Where were you twenty years ago? It seems like a lifetime away. On my end, I was halfway through high school, trying to figure out who I was and probably crying over the loss of my first true love. For Catherine Durand, at 27 years old, it was where her professional music career all began. From being signed to a major (Warner Music) to starting her own record label, she has seen and done a lot in the music business. And what a ride it has been! And now, let’s discuss her newest album Vingt.
October 1998 saw the release of her first record, Flou. Now, twenty years later, she just released Vingt, an album of re-recordings of some of the best songs from her repertoire. Jano Lapin was at the record release party at Le Ministère, previously known as the Living. Turns out it was in that same venue that she played her first Montreal premiere back in 1999 almost twenty years ago! Talk about coming full circle!
The album is not just your regular re-recording. Those songs have been deconstructed and reassembled with different arrangements and melodies using a thorough craftwork. To get an idea, just listen to Le Temps Presse‘s original and reworked versions. One would think it’d be hard to significantly alter songs she sang since her debut. But not so, it came naturally: “It was quite easy, actually. I’ve been playing those songs a lot on stage, so they had already evolved throughout the years. None of this was hard work, it was fun!”
Of the album ten re-recordings (+1 brand new song, Le Loup, a duet with Alexandre Désilets, who she described as the best singer she has ever heard), the strongest one is probably Coeurs Migratoires, which she played live at the release party. Added to the song is a sample from Tomás Luis de Victoria’s Requiem, which really lifts it in a powerful crescendo. Live, it’s even more powerful, quasi mass-like, people soaking in the power of the song, in awe. How did this all come about? “It’s while playing around with the song, trying to add something to it that the idea of using a choir came. I started looping chords on my guitar while Victoria’s Requiem was playing. It didn’t work out at first. Not the right tempo, not the right scale… and then, at the end of one of the songs of the Requiem, it happened! Everything started embedding together as if the choir was following my chords. A truly magical moment!”
Catherine Durand is also a businesswoman in her own right. Along with being her own producer and record label, she started a hot chocolate company called SÜK, a natural pairing for her folk music.
After 20 years, she truly has seen and done it all in the music business, so what will the next 20 years bring? A Christmas record? “[Laughs] But I do LOOOOOVE Christmas records!!! Especially all those classic crooners (Sinatra, Nat King Cole, the Rat Pack, Bing Cosby) and I must listen to the Charlie Brown Christmas and the McGarrigle Hour at least a hundred times in December. However, I often have the impression that the French version of those songs sounds a bit cheesier than the English ones. Maybe I should write my own original Christmas songs… I’ll have to think about it! [wink]”
A Christmas season coupled with a hot chocolate and Catherine’s voice softly singing “I’ll be home for Christmas” …sounds like a pretty good plan to me!
Francophone and Francophile, trying to bring Québec’s two solitudes together through cultural exchanges. Improv Actor for 15 years. Music lover, from New Age to Death Metal and everything in between.