More than six years ago, the project Douze hommes rapaillés came together. This month, the inspired project will bring 12 singers onstage with the Montreal Symphony for the closing ceremonies of the FrancoFolies de Montréal festival, on June 22. For the occasion, A Propos host Jim Corcoran interviews Blair Thomson, the arranger of the orchestral versions of these songs featuring the amazing poetry of Quebec’s Gaston Miron.
According to Corcoran, “Miron is one of Quebec’s most celebrated, articulate and profoundly inspired of contemporary poets.” Singer-songwriter Gilles Bélanger wrote melodies for Miron’s poems and, those six years ago, he got the idea of having 12 of them sung by 12 of Quebec’s best singer-songwriters. Louis-Jean Cormier was the arranger and the producer of this first album, Douze hommes rapaillés.
No one expected this artistic endeavour to be so successful. Volume one and eventually volume two went gold. The 12 men performed together to sold-out crowds.
“The success of this project is proof that people are hungry for subtlety and art,” says Corcoran.
More recently, a third album called La symphonie rapaillée, with musicians from the Montreal Symphony, was recorded. There were two sold-out concerts of the orchestral versions of the songs at Montreal’s Maison symphonique in May. And now, the FrancoFolies festival will present this concert outdoors as the closing event of their festival.
The man who took on the colossal task of orchestrating the songs for the record and the upcoming symphonic concert with the OSM is the gifted and brilliant composer Thomson. He is our guest this week on A Propos. Hear him in conversation with Corcoran, who, incidentally, is also one of the singers of this inspired musical collaboration on Miron’s poetry.
Here, you can watch images of the recordings of La symphonie rapaillée.
Additionally, if you are curious about the SOCAN Songwriting Prize, find out how you can vote on these web pages:
Prix de la chanson SOCAN, for the French nominees.
SOCAN Songwriting Prize, for the English nominees.
A Propos airs on Sunday at 4 p.m. (4:30 p.m. NT) on CBC Radio 2 and Saturday at 11 p.m. (6 p.m. AT, 6:30 p.m. NT) on CBC Radio One.