Sunday, December 24, 2006

La Bolduc, The Queen of Canadian Folksingers.

Joyeux Noel, Mes Amis

On a trip to the Gaspé region of Quebec about ten years ago, my sister-in-law and brother bought a box of cassettes titled La Bolduc L’Integrale. That was my introduction to Mary (Travers)* Bolduc, "La Bolduc". If the phrase “pheomenon of nature” is overused sometimes, this wasn’t one of them. The first song on the album was the last one she recorded when she was already quiet ill. It was an amazingly long winded, cumulative song about going to the market to buy, if you can imagine, body parts. I’d love to include that and several other of her more astonishing feats of lung capacity, but couldn’t find a link for those. Her singing, her technique and phrasing were stunning. Singing almost entirely in French, her practice of “turluteage”, mouth music, was an iron link between Irish and French-Canadian folk traditions.

While on occasion her lyrics are pretty old fashioned, reflecting the fact that she was very much a traditional woman living in the early decades of the 20th Century, the same is true for most folk artists before the revival of the 1950s. You can take that into account and appreciate her wonderful artistry for what it is.

Collections Canada, has the most extensive English language site I found. It also has podcasting links which I haven’t tried. It has extensive links to recordings of complete songs. With its pop song references, "Gédéon amateur", on the third page, is particularly funny.

Here is another site.

And you can hear her yourself here:

Les Souffrances de mon accident

Si Vous Avez Une Fille Qui Veut Se Marrier

J’ai un bouton sur la langue

Les Policier

La Bastringue

Les Maringouins

Johnny Monfarleau

* Yes, Mary Travers. Seems to be a good name for great folk singers, doesn’t it.

Update: Someone explained Mp3s to me. Try Quand j'étais chez mon père and gape in amazement.

If the link doesn't work you can find it under Édouard Bolduc on this page of marvels and wonders. You wonder why they couldn't have at least put the title Mde in front of the name so people wouldn't be confused. This site is a goldmine.