Louise Forestier | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Louise Forestier

Louise Forestier. Singer, songwriter, actress, b Shawinigan, Que, 10 Aug 1943.

Forestier, Louise

Louise Forestier. Singer, songwriter, actress, b Shawinigan, Que, 10 Aug 1943. Though she graduated from the National Theatre School in Montreal, it was as a singer that she came to public notice in 1966 when she received the Renée Claude Trophy from Le Patriote and was named discovery of the year on the CBC TV program 'Jeunesse oblige'. The extaordinary success of the revue L'Osstidcho (1968), then of L'Osstidchomeurt (1969) with Robert Charlebois, Yvon Deschamps, and Mouffe which introduced her to a large public. She and Charlebois recorded 'Lindberg' and took part in a whirlwind tour of France in 1969. She then worked briefly with the pianist Jacques Perron. In April 1970 she was the star in the musical play by Michel Tremblay and François DompierreDemain matin Montréal m'attend, whose title song was a hit. In 1971 she made an appearance with Charlebois at an MSO concert, and gave a few recitals. The following year she played a role in Jacques Godbout's film IXE-13,and the original film score was issued on a Gamma LP (GM-148).

With the guitarist Claude Lafrance, and again with Perron, Forestier took her place among the top Quebec stars in 1973 with the folk song 'La Prison de Londres'. Forestier then turned from the hard rock of her early years to a repertoire largely inspired by Quebec folk music, and to a more personal style. Preferring to present new songs - several (including 'Le reel à ti-Guy') her own,she performed regularly on TV during the 1970s and presented her shows ('On est bien chez vous,' 'Ben sûr que chu folle,' etc) throughout Quebec and in France.

After the first of two 1976 tours of France, Forestier won the 'Manteau d'Arlequin' prize, awarded by the critics of that country for the best presentation of French song. In 1978 she began to assemble a group of young musicians led by the pianist Charlot (Charles Barbeau). That year she took part in the Festival de la chanson francophone in Bourges, France, and in the International Song Festival, Sopot, Poland.

In 1980, Louise Forestier played Marie-Jeanne, the robot waitress in the rock opera Starmania presented in Montreal, and recorded on the Beaubec label (BB-106). Two years later, with Luc Plamondon as producer, she staged the hit show Je suis au rendez-vous. She was co-host of the Radio Québec program 'Station soleil' in 1984 and was elected woman of the year in the arts field. In 1986, she went to the USSR to sing music by Jacques Brel with the Belgian troupe of the Théâtre de l'esprit frappeur. In the fall she presented La Passion selon Louise which won the Félix Award for writer of 1987. Paul Cauchon then spoke of 'a cri de coeur, of near-choking intensity, served by a voice which burns unyieldingly. (Montreal Le Devoir, 21 Feb 1987). 'Prince Arthur' numbered among her major hits. Her show was revived the following year at the Bataclan in Paris. In 1989, she went on stage with the Belgian singer Maurane as part of the Francofolies de Montréal. The next year, she appeared at the PDA as Émilie Nelligan, the mother of the poet in the romantic opera Nelligan by Michel Tremblay and André Gagnon. Mireille Simard wrote wrote that: 'Louise Forestier succeeded in surpassing the role of performer which made her famous, to draw from her very life and guts, treasures of energy and intensity'. She was also seen in Michel Brault's film Les Ordres (1974) and as Jeanne Valois in the television serial 'Des Dames de coeur' on CBC (1987).

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