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Véronic DiCaire – Who is that singing? (#167)

Véronic DiCaire has become a singing sensation on two fronts, both here on the homefront as well as abroad.    She has a career as a singer, with a couple of really good albums to her name.   But she has become wildly famous for being able to impersonate over 50 celebrities (you would swear she is actually Céline Dion if you were to listen to her sing with your eyes shut… I’ll provide a link to her official YouTube channel below).

A couple of nights ago, I happend to see her in a whole new light, which is prompting me to write this post.   I’ll get to this a bit later.  But first, let’s begin from the end (the big stuff), and then quickly work backwards.

DiCaire has become a star who had a permanent show in Vegas (at least until it was no longer permanent), doing her singing impersonations.  She has been a coach/judge on France’s X-Factor, and she has had numerous televised specials in Francophone Switzerland, in France, and here at home, in Montréwood.

How she came to this point is a bit of an interesting story… (un alignement fortuit des astres en sortes, if you’re looking for a new expression in French).   

First, Véronic DiCaire is not from Québec.  She is Franco-Ontarienne (or Ontaroise as Franco-Ontariens are now being called more-and-more) from the community of Embrun, not far from Ottawa, in the francophone region of Eastern Ontario. However much of her career has centred around Montréwood, where she found some of her big breaks.

DiCaire performed in numerous stage musicals from the time she was a young lady in the early 2000s, performing in Montréal, as well as in Paris.   It introduced her to some of the larger names in Montréwood’s pop-culture industry and resulted in an album which brought her more attention as a Felix nominee in 2005.

Things moved quite fast and she became an opening act for Céline Dion’s Taking Chances tour around 2008, doing singing impersonations of other celebrities.  René Angélil was won over and he sent her on tour as as star in her own right, across Québec, France, Belgium and Switzerland.

Her impersonation talents and hit performances have since made her a household name in Francophone Canada, across Francophone Europe, and with many Anglophones.  It’s safe to say she has pop-star status.

At the beginning of this post I mentioned I just saw her in a whole new light.   Véronic DiCaire just finished hosting SNL Québec (Québec’s version of Saturday Night Live) – and she was amazing!!  I have never seen her in this light before and her acting talents are just as good as her voice.  When I watched her introduction at the start of the show, the way she was carrying herself and the way she joked immediately reminded me of the type of charm Cameron Diaz radiates.   Check it out and see if I’m wrong.  You can watch the episode yourself on Télé-Québec’s website here:  http://zonevideo.telequebec.tv/media/19936/veronic-dicaire/snl-quebec.

Something else which is kind of interesting… she shared the stage in SNL with Katherine Levac who is also Ontaroise, from a community just down the road from where DiCaire grew up.

Véronic DiCaire’s official website is http://veronicdicaire.com/

Official videos can be viewed on her on her YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuKhv2Zf2Fo&feature=youtu.be

If you’re in France, Eastern Ontario, Belgium, Québec, or Switzerland over the next few months, see if you can catch one of her shows.

Please stick to official sites and do not pirate.  Our artists are part of our cultural heritage.

2015-02-02


UPDATE 2015-02-06:  

DiCaire just annonced she will be doing pan-Canadian tours in English for Anglophones and also in French for Francophones in Western Canada, Ontario and Acadia.  Refer to her official website in the coming months for dates, locations and tickets.

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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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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“L’autre midi à la table d’à côté”; Roy – Lafortune discussion summary – Post 3 of 3 (#149)

This post can be useful for you if you’re learning French, if your French is already at an intermediate level.   In this post, I’ll offer you a summary of what the subjects of our last two posts spoke about;  Patrice Roy and Charles Lafortune.

You can also listen to the conversation yourself.   For learners of French:  Without translating the entire show, I’m providing you with summaries of various parts of the show.  The summary below is in chronological order.  You can use the summary as a “crutch” to try to stay on track.  It might be able to help with your language learning, and can fill in the holes as you move through the diaglogue.

The radio show L’Autre midi à la table d’à côté” is the brainchild of François Legault.  Regardless of where you are in Canada, you can listen to a new episode, with new people, during weekdays from 11:00am to 12:00.  It airs nationwide on Radio Première (you’ll have to check the internet to see where Radio Première falls on your radio dial in your part of the Canada).

The web-link for the Patrice Roy – Charles Lafortune audio episode can be heard by clicking HERE.

  • Charles Lafortune is introduced as having been the host of many shows; La voix, impro, comedy, variety. In his 20’s, he appeared on various youth programs (Watatatow, Tam-tam, etc.).
  • Patrice Roy = the chief anchor of the Téléjournal de Montréal. (Montréal’s nightly RC TV newscast).
  • Roy – Is a father with twins. Both Roy & Lafortune speak about how children tend to view the world, and how to relate the world to their children so children can understand the world.
  • They speak about how growing up in working families affected their personalities.
  • Lafortune said he can live with the idea of not having a job in front of the camera precisely because he’s able to take pleasure in other aspects of work. Roy agrees because he says he too loves the behind-the-scenes aspect of preparing for the work day.  However Roy said he still loves being in front of the camera and presenting.
  • Both agree they are under tremendous public pressure owing to the information age provides them with immediate public feedback, both good and bad. They speak about how they attempt to adjust themselves to deal with such pressures.   Lafortune comically says that if someone tweets him a criticism, his way of “dealing” with it and with that person is to re-tweet it to 90,000 of his followers – which usually takes care of the problem 😉
  • Roy says that when he was a news bureau chief in Ottawa, he felt the need to “shake things up”. He chose to take a flight to Afghanistan, and pursue his national reporting from there.  He spoke about the fear he felt, in a very human sense, when bombs fell around him and his crew, injuring many people (including his cameraman who had to have his leg amputated).  Roy had to step up to the plate to help.  He also spoke about post-traumatic stress and how his thoughts have changed on numerous topics.
  • Roy speaks about how his upbringing in a journalist family influenced his own work style and work values, as well as his values towards journalism.
  • Lafortune speaks about challenges he has in raising an autistic child in a family environment (he has to pay attention to many small things, such as having to remain standing when watching hockey games on TV at home so as to keep an eye on what his child is doing). He talks about his biggest anxiety in life, which isn’t his television career, but rather what will happen to his child once Lafortune passes away (he’s worried it could happen sooner than later, as an early heart attack, etc.).  He speaks very much from the heart about quite intimate subjects in this respect.
  • They both speak about Roy watching his father’s health deteriorate and eventually pass away (his father was Canada’s ambassador in Tunisia).
  • They speak of their thoughts regarding how they physically appear on television and what value they give (or don’t give) to it, and why. Lafortune’s first faced public criticism in his 20’s when he say an article about his entitled “Good Looking, but Insignificant).
  • Patrice Roy admits that all television managers he knows in Radio-Canada consider viewership numbers important, and this has a bearing on individual’s behaviour and decisions within the organization, just it does in a private company such as TVA (which Lafortune discusses).
  • Lafortune admits that most of the successful TV productions he is involved in are often most often modeled after those in the Netherlands and Israel (rather than being home-grown ideas. Nor are they modeled after American productions, contrary to what the public may believe).
  • Lafortune speaks about the delicate situation he ran into earlier in 2014 when presenting La Voix the night before the last provincial elections. The show that night was watched by over 2,700,000 people, it was produced by Julie Snyder (the wife of Pierre Karl Péladeau, PKP), who himself was running for election.  He talked of having to be very conscious on stage about how he said things (so as not to be perceived as taking political sides).  (Note for reader… this whole issue regarding PKP, and the influence his role as Québecor’s owner has on the media, is currently a very serious debate in Québec.  Here we hear an on-the-ground 3rd party account which shows it is a consideration which is making some pretty big celebrities feel uneasy or feeling they’re walking on egg shells).
  • Roy speaks of some of his thoughts when covering political matters… and how he approaches certain issues. He also speaks of his thoughts regarding individuals he has interviewed.  (It’s quite interesting to hear his personal thoughts in this sense, since he has to play a completely neutral role on air).  Lafortune then jumps in with some of his own thoughts regarding how political parties and politicians tend to behave.  He speaks about what gets on his nerves.

If your French is at a basic or elementary level, do not get discouraged if you find Roy and Lafortune are speaking too fast.  I’ve studied a few languages, and I know that it can be frustrating when you can’t understand everything, or you feel the dialogue has left you behind as you’re still trying to figure things out.  But you’ll find that, with time, the more & more you listen, the more words will take anchor in your brain, and you won’t have to always stop and try to figure out what’s being said.  Stick with it and give yourself a pat on the back… after all, you’re further along than where you were 1, 3 or 5 months ago 🙂 .

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