Conrad Gauthier

Conrad Gauthier. Folklorist, singer, actor, b Montreal 8 Aug 1885, d there 14 Feb 1964. After some commercial training he worked in theatre, founding in 1902 the Cercle du Drapeau and later the Cercle Lapierre.

Gauthier, Conrad

Conrad Gauthier. Folklorist, singer, actor, b Montreal 8 Aug 1885, d there 14 Feb 1964. After some commercial training he worked in theatre, founding in 1902 the Cercle du Drapeau and later the Cercle Lapierre. He was a member of the Association dramatique de Montréal and the Anciens du Gesù company. In turn printer, editor, cartoonist, director of silent movies, journalist, accountant, and municipal officer, he made his name in Canada and the USA as an actor and amateur singer. He played Gaspard in Planquette's Les Cloches de Corneville with the Société canadienne d'opérette.

In the early 1920s Gauthier was a pioneer in radio and in the recording of Quebec folk music, making 78s, for Victor and Columbia, of more than 100 songs and monologues, often with Elzéar Hamel. The list of his discs appears in Roll Back the Years and Pionniers du disque folklorique québécois

Gauthier's great achievement as a folklorist remains the successful concert presentations Veillées du bon vieux temps, which he founded in 1921 and produced until 1941 at the Monument national. With great verve Gauthier performed French-Canadian folksongs which at the time were enjoying a surge of popularity.

Gauthier's 40 Chansons d'autrefois (Thérien Frères 1930, 1932) and 40 Autres Chansons d'autrefois (Archambault 1947) were combined in the collection Dans tous les cantons (Archambault 1963). In the preface to 40 Chansons d'autrefois Gauthier was described by Gustave Comte as a 'keen re-creator of our old customs' and an 'irresistible dispenser of good old-fashioned happiness'.

Gauthier's son Paul-Marcel (b Montreal 23 Jan 1910) continued his work, performing his songs in 1964 on four LPs entitled Les Veillées du bon vieux temps (Dom LPs 48001, 48002, 48010, and 48011). Active as a minister in Montreal, the younger Gauthier composed 'wholesome little songs' ('chansons nettes') under the humorous pseudonym Jean-Baptiste Purlenne. About 50 of these songs were recorded on 45-rpm singles for RCA, including 'La Chanson des p'tits poissons' and 'La Chanson du petit voilier,' performed by Marc Gélinas and Paolo Noël respectively.


Further Reading

  • Rousseau, Alfred. 'Conrad Gauthier,' P-T, 890, Sep 1945

    'A priest-singer keeps his musical memories alive,' CanComp, 58, Mar 1971