Jacqueline Lemay

(Marie Adée) Jacqueline Lemay. Singer-songwriter, guitarist, b Guérin, Témiscamingue, Que, 23 May 1937; supplementary teaching certificate (École normale Ville-Marie, Témiscamingue) 1954, advanced teaching certificate (École normale de Sherbrooke) 1958.

Lemay, Jacqueline

(Marie Adée) Jacqueline Lemay. Singer-songwriter, guitarist, b Guérin, Témiscamingue, Que, 23 May 1937; supplementary teaching certificate (École normale Ville-Marie, Témiscamingue) 1954, advanced teaching certificate (École normale de Sherbrooke) 1958. At 17 she was teaching as well as singing popular songs in English in the cabarets of Rouyn-Noranda. She was a member of the religious community the Institut séculier des Oblates 1957-63, and while fulfilling her academic assignments in Sherbrooke she began writing songs that were mainly religious in inspiration and performing them to her own guitar accompaniment. She became known through her singles 'Vive la vie,' 'Route claire,' and 'Merci,' recorded in 1960 (Radio Marie NDC). In Quebec City she studied voice with Patricia Poitras 1961-2 and guitar with Johan Van Veen in 1963. Her first LP, Compagnon (Radio Marie NDC 336203), which included 'Paix d'un soir,' 'Si tu vois la mer' and 'Monsieur le Bonheur,' appeared in 1962. She toured in Quebec and the USA and performed on radio and TV.

Lemay's departure from the Oblates in 1963 set her career on a different course, which she pursued both in Quebec and in Europe. In 1967, after a successful recital at Le Patriote in Montreal, she made the LP Un Long Voyage (Col FL 336 and Harmonie HFS-9052). With a grant from the MACQ in 1969 she went to Paris to work with Annie Charlot and Jean Lumière. She also wrote and performed the songs of a French version of George Ryga's play The Ecstasy of Rita Joe, presented at the Comédie-Canadienne in 1969. The following year she founded the recording company SPPS (Société de production et de programmation de spectacles) along with Lise Aubut, Angèle Arsenault, and Edith Butler. For International Women's Year in 1975 she composed and performed 'La Moitié du monde est une femme'; the song was sung by Pauline Julien in Quebec and Isabelle Aubret in French-speaking Europe. She used its title for an LP (SPPS SP 19902) and for an anthology of poems and songs (Leméac 1976). She made LPS for children, with Angèle Arsenault and Edith Butler. From 1980 to 1982 she was adviser to the MACQ. The following year, she was host for a program on song for CBC radio, and in 1990, she was director general of the Société professionnelle des auteurs et compositeurs du Québec. She then resumed singing, recording a CD (Présences, 1990, Éd. de l'Échelle EEJL-011) on arrangements by François Cousineau, and a cassette of mood music (Un temps de paix, 1991, SDCM SD-4-014).

Jacqueline Lemay has composed more than 300 songs, several of which are published by the Éditions de l'Échelle. She wrote 'Je voudrais être,' 'Qui je suis' and 'Le Fil de la rivière' for Edith Butler, and 'Aut' fidélité,' 'Le Québécois' and 'Les Jeans,' among others. Many of her hits are contained in the collection of three cassettes Des succès inoubliables (1989, SDCM SD-007). She is the sister of Jérôme Lemay, who was a member of the duo Les Jérolas. (see Jean Lapointe)


Further Reading

  • Jasmin, Hélène. 'International Women's Year was a good one for Jacqueline Lemay,' CanComp, 107, Jan 1976