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This is the second in a 3-part mini-blog series (the first on Patrice Roy, this one on Charles Lafortune, and the next one on their one-on-one intimate conversation when they say down together for a meal on the radio program “L’Autre midi à la table d’à côté”.
Interesting factoid: For several years running now (including this past year), studies have shown that people across Canada continue to remained glued to their television, and to television programs. This comes despite an enormous uptick in the space the internet takes in the lives of people across the country. For many under 40’s, television has simply moved from the box sitting in the corner of their living room, to the small screen sitting on their lap.
What has remained consistent these past years is the amount of time per week Québécois continue to watch television. Québec watches more television per week than anywhere else in Canada (sometimes only an hour more than the next ranked province, but Québec continues to watch the most television nonetheless). Canadians can expect to spend a quarter of their week, and a quarter of their lives watching television, and that is more true than ever in Québec (CRTC figures).
What this means is that Québec knows its television personalities very very well. I could probably even go as far to say that they see and follow the lives of television personalities just as much (and dare I say perhaps even more) than certain family members.
Charles Lafortune : One person who occupies a big place in some of Québec’s favorite television programs is Charles Lafortune.
My earliest memories of seeing Charles Lafortune come from when I was a teenager and he was an actor in the very popular former program Watatatow (an after-school youth TV show which could be considered Québec’s own equivalent of Anglophone Canada’s former iconic program “Degrassi Junior High”. – On that point, I have friends who live on Degrassi Street in Toronto. The first time I was invited to their home last fall, it came to me with “shock and horror” that there actually was NO high school, or any kind of school on Degrassi Street !! I drove up and down the street twice, and nope… I couldn’t find the school! I bet you 80% of Anglophone Canada would be just as surprised as I was 😉 ).
Lafortune has since appeared as the main figure in a good number of other very popular television programs with varying degrees of notoriety. He has appeared in such a variety of programs that he has become an instantly recognizable personality anywhere in Québec and in other Francophone areas of Canada.
A few programs in particular are largely responsible for Lafortune’s high-level notoriety:
- L’École des Fans (School of Fans) was an on-air children’s sing-along program on the TVA television network for 5 years in the 2000’s. You might ask “What’s the big deal about a children’s sing-along show?” Well, this one came with a twist, which drew in adult viewership numbers by the drove… The shows featured individual children singing their favorite pop-songs, but then had the actual music star join the child on stage, and sing with them. Over the years, such large names as Celine Dion, Marjo, Lara Fabien, Garou, and Mitsou appeared on the show, singing hand-in-hand with the kids.
- Le Cercle (The Circle) was a popular TVA network gameshow which ran for 6 years, which relied on rapid-fire responses from the players.
- Catherine was a popular Radio-Canada sitcom which ran from 1999 to 2003. Lafortune played the ex-boyfriend of the show’s main figure
- La Voix: Just as Anglophone Canada and other countries often feature more than one popular singing talent show at any given time (example: the “– Idol”, “ – Got Talent”, “The Voice –“ programs), so does Québec. Since 2013, Charles Lafortune has been Québec’s host of TVA’s “La Voix” (The Voice) – which was adapted from the Dutch version of the same program. Home viewer numbers of La Voix are huge in Québec; sometimes ranking among the largest TV viewership numbers in all of Canada – surpassing 2,500,000 viewers for certain episodes!! (By any standards, those are large numbers of Québec eyes focused squarely on Lafortune!).
Apart from the above, Charles Lafortune has also been a popular radio host on CKOI Montréal (a very popular Montréal radio station), and has been a subject of superstar gossip tabloid magazines over the years.
The next post will give a bit of a summary of what thoughts were exchanged with Charles Lafortune met Patrice Roy. See you soon!
MINI “EAVESDROPPING” SERIES
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.
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!
This is the 5th post in the series “Qui êtes-vous?”. I continue to write this series while on the road (I left Montréal this morning after meetings and catching up with a few friends for a couple of days, and I just arrived in Québec City where I’ll be for a few days for work stuff).
I lucked out with an Amazing 26th floor hotel room view of Québec City; great views of the old city, the St. Lawerence and another view looking West.
… and a perfect perch in Place Royal Square from where to write this post (this is the spot where Québec City was founded in 1608, and where Canada’s first government was established, as well as for all of New France – from here down to Louisiana).
Back to the post at hand…
Patrice L’Écuyer is a famous television game show host, variety show host and actor. He used to even have his own late night talk show, named “L’Écuyer”, in a David Letterman-like style (from 1995 to 2002 on Radio-Canada).
For Anglophones, his last name might be a little more difficult to pronounce. “L’Écuyer” is pronounced Lay-Cwee-Yay.
As part of his acting career, he was a co-actor with a couple of other people mentioned in this same series of posts; with Marina Orsini in “Lance et compte”, & “Filles de caleb”, and with Dominique Michel in “Le Bye-Bye 1988” (the annual televised New Year’s send-off comedy show). He also appeared in other Bye-Bye celebrations (one of the most-watched television programs of the entire calendar year). He is one of the main actors in the very popular TV drama series Unité 9 (it was this past year’s most watched TV drama series… click here for the former post on this subject).
Being a game-show host has added to his notoriety (think of him as being the Drew Carey, or Alex Trabec of Montréwood). He hosted the game shows “Détecteurs de mensonges”, “l’Union fait la force”, “Qui l’eût cru” (this last one is a good grammar sentence if your French is at an intermediate level 😉 )… and he’s currently hosting the after-school game show “Des squelettes dans le placard” (Squeletons in the Closet) on Radio-Canada.
If you want to work on improving your listening skills of informal street-level French, perhaps check out “Des squellettes dans le placard” on weekday late afternoons (currently in its 9th season). The idea of the game show is to have several celebrity guests each tell an absurd, and sometimes difficult-to-believe story. But out of all the stories, only one is actually true – you have to guess who is telling the true story (those who have the most correct guesses then win). See if you can follow the stories – sometimes they can be quite funny (I would assume this could be a great way for you to practice your French if you’re at an intermediate level – and the show airs across Canada). The show’s website can be viewed by clicking HERE.
Another game show he currently hosts is “Le moment de vérité” (The Moment of Truth), again on Radio-Canada (currently in its 5th season). This game show has more of a reality-TV element to it. Participants are grouped into teams, and they are given a week to accomplish difficult tasks. At the end of the week, they are brought into the studio and have to finish the tasks during the final taping. The show’s official website can be viewed by clicking HERE.
Patrice l’Écuyer’s latest variety show is “Prière de ne pas envoyer de fleurs” (Please Do Not Send Flowers). Celebrities are invited to the program so they can “die”… well… not really die, but fictitiously die. Their friends, colleagues, and loved ones are then invited to the show to eulogize the newly-dead celebrity. In their last testimony to the deceased, people say the craziest things about the celebrities, and it can become quite funny. The show’s official website can be viewed by clicking HERE.
All these roles make L’Écuyer one of Radio-Canada’s flagship stars.
Back to the family roots program “Qui êtes-vous?”, Patrice L’Écuyer found out that he has a forefather born in France in 1634, but who immigrated to Montréal as a young adult. This began his family line in the New World – 10 generations. He even had a family member who was involved in the Patriot Rebellions of the 1830s. L’Écuyer travelled to France to investigate his roots. Interestingly, his family came from the La Rochelle area of France, which, out of all the areas of France which sent colonialists to New France, the La Rochelle region had one of the greatest influences on Québec, Ontario and Western Canadian French accents (hmmmm, perhaps his direct ancestors spoke much in the way we speak today). Just a quick anecdote on this subjet… I knew a person who was from La Rochelle, France, and some of the unique ways they speak today in La Rochelle (different from the rest of France) still very much resemble ways we speak here in Canada (but are not spoken elsewhere in France, only in the La Rochelle region of France and Canada)– they are shared remnants of dialects which existed in the 1500s and 1600s. Examples: “Que c’est que t’as (fait hier)?”, “Où ce qu’y est allé?”, etc.).
There’s a twist in Marc Dupré’s background (I’ll let you in on it at the end of this post).
Marc Dupré has made quite a name for himself over the past few years as a famous chart-topping singer in Montréwood. His songs have been chart-toppers and he’s done the concert circuit.
In his earlier public life, he was known as a comedian – doing comedy as far back as the 1990s (and he still does stand-up at the Juste pour rire festival). His acts are a combination of jokes and imitations of other famous Québécois singers, such as Éric Lapointe and Kevin Parent.
In interviews, he often speaks of his family and children with pride. Dupré had a very public touching family moment brought him to tears on television, when his young daughter, Stella, performed an Adèle song on the Radio-Canada program En direct de l’univers.
He was one of the coaches on La Voix which boosted his presence to a new level in Québec.
Dupré can often be seen in various high-profile appearances, be it talk shows (the likes of Le mode Salvail and others), or major events such as the Festival d’été de Québec (the Québec City summer music festival).
Some of his more well-known songs include:
- Nous sommes les mêmes.
- Être à toi
- Voyager vers toi
- Si pour te plaire
- Qu’est-ce que t’as fait de moi
- Entre deux mondes
He has won best artist and song awards of various types.
Now for the twist I mentioned at the beginning of the post : His wife is the daughter of René Angélil (Celine Dion’s husband). He has performed with Celine and she wrote the song Entre deux mondes for him.
His work is available for sale through various venues. Please do not pirate and stick to official sites (our artists are part of our cultural fabric).