Monday, March 09, 2009


It's Québec culture time!

I was surfing Youtube for some old songs with the missus this weekend, looking for TV show themes from our childhood. Given the search engine features in Youtube I got some more or less apropos suggestions. Nevertheless, I found this gem.

I remember seeing this kid on our state-of-the art 12-inch TV. It is vague, mind you, but I do remember it. Here is it reproduced, as I saw it, including horrendous recording quality, such was the technology of the time, and of course, in black and white.

His name is René Simard, born in Chicoutimi in 1961. He is arguably one of the most beloved Québécois artists of all time. I understand, from a very reliable source who's actually met the man, that he is a polite, caring, simple and genuine, and this is despite super-stardom status here in Québec.

Urban legend has it that the sound-board operators had to crank down the gain on the kid's microphone during the song, because he would routinely peg the meters. Raw power, insane talent. Stirring, truly stirring.

This particular recording is from a Canadian stage, probably 1970 or 1971, before his trip to Japan (1974) where he brought down the house.

And I've translated it for you below.

"L'Oiseau" (The Bird)

Je connais les brumes claires
La neige rose des matins d'hiver
Je pourrais te retrouver
Le lièvre blanc qu'on ne voit jamais
Mais l'oiseau, l'oiseau s'est envolé
Et moi jamais je ne le trouverai
Car j'ai vu, l'oiseau voler
J'ai vu l'oiseau, je sais qu'il partait
Je l'ai entendu pleurer
Le bel oiseau que le vent chassait

I know well the light mists
The pink snow of winter mornings
I could find it again for you
The white hare which we never see
But the bird, the bird has flown away
And I will never find it
Because I saw the bird fly
I saw the bird, I know he was leaving
I heard it crying
The beautiful bird that the wind chased away

Je voudrais tout te donner
Mais toi pourquoi ne me dis tu rien
Quel est-il ton grand secret
Un secret d'homme
Je le comprends bien
Mais tu sais je peux te raconter
Combien l'oiseau est parti à regret
Si un jour tu m'écoutais
Tu apprendrais tout ce que je sais
L'oiseau part et puis revient
Tu le verras peut-être demain

I want to give you everything
But why do you not tell me anything
What is it your great secret
A Man's secret
I understand so well
But you know I can tell you
The regret with which the bird left
If someday you really listened to me
You would learn all that I know
The bird leaves and then returns
Maybe you'll see it tomorrow

Si jamais je rencontrai
Ce bel oiseau qui s'est envolé
S'il revient de son voyage
Tout près de toi le long du rivage
Moi vois-tu je lui raconterais
Combien pour toi je sais qu'il a compté
C'est l'oiseau que tu aimais
L'oiseau jaloux je l'ai deviné
S'il revient de son voyage
Je lui dirais que tu l'attendais

If ever I meet
The beautiful bird that flew away
If ever it returns from its voyage
Near you on the shoreline
You see, I would tell it
How very much it meant to you
This bird whom you loved so
The jealous bird, I had guessed
If it returns from its voyage
I will let it know that you were waiting.


Blogger MedStudentWife said...

Excellent !!!

Did you find any early Ginette Renaud ? If so, would you send me links.

March 13, 2009 10:26 p.m.  
Blogger Steve said...

I did actually find some old Ginette Reno !! Too funny that you should mention it.

These older recordings are just god-awful though. And there are actually very, very few from her early days, she was a total babe back then, easily rivalling anyone we have on the stage today.

Here are two that I picked up, one is with Roger Whittaker (remember him?) and the other is an original from 1975 which was redone for Quebec's 400th:

March 16, 2009 9:20 a.m.  

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