Diane Dufresne, the free and audacious artisan of Quebec song

Diane Dufresne, the free and audacious artisan of Quebec song

I refine my shows a lot, I work every day, explained the artist in an interview. I don’t have fun in life, but I enjoy surpassing myself, always a little bit more.

My profession, I did it without pretension, almost like a religiondid she say.

In more than 50 years of career, Diane Dufresne has sung several times during National Day shows, notably performing for the first time Like a beautiful bird in 1990 in front of a crowd of fleur-de-lis flags on Île Sainte-Hélène.

This song, the first she wrote, was born after a Quebec flag was trampled on in Canada.

I’m not a seasoned nationalist, but touching the flag, the French language, culture caused me to dare to write a songshe said.

Authentic and rebellious

If she has lived in France for a long time, Diane Dufresne has always remained a Quebecer. However, on the other side of the Atlantic, she was offered a golden bridge, a French producer even offering her to become the new Edith Piaf, which she refused.

I am not Piaf. […] I couldn’t be anything other than who I am and make certain concessionsshe pointed out.

We say: “it doesn’t matter which path we take to get there”. Personally, I find that the path we take to get there is very important.

True to form, Diane Dufresne therefore pursued her career, breaking conventions, redefining the show and bringing new life, in particular thanks to the many flamboyant costumes she wore on stage.

Diane Dufresne in 1984.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Jean-Pierre Karsenty

As a woman, we took the birth control pill, but we didn’t have the same freedom as menshe decided.

There was a kind of rebellion to be even more feminine, more sex-symbol if possible and to assume one’s body.

It is in particular the French singer Juliette Gréco, the divine Grecowho taught him to take charge.

I had a lot of eczema, so I was singing with my arms back. She taught me to make gestures, to put my hands forward and she told me to dare.

Subsequently, Diane Dufresne had the audacity to wear a trailing newsprint dress to sing You will hear from me through the newspapers or to bring together 55,000 people dressed in pink for his unique concert pink magic in August 1984 at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal. She remains the first and only artist from Quebec to have performed in this place. It was extraordinary, it was the public who made the show a successshe told Anne-Marie Dussault.

However, deviating from the norm has not always facilitated his musical career. The musicians were a little ashamed of me, because I was screaming, she confided. [Mais] I was screaming for women who couldn’t scream.

The influence of the Rockettes and Bécaud

Since the release of his first album Hold on tight in 1972, Diane Dufresne offered a multitude of songs that left their mark: The straight singer, Belmont Park, Song for Elvis, Listening to Elton John, Hollywood Freak, I have 12 year, Apart from thator Hymn to the beauty of the world.

These popular titles would probably never have seen the light of day without two shows in particular: that of the Rockettes, which she discovered as a child with her father in New York and who decided her to become a singer, and a concert by Gilbert Bécaud, to Montreal.

At the time, Diane Dufresne, who lost her mother at the age of 15, stopped school and took care of household chores, her father having remarried with a very strict woman. Hear Gilbert Bécaud perform The white boat turned out to be decisive in his life. The lyrics of this song include You will have your white boat / But to have it, you will have taken the time […] Even if you didn’t really believe it, here is your white boat.

When Gilbert Bécaud sang [ça]I really believed that my life could change and it did.

stay lit

Today, at 77, Diane Dufresne says she has the same head oneven if his body flees to use his words.

She aspires to have peace and to continue to dare, with the man of her life, the sculptor Richard Langevin, whom she met at 50, and not at 28, when she was singing. I met the man of my lifewritten by Luc Plamondon. I’m still very much in love with [Richard]it’s a gift of lifeshe confided.

Very marked by the premature death of her adored and eccentric mother who gave her a taste for the spectacle, she is particularly aware of the existence of death.

Diane Dufresne in interview with Anne-Marie Dussault.

Photo: Radio-Canada

Every night, I’m a bit like Karl Lagerfeld, I think it might be the last night, she explained. When I wake up, I’m always surprised there’s another day.

On his most recent album Best after figure the song But livewhich sounds like a hymn to life.

Do what you want, but stay alive and human, it’s important. »

A quote from Diane Dufresne

When we’re alive, we know we’re moving towards a square thing [une tombe, NDLR], but as we move forward, it’s important to experience all the emotions, and not just happiness, she pleaded. I don’t know exactly what happiness is, but I do know what emotions are.

A demanding conception of freedom

In addition to painting, Diane Dufresne continues to give shows, she participated in the Festival de la chanson de Tadoussac on June 17. She is also collaborating on the film inspired by her life which should be released next year and the documentary which should be posted on Tou.tv Extra a few weeks before the feature film arrives in cinemas.

People think that to be free is to do anything, she lamented. To be free is to have a lot of rigor, ethics, and if you can have nobility, then you can allow yourself to be free.

When I say that I still want to do things, it’s with that freedom. I still hope to have my ethics and be a good craftsman.

The special broadcast of 24/60 during which Anne-Marie Dussault talks with Diane Dufresne is broadcast Friday, at 7 p.m., on ICI RDI.

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