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[Critique] “Bye Bye Bye Karim”, a poignant vigil at the Francos

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“If there’s a monster under my bed, I didn’t sleep / I’m going to take it by the horns and make a meal of it”, sang Karim Ouellet. Sunday evening, place des Festivals, tens of thousands of fans and twenty or so friends on stage, if they are responsible for putting to sleep the Monster that sometimes arose in his songs. The concert Goodbye, goodbye Karim, both sober and festive, a take on the appearance of a rite of passage: from shadow to light, from pain to happiness to know that the deceased is still with us through his work.

“As the sky is dark this morning / Squatting in the shade, I’m not afraid of anything anymore”, Karim sang again in the song. The mistsexcerpt from the album Fox (2012). The concert solemnly opened like this, with his song, his voice coming out of the loudspeakers for long minutes while photos of him were projected on the front of the university building along the avenue du President- Kennedy. On stage, a projector illuminated his fox mask, placed at the end of the neck of a guitar.

When Ariane Moffatt appeared on stage to perform Once upon a time, the emotion was already as palpable as the humidity of this evening threatened by the storm that never came—this monster too was put to sleep. “Hi, my beautiful Karim! “, she launches before being simply accompanied by an acoustic guitar, until the ten musicians, all accompanists of Ouellet, join her to raise the final.

Friend Gabrielle Shonk came on as relief, first for a remarkably intense version of In the falling nightI poured the race, this one accompanied by one of the singers of Karim’s orchestra, Amélie Nault. Claude Bégin and his sister Élise, chorister and confidante of Karim, followed to offer There is no point runninga pearl of pop success with persistent disco accents that their friend had never interpreted in his shows.

A good twenty minutes distributed to unfold, plus a certain heaviness persisted, on stage, and all the same in the crowd. We were dancing, we were singing the choruses, a lump in our stomachs. It took this time spent with the singers of Karim, Audrey-Michèle Simard, Élise Bégin and Noémie Tisserand, to burst the abscess. Audrey-Michèle first took the microphone to sing the first verse, then the chorus, from the beautiful Mary Johe also withdrew from Fox : “When we’re together, everything seems so beautiful / Baby, please / Jesus, Marie-Jo”. Élise took her hand to sing the suite with her, then Noémie.

It was beautiful to cry. It was a release: we needed to get to this tear to finally be able to enjoy the show, the talents reborn on stage, the great songs of Karim Ouellet, his legacy. Claude and Élise returned to the stage for an acoustic version of FoxLa Bronze took care of blowing on the embers and raising the temperature with funk-pop Stone heartthen three of Alaclair Ensemble’s troublemakers propelled the show into a celebration by professing love : “Ah-ha, tell me that there are two of us my beautiful and that there is your voice calling me / And tell me, what are we going to do? / We make love, we make war, “said the chorus of the tens of thousands of spectators.

Claudia Bouvette then offered a steamy version of Rosescompletely in the pop spirit with the rap tones of the song, and shone with the same intensity in duet with Hubert Lenoir pendant Oh! Nope, Lenoir’s buzzing rascal around the singer like a bee around a daylily. Similar chemistry for the defending duo Moffatt and Lenoir for Unrealizable — it was so playful that Ariane even lost her shoe!

All, from Ariane to Valaire, invited to make a medley, are valiantly placed at the service of Ouellet’s compositions. This hastily assembled concert revealed its inaccuracies in the execution, the sometimes uneven brass, the crisp voices here and there (which we will attribute to emotion), the few hiccups in the sound system. However, it was as announced: a vigil, a bit frank, not so loving, generous, unifying, that we can only applaud.

After several other good numbers, a tender solo piano version of feather serve for Moffatt, a powerful duo consisting of Fanny Bloom and La Bronze (December), the unofficial master of the ceremony Luis Clavis presented an unreleased recording by Karim Ouellet entitled hereditary. A small part of the veil lifted on the album he should have finished and which would probably have signaled a new chapter in his musical trajectory: the text, the melody, of the great Ouellet, more affixed to a production closer to aesthetics contemporary hip-hop, with a studio-engineered acoustic guitar motif and fat synthetic basses. The text of this unpublished borrowed a stanza from the song family of Alaclair Ensemble, that they went to sing while “freaking out” the chorus, as KNLO said, to make the crowd say: ” rest in peace to Karim! »

Before the encore, all the musicians massed on stage. Remained backstage throughout the show, Sarahmée joined them to then take the floor, her throat knotted: “Mom”, she said as a result, her gaze towards the stage, “look how people loved Karim! “.

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