Diane Dufresne, the free and daring artisan of Quebec song


I refine my shows a lot, I work every day, explained the artist in an interview. I don’t enjoy myself in life, but I enjoy surpassing myself, always a little more.

My profession, I made it unpretentious, almost like a religionhe said.

In over 50 years of career, Diane Dufresne has sung several times during performances during the national holiday, notably performing for the first time Like a beautiful bird in 1990 in front of a crowd of lily flags on Île Sainte-Hélène.

This song, the first he wrote, was born after a Quebec flag was trampled in Canada.

I’m not a seasoned nationalist, but touching the flag, the French language, the culture made me dare to write a songshe said.

Authentic and rebellious

If she has lived in France for a long time, Diane Dufresne has always remained a Quebecer. However, on the other side of the Atlantic, she was offered a golden bridge, a French producer even offered her to become the new Edith Piaf, which she refused.

I’m not Piaf. […] I could not be anything other than what I am and make certain concessionshe pointed out.

We say: “It doesn’t matter which road we take to get there”. Personally, I find that the path we take to get there is very important.

True to form, Diane Dufresne then continued her career, breaking convention, redefining the show and bringing new life, particularly thanks to the many flamboyant costumes she wore on stage.

Diane Dufresne in 1984.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Jean-Pierre Karsenty

As a woman, we took birth control pills, but we didn’t have the same freedom as menshe has decided.

There was a kind of rebellion to be even more feminine, if possible more sex-symbols, and to take on one’s own body.

This is in particular the French singer Juliette Gréco, the divine Greekwho taught him to take command.

I had a lot of eczema, so I was singing with my arms back. She taught me to do gestures, to put my hands forward and told me to be daring.

Subsequently, Diane Dufresne had the audacity to wear a newsprint dress to sing You’ll hear me through the papers or to bring together 55,000 people dressed in pink for his unique concert pink magic in August 1984 at the Montreal Olympic Stadium. She remains the first and only Quebec artist to have performed at this venue. It was extraordinary, it was the audience that made the show a successhe told Anne-Marie Dussault.

However, deviating from the norm hasn’t always facilitated his music career. The musicians were a little ashamed of me, because I was screaming, he confided. [Mais] I was screaming for women who couldn’t scream.

The influence of the Rockettes and Bécaud

Since the release of his first album Hold on tight in 1972, Diane Dufresne offered a multitude of songs that left their mark: The straight singer, Belmont Park, Song for Elvis, Listening to Elton John, Hollywood Whim, I have 12 year, A part from thator Hymn to the beauty of the world.

These popular titles probably would never have seen the light without two shows in particular: that of the Rockettes, which she discovered as a child with her father in New York and who decided to make her become a singer, and a concert by Gilbert Bécaud, in Montreal.

At the time, Diane Dufresne, who lost her mother at the age of 15, dropped out of school and took care of the housework, as her father had remarried a very strict woman. Hear Gilbert Bécaud perform The white boat it proved decisive in his life. The lyrics of this song include You will have your white boat / But for having it you will have taken some time […] Even if you didn’t really believe it, here’s your white boat.

When Gilbert Bécaud sang [ça]I really believed my life could change and it did.

stay on

Today, at 77, Diane Dufresne says yes the same headeven if his body flees to use his words.

He aspires to peace and continues to dare, with the man of his life, the sculptor Richard Langevin, whom he met at 50, and not at 28, when he sang. I met the man of my lifewritten by Luc Plamondon. I am still very much in love with [Richard]it is a gift of lifehe confided.

Much scarred by the premature death of the adored and eccentric mother who gave her a taste for the show, she is particularly aware of the existence of death.

Diane Dufresne in an interview with Anne-Marie Dussault.

Photo: Radio-Canada

Every night, I’m a bit like Karl Lagerfeld, I tell myself it could be the last night, he explained. When I wake up, I’m always surprised that another day comes.

On his latest album The best after imagine the song But livethat sounds like a hymn to life.

Do what you want, but stay alive and human, it’s important.

A quote from Diana Dufresne

When we are alive, we know that we are moving towards a square thing [une tombe, NDLR], but as we move forward, it’s important to feel all emotions, and not just happiness, he pleaded. I don’t know exactly what happiness is, but I do know what emotions are.

A demanding conception of freedom

In addition to painting, Diane Dufresne continues to give performances, she participated in the Festival de la chanson de Tadoussac on June 17. She is also collaborating on the film inspired by her life which is due out next year and the documentary which is due to be released on Extra a few weeks before the film hits theaters.

People think that being free means doing anything, he complained. Being free means having a lot of rigor, ethics, and if you can have nobility, then you can afford to be free.

When I say that I still want to do things, it is with that freedom. I still hope to have my ethics and to be a good craftsman.

The special broadcast of 24/60 during which Anne-Marie Dussault converses with Diane Dufresne is broadcast on Friday, at 7pm, on ICI RDI.


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