Blue Metropolis Foundation, with the support of Canadian Heritage, presents Life… as a Song, a bilingual, original performance that brings together contemporary poetry and classic songs from the Quebec and Canadian repertoires. This intimate live event on October 21 at 8 pm at Cabaret Lion d’Or will be livestreamed to various Blue Metropolis platforms including their YouTube Live and Facebook Live . Captivating podcasts, video interviews and new poems are online now.
“After almost two years of the pandemic, we absolutely need songs and poetry, and to reconnect with the refrains that never leave our hearts,” said William St-Hilaire, Blue Metropolis executive and artistic director. The recognised value of the uplifting combination of words and music was further validated in the literary world with Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize for Literature.
The period between the 1960s and the 1980s literally revolutionized the Quebec and Canadian musical landscape. Unforgettable songs from illustrious artists such as Bruce Cockburn, Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Yvon Deschamps, Diane Dufresne, Michel Rivard, and countless others are now written into our cultural DNA. Fifty years later, Blue Metropolis invites some of Montreal’s best anglophone and francophone authors to write a new poem inspired by one of the chosen ten songs.
Life… as a Song, written, directed and hosted by actor Sylvain Massé, pays tribute to this golden era of music. “When a song inspires a poem, when one artist nourishes another—art is alive, a catalyst for beauty and happiness,” said Massé. This innovative, intergenerational show mixing text and song will feature musical director Sébastien Desmariais and his band, accompanied by singer Sylvie DesGrosseilliers and diverse poets Rachel McCrum, Gillian Sze, William Vallières, Derek Webster, Gabrielle Boulianne-Tremblay, Maya Cousineau Mollen, Stéphane Despatie, Lorrie Jean-Louis and Emné Nasereddine. All rose to the occasion beautifully. Drawing from their childhood memories, from their innermost worlds, or from their singular perspectives on life, each brings a particular response to the words of the artists that came before them.
Poet Rachel McCrum connected strongly to Gordon Lightfoot’s ‘If You Could Read My Mind’. “I’m excited to be part of this beautiful group of poets, and to hear how these Canadian and Quebecois songs have reached out over years and oceans. Sitting in Belfast, listening to Lightfoot sing about paperback novels and drugstores was a mystery then,” she shared. McCrum enjoyed the chance “to explore the distance between what one thought one remembered, and what was just wistful thinking, caught somewhere in a myriad of tiny cultural differences and misunderstandings; a tumble, a dance, a surprise.”
This unique event is part of a major project that includes podcasts with recordings of the poems performed by their authors, as well as videos presenting excerpts from interviews with each poet offering insight into their creative process around the chosen song. All aspects of this poetry and song project are available via the Blue Metropolis website along with biographies and photos. Links to the songs performed by the original artist are found here with each poet.
Check out Thirty Authors to Discover– 30 authors the Blue Met team would like to see thriving abroad; a spotlight on praiseworthy potential Canadian and Quebec literary exports. This selection of top picks from sea to sea is based on the recommendations of ten seasoned and highly-regarded literary community members (journalists, literary critics, professors) from across the country.
Blue Metropolis Foundation is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1997 that brings together people from different cultures to share the pleasures of reading and writing, and encourages creativity and intercultural understanding. The Foundation produces the annual, multilingual Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival, one of the largest in North America, and offers year-round, a wide range of activities as part of the TD-Blue Metropolis Children’s Festival as well as educational and social programs in the classroom, in libraries and online. These programs use reading and writing as therapeutic tools to encourage academic perseverance and fight against poverty and social isolation.
Blue Metropolis Foundation
Innovative live/digital/multi-platform event
Life… as a Song
Podcasts, video interviews and new poems online now
Live show streamedThurs. Oct. 21, 8pm
The event will remain online at https://bluemetropolis.org/songs/