Émile Bilodeau filled the main stage of the Quartier des Spectacles at Francos de Montréal on Monday night. Accompanied by his friends Scott-Pien Picard, Maten, Laura Niquay and Elisapie, the Quebec songwriter gives a voice to First Nations.
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With territorial recognition, Émile Bilodeau opens his show. He dedicates it to Atikamekw Joyce Echaquan, who died in Joliette Hospital in 2020.
The Quebec singer-songwriter then addresses the crowd: “Have you changed in two years? And the song goes on metamorphosis from his latest album little guy. He offers his great successes to the viewers I’ve had enough, candy, Freddie Mercury and would you tell me. He goes through some of the songs on his latest album, written during the pandemic and produced by Philippe Brault.
Scott-Pien Picard, an Innu songwriter from the Uashat Mak Maliotenam community, was the first guest of Émile Bilodeau, who had the audience sing along with the song in their native language Atikamekw Innu.
Émile Bilodeau then joined friends Scott-Pien Picard and Maten in delivering their new song, which will be released on April 10th. Tshe minupunanua text in French and Innu.
It sings the famous song EkuenPua by Philippe McKenzie, the first Innu to record an album, all the guests gathered on the main stage. The Innu group Maten then took the torch and performed rhythmic songs from their region, Uashat Mak Maliotenam, to the public.
The joy of returning to the festivals after two years of pandemic was as palpable in the audience as it was in the energy of Émile Bilodeau. “You just saved me a lot of money in psychology,” the songwriter tells his audience.
Émile Bilodeau addressed the audience to mobilize for First Nations and paid tribute to Joyce Echaquan. “She was received as one receives enemies,” he said. The Atikamekw Laura Niquay then got the crowd into the rhythm of her culture. his last album Vaska Matisiwin, earned him a nomination for the Polaris Music Prize for Best Canadian Album.
Elisapie, originally from Saluit, was the last guest to take the stage on Monday night. She answered Émile Bilodeau with her song your old name, co-written with Natasha Kanapé Fontaine. This month of June, Aboriginal History Month, Elisapie gave a moving performance ofArnaq in his mother tongue.
Scott-Pien Picard, Maten, Laura Niquay, Elisapie and Émile Bilodeau gathered on stage for the finale and sang the Quebec songwriter’s beloved song How are you. Viewers could hear the chorus chanted loud and clear with their arms in the air while jumping to the beats of the music. As the crowd called for an encore, Émile Bilodeau came back to take the mic and sing I remembera song denouncing systemic racism.
Artists Bon Entendeur, Lexil, Dope.gng and Super Plage were also part of Monday night’s programme. On Wednesday, June 15, Scott-Pien Picard himself will take the Loto Québec stage at Francos de Montréal and Hubert Lenoir will perform on the main stage this Tuesday night.