Web
Analytics

Michel Lalonde

FR
Menu

Where to start?

Going back to grade four and all the way through grade school, I would write down song lyrics in my school scribblers. I remember one of my teachers correcting the grammar on some Chuck Berry or Johnny Horton lyrics I’d copied. That’s the first real spark I remember, about this fascination I have with song lyrics. And then there was that day when Claude Décoeur, a classmate, brought an old guitar to class and played  Le Rapide blanc, a 1950’s radio hit in French Canada by a folksinger named Oscar Thiffault.  A wigne hein hein! That's how it went.

After that it was Elvis Presley and those late fifties white Brylcreem ballads and countryfied pop songs blaring out of my uncle’s car radio. It stayed like that until that fateful Sunday night in February 1964 when it hit all of us like a lightning bolt. Everyone my age remembers the moment when John, Paul, George and Ringo appeared on our black and white TV screens and were forever imbedded in our collective imagination.

Caption

The day after that historic performance by The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show, I had already made a cardboard air-guitar, which would eventually lead me to picking up the other guitar, the real one that had been gathering dust in a corner of the living room. The old flat-top was a relic of my dad’s early singing career. I’d never paid much attention to the instrument since the only thing I’d ever heard escaping from it were cowboy songs or folk music. But now, seeing those four guys from Liverpool with Nehru jackets and guitars putting out such a cool new sound, I was completely swept up in the wave that would follow.

I always liked singing. My earliest real singing experience was the church choir. We would spend months rehearsing for Christmas mass and that’s where I learned about vocal harmony and singing with other people.  Even with all that, I had somehow managed to bury this interest in music quite well – I’m sure it had something to do with the fact I was going to make a fortune as a professional hockey player.

But everything changed the moment the Fab Four entered my life. I embarked on a fantastic voyage. I would get together with my brother and some friends. We would buy records and spend spend hours, huddled around a record player, trying to pick apart the hit songs.  We worked at figuring out the chords, the song structures and the vocal harmonies. Then one day, we were ready for the world and got offered a gig.

This first adventure consisted of a three-song set, as a trio…I forget what we called ourselves, but we were paid a total of $10. I can still see us – my brother Marc, our friend Fernand and me – all three of us playing through the same Supro amplifier. Humble beginnings, but a start nonetheless.  Over the next few years, I came to discover a whole new scene: bars, dance halls, clubs, church basements, all the places where bands played to make people dance. Along the way, I gave up a teaching job and chose the path of no-return which is the world of music.

1972 brought another sea-change. Living in Prince-Edward-Island, where I played the minstrel in a children’s theatre company, I met up with some very inspiring musicians. Together we laid the foundation for Garolou.  Garolou, was and is an iconic progressive-folk band which touched a generation, but for me Garolou was something born of passion, perseverance and sweat. It was also school, the school of song and the school of life!

In 1990, I came to Saskatchewan both for love and for the chance to try something else. And a lot happened! I discovered a whole community of creative-minded people and learned much along the way. Those great years at Radio-Canada and all the wonderful musical moments that nourished me over that time, working with great people and getting to try my hand at so many things. Two decades of making great music with my brothers from La Raquette. Two solo albums spread out over time in between everything else.

And then there is who you see now.  An old poet, a would-be Beatle, a hippie with a little bit of Félix and little bit of Woody. I chase songs. I have my bouts with inspiration. Sometimes I think she is avoiding me. Still I cast my line out anyway and see what I can pull out. Every once in a while, there’s a song. And I’ll tell you what, some of these songs will tell you more about me than I can.


Highlights

Touring & Career:

  • Hundreds of shows and appearances as a solo artist and as a member of Garolou in Canada, France, Belgium, Switzerland and the USA.
  • More than 200,000 albums sold.
  • Over 100 TV shows and recorded live concerts.
  • Appearances at dozens of major events such as Canada Day, La Fête nationale du Québec, le Festival Franco-ontarien, les Francofolies de Montréal, Calgary Folk Festival, Regina Folk Festival, etc.
  • Mentoring & coaching – Professional musical & artistic workshops and amateur development programs, notably in Western Canada, Ontario & California
A new album in the works…

Get involved and be part of the new album!

More +
A new album in the works…