In Québec there is this long tradition of artists who’s real names might or might not be Bob Walsh and Steve Hill who earn a living performing american blues standards in the provinces innumerable blues festivals with the technical precision and soul of a catholic priest performing mass. Then, once in a while, someone comes along to remind us that blues can actually be good music and that Québec French, especially street Joual, could be Delta English’s closest relative. Offenbach proved it in the 1980′s. Bernard Adamus does it again this year. ”Singing in English would have made no sense. I live in French, I love in French, I read in French”, says Adamus, who was born in Poland and sings about Coors light, winter in Longueuil and all things brown (the colour of love…) Bernard Adamus is in France this week to show the cousins how it’s done. Consider yourself uncool until you’ve got La question a 100 piastre and Rue Ontario on your iPod.
For a more representative sample of the mans work click here.
There is no doubt that Muzion’s La Vi Ti Neg is the only song (partly) in Haitian Kreyol to be on regular rotation anywhere on the National Hockey Leagues circuit (and for that you can thank my brother Vince). J. Kyll, the lyricist responsible for that Kreyol verse, just broke a long silence with Spit White, an homage to Québec Joual. ”Damn it’s beautiful to hear you speak Joual”, she raps, “It sounds so real”. Bobbing his head next to J. Kyll is Imposs, who, as far as we can tell by Youtube clips floating around the Internet has been adopted by Wyclef Jean and just might be getting ready to try to become the first Hip Hop artist to make it big in both the American and French scenes. A Hip Hop Céline Dion?
Now here’s one for the people who like to say that Québec French and Joual are not “real French”. Well, I dare any of the amateur linguists who have shared such wisdom on the blogs and internet forums of the world to tell me what Pure Laine Parigot Renaud is singing about in his classic Laisse Béton, shown above. Yeah, thats what I thought… France’s street French is as far from the standards of l’Académie française as the French spoken on the corner of Papineau and Beaubien. Check out Québec City’s Keith Kouna Joual version of the song, called Oublie Ça (get it? Of course you don’t.) Suddenly Joual sounds a lot more like “real French”, doesn’t it?
Joual in Germany? Ya. Franco-Deutch duo Stereo Total liked the 514 so much they called their entire album “Carte Postale de Montréal” and managed to get their hands on some residual sponsorship scandal money to put a big maple leaf on the cover. Check out their cover of Corbeau’s Illégal, complete with a sincere yet flawed attempt to reproduce signer Marjo’s accent in the line: “C’est TOÉ, qui m’fait d’l'effet.”