Quebec mourn the passing of three beloved artists.
Gilles Carle (1928-2009)
The memory of Québec cinema pioneer Gilles Carle was celebrated on December 5 at Notre Dame Basilica in Montréal. Carle died on November 28 at the age of 81.
Gilles Carle’s eclectic body of work explored a variety of genres, including fiction (La vraie nature de Bernadette, 1972), documentaries and advertising. He also created the sweeping televised historical series Épopée en Amérique (1997-1998) and the mega-production Les Plouffe (1981). Through the thirty films he directed, he succeeded in striking a balance between audiences and critics to win local and international acclaim.
The Québec government recognized Gilles Carle’s contribution to Québec filmmaking by honouring him with the Albert-Tessier Award in 1990. He was also appointed Grand Officer of the National Order of Québec in 2007.
Lhasa de Sela (1972-2010)
New Year's Day was clouded by the death of Lhasa de Sela at at age 37. The Mexican-American singer made an indelible mark on the world music scene over the past decade.
De Sela's career took off in Montréal in 1997 following the release of her album La Llorona, created with musician Yves Desrosiers. This debut CD, in Spanish, was a critical and commercial success in Canada and France. Lhasa won a Juno Award for La Llorona, which sold over 700,000 copies.
Her next album, The Living Road (2003), which includes songs in French and English, confirmed Lhasa’s success. Its release was followed by a series of highly successful concerts around the world. The London Times chose The Living Road as number three on its list of the best world music albums of the decade. In 2005, Lhasa was singled out as Best Artist of the Americas at the BBC World Music Awards.
Her self-titled album Lhasa, in English, her native language, was released in the spring of 2009.
She collaborated during her career with artists such as the Tindersticks, Patrick Watson and Jérôme Minière. Songs by Lhasa were featured in the television series The Sopranos and the documentary I Am Because We Are, produced by Madonna.
Kate McGarrigle (1946-2010)
Quebec singer-songwriter Kate McGarrigle, mother of Rufus and Martha Wainwright, died on January 18. She was 63.
Born in Montreal, the three McGarrigle sisters (Jane, Anna, and Kate) grew up in the village of Saint-Sauveur-des-Monts, north of Montreal. Their family was a musical one, often gathering around the piano and singing. The sisters were formally introduced to music by taking piano lessons from the village nuns. In the 1960s Kate and Anna established themselves in Montreal's burgeoning folk scene while they attended school. It was at this time that they began writing songs.
The duo rose to celebrity and recorded 10 albums in English but also in French: Entre la jeunesse et la sagesse (commonly known as the French Record) and 2003's La vache qui pleure. Their songs have been covered by artists such as Linda Ronstadt, Billy Bragg and Emmylou Harris.