• The Fiddle: C’est l’aviron

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    Ayla Bouvette, Metis artist, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

    Learning what I could of traditional French Canadian music before I began the fiddle, I knew right away when taking lessons that I wanted to learn something from the canon of Voyageur songs. It is said that having a good singing voice was a job requirement to join the canoe brigades in the 18th and 19th century fur trade. Songs were vital to breaking up the monotony along the thousands of miles rowed from Montreal to the interior and back.

    Singing also served another purpose: the music helped the paddlers keep pace by timing their rowing to the songs. Song also undoubtedly helped maintain a spirit of levity and camaraderie. Some voyageur songs evoked ‘home’ – either Quebec or France. Songs would have been learned by ear and kept in memory.

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  • Québec’s Right to Exist

    The Fleur de lis is perhaps the most widely recognized symbol of French heritage in North America. This flag is was designed by artist Simon Beaudry. "Drapeau monolys" 2008.

    The Fleur de lis is perhaps the most widely recognized symbol of French heritage in North America. This flag is was designed by artist Simon Beaudry. “Drapeau monolys” 2008.

    The upcoming election (April 7, 2014) in Québec has set off a discussion on the likelihood of another sovereignty referendum if Premier Pauline Marois is reelected with an outright majority. According to polls, most Québecers currently do not want another referendum and a great deal of ink is being spilled alarming the province by raising that spectre.

    Although he has benefited in the short-term from linking Marois to an impending referendum, Liberal candidate for premier Philippe Couillard has nonetheless been forced to clarify his own views with regard to Québec’s place in Canada. He has asserted that he would demand recognition of Québec’s unique place in Canada while clearly saying that he would never support an independent Québec.

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