Montreal Community Magazine: 2 SOLITUDES : Revue de la Communauté de Montréal - http://www.2solitudes.com
Ou est Serge Fiori?
http://www.2solitudes.com/articles/43/1/Ou-est-Serge-Fiori.html
Debra Cathcart

Montreal interior designer by day,  poet and author by night.

To grasp the concept of 2solitudes, you only have to look around you: Your city, your neighborhood, your friends, your lovers.

To fully understand 2solitudes means to understand your relationship to all of the above, your relationship to the world and hopefully better understand yourself and feel connected.

This is why we share...

 
by/par Debra Cathcart
Published/Publié 10/21/2007
 
Harmonium pour moi est une belle histoire d'amour. L'amour des mots et le desir. Le désir d'écrire, de créer et aussi d'écouter. Écoutez surtout.. "On a mis quelqu'un au monde , on devrait l'écouter.

Imaginez

'Imaginez
Qu'un Homme - musicien
Vient voir si je suis vivant
Chargé par ses milles instruments
Y'en avait un pour moi, justement.'
~ Serge Fiori


maginez que j'avais 14 ans en 1974. J'etais amoureuse d'un quebecois de "souche" et nous ecoutions Harmonium dans sa chambre. C'est lui qui ma fait connaitre ce groupe qui deviendrait phenomene. Notre amour d'adolescent n'est pas devenu un phenomene, mais c'est evaporee au fil des annees.

I come from a "blended family". The French translation, "remuer au malaxeur" doesn't exactly do the phrase justice, although there were days around election time, that my family, being English and French would necessarily have their differences.

So... a moratorium was issued during election times about discussing politics at dinner, not that it was ever upheld. Les discussions assez animees autour d'une grande table avec "une bouteille monte et descent" etaient tres commun dans la famille. Je me compte chanceuse d'avoir vecue cela. De "souche: anglophone, je vivais dans un milieu tellement bilingue, ou une phrase commencee en francais etait souvant fini en anglais. Je fais pareil aujourd'hui.

Il est entré sans rien me dire... (dans ma vie, et il m'a beacoup appris. J'avais deja commencer a ecrire de la poesie, mais. en ecoutant Harmonium, j'etais de plus en plus inspiree."L'encre s'est mis a coulee". From there, I chose to study literature and languages at CEGEP, not knowing where it would lead, but knowing, in a roundabout type of way, that it would eventually be of use. Cet jeune homme aux paroles douces m'a beaucoup apprit.

Dans ma tête et sur un vieux papier.

The best ideas are indeed written in our minds and scraps of paper, to capture the moment and the thought before it evaporates

Il m'a dit de vous dire , qu'il n'ya plus rien a dire... Il m'a dit de vous dire d'Ecoutez

One of the best ideas, as we are so busy filling the air (and airwaves) due our fear of silence. Silence that helps us to regenerate, to form our thoughts and ideas, so that when we do fill the silence, it is with words that are well thought out, appropriate to the situation and therefore have power.

D'écouter le silence
Qui voudrait bien reprendre
sa place dans la balance.
Se remmetre au monde a chaque seconde.

Silence that has now largely been shunted aside in favour of an assault on our sensual stimuli 24/ 7.

Imaginez

Qu'un Homme - musicien
Joue des airs d'un autre temps
Délivrant son corps de ses talents
Il a pu faire de moi son enfant

Il m'a souri .
Ca m'a fait rire
On a joué quelques instants
S'amusant a faire des harmonies

Il m'a dit de vous dire... D'ecoutez..........


Experience

In 1974, I was 14 years old.Suffering my first "peine d'amour", and a bout of mononucleosis, I was exiled to my grandparent's house in the country to recuperate.My parents visited every weekend, but for the most part, I was left to my own devices and the loving care of my grandfather. My grandmother was still working, and he made sure to wash the whole house from top to bottom every Friday before she arrived.We, or they, had a wood stove..and he would heat it up to such a degree I thought we'd melt, only to scoop the hot water from the reservoir on the side, pour it on the linoleum floor and start swabbing away like the best of sailors.Singing all the while, reminding me of old Jackie Gleason clips.

Sitting on the porch or balcony for weeks at a time, I started to write to my friends, write in my diary and start to write some poetry. Des petits mots douces to my boyfriend who was now persona non grata, given that my parents thought that he must have been "la personne" who had infected me. He came regularly to see me and we just held hands, but after a time, those visits ceased.He was free and that's what he needed.

During that time we had started listening to Harmonium, the Quebecois group that would take the province by storm.It was this first experience with the people, colour and fabric of the province that would mark me and instill in me the value of living in a multi-cultural society.I am the product of anglo stock, have two french step-parents and now numerous connections of cousins, step-siblings, grandparents and whatnot. I consider myself very lucky.

I get to live the french experience, both personally and professionally on a daily basis.

 

The words of Harmonium are the first that made sense to me, and now having viewed the interview with Serge Fiori, I wonder how he survived it and so does he.

His words are so poignant for a whole generation of people, anglophone, francophone.........

 

"Dis-moi ou je suis, dis-moi qui je suis, et viens ici, repond a ma question,  Repond..."

 

I remeber every word because it had a huge impact on my life and my writing

Working In the Flow State

And listen I did, read voraciously as to absorb myself in the day and the culture and this resurgence I felt going on in Quebec.

I had already become somewhat politically aware at a young age with the October Crisis. I listened to music with my youngest uncle on what was then called CKGM-FM, who played not only american music, but british and quebecois as well. Harmonium's music touched a chord with alot of my generation and seemed to be the equivalent of the protest and deeply moving songs coming out of the US and the rest of Canada.A time of political and also personal and spiritual renewal was taking place and it was reflected in the music we listened to. This music not only informed us, but it also Inspired us. It foretold of a world where, if we took good care of it, denounced the powers that were at the time who sought to plunder it for profit, then we would (or could) live in peace.

Imaginez cet homme musicien, Serge Fiori.....

Imagine the weight of a generation of young Quebecers on his shoulders, some fans camping on his lawn, just to see him get up in the morning and open his door to get the newspaper. Imagine that such a kind and gentle soul was co-opted by the record company, so that regardless of Harmonium's huge popularity, he ended up broke, in a 1 room appartment with a borrowed piano.

Imagine that one moment you are treated like a god by legions of adoring fans, then are left with nothing. Almost prophetic without wanting to be a prophet, many of his songs foretold this ultimate exile. (Pour un instant j'ai oublie mon nom... et l'attente qui m'avais si bien predit, tout est mort et presque rien n'est dit) ...




He still actualizes hope in the song "Attends-moi" with the following words.. and again encourages us to wait.. the writer for the song to come, for the departed lover, for a better day and perhaps for his return

Quand ce jour arrivera
Ce matin plein d'horizons
Le soleil te parlera

Et tu perdra la raison.

Ca sera enfin pour toi
Le debut d'une chanson
Tu decouvrira la joie
et les heures disparaitront.

How many people have felt that joy of creating, what one writer called "working in the Flow state", where the hours do actually seem to dissolve one into the other until you come up for air and realize what you have actually accomplished.

The writing of Fiori seems to suggest this flow state, especially in the line "L'encre s'est mis a couler dans ma tete et sur un vieux papier.."

How fortunate the writer or songwriter whose music and words can flow from his pen and instrument in such a way. The choice of the title of the group and debut album has always been of interest to me. The harmonium, a musical instrument composed of reeds and pipes, somewhat like an organ, had been imported to India by early missionaries.The harmonium remains a staple of Indian music and can be found in many homes. In the seventies, how many young people, Quebecois and others, made their own so-called pilgrimages to find themselves or whatever else they were looking for in Nepal and India. Enlightenment they sought, and perhaps when they returned home, they found the same enlightenment in the words and music of Harmonium.

Harmonium and Fiori don't only sing about high and lofty ideals, but the day-to-day, as heard in a very poignant and touching way in the song, De la chambre au salon :


"Dis-moi ou je suis, qui je suis et viens-ici je te pose une question... repond-moi?
Je te pose une question... reponds.."


Où Est Serge Fiori ?
Où Est Serge Fiori ?
Many people have wondered...

He was recuperating from all this fame, quietly working on his own music in his own time. Outside the constraints placed on him by record companies, expectations and (supposed) well meaning fans. In the following interview on les Francs-Tireurs, he speaks of his past, his plans for the future and especially his music.

Serge Fiori discute de facon tres franche sur sa carriere musicale avec Harmonium - les hauts et les bas d'etre "vedette", ainsi que les années qui suivaient leur popularité.


Les Francs-Tireurs en interview avec Serge Fiori...



Beau Dommage

Beau Dommage (another Quebecois band from the same era as Harmonium) captivated us with songs such as "La complainte du phoque", "Le géant Beaupré" and "le blues d' la metropole", along with a long discography that spanned some 20 years.

Beau Dommage, literally translated, means "beautiful damage". I’ll ask my french confreres for the more appropriate term for the name of a group that was also synonymous with the Quebecois music revolution of the seventies.

"En soixante sept, tout etait beau.. C’etait l’année de l’amour, c’etait l’année de l’Expo"... The world’s eyes were upon us with Expo 67, one of the more ambitious projects attributed to Mayor Jean Drapeau./ Malgré ses défauts, la perception de son terme comme maire étant "megalomane", il y’a avait une perception à long terme, celui de Montreal comme ville internationale, de destination international touristique et sourtout économique. La rencontre de tout ces cultures pour une foire "exhibition" a fait que plusieurs personnes ont visitées, certains ont decidées de rester, et plusieurs ont decidées de revenir...

La guerre du Vietnam en pleine face, certains on décider de décamper le US pour le Canada. J’en connais quelques’uns personellement. Ils voyaient en nous une societé premièrement ouverte, prête a les accueillir, et aussi un pays reconnu pour sa tolerance et sa vocation d'etre "peace-keepers" au lieux d’etre aggresseurs.

Nous étions fières de les accueillir, ceux qui cherchaient la paix et non la guerre.

Dernièrement, je doit retrouver un adresse pour aller voir un client. Je suis accompagner d’une collegue de travail, et en revenant de notre rencontre, on essaye de prendre une rue moins achalandé de traffique. On croise la rue St. Vallier.. "7760 St. Vallier, Montreal"..me revient comme les paroles. "Est-ce possible qui a eu des "pélérinages" a cette adresse?", comme en avant de chez Serge Fiori? Je veut aller voir, mais on dois retourner au bureau.Je lui demande, une quebeçoise de souche qui est devenue une amie. Elle me parle de la journée que je l’ai surprise:

Dans notre travail, il y a souvent des surprises a dernière moment et on doit faire de notre possible pour completer le contrat. J’avais accepter de faire de la peinture cette journée- la, qui ne rentre pas dans mons travail habituel. Pour rendre le travail plus agréable, j’ai apporté des disques compactes pour qu’on écoute en travaillant. Un parmi ceux-la etait justement Harmonium. Elle s’est dit surprise qu’une anglophone comme moi écoutais de la musique quebecoise. On a travaillé toute la journée, l’un a cote de l’autre, toute en chantant.

Les paroles et les personnages de Beau Dommage sont peut-etre plus colorées que ceux d’Harmonium. Ils racontent les histoires du "Géant de Beaupre" et le pauvre petit "phoque qui s’ennuit."Quelle contraste entre l’un et l’autre, mais comme thème commun revient toujours des personnes (ou personnages) laissées de coté pour une raison ou une autre. Ils nous chantent de patience, de tolerance et d’acceptation.Je peut qu’imaginer un dialogue entre le Géant et le petit phoque, mais c’etait symbolique d’un temps au Quebec, un temps assez mouvementé dans notre histoire. C’etait vraiement "le blues d’la metropole".....