For the past month, we’ve been celebrating A Propos’ 25th season on CBC Radio with an exciting and irresistible project. Host Jim Corcoran selected 10 essential songs written in the past 25 years and asked 10 of his favourite artists to re-create them, just for A Propos. This week, we release our last two exclusive videos of this series, recorded in Montreal's Studio 12, featuring exceptional versions of memorable songs.
For a quarter-century now, Corcoran has been looking for talent to discover, constantly learning about and listening to great new francophone music without forgetting the pioneers. With his curiosity and insight, he allows CBC listeners to stay connected to the lively music scene in Quebec and across the francophone world.
Martha Wainwright performs Lhasa de Sela’s ‘La confession’
Lhasa de Sela, better known simply as Lhasa, was an exceptional singer-songwriter who had an outstanding international career.
“Lhasa and I were good friends, says Corcoran. "I always admired her as a person and I admire the quality and depth of her music and lyrics." De Sela was only 37 years old when she died after a courageous battle with cancer. Her songs remain unforgettable and moving.
When Corcoran asked Martha Wainwright to perform the song “La confession,” originally recorded by Lhasa on her album The Living Road in 2003, Wainwright was thrilled. She always loved that song and has felt a connection to Lhasa ever since they were backup singers in a ska band together at the very beginning of their careers.
Wainwright’s career has taken off all around the world in the past few years, and she recently released her third studio album, Come Home to Mama. As Corcoran puts it, Wainwright is “exquisitely free, exceptionally talented and ferociously honest.”
To perform Lhasa’s song in CBC Montreal’s Studio 12, Wainwright was surrounded by talented, experienced musicians. Guitarist Rick Haworth and bassist Mario Légaré, who performed and toured with Lhasa, joined Wainwright, and she also invited her mother’s sister, Anna McGarrigle to play piano on this recording. Discover her powerful interpretation of the very personal, honest song.
[AUDIO] To appreciate the lyrics, listen to Corcoran’s translation of Lhasa’s “La confession.”
Patrice Michaud performs Mara Tremblay’s ‘Les aurores’
Of the 10 songwriters who accepted A Propos’ invitation to revisit and re-record 10 essential songs written in the past 25 years in Quebec, Patrice Michaud is the rookie. He has only one record, but it’s a great one. He is a talented songwriter and storyteller. His album, Le Triangle des bermudes, features genuine and endearing songs.
Corcoran had a very specific, not at all obvious song in mind for Michaud. He asked him to sing a song about love and desire from a woman’s perspective, written by Mara Tremblay.
Tremblay is a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist with a very personal style. She began her solo career in 1999 with an album called Le Chihuahua and has gone on to release four more.
"Her lyrics and her songwriting have opened the flood gates for a new generation of younger women songwriters here in Quebec, allowing them to be more candid, more explicit when singing about passion, desire, tenderness, seduction, friendship and love," says Corcoran.
This is the first performance by a man of Tremblay’s explicit song. A remarkable version, recorded in only one take.
[AUDIO] Listen to Corcoran’s translation of Tremblay’s “Les aurores.”
“The moments I spent recently in Studio 12 with 10 of my favourite songwriters and singers from Quebec are definitely among the most memorable and inspiring,” admits Corcoran. You can see what he means by going to the video section of A Propos’ webpage to watch all of these videos.
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