In 1998, in his song woman’s words, Laurence Jalbert said he never wanted to hear “What next? when one of her sisters denounced an injustice. A year after shocking Quebec itself with a letter in which she confided that she had been a victim of domestic violence, the singer-songwriter continues her journey with an acute awareness of what remains to be done.
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Yes, Laurence Jalbert received the Luc-Plamondon Award from the Professional Society of Authors and Composers of Quebec in November 2020, crowning her entire work. But maybe it’s worth repeating: the singer has signed or co-signed the vast majority of her unforgettable songs.
“It was Diane Juster who called me to break the news, and Diane Juster, I love it, you know? “Says the 62-year-old veteran, reached by videoconference a few days before her show at Francos. “Diane and I talk about everything and nothing, and then I tell her:“ You give me the author award, but do you know that I also compose? There was silence. She didn’t know. ”
It sucks, but that’s it: from Marjo to Diane Tell via Francine Raymond, the most outstanding songwriters have to repeat over and over again that their choruses belong to them.
I often find myself in front of surprised people: “Hey, did you write it?” Yes, it happens that in his free time he writes small sentences. It is still in people’s minds that a woman will become an artist, if it is not pointed out that she is an author and composer.
But this tends to change, rejoices the one who will soon become a grandmother for the seventh time. “Get Marjo! Finally he starts seeing her everywhere ”, she says of her“ great boyfriend ”of hers, with whom she regularly exchanges text messages.
And what does a conversation look like between La Jalbert – Laurence will often refer to herself during our interview with just her last name – and La Morin? “It’s crazy! We are two ascending Lions, two covered, two hyperactive, two volunteers. Marjo is a person of great purity, great humility, and that’s where we connect together. We know why we stand in front of the world. It’s not because we are better or more beautiful than others. It is because there is a truth within us. Not THE truth. We have humble truths within us that we want to share with others. And like Marjo, when I am on stage, I belong entirely to the present moment . ”
In April 2021, Laurence Jalbert posted a touching letter on social networks titled “Spoons in the Freezer,” an account of the decade of domestic violence she endured. This confidence took all of Quebec by surprise, both the creator of Corridor he has always had this image of a woman who does not allow herself to be trampled on. Among the many salutary effects of her, this testimony will have had the merit of remembering that there is no archetype of the victim.
Coming out of a pandemic that will have seen the number of femicides explode, Laurence Jalbert multiplies not only the shows – her summer promises to be one of the busiest of her career – but also the conferences on the subject. Her own songs have long been talking about what women have to endure with the pressures to speak softly.
This is the case with woman’s wordshis popular pamphlet taken frombefore the storm (1998). “I had already lived through so many terrible stories in those days,” says the one who ran bars for 15 years before winning the Empire of Future Stars with her band, Volt, in 1987. Enough time to survive some horrors.
When I wrote woman’s words, I was fed up. But you think I didn’t have to worry about it, big eyes, when I released that song? [Elle prend la voix d’un enquiquineur.] “But, Laurence Jalbert, what is this feminist discourse?”
Again and again
It was in 1990, without realizing it, that he wrote his first text evoking the theme of violence against women. At the dawn of her tour inspired by her first album, her music director asks her if she has any appetizers in her drawers for songs that could broaden her repertoire.
Among these sketches was a melody accompanied by a single phrase: “Encore et encore”. Despite his overloaded schedule, Laurence Jalbert crouches in a corner of the rehearsal room, with his pencil, while his group plays the new piece, still without text. “The fourth or fifth time I got up and sang it, but I had no idea why I wrote all that stuff. ”
A few days later, in Abitibi, there is talk everywhere in the local media about the murder of Sandra Gaudet, a 14-year-old teenager abandoned on the side of the road, a crime that has not yet been solved.
“And there, during the sound check, I think of my daughter and I think about how this little girl, Sandra, went away. I decide to dedicate this song to him in which I sing: “I saw it in their eyes, the crazy desire to hurt you, to hurt you / I saw them tear away what was left of your soul and your dolls”. It is the plain and simple truth: I had never understood what I had written before that evening. ”
Sandra Gaudet’s mother, whom Laurence had asked to keep her informed of the progress of the trial, will send her a few weeks later an envelope containing the first page of the child’s diary.
“And do you know what his diary was called?” Long silence. “He was called Again and again. »Longer silence. “I’m not telling you I’m the Blessed Virgin, I’m just telling you that sometimes artists have antennas. And every time I sing it today, I see in my head the faces of all the women who die because they are women. And I think I should never have called him Again and again because it will never stop. ”
On the stage of Loto-Québec – The track on June 13 at 20:00