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Gilles Vigneault on singing for a younger audience

The Story


Celebrated Quebec songwriter Gilles Vigneault, known for his song Mon Pays, has been bringing his poetry and political message in song to adults for more than 30 years. Now, in 1993, he has released a children's album, Le Chant du Portageur, which tells the story of his experience working in the woods in 1952. He talks to Midday interviewer Tina Srebotnjak about his wish to sing to children about this formative time in his life. He has sung and spoken all these years to the older audience, he says, and he can see that his own future lies with the younger generation.

Medium: Television
Program: Midday
Hosts: Kevin Newman, Tina Srebotnjak
Guest: Gilles Vigneault
Broadcast Date: May 26, 1993
Duration: 8:06

Did You know?


• Gilles Vigneault was born Oct. 27, 1928, in the Côte-Nord region of Quebec.

Mon Pays, a nationalistic hymn to his home province, is Vigneault's best-known song.  A disco version of it, with a revved-up melody and English lyrics praising musical stardom in the U.S., was released by Canadian pop star Patsy Gallant in 1976. Gallant, who is bilingual, identified herself as Acadian. But Montreal radio stations refused to play the song, titled From New York to L.A., even though it became an international hit and won her the Juno Award for female vocalist in 1977.

• Another Vigneault song, Gens du Pays, is heard briefly at the start of this interview. It was written with Gaston Rochon for the 1975 St-Jean-Baptiste Day celebrations. It has since become a sovereigntist anthem, sung by crowds at rallies, as we hear at the end of this clip when René Lévesque conceded the 1980 referendum. 

• Vigneault, who was awarded the Governor General's Performing Arts Award in 1993, was one of six co-writers of a 1995 declaration of sovereignty. Along with playwright  Marie Laberge, he read it onstage at at the Grand Théatre de Québec on Sept. 6, 1995, launching the Yes campaign in the 1995 referendum. 


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