Jacques Blanchet

Jacques Blanchet. Singer-songwriter, b Montreal 11 April 1931, d there 9 May 1981.

Blanchet, Jacques

Jacques Blanchet. Singer-songwriter, b Montreal 11 April 1931, d there 9 May 1981. One of the early figures with Raymond Lévesque and Félix Leclerc among the chansonniers of the 1950s, Blanchet came to notice as the composer of songs introduced 1949-50 in Montreal by Lévesque, Estelle Caron (who recorded 'Le train miniature'), Lucille Dumont ('Je veux le bonheur'), and others. Blanchet subsequently took formal training with Louise Darios (voice) and Madeleine Provost (theory). He was heard in the early 1950s on CBC Montreal radio and TV, on CKAC, and on tour in Quebec. After an initial Parisien sojourn 1955-6 he won the 1957 Concours de la chanson canadienne with 'Le ciel se marie avec la mer' as sung by Dumont. The song would prove to be his greatest success. Blanchet was a founding member of the Bozos in 1959 and continued to perform throughout Quebec and in France. Although his career waned in the mid-1960s as as his sentimental balladry was eclipsed in popularity by the work of younger chansonniers, he found a new following in the USSR, where he toured in 1969, 1970 and 1974.

His songs have also been recorded by Dumont (who is considered his greatest interpreter), Aglaé, Guylaine Guy, Robert L'Herbier, Muriel Millard, Paolo Noël, and many others. Other Blanchet titles of note include 'Le parc Lafontaine' and 'L'île Sainte-Hélène' (written with Lucien Hétu), 'Marie-Madeleine,' 'Dans nos campagnes,' 'Le petit jardinier,' 'Tête heureuse,' and 'Si tu as la peau noire'. A posthumous tribute LP made by a niece,. Marie José Thériault chante Jacques Blanchet (CBS PFC-80074), was released in 1983. Blanchet himself made the LPs Tête heureuse (Col FL-294, reissued as Jacques Blanchet, Harmonie HFS-9065) and Jacques Blanchet aujourd'hui (Col FL-321) during the 1960s. He is also heard on two CBC broadcast LPs, Les Chansonniers du Québec (RCI 360) and Qui êtes-vous Jacques Blanchet? (RCI F-684).

The Médaille Jacques Blanchet, established by his estate in 1983 for singer-songwriters, has been awarded to Sylvain Lelièvre (b 7 Feb 1943, d 30 Apr 2002), Michel Rivard, and others. Blanchet's papers have been deposited at the BN du Q.


Further Reading

  • Vincent, Pierre. 'Jacques Blanchet: Quebec pioneer of song,' CanComp, 75, Dec 1972

    Harry, Isobel. 'Medal honors Quebec's best,' CanComp, 182, Jun 1983

    Chansonniers du Québec