Louis 'Pitou' Boudreault

Louis 'Pitou' Boudreault (or Boudreau), violoneux and raconteur (born 5 July 1905 in Chicoutimi, QC; died there 7 Jul 1988).

Louis 'Pitou' Boudreault (or Boudreau), violoneux and raconteur (born 5 July 1905 in Chicoutimi, QC; died there 7 July 1988). He began fiddling at 11, learning his repertoire from his father, Didace (Idas) Boudreault, his grand-uncle, Thomas Vaillancourt, and other violoneux. He performed in the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean region of Quebec in the 1920s and 1930s and then retired from music for 35 years.

While attending a fiddling contest at the Gesù Hall in Montreal in 1973 Boudreault was encouraged to perform; he did so, reluctantly, and won the contest. Appearances at the 1974, 1976, and 1977 Mariposa folk festivals followed during his brief revival and Boudreault developed a substantial following in eastern Canada and northeastern USA among folk music fans who considered him a rare practitioner of an early, pure strain of traditional Quebecois music.

His concerts and recordings mixed fiddle-playing with stories of life in rural Quebec. Writing of Boudreault's LP Portrait du vieux Kébec, vol 2 (1974, Opus OP-219), Larry Sandberg and Dick Weissman commented on the 'joyful, thoroughly delightful fiddling' and noted that 'Boudreault is a unique player in the old self-contained solo style, accompanying his own melodies with a judicious use of drones and double stops, as well as with his own highly rhythmic clog dancing' (Folk Music Sourcebook, New York 1976).

Boudreault was also heard on the LPs Portrait du vieux Kébec, vol 12 (Tamanoir TAM-512) and Louis Boudreault: Old Time Fiddler from Chicoutimi, Quebec (1977, Voyager VRLP-322-5). He is the subject of the documentary film Pitou Boudreault, violoneux (1975), made by Michel Brault for the NFB series Le Son des Français d'Amérique, and of a master's thesis (Laval University 1985) by Lisa Ornstein.


Further Reading

  • Michel Beaulieu, 'Le retour des violoneux,' Le Maclean, Feb 1975.