Robert Charlebois had the opportunity to meet great artists in his career, from Léo Ferré to Félix Leclerc and Gilles Vigneault, including Sergio Leone. “But the absolute genius that I met is him”, says the musician about the late Réjean Ducharme. The newspaper spoke with Charlebois a few days before the broadcast of the recording of the concert Charlebois to Ducharme.
Robert Charlebois is one of the very few artists to have been able to work closely with the extremely discreet author Réjean Ducharme. Over the course of their careers, the two artists have collaborated on around forty songs.
“When I look back on my career, where I had the most fun was my creative years with him,” he says with a smile in his voice.
Over the years, the musician has always made it a point of honor to respect the anonymity of his author friend. He broke this rule a few days ago when he went through interviews with the media to talk about Charlebois to Ducharme.
“I have always spoken of Réjean with reserve and tact,” he said. I talked about it more today than in my entire life (laughs)! “
The recording of the show, which will be broadcast on Télé-Québec on September 3, follows the album of the same name, which appeared as a surprise last June. On the record, the singer had covered 12 songs written by Ducharme which had appeared on various albums almost 40 years ago. The disc also included the unpublished Arizona.
“I had 5 stars in The duty and The Journal of Montreal ! proudly launches Charlebois. It had never happened to me in my life to have 5 stars. I didn’t expect that at all while making this album. “
It was in the winter of 2021 that Charlebois worked on this album. The record was produced by Gus van Go and Daniel Lacoste. It brings together the faithful musicians of Charlebois: Lacoste, Dominique Lanoie, Steve Gagné and Vincent Réhel.
It is this same nucleus that came together to capture the show, directed by Louis-Philippe Eno, in an empty Place des Arts. Robert Charlebois says that it was Claude Larivée, from his label La Tribu, who gave him the idea of this capture.
“He told me that we could make a program that would be truly worthy of Réjean,” says Charlebois. There are also the actors Marie Tifo, Marcel Sabourin, Cynthia Wu-Maheux and Didier Lucien who come to read excerpts. Because what I did with Réjean was not a thousandth of his work. There were the plays, the books, the films. He made sculptures. I’m telling you, he was an absolute genius! We’re talking about one in a million. There are great talents in Quebec. Des Michel Tremblay, Luc Plamondon. But here we are talking about another planet, really. “
For now, Robert Charlebois does not plan to do other shows around the work of Réjean Ducharme. The concerts planned this fall are all for his project Robert en CharleboisScope.
“It’s COVID that has the clock on showbiz, says Charlebois. It is not me. For now, it’s the Charlebois-Scope that’s in the air. We can only go to the big rooms with that. But maybe one day, if I want to redo small venues, it is sure that there will be a big place at Réjean. Because it’s too good and it’s been too well received. “
Doubly vaccinated, Robert Charlebois admits that he is concerned about the fourth wave and the Delta variant.
“I’ve always said that the public is the most important thing,” says the 77-year-old artist. At the same time, a Place des Arts with four feet of distance between each person, I can’t imagine that. “
“I would never want contamination to happen to one of my shows,” he adds. I never want anyone to suffer from a show. It doesn’t make sense. There is no music in the world that is worth putting your health on the line. “
♦ The show Charlebois to Ducharme will be presented on September 3, at 9 p.m., on Télé-Québec. The album of the same name is also on the market. The show Robert en CharleboisScope will be presented on 1is and October 2, at the Cogeco Amphitheater in Trois-Rivières, and from December 2 to 4, at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier at Place des Arts, in Montreal.