Universal Music's Canada 150 compilation has some Quebecers crying foul
Critics condemn 6-disc celebration of Canadian music that omits French-language songs
Universal Music Canada is finding out the hard way that what constitutes Canadian music is anything but universally agreed upon, especially in Quebec.
To mark Canada's 150th anniversary, the company released Canada 150: A Celebration of Music, a six-CD set of Canadian hits from the 1960s to now, at the end of June.
In a news release, Universal heralded the set as "offering something for all Canadian music fans to celebrate."
The only problem is, it doesn't contain any songs in French.
That omission is getting noticed in Quebec, home to more than eight million Canadians, of whom more than six million consider French their mother tongue.
The compilation doesn't ignore Quebec, which is represented by Montreal singer-songwriters and bands performing in English, such as Leonard Cohen, Men Without Hats, Gino Vannelli and Corey Hart.
It does include a francophone artist from Quebec — Céline Dion — but she's performing her Titanic English-language hit My Heart Will Go On.
Marie-Andrée Paquet even reworked the cover of the CD set.
The lack of francophone content earned the box-set a 1.5-star review in Montreal's French-language newspaper, Journal de Montréal, and a heap of criticism on social media (in French).
Universal Music Canada replied with a statement on July 19 saying that it would take action to remedy the situation, calling "the absence of French-language repertoire" an "incomprehensible oversight."