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Québec's first chansonnière

 J’ai chanté sur tous les tons sur les filles et les garcons Des carottes pis des navots Ah! Venez voir comme ils sont beaux De l’ouvrage aux Canadiens et à la grocerie du coin. ˝ From Les policemen, recorded on May 5, 1932 Madame Bolduc had more than one string in her bow: she wrote songs, recorded albums, appeared on CKAC radio station and performed in a series of shows. In 1930, after achieving success with La cuisinière (The Cook), she signed a contract with Starr Record to produce 12 records per year which meant she had to write two songs a month. Her humorous lyrics told the tale of everyday life or chronicled current events. For her tunes, she found her inspiration in folk music, adding her signature mouth music here and there.

Inspired by her fragrant jams, Madame Édouard Bolduc composed La Cuisinière, with its funny lyrics and lively score, at her kitchen table. On December 6, 1929, she recorded this first original song, quite different from the contemporary repertoire. For the B side, she recorded a French adaptation of an Irish song, L’habit de Johnny McFellow. The record was a resounding success.

Madame Édouard Bolduc « La cuisinière »/« Johnny Monfarleau » Starr 15665, 1929, 78 tours, Musée de la Gaspésie

“Ça va venir pis ça va venir, Mais découragez-vous pas. Moé, j’ai toujours le cœur gai Et je continue à turluter.” From Ça va venir découragez-vous pas (It’ll get better, don’t give up), recorded on September 23, 1930 The new Starr Records and radio star Madame Édouard Bolduc accepted an invitation to sing at a masked ball in Lachute on November 25, 1930. It was her first solo performance. Wearing the long black dress she had sewn for herself and which would become her stage costume, Mary appeared before a delirious audience that went wild as she came on stage. Accompanied by a pianist, she sang, completely overwhelmed by the reaction of her fans who knew all the words, took up the chorus with her, “turluting” along with her, adding bravos and whistling before giving her a long ovation at the end.

Affiche publicitaire Encre sur papier 104,6 x 37,6 cm, P11/4/b/1, Musée de la Gaspésie,

“Je m’habille modestement Pis mes chansons sont de l’ancien temps, Mais partout j’vas turluter J’ai pas honte de m’présenter.” From La Chanson du bavard (The Chatterbox), recorded on April 9, 1931 When the market for records collapsed in the summer of 1932, public performances made up for the loss. The shows combined vaudeville and song. The highlight of the evening was Madame Édouard Bolduc’s musical performance. She would sing her most popular recorded hits to satisfy her fans, songs inspired by French and Québec folklore and new material that had never been recorded.

“ Partout dans le Canada Quand on veut boir’ un verr’ Comm’ « laBatt » il n’en est pas C’est la meilleur des bières En hiver comm’en été Elle sait vous mettre’en gaieté.” Madame Bolduc composed the jingle La reine des bières (Queen of Beers) for the John Labatt Ltd. The song was printed in Christmas greeting cards signed by H. O. Tremblay of Rouyn, who distributed John Labatt Ltd. products.

“De l’ouvrage, y va en avoir Pour tout le monde, cet hiver. Il faut bien donner le temps Au nouveau gouvernement.” Sheet music for the song Ça va venir découragez-vous pas, one of La Bolduc’s greatest hits; this song, written during the economic crisis, expressed the hope that the Conservative government of Richard Bedford Bennett, elected in the 1930 federal election, would improve employment for workers.

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