fabric.

Les FrancoFolies (#44)

Place des arts (photo credit: Wikicommons)

Place des arts (photo credit: Wikicommons)

Canadian cities host an amazing number of festivals every year – many of which are outdoors, and most are during the summer.   Many Canadians live in a city which competitively labels itself “the” festival city:  Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, St. John — and even smaller cities such as Stratford, Kelowna, Charlottetown.    I think it’s great – each city is “the” festival city for its citizens and region.  After having worked and lived in 5 countries outside of North America, I can truly say this is something that we share in Canada which not many other countries do (perhaps there are only a dozen or so other countries which really try to go all-out with multiple festivals in so many cities).

Québec’s cities are no exception in their efforts to provide top-notch festivals to the public.  Some of Québec’s festivals are well known to Canadians outside Québec (the Montréal Jazz festival, St-Jean-Baptiste Festivals and concerts,  Juste pour rire / Just for Laughs).   But there are other festivals which are huge in Québec, but which are not as well known to Canadians outside Québec.   One such festival is Les FrancoFolies de Montréal (“Franco” = Francophone, “Folies” = Craziness/madness/insanity).

Les FrancoFolies is a large-scale event every June, hosting a week of many outdoor French music concerts, in Montréal’s Quartier des spectacles (a district of Montréal encompassing the Eastern streets of corporate downtown, Place des arts which is the theatre district, and the Western part of the Latin Quarter [a funky bar / student / university / pedestrian / joie de vivre area, which also encompasses the pedestrian-only area of the gay village]).

It is actually one of the largest francophone music festivals in the world (keep in mind that Montréal itself is the world’s second largest “French-as-a-first-language” city, after Paris).  I’ve read conflicting attendance figures, but they all range from 500,000 spectators to over 1,000,000 during the one week event, with some individual concerts having attracted 150,000 people (all crammed into the streets with eyes trained on the stage).  Because it’s held every June, the festival bodes many advantages for those visiting from out of town;   it misses the huge tourist crowds during the high tourist season, hotel options are more affordable and abundant, and there is little conflict with various artist’s summer vacation plans.  This makes it so the festival is able to attract not only some of the biggest names in Québec French music, but also from France and other francophone countries.

Some of the more notable stars to have performed street concerts are Loco Locass (Québec), Patricia Kass (France), Patrick Bruel (France), Les colocs (Québec), Les Cowboys Fringants (Québec), Jean-Perre Ferland (Québec), Richard Séguin (Québec), Vanessa Paradis (France), and Les Trois Accords (Québec).   These are some pretty impressive and big names… with some being the biggest names in music in the Francophone world.

If you’re going to be planning a trip to Montréal, you seriously may want to consider doing it en français (even if your level of French may not be very high), to truly get the full experience.  Montréalers love out of town visitors, and they open their arms wide to anyone who wants to share in what makes them special and different — they can be some of the most amazing hosts!  Because of the dates, lower hotel costs, and weather, a vacation during Les Francopholies might be just the perfect time.

The official website is http://www.francofolies.com.

Have fun!