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Music of Quebec

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Music of Quebec
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Because it is a modern cosmopolitan society, in the present day all types of music can be found in the Canadian province of Quebec. Particular to this area are its traditional Quebecois songs, a local variety of Celtic music, and the traditional music of local First Nations and the Inuit.

Quebec also has many well-known jazz musicians and a culture of classical music. Urban areas and summer festivals feature music and rhythms from around the world.

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  • A Brief History of Quebec

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Quebec is a unique place. It’s a vast, densely populated French-speaking province within a much larger predominantly English speaking country. The people of the province are amongst the first Europeans to arrive in North America. It’s a province which voted not once but twice on whether it should leave Canada, and both times it narrowly failed. With their national holiday coming up in a few days, let’s talk about Quebec. Hi, I'm Tristan, and this is Step Back. Subscribe and hit the bell notification to get history every week. This region which would become Quebec has been lived upon in some form or another for well over 12,000 years. It’s vast territory occupied by a large variety of societies from several diverse nations banded together in the Haudenosaunee, called by the French the Iroquois Confederacy in the south to Inuit people living in Quebec’s frozen north. At least ten indigenous nations we know about lived in this region. What we know about this period comes from a mix of archaeological evidence, and the oral traditions passed down through the nations that lived here. The first people to arrive in Quebec came around the year 11,000 BCE. The people who entered are still quite a mystery. Only a few pieces of archaeological evidence shows they existed at all. They were palaeolithic people, direct ancestors of some of the first souls to cross the bring strait land bridge from Siberia, give or take a few centuries. The Quebec they called home would be alien to us today. This was still the age of mammoths, giant sloths and all that. Quebec, however, was still mostly covered in glaciers in this period. It was not until they began to retreat about 10,000 years ago that the population would increase in a meaningful way. With the retreating of the glaciers, the climate of Quebec started to become a bit more hospitable. We see this connected to a population increase in the region. The Iroquois and Algonquin speaking peoples began to show up in the province in this era. We find specialised tools such as fishing hooks from this period. It wasn’t for many thousands of years before farming came to Quebec. The first farms seemed to show up around 1,300 years ago, with significant crops made of beans, corn, marrow, and sunflowers. Sometime in the 12th century, legendary figures Hiawatha and Deganawidah along with a partially unknown figure named Jigonsaseh formed an alliance between five tribes, the Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, and Seneca. The full story of the founding of th e Haudenosaunee Confederacy will be sidelined for this video, because it’s a bit more of an upstate New York story, but also because I think it should be its own video. Comments if you want that! Now let’s talk about the first Europeans to arrive in Quebec. Sometime shortly after the first voyage of Christopher Columbus down in the Caribbean, a French sailor brought back several captured indigenous people indicating there was land in the northern Atlantic. A French explorer named Jacques Cartier took up this interest. Trust me, this is important, there’s a thousand streets and buildings named after him in Quebec. On June 24 of 1534, he and his crew landed in the modern-day Gaspe peninsula, and in a very European fashion claimed the entirety of other people’s territory as the property of the King of France. The next year, he sailed to locations such as modern-day Quebec City and Montreal, meeting the St Lawrence Iroquoian people living there. Over the next six years, the French government didn’t do much, not seeing colonisation of the region a top priority. For a few years, it was just a place fishermen would go for cod and whale oil. They would trade their metal goods with the indigenous people of St Lawrence for fancy furs, which would renew interest in the region. Smelling profit, King Francois I gave a French noble named *deep breath* Jean-Francois de la Rocque de Roberval the task of setting up a colony in these lands he called New France. He failed at the job, and it wouldn't be until the year 1608 Quebec City would be founded by Samuel de Champlain, another person many things are named after in Quebec. It was the first attempt to make a permanent settlement. Now, this was not your typical colonisation story at first. The juice of this colony would be the trade for furs, especially beaver furs which were becoming all the rage back in Europe. Some of the most common people to operate here were freelance traders and hunters called the coureur des bois. There wasn’t much official exploration, but many of these freelancers did it themselves. That being said, its remote location and lack of local knowledge made the first few years pretty deadly. A lot of the most valuable land taken by the crown was passed on down to the Catholic Church. While many English people crossed the Atlantic to get away from feudalism, in New France the church more or less transplanted it. It was a system of people working their land under something called the seigneurial system. Because of this, for a lot of Quebecois history, the Catholic Church would be extremely powerful. The colony had some… difficulties keeping active. A war with England blocked supplies down the St. Lawrence River, and they even lost the territory to the English for a few years before peace could be restored. By the end of the 1600s, there were under 20,000 French settlers all the way from the Mississippi to Newfoundland. A little over half of them were farmers. Many came only for a few seasons to fish and trade furs and then go back to France. Women rarely crossed, and those who did were mostly nuns. It got so bad the King had to incentivise and pay for around 800 young French women to go over, with hopes they'd get married and convince people to stay in New France. There are a lot of legends about these girls, and claiming lineage to these Filles du Roi or “the king’s daughters” is a small part of having real French Canadian cred. Still, New France existed as a backwater place only good for sending resources back to France. The story was different down south. By the mid-1700s, the British had grown their North American colonies into pretty much its own country. New France had 10 times the size of those 13 colonies, but only about 1/10th the population. This was the situation when France and England went to war in 1754. This global conflict called the Seven Years War (or French and Indian War to Americans) would feature several significant battles in Quebec. With control of the Atlantic, the British were able to overpower the French in North America. It came to ahead with a massive siege of Quebec City. The troops met in a climactic clash known as the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. Both the leader of the French, Louis-Joseph de Montcalm and the British General James Wolfe died in the battle. The British then proceeded to occupy New France, and the people living there would never be part of the French Empire ever again. The War ended with the Treaty in Paris, which ceded all of Canada to the British, and King George III set out to set up a government there. This is a significant event in Quebecois history, especially to Quebec nationalists. To them, the Planes of Abraham is when they lost everything, and their oppression by the English began. The Planes are also now a park, there’s music festivals there and stuff. Seriously, go to Quebec City if you haven’t, it’s gorgeous. The British would rule over Quebec for the next century. The Quebecois didn’t seem mind a whole lot as long as they were allowed to speak French and practice Catholicism. They also to this day were allowed to keep the French legal system. It was the first time any territory other than Quebec city got the name Quebec. This all formalised in the 1774 Quebec Act. Another reason the Quebecois got so many concessions, is because trouble was brewing down south. In 1775, the American Revolutionary War began, and Quebec was in the crosshairs of the American military. Their goal was to “liberate” the French from British rule. During the campaign in Quebec, the even managed to get a few regiments of Quebecois troops to fight for them. The Americans conquered Montreal but were defeated at Quebec city and forced to retreat. Don’t worry, they would try again in the War of 1812. After the war, Quebec and the rest of Canada became a landing place for many loyalist refugees. Most of them were settled where I am now, in what would become southern Ontario. Since they were a sizeable English community in a French-speaking province, they successfully broke off into what would eventually become Ontario, but in this period called them lower and upper Canada. This also oddly resulted in the only elected government in the colonial government in Lower Canada which would become Quebec. Within it, a nationalist liberal political group called the Parti Canadien led rebellions in 1837 and 1838. The uprising was driven by an extreme group of them known as the Parti Patriote. They didn’t succeed in much but the imposition of martial law until 1840. It resulted in a lot of reforms, and tighter control by the English colonial administration. This was also a period when many new immigrants from the British Isles began to arrive in Quebec, creating a sizeable anglophone minority that exists to this day. To further curb the power of French Canadians, the High Commissioner of Canada Lord Durham united Upper and Lower Canada, with a single governing body in Montreal, which then was moved to Toronto after a mob set that seat of government on fire in 1849. Then we get to the big year 1867. After some negotiation, the colonial provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Canada joined into a new country called the Dominion of Canada. This was when Quebec finally got the name of Quebec. Canada was now a country... kinda. It took care of its own affairs, but foreign policy was still under the control of the United Kingdom. Quebec the Canadian province was dominated mainly by the church. Most hospitals, charities, and French language schools were run by it. The Quebecois people protested when they detected Anti-French oppression in the execution of Louis Riel in the famous Metis rebellion in Saskatchewan… a future video I'm sure… Quebec politics often was about trying to gain autonomy for the French population and curb the centralisation of Canada. There was a lot of victories, as Canada is a remarkably decentralised country today. Canada’s first French Canadian Prime Minister was Wilfrid Laurier elected in 1896. He fought the influence of the church in Quebec and dealt with French opposition to Canada’s participation in the Boer War. This would be even stronger when Quebec rioted against conscription during the First World War. Hey, folks just wanna duck in for a second to let you know Step Back grows through word of mouth, so if there’s a friend, family member, teacher, or internet community you know who might like a Step Back video, be sure to show them! Canada and Quebec also took a hard hit from the great depression. Quebec saw a massive move to reactionary politics. Quebecois people doubled down on their loyalty to the church, and Quebec nationalism became a traditionalist movement, trying to keep the old ways against a changing world. The people of Quebec elected a man named Maurice Duplessis for fifteen years who deepened church and state relations and fought with unions and intellectuals. Because of his doubling down on traditionalist values, Quebec was insular, abortion was illegal, and divorce would be outlawed until 1968. However, the baby boomer Quebecois would fight this. During the 1960s, Quebec went through something called the Quiet Revolution. During this period of reform, Quebec secularised, liberalised, and tied these changes to a new Quebec identity. The province of Quebec signed an international agreement with Paris, and the Quebecois people protested a visit from the Queen. And of course, with a spike in nationalism, we get a spike in violence. In 1963, the Front de Liberation du Quebec or the FLQ set off bombs in Montreal. This escalated until 1970 when the FLQ kidnapped a cabinet minister and a British diplomat, killing the former. Prime-Minister Trudeau. Not him his dad, I thought we solved this in the last Quebec video. Imposed martial law on Quebec and invoked the war measures act. Nationalism, however, was still on the rise. A new ministry of culture was founded with the goal of preserving French culture. In 1968, the nationalist Parti Quebecois was established and still exists to this day. Support for more nationalism and separatist ideas circulated throughout the late 60s and 70s, resulting in a failed referendum on separation in 1980. In the early 80s, Canada brought home and ratified its own constitution. All 9 provinces except for Quebec signed it. Whenever talks of the Canadian constitution arose, Quebec’s status within Canada would become a central issue. In the 80s and early 90s, the Mulroney Progressive Conservative government in Ottawa tried to bring Quebec into the fold with constitutional accords in Meech Lake and Charlottetown, but these quickly broke down. In 1995, there was a second referendum, and it only failed by the slimmest of margins. I have a whole video about this, so if you want more info, go there. Indigenous people today live in small scattered communities, focused primarily in rural areas around the province. Though this isn’t always the case. The Mohawk reserve of Kahnawake is pretty much a suburb of Montreal. Like the rest of Canada, the treatment of indigenous peoples is a horrific national shame which we should be pointing out at every possible opportunity. For example, let’s talk about the Oka Crisis! In 1990 The city of Oka decided to expand a golf course over a plot of disputed land which belonged to the Mohawk nation. This was done without a single environmental study or attempt at historic preservation. Mohawk community members rallied to defend their territory by blockading access to the land. The Quebec police responded with tear gas and concussion grenades. A firefight broke out, and the Mohawk people managed to drive back the police. The RCMP, our federal police were called in and also overwhelmed. They even called in the military to make sure that golf course on indigenous sovereign land could be built. A peace deal was eventually kinda reached. The golf course was cancelled, and the land purchased by the federal government. This Oka Crisis made news around the country and in a brief and in this country way too few and far between moment, we saw a little bit of the horrible conditions and violations we inflict on our indigenous communities. Hey Justin, how you liking that oil pipeline? In more recent times, Quebec has lost a lot of its support for separation. The federal government passed a motion declaring the Quebecois the status of a nation within Canada. The Liberal government in Quebec tried to raise tuition, which resulted in massive protests under the red square movement. I remember this well because I was IN student government in Quebec at this time. It led to the separatist Parti Quebecois getting elected, with the provinces first female premier Pauline Marois. I gotta put my cards on the table, I wasn’t a fan, what with the trying to choke my small English university out of existence through austerity, and blatantly racist islamophobic laws, but whatever. Her government only lasted a couple years anyway. And so yeah, we come to today. Quebec is having issues dealing with a rise in far-right groups, especially those of the neo-nazi and islamophobic variety. A white supremacist committed a mass shooting of a mosque in 2017, and Quebec goes to the polls this year with an expected wave of right-wing support. But yeah, for all it is, Quebec is a fantastic part of Canada. It’s unique culture and place in the country is core to what Canada is, and so I wanted to tell their story. If there’s another province I should do, just ask in the comments. I wanna thank 12 tone for the theme song as well as patrons Don and Kerry Johnson, Kolbeinn Mani, Scott Smith, Martin King, and Michael Kirschner. Revenez la semaine prochaine pour plus de Step Back.

Contents

Traditional music

Under French rule, what is now Quebec was called le Canada and was the most developed colony of New France. After some generations of French settlers being born in Canada, the colonists began to identify with their home country and call themselves les Canadiens (the Canadians) as distinct from les Français (the French), those native to France. A similar socio-cultural phenomenon occurred in Acadia, and other European colonies in America, Africa, Asia, and Oceania.

The Canadiens brought with them a rich tradition of songs and dances from northern France, namely the regions of Île-de-France, Picardy, Normandy, Poitou, and Brittany. Influence from these regions, and the Irish immigration to Quebec of the 19th century may explain the Celtic connection that Quebec still shares with Brittany, Ireland, Scotland and the Maritimes.

As time went by, the French Canadians began to develop their own music, and also incorporated and transformed the styles of music played by the settlers from Great Britain, in particular the Scots, after the Conquest. (One hundred of these songs were collected by Ernest Gagnon for an 1865 compilation, one of the first such collections to be published in Canada.)

Québécois lumberjacks playing the fiddle, with sticks for percussion, in a lumber camp in 1943.
Québécois lumberjacks playing the fiddle, with sticks for percussion, in a lumber camp in 1943.

Popular music

Perhaps the most remarkable phenomenon in the popular music of that century was the career of La Bolduc, who became extremely popular singing satirical and sometimes racy songs based on the Quebec and Irish folk traditions, and who also was expert in the wordless vocalization known as turlutte.

By the 1960s, radio and television had begun to help disseminate French folk songs, especially after the 1967 foundation of the Centennial Collection of Canadian Folk Songs, including recordings of Quebec performers like Yves Albert and Jacques Labrecque, as well as Acadian Edith Butler.

The most popular songwriters and singers of this period were Gilles Vigneault, Leonard Cohen (attended McGill University, d.2016, buried in Montreal), and Félix Leclerc, who brought more influences to the music of France-based singing stars like Jacques Brel. Leclerc, from La Tuque, and Vigneault, from Natashquan in the north of Quebec, became heroes for a new generation of Quebec youth. It was Vigneault's "Mon pays" (My Country), which became a rallying anthem for Quebec nationalism after a 1965 performance by Monique Leyrac, and established a tradition of Quebec artists supporting Quebec's independence movement. Many artists openly endorsed it, notably Raymond Lévesque, Pauline Julien and Paul Piché.

In the 1960s, the French Canadians of Quebec were beginning to self-identify as Québécois (Quebecers). See the Quiet Revolution. Another important nationalist performer during this period was Georges Dor, who enjoyed international success with his recording of his own composition, "La complainte de la Manic" ("The Ballad of Manicouagan"); other popular singers of the time include Claude Gauthier and Clemence Desrochers. Popular artists of the 70s included Harmonium, Offenbach, Plume Latraverse, Garolou and Beau Dommage, as well as Michel Rivard.

Country music, in both french and english (primarily the former), is prevalent in Quebec. An aspect of the overall Canadian country scene, it is the chief source of francophone country, inclusive of artists such as Renée Martel, Gildor Roy, Patrick Norman, Willie Lamothe, and Georges Hamel.

Progressive rock and fusion jazz band Maneige was founded in Quebec in 1972 by Alain Bergeron and Jérôme Langlois. The band was one of the Quebec progressive rock scene's longest running and most consistent bands.[1] In 1974, Vigneault and Leclerc played on the Plains of Abraham with Robert Charlebois, who made heavy use of Quebec French in his rock and roll fusions. In 1976, multi-instrumentalist sisters Kate & Anna McGarrigle emerged on the international music scene with their blend of folk-rock and vocal harmonies added to self-penned songs in English and French, many of the latter co-written with Swiss-born poet Philippe Tatartcheff. The 1970s also saw roots performers like La Bottine Souriante gain critical and commercial acclaim within Quebec. Jim Corcoran and Bertrand Gosselin released La tête en gigue, an influential album that helped bring Quebec roots to crossover audiences across Canada, the United States and Europe. In addition to his musical career, Corcoran currently hosts a weekly show on CBC Radio One, which airs Francophone music from Quebec for English audiences across Canada. The early 1980s saw the formation of francophone synthpop/new wave groups such as Nudimension that became involved in the genesis of music video and MTV culture.[2]

More recent Quebec performers include Richard Desjardins, Daniel Boucher, Marie-Chantal Toupin, Éric Lapointe, Vilain Pingouin, Mes Aïeux, Les Trois Accords, Kaïn, Dumas, La Chicane, Les Colocs, Mélanie Renaud, Cindy Daniel, Daniel Bélanger, Paul Cargnello, Laurence Jalbert, Rudy Caya, Jean Leloup, Celine Dion (who had 4 No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits like "My Heart Will Go On" in 1998), Les Stups, La Chicane, Dan Bigras, Isabelle Boulay and more recently Cœur de pirate. Some bands, such as Les Cowboys Fringants have known success in Europe (primarily in France) while Karkwa, Vulgaires Machins, Les Batinses and Malajube are also recognized elsewhere in Canada and internationally.

A hip-hop scene is also present in the Montreal area with groups like Loco Locass, Sans Pression, Dionysos, Criollo, Atach Tatuq, Manu Militari, KCLMNOP, Imposs, Muzion and Dubmatique.

The metal scene is represented primarily by Sword, Voivod and death metal bands Cryptopsy, Kataklysm, Martyr, Neuraxis, Gorguts, Quo Vadis, Despised Icon, Ex Deo, Blackguard, Beneath the Massacre, Augury and many others. The Quebec black metal scene has also gotten some attention in recent years, including bands like Akitsa, Spirit of the Forest, Forteresse, Chasse-Galerie, Monarque and Nefastus Dies.

In 2003, TVA began to broadcast Star Académie, a Québécois version of a French reality music competition, several new artists including Marie-Élaine Thibert, Marie-Mai, Émily Bégin and Stéphanie Lapointe became well-known music artists after their passage in the reality show.

The tensions between Quebec and English Canada have, at times, played out on Quebec's music scene as well. In 1991, Céline Dion won the Félix award for Best Anglophone Artist for her English-language debut, Unison, but refused it as she did not view herself as an Anglophone artist. After the controversy caused by this incident, Dion has been careful not to clearly declare herself as either federalist or sovereigntist.

Quebec has also produced a number of significant Anglophone artists, including Arcade Fire (who had 3 No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200 like The Suburbs in 2010.) Win Butler graduated from McGill University in Montreal in 2004. Régine Chassagne also went there. Patrick Watson, The Dears, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Riverbeds, Stars, The Stills, The Unicorns, Wolf Parade, Rufus Wainwright, Sam Roberts, Paul Cargnello, We Are Wolves, The New Cities, Chromeo, Simple Plan and the infamous spoken-word musical career of William Shatner. In addition, some Quebec artists also included from the 1960s to the 1980s Lewis Furey, Men Without Hats, Norman Iceberg, Rational Youth, Corey Hart, Julie Masse, Martine St. Clair, Marjo, Offenbach, The Box, Gino Vannelli, Luba, Jacynthe, France Joli, Sass Jordan and Grimskunk, who have frequently recorded both English and French material.

Quebec artists have dominated the long and short lists of the Polaris Music Prize. Among them, Arcade Fire, Patrick Watson, Godspeed You Black Emperor and Karkwa have all won the coveted award.

Jazz music

Christian Roberge, lead singer of French-Canadian gypsy jazz band The Lost Fingers, performing at Festival Franco-Ontarien in Ottawa on 11 June 2009.
Christian Roberge, lead singer of French-Canadian gypsy jazz band The Lost Fingers, performing at Festival Franco-Ontarien in Ottawa on 11 June 2009.

Some famous jazz musicians from Quebec are Oscar Peterson, Paul Bley, Oliver Jones, Charles Biddle, Ranee Lee, Karen Young, and Alain Caron.

The Montreal International Jazz Festival has been hosted by the city since 1980 and is now the largest jazz festival in the world, attracting huge crowds of visitors each summer, half of which come from outside the country. For the rest of the year, there is an Off festival that organizes jazz shows in bars all over Montreal.

Classical music

The early part of the 20th century saw growth in opera, and the foundation of the Montreal Opera Company in 1910, and opera singers became popular.

André Gagnon, Angèle Dubeau, Michael Laucke, Louis Lortie, Alain Lefèvre, Alain Trudel, Alexandre Da Costa, Marc-André Hamelin, Nathalie Choquette and Richard Verreau are top classical musicians from Québec at the present.[citation needed]

André Mathieu is among the most renowned composers from the province.[citation needed] He has been compared to a 'little Canadian Mozart', and Rachmaninov pronounced him, "a genius, more so than I am". His works became the official music of the Summer Olympics of 1976. Other famous composers are Claude Champagne, Calixa Lavallée, Pierre Mercure and composer-critic Alfred La Liberté, among others.

Quebec and France

Both nations have influenced each other in terms of music styles. In the last few years, Quebec singers have been taking the French stage quite extensively. Quebec singers that have performed in France included: Céline Dion, Garou, Anthony Kavanagh (a stand up comedian), Isabelle Boulay, Bruno Pelletier, Lynda Lemay, Cœur de pirate and many others.

Roch Voisine and Natasha St-Pier are two artists who also perform in France and are often mistaken for Quebecers. They are actually from New Brunswick and are of Acadian heritage, like Daniel Lavoie who is from Manitoba.

Musicals

Few musicals were made or adapted by Quebec artists. Among them, Luc Plamondon has had the brightest career as a song writer, writing for the big ones (Céline Dion, Garou). The main musicals 'made in Quebec' : Starmania, La Légende de Jimmy, Notre-Dame-de-Paris, Chicago (adapted into French), "Demain matin, Montréal m'attend", Dracula.

Le Cirque du Soleil

Cirque du Soleil has always developed its own musical pieces to go along with various acrobatic tricks. The music aspect of the shows is essential as it sets a mood to every single performance and links one number to another.

See also

References

Further reading

  • Brouillard, Marcel. Images de la chanson: un siècle chanté. [S.l.]: Éditions l'Essentiel; Ville Montréal, Qué.: Distr. Novalis, 2000. ISBN 2-921970-06-6
  • Défossé, Félix. L'Évolution du métal québécois, vol. [1], No Speed Limit, 1964–1989. Rouyn-Noranda, Qué.: Éditions du Quartz, 2014. N.B.: Two more vols. are projected to complete this 3 vol. history of heavy metal music of Québec. ISBN 978-2-924031-16-2
  • Duguay, Raoul. Musiciens du Québec. Montréal: Éditions du Jour, 1971. N.B.: The emphasis is on "classical" then- contemporary composers and on those of "musique actuelle".
  • Lasalle-Leduc, Annette. La Vie musicale au Canada français. Québec, Qué.: Ministère des Affaires culturelles, 1964.
  • Lefebvre, Marie-Thérèse. La Création musicale des femmes du Québec. Montréal: Éditions du Remue-ménage, 1991. N.B.: Concerns women composers of Québec.
  • Rodrigue, Patrick. "Rouyn-Noranda, la Mecque du rock 'n' roll" & "Un Musée du rock 'n' roll pourrait naître à Rouyn-Noranda", Abitibi-Express, vol. 1, no 44 (31 mai 2011), p. 4. N.B.: Paired ill. articles, each individually titled and separately accessible also on the newspaper's Internet site, describing Rouyn-Noranda as one of the two contrasting poles, the other being Montréal, of popular music in Québec.
  • Sévigny, Jean-Pierre. Sierra Norteña: the Influence of Latin Music on the French-Canadian Popular Song and Dance Scene, Especially as Reflected in the Career of Alys Robi and the Pedagogy of Maurice Lacasse-Morenoff. Montréal: Productions Juke-Box, 1994. 13 p. N.B. Published text of a paper prepared for, and presented on, on 12 March 1994, the conference, Popular Music Music & Identity (Montréal, Qué., 12–13 March 1994), under the auspices of the Canadian Branch of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music.

External links

This page was last edited on 10 December 2018, at 06:03
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