Le Chant de la Marinière
Galant, tu perds ton temps
Galant, tu perds ton temps 11: Chansons traditionnelles a capella
La Tribu TRICD-7290
Monique Jutras is a québecois singer, multi-instrumentalist, ethnologist, and turluteuse (mouth singer) whose previous albums have included a children’s album, a collection of medieval laments, and a tribute to the famous La Bolduc. Her fifth album is a collection of little-known traditional mariner songs drawn from Québecois and Acadian sources. The concept is an original one in that the songs have a distinctly feminine perspective, apart from one conspicuous exception, namely “À la Madeleine Bas-Canada,” a well-known song about raftmen. Some of the songs deal with the anticipation of seeing one’s wife, fiancée, lover, or mistress but there are enough variations on those themes to keep things interesting. “La Mort du Contremaître” is one of several songs that have hauntingly beautiful and mournful melodies although the arrangements on some songs come across as less inspired. The interesting notes on each song are in bilingual format and contribute greatly to one’s appreciation of the repertoire.
Traditional music groups are plentiful in Québec these days but Galant, tu perds ton temps stands out as unique by the very fact that they’re a five-women acapella group whose repertoire reflects a female perspective. They’ve been called the female counterpart to Les Charbonniers de l’enfer, a more well-known traditional acapella group of male singers. Galant’s follow-up to its 2004 debut is another impressive album, and a two-CD set to boot. The singers are very adeptly supported by percussionist Jean-François Berthiaume (who is also a member of a wonderful band called Réveillons) on bodhran, foot-tapping, suitcase, and step dancing.
The 24 songs, drawn from both Québecois and Acadian sources, ironically extol the virtues of married life, offer advice to young women as well as to their suitors, and tell tales of the afterlife as well as of murders within a family. Another song recounts the sad plight of a young woman in love who’s forced to enter a convent. “Le pont de Québec” is a true story of the collapse of the Québec bridge in 1907 which killed nearly a hundred workers. The arrangements are sophisticated and the harmonies quite exquisite. Lyrics are included and the theme of each song is summarized very briefly in English.
Paul-Emile Comeau (Comeauville, NS, Canada)