27 October 1928 |
|Occupation(s)||Poet, publisher, singer-songwriter|
Gilles Vigneault, GOQ (French pronunciation: [ʒil viɲo]; born 27 October 1928) is a Quebecer poet, publisher and singer-songwriter, and Quebec nationalist and sovereigntist. Two of his songs are considered by many to be Quebec's unofficial anthems: "Mon pays" and "Les gens de mon pays", and his line Mon pays ce n'est pas un pays, c'est l'hiver (My country is not a country, it is winter, from "Mon Pays") became a proverb in Quebec. Vigneault is a Grand Officer of the National Order of Quebec, Knight of the Legion of Honour, Officer of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
Life and career
Vigneault started writing poetry during his studies at the Seminary in Rimouski, and by the 1950s was publishing poems and writing songs for other performers. In 1959 he founded the publishing house Les Éditions de l'Arc to distribute his publications. His first collection, Étraves, was published in 1959.
In 1960 Vigneault made his singing debut at the L'Arlequin club in Quebec City. followed by a successful Montreal concert later that year. In 1962 he recorded his first album, Gilles Vigneault, and received the Grand prix du disque from Montreal radio station CKAC. His reputation grew in Quebec and beyond with the success of his song "Mon Pays", from the soundtrack of the NFB film La neige a fondu sur la Manicouagan (1965).
Vigneault's reputation as a songwriter and performer grew and he became popular not only in Quebec, but also in English Canada and Europe. Vigneault performed in major Canadian concert halls, including Montreal's Place des Arts, the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, and at Toronto's Massey Hall. In Europe he toured in France, Switzerland, Poland, Belgium and Luxembourg.
The mid-1970s saw Vigneault's participation in several major events. On 13 August 1974, 130,000 spectators came together on the Plains of Abraham for the Superfrancofête, where Vigneault participated in an historic concert alongside Félix Leclerc and Robert Charlebois. The concert was recorded and released as the album J'ai vu le loup, le renard, le lion. At the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day concert "Les 5 Jean-Baptistes" on Montreal's Mount Royal on 24 June 1976, Gilles Vigneault performed together with Robert Charlebois, Claude Léveillée, Jean-Pierre Ferland and Yvon Deschamps. This concert was recorded and released as Une fois cinq, which later received the Grand Prix du Disque (the Charles Cros award).
The main subjects of Vigneault's writing are Quebec and its people, as well as human relationships, love and everyday life. Vigneault is also concerned with environmental issues and has written songs and tales for children.
Gilles Vigneault has seven children: Michel, Louis, François (a poet and a lyricist), Pascale, Guillaume (a novelist), Jessica (a pianist and a singer) and Benjamin (a percussionist).
Vigneault has received a number of honorary doctorates including:
- Trent (1975)
- Université du Québec à Rimouski (1979)
- Université de Montréal (1981)
- York University (1985)
Vigneault has received numerous awards and honours:
- Prix Félix-Leclerc for the song "Mon pays" (1965)
- Governor General's Award for French language poetry or drama (1965)
- Prix de musique Calixa-Lavallée (1966)
- Grand Prix du Disque of the Charles Cros Academy, Paris (in 1970 for Du milieu du pont, in 1984 for two recordings for children: Les Quatre saisons de Piquot and Quelques pas dans l'univers d'Éviola and in 1990)
- Molson Prize (1982)
- Prix Denise-Pelletier conferred by the Quebec government (1983)
- Médaille Jacques-Blanchet (1987)
- Grande médaille de la chanson française-Vermeil medal (1988)
- Governor General's Performing Arts Award - Lifetime Artistic Achievement (1993)
- Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame (2006)
Several cultural institutions and streets in Quebec and France bear the name of Gilles Vigneault:
- The library of the Rimouski Community college (La Bibliothèque Gilles-Vigneault)
- École Gilles-Vigneault (Montreal, Quebec)
- École Gilles-Vigneault de Marseille (Marseille, France)
- Rue Gilles-Vigneault (Blainville, Quebec)
- Rue Gilles-Vigneault (Rimouski, Quebec)
- Rue Gilles-Vigneault (Granby, Quebec)
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